- Prefectural Earth Defense Force (1986: Studio Gallop) 1/1 ep.
Anime comedies are a difficult thing for me because I often find myself just not really clicking with the humour in most of them. I don’t know if this is just an anime thing or a Japanese thing but the humour just clashes with me and I end up not having the best of times. This bring me to Prefectural Earth Defense Force (PEDF) which is a comedy from the mid-80s that was directed by Kenji Hayakawa (Maps 1987, Isabelle of Paris, and Future Boy Conan II) and is based on an earlier manga by Kouichirou Yasunaga. It is a one shot gag anime that is full of puns, physical humour, and spoofs.
The setup of PEDF is actually quite fun. Our villains, The Telephone Pole Group (TPG), think that most other bad guys are a bit dim because they always start by trying to attack Tokyo, which inevitably has the best defences. So instead of doing that the TPG are trying to conquer one of the outlying prefectures first in order to build up their power. To combat the TPG the local government conscripts three teens & their teacher to become the PEDF and to fight against the TPG, not that they possess any relevant skills or experience. They are also soon joined by an Indian transfer student who is now a missile firing cyborg after a minor traffic accident. From this base we get 3 shorts covering various encounters between the two forces full of gags, explosions, action, lovely animation. There is a conclusion of sorts but it is mostly just more gags, even the weirdly sincere credits sequence is all setup for another gag right at the end. As I said above I do not get on well with anime comedies and I have to say that PEDF sadly suffers because of it. The humour doesn’t grate on me like some other titles, looking at you Konosuba, but it doesn’t tickle my fancy either. I end up mostly just ignoring the humour, which isn’t a good thing when that is the crux of the production. It isn’t helped by the fact that s lot of the references are really obscure, especially given that it is now over 30 years old.
So if the humour isn’t good then what is? Well the animation is animation is really great at times, with high detail and interesting camerawork. Sadly the best of it comes in the opening sequence which kind of makes everything else look a bit mediocre in comparison. Sadly that is about it. There is barely a story and the characters aren’t exactly anything to write home about, so you have the animation and…..well nothing. The bizarre thing is that I don’t exactly dislike this show either nor to I think it is bad, just not for me.
In the end you could certainly do worse than the PEDF if you are looking for a little comedy. Obviously, the humour isn’t my thing but I can see someone really enjoying it is their sort of thing. Sadly, there isn’t much else in the show for me to enjoy apart from some nice bits of animation here and there. To be honest, I’d rather just watch the opening a couple more times instead.
Final score: 5D