Howdy all you Supercultists out there on the interwebz!
I’m Bad Movie Professor Cameron Coker (BS in “Chi, Spiritual Unification, and Zen Meditation” with a minor in “Yamato Takero no Mikoto”) and I’ll be posting my hype-tacular speeches every week along with some long lost speeches from past Supercult Shows!
This week the Supercult team rides a spirit goose to crazy town with Garzey’s Wing!
Chris leads a fairly normal life, but things take a turn for the bizarre when his spirit is hijacked by the mysterious wings of light and transported to a parallel world called Byston Well while his physical body remains in his home world. Chris’ spiritual manifestation is quickly thrust into a bloody revolution between the Metomeus tribe of slaves, the slave owners and the army of the tyrannical King, but Chris’ physical form still exists in our world lounging at the pool and socializing with friends. Can Chris and his spiritual form come together to save the people of Byston Well? Who summoned Chris’ spirit to Byston Well and why? How can Chris’ spirit find its way back to the real-world and what happens if Chris’ spirit is killed in the Byston Well? The answers lie with Garzey’s Wing…or maybe they don’t!
Garzey’s Wing (or Garzey no Tsubasa in Japanese) is a 3-part direct to video anime, or OVA, by acclaimed Japanese director Yoshiyuki Tomino best known for creating the Gundam anime franchise. Tomino began his career in the 60’s creating scripts, storyboards, and screenplays for the first Japanese anime television series, Astro Boy, and later became a prominent director of anime throughout the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. In 1996 Tomino wrote and directed Garzey’s Wing,which was later dubbed in English and released in the United States in 2000. It was an unprecedented flop in mainstream anime culture at the time of its release and is considered a low point of Tomino’s career.
Garzey’s Wing is infamous for having a minimally explained plot, so most inklings of the storyline must be extrapolated. In the most general terms, Garzey’s Wing follows Chris and, Falan Fa, a fairy-like character who gives out advice like Navi from Legend of Zelda, and their fight against the vicious dictatorship of Kung Fungun and his army of humans and dinosaur-like war beasts. Real-world Chris can communicate with his spirit counterpart through a necklace they both wear and apparently real-world feels the bruises and pain Byston Well Chris experiences, and the training that real-world Chris undergoes is transferred to Byston Well Chris. The entire series is filled with unexplained and ludicrous sounding terminology and plot lines randomly appear and disappear throughout. Even the magical power “Garzey’s Wing” is loosely explained at best. The character Yamato Takero no Mikoto, though mentioned numerous times, is never seen and at one point the Narrator breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to Chris in one of the more nonsensical moments in the film.
All of this combines to make one awful Japanese animated film, but what takes Garzey’s Wing from being a somewhat embarrassing animated disaster and pushes it into the realm of Supercult Comedy Gold, is its English dub. Utilizing a cast of unknown voice actors (the Wikipedia link for Keith Howard, the voice of King Fungun, redirects to Bandit Keith, one of the characters in the Yu-Gi-Oh anime series), the now classic Garzey’s Wing dub features actors tripping over their lines, slogging through eleven syllable Japanese names that clearly mean nothing to them, and characters stepping over each others’ lines or repeating themselves like parrots. Seemingly no effort was put into making the already incomprehensible subtitle script bearable. Justin Sevakis of AnimeNewsNetwork says, “It’s like Ed Wood directed an anime dub.”
Garzey’s Wing is an anomaly because there’s no clear answer to why it’s so bad. The budget was decent and the animation is passable for anime of the mid 90’s. So what happened? Many have attempted to extract some explanation from creator Yoshiyuki Tomino for the dazzling holocaust that is Garzey’s Wing. None have satisfactorily succeeded. Justin Sevakis says,” When Yoshiyuki Tomino was invited to Big Apple Anime Fest back in 2002, I got the impression that something must have gone wrong somewhere in the production process…Despite both sides’ attempt to be polite, it was pretty clear what was being asked, and what the answer was:
Q: Uh… what happened? A: I don’t want to talk about it.”
Garzey’s Wing is a landmark for us here at the Supercult show as the first ever animated film we’ve ever screened, much less the first anime we’ve ever screened. It also forced me to go outside my normal avenues of information when writing this speech. Virtually unknown outside of the anime community, Garzey’s Wing doesn’t even have a plot synopsis on IMDB. It does have quite a few hilarious reviews out there on the Internet:
IMDB user ’email_adress42′ says, “This is probably one of the stupidest, inane, and most poorly made movies I’ve ever seen. Because of that, it’s also easily the most hilarious animated movie I’ve ever seen in my entire life…I literally had to pause it no less than five times to cry from laughter on my first time through it.”
Justin Sevakis calls it “the Battlefield Earth of anime” and says,”Garzey’s Wing is a mess, in a way only a failed epic can be. It desperately tries to tell a story, but is so incompetent that it never seems to even have a story to tell in the first place. It’s like getting a ten-year-old to try to summarize Atlas Shrugged for you — you’re gonna get a lot of words, and one or two of them might almost make sense here and there, but any point in telling the story at all is completely defeated.”
Garzey’s Wing has a 4.1 on IMDB, it’s #1 on Anime Vice’s top 3 Awful Anime Dubs, and on Rotten Tomatoes it has a 0% Audience score and no critic reviews. This movie actually convinced me to look deeper into the breakdown of the rotten tomatoes score: it averages 1.8 out of 5 stars, not even halfway towards a single fresh rating. Despite all this, the soundtrack, particularly the ending theme song “Wings Of My Heart”, has been praised as being powerful and endearing. So try to listen for it underneath your peals of uncontrollable laughter.
Truly Garzey’s Wing is something that must be experienced to be understood, and even then, we defy you to fully comprehend its brain withering majesty. Let us take you on a magical goose ride to a fantastic world where dinosaurs use bows and arrows and naked teenage boys fall from the sky!
The Supercult Show is proud to present, Garzey’s Wing!