- Judge (1991: Animate & J.C. Staff) 1/1 ep.
This is one of those shows that isn’t really for you or I, dear reader. Instead, it is for the Japanese salary man. This features everything a salary man could want: a nerdy office worker who is constantly harassed by his boss, the hot-shot ‘jock’ who receives his comeuppance, and the nerdy guy taking his revenge upon his boss. It is an escape for the salary man who spends all hours working for a boss who he hates and who receives little in return for his work.
The plot of this one is a bit weird so hang on tight. Ohma is a put upon salary man who is constantly taking shit from both his boss and the up and coming hot-shot of the company. Ohma’s girlfriend, who serves no purpose at all, wishes he stood up for himself a little bit more and then they have the totally unnecessary sex scene that every OAV must have by divine law. I suppose the girlfriend’s narrative purpose is supposed to be that she provides some kind of wry smile from the viewer when Ohma’s reveal happens but honestly she seems to be in the show mostly so they could have the sex scene. Meanwhile, the company hotshot, Ryuichi, is having an affair with Yamamoto from Accounting. He is kind of a dick so he is getting her to cover up the fact he is embezzling the company despite her protestations. This embezzlement eventually comes to light and Yamamoto gets the blame. She ends up killing herself, though is quite obvious that Ryuichi killed her. This is where Ohma comes back into play as he dons a crazy outfit and does his hair up like he is Vegeta. It is revealed that he is secretly The Judge of Darkness! He crashes Ryuichi’s car with a swarm of crows, sticks a nail through Ryuichi’s tongue, and then kills Ryuichi by making him jump of a cliff while wrapped in an American flag.
Now this all may seem like spoilers but we are only 17 minutes in and the real story is about to start. So, at the beginning of the OAV there is a scene of a dude being shot in the jungle. This dude is part of Ohma’s company and so Ohma and a load of people go to his funeral. At the funeral Ohma begins to suspect it was his boss, Kawamata, was the one who killed him. Ohma confirms this with magic and starts to hunt Kawamata. But Kawamata meet up with the Attorney of Darkness who aims to defend him against Ohma! This is where the real story beings and it just gets weirder from here.
I don’t think Judge is very good. The art is laughably bad, the animation is even worse, and the narrative is so ridiculous that you can’t help but giggle at it. That last part is important because I actually quite enjoyed this show. The magic of the OAV era was the unfettered freedom that led to extremes in quality never seen before or since. Judge is extremely bad but it is that good kind of bad that leaves your jaw on the floor, due to how silly it is, and keeps you constantly engaged trying to figure out what the hell is going to happen next. I mean, this is the show that has a parrot that copies the sex noises of Ohma and his girlfriend because why the hell not? This is just a great example of the pure insanity that is seinen and I love it for that. If Hiroshi Negishi had tried to make Hosono Fujiko’s manga more sane then it wouldn’t be a fun experience. It would have been a boring sludge that nobody would want to watch. But as it is we have a crazy haired dude with a demon bird citing laws from a book at a guy and his attorney whilst in the court full of demons. What could have really made this a genuinely good show?
Final score: 1C