Rush-That-Speaks (rushthatspeaks) wrote,
Rush-That-Speaks
rushthatspeaks

Cataloguing

The other day, the household decided to sit down and make sure that we had catalogued all of the anime and manga, or rather, go through and put all the things in that we had inevitably missed cataloguing. Our spreadsheet was pretty good on digital stuff and on Thrud's collection of Osamu Tezuka-related things, but not as thorough on actual physical objects, and a lot of new stuff comes into the house that everyone was pretty sure wasn't getting written down.

It is-- insert hollow laughter here-- a big job.

As in a we have more anime than the local Suncoast Video and that is an independently verifiable fact kind of big job. As in a we had to insure the room that the collection is in separately* kind of big job.

And it's not just the big, it's the *confusing*.

Me to Thrud: Can you explain this Lupin 3rd-related situation? See, the database says we should have five random discs of the TV series-- why?-- and a copy of Castle of Cagliostro, which is as it should be, and something called Lupin 3rd's Greatest Hits, and a box of movies, and a separate copy of one of the movies. And except for being more Lupin than any set of people needs, I could understand that.

However.

In the area we stack Lupin stuff, I have found: two discs of the TV series still in the shrink wrap. The Greatest Hits. A box of movies. No Cagliostro. Two separate copies of the same non-Cagliostro movie, one VHS and one DVD still in shrink-wrap, each with a different title so that they might I suppose be two different movies except the titles are really close to each other and they have the same publicity shot, running time, director's name, cast list... Something I suspect of being one of the original French novels about Arsene Lupin, because I have no idea what else a French-language book would be doing sitting here. No sign of the other three DVDs of the TV show. And an Italian-language probably-pornographic doujinshi called Lapin 3rd, which also contains something called Razma 3/4.

I'd like to know not only what some of these objects are doing here, but why we, personally, own them, and maybe also why some of them happen to exist in the first place. Help?

Thrud: Two separate movie copies probably equals two different translations. It is an original Lupin novel. Check the loose DVDs folder. As for the rest? Can't help you.

Me: Can't or won't?

Thrud: ...

So yeah it's all like that.

Thrud took over eventually, and I took no little pleasure in watching her try to figure out the Trigun manga situation, which I think may be beyond mortal ken, and which I certainly couldn't help with because I try to avoid situations that confusing and also didn't buy any of them. (Short version: there are two, or possibly three, different Trigun mangas, of which one, or possibly two, according to the Internet and the publishers, doesn't exist, despite the fact that it is sitting right there in an English edition; also there are two or possibly four different numbering systems going on.)

On the other hand, Thrud did say that Lapin 3rd: See Razma 3/4 was the best cataloguer's note she'd seen since the one in her old Catholic Encyclopedia that reads Beatific Vision: See God**.

Anyway, the joy of cataloguing is in finding things you didn't necessarily remember you owned. And so, without further ado, I shall describe


the very, very worst anime and manga we own.

Worst anime: There is no contest. There has never been a contest.

This is because only one anime that we have ever purchased came with an apology on the part of the manufacturers.

I do not mean a disclaimer; I do not mean a content warning; I do not mean a statement of purpose; I mean an outright we-are-sorry-we-sold-you-this-piece-of-crap-we-do-not-feel-we-deserve-forgiveness apology, right there in the VHS insert. With a vague air of sheepishness about it.

This would be a little opus known as Battle Royal High School.

Now, Battle Royal High School is many things. It is a movie. It is on a VHS tape. It had drawings in. There were voices. There may even have been subtitles. But everything that is in it has been obliterated in my memory under a tidal wave of horrible, terrifying, awe-inspiring suck, a degree of sheer WTF how-can-this-be-so-awful-ness that obliterates all other details in its wake, except the seventy-foot soaking wet teddy bear that hatches out of a larval cocoon, attacks the hero with a switchblade, and then turns into a tentacle monster, because no brain bleach in the world is powerful enough to cause me to forget something like that, and I can only hope that something someday does.

See, it's a perfectly ordinary high school tournament fighting series, except that it rapidly rotates through every possible genre of anime at the rate of about two minutes per scene. There will be Power Rangers clones!-- who will suddenly take off their armor to reveal that they are all high school students!-- one of whom makes a heart-felt love confession to another one, with pink shoujo bubbles in the background!-- only she turns him down, so he turns into a tentacle demon from another dimension and rips off her clothes!-- to reveal that she is wearing!-- her Power Rangers armor, with which she attacks a mecha that soars over the horizon, only to find out!-- that it is just competing in a high-speed race with a mecha from another school!-- which the evil masked man has sabotaged, so that the student council president!-- must fight him wearing full samurai armor!--

Only it's so much less coherent than I made that sound. I mean, my summary raises the possibility that it could be some kind of self-aware parody thing, and I assure you it is not. How do I know this? Because it switches genre whenever a scene runs out of dramatic steam. You can *actually sense* the writers failing to come up with whatever should happen next in the cliched thing they are doing, and deciding to jump onto a completely different cliche.

It's a marvel, in its own way, but for God's sake don't watch it. Because it really, really is that bad.

Worst Manga is also no contest, but it's much less entertaining; it only has the Capsule Machine of Doom.

This would be Mantis Woman, a collection of truly laughably stupid horror short stories.

You know those capsule machines they have in Japan, where you put in a few yen and it vends you a capsule containing a randomly selected toy or figure?

Well, this is the Capsule Machine of DOOM. See, the thing (which looks like a perfectly ordinary capsule machine) appears in a dark alley, you buy a capsule, and it contains a little toy monster with big scary teeth, which you sic on your enemies, who are somewhere offscreen but are really incompetent people if they can't fight off a little plastic capsule machine monster. And then the capsule machine appears to you in a dark alley again, and... wait for it... you are NEVER SEEN AGAIN.

No, really, that's all that happens. End of story. Nothing more.

I quake in my boots every time I read this story-- at the sheer blinding stupidity of it all. It's a master class in how not to write horror. Well, how not to write fiction, really.

And there you have it.

So we still haven't finished the cataloguing; we're about halfway through. We're up to 682 distinct separate series.

This... could take a while.

* I think Thrud may have insured her Tezuka separately from the separately; I hope so, because it is almost certainly the largest Tezuka collection in private hands in North America at this point.

** It took me a while before this one clicked, but I bet whoever wrote it is still out there somewhere laughing.
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