Anime Reviews:

Ushiro & Tora: CD Theatre


Comic Deformed (CD), or Super Deformed (SD) as it is sometimes called, is the simplification or exaggeration of familiar animated characters, drawn so they seem childlike/exaggerated in both their appearance and their rendering. Classic examples of this form appear in the first Project A-ko movie where they are used in flashbacks to show A, B and C-ko's formative years. The animation used for CD is also simplified giving a jerky, flick-book look to the movements. It only ever really works if you are familiar with the characters involved since CD trades on their normal appearance and habits. Therefore, this half-hour anthology of three short stories can only be appreciated if one has seen the preceding ten episodes of Ushiro & Tora also released by Western Connection.

Characters, good and bad, from the series crop up continually in cameos, some of the villians aping their vicious original counterparts. The first story is about a cute monster named Dust Buster who likes to lick dirty surfaces! Of course, Ushiro uses the monster to do his cleaning chores for him, but with unforseen results. The second tale is about and even cuter kitten who, after an accident, is taken in by Ushiro, and Tora has to act as nursemaid to the feline when Ushiro is at school. The final, and most inventive, story is a pastiche of silent movies of the Mack Sennett variety. So, you basically have one huge chase film featuring all the different characters seen throughout the preceding series. This comes complete with title cards and (an appropriately period) music score.

Each is a self contained 'episode' so each has opening and closing credits, and this is where the best of the tape can be found. The song about a "Boogie, woogie monster" is a scream, especially the unbelievably cute (again - sorry) Japanese 'little girl' voices that sing the title chorus line in English. Followed by the equally insane "Doki, doki, waku, waku", sung to the tune of "Tea for two, and two for tea". It's during moments like this that one realises Japan will never cease to be a source of unique wonder. Great fun. 8/10

Rob Dyer

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Ushiro & Tora

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