- B.B. Fish (1994: Production I.G.) 1/1 ep.
B.B. Fish, otherwise known as Blue Butterfly Fish, might just be the worst anime I have ever watched. Scrap that. It might be the worst piece of cinema I have ever seen full stop. What makes this surprising is that the people behind it are really solid. The original manga ran in Young Jump for 15 volumes and was authored by Shou Kitagawa. Kitagawa I also the author of Nineteen which had a really good anime adaptation which I have talked about previously. Then we have director Mamoru Hamatsu who was an assistant director on Samurai Troopers and Giant Gorg as well as assistant director on Crusher Joe. His individual directing efforts haven’t been the best but he has still produced some solid shows over his career and is by no means a slouch. Despite all of this B.B. Fish is just the worst.
Ushio is a young man who can psychically control water and can kind of talk to the ocean. His friends all know about this and are totally cool about it, because obviously it isn’t a big deal at all. Ushio and his mates are visiting some Polynesian island, I’m fairly sure it is supposed to be Hawaii, thanks to Sara’s brother hosting them. There they are trying to spot the legendary Blue Butterfly Fish. Sara is Ushio’s sort of crush and also enjoys swimming. However, Sara is really bad at swimming apparently because she always needs breathing equipment when she goes swimming and appears to be afraid to go in the water without it (I’m not sure this was a deliberate narrative choice but given the events of the show this is what it looks like). Sara’s poor swimming shows up early on when she crashes into a whale, loses her breathing equipment, and has to be saved by Ushio. While he is saving her Ushio notices a mysterious girl watching this incredibly dull rescue.
Later that day (?) Sara goes to pick up her brother from the airport Ushio and the boys go and explore the island a little bit in their car. Suddenly a whole bunch of fruit starts banging into their car as two girls desperately try to stop everything from falling off their car. As you’d expect from horny young men in the tropics they dash out to help the girls who in return offer to take them home for dinner. They agree and gallantly drive behind the girls as they slowly pull this heavily loaded cart home. They have dinner there and Ushio suddenly recognises the younger sister as the mysterious girl from earlier. They all frolic about for the night with Ushio and said mysterious girl, Ayuuru, having what I think was supposed to be a romance. We re-join the crew the next day in the afternoon with Sara’s brother being somewhat understandably pissed off that Ushio and co just fucked off for the best part of two days without telling anyone anything. Anyway more beach frolicking ensues with the two local girls joining them. Ushio frolics with Sara so Ayuuru gets jealous but then he goes and frolics with Ayuuru so Sara gets jealous. At this point to two sisters say they know what the Blue Butterfly Fish is so Ushio and Sara’s brother go have a look and for some reason at this point Ushio loses his ability to control water. I honestly have no idea why, but it happens so…
Later that evening Sara is alone so Ayuuru goes to her and tells her everyone has gone back to where the fish is and they are waiting for her. Ayuuru leads her into an underwater cave where Sara accidentally loses her breathing equipment, for some reason she couldn’t just quickly dive back in to retrieve it. Ayuuru brings Sara to a small camber and then buggers off just as the tide starts coming in. Yes, Ayuuru is trying to murder Sara over a guy she met literally 3 days ago. Back at the beach everyone is trying to find the two girls and when Ayuuru comes back her sister quickly realises what is going on and Ushio heads off to save Sara, his water powers restored for no apparent reason. He saves her and then the two spin naked through the water…for reasons.
So yeah, that is the entire story. I don’t usually go through the whole story like that but this one was just so bizarre and nonsensical that I had to. Now obviously I have watched other completely insane OAVs on this journey, Superdimensional Romanesque Samy: Missing 99 says hello, but they have felt very different. For starts they aren’t really grounded in any way and are just unfiltered lunacy and secondly they haven’t been presenting themselves as serious dramas. B.B. Fish seems like it wants to be taken seriously as a drama but there is no way you can do that when we go from hello to murder in the space of three days. It doesn’t help that it is super boring. With other lunatic shows there is at least some fun as every three seconds some new and weird happens but with this it is a much slower burn and its insanity seems to stem from sheer storytelling incompetence. Additionally, none of the characters are interesting or fun, in fact they are barely recognizable as characters. Their behaviour is jut so weird and their actions so inhuman, why do all of Ushio’s friends act like him being a water psychic is nothing! Why!? Why does Ayuuru try to kill Sara?! Man, this show sucks.
It isn’t even interesting to watch with everything having a dull early-90s aesthetic that could be easily confused one for a hundred different shows. The snooze worthy colour palette doesn’t help things here. From a technical standpoint it also looks like arse, so it isn’t even worth watching on that front! The music is also a bit weird with one of the main themes sounding like a really shit knock off Yoshi’s Island theme. Sadly no one has uploaded the soundtrack to YouTube but if you skip to about 10 minutes and 50 seconds into the show you’ll see what I mean. There is also voice acting, that is all.
Overall this show is horrible. The narrative and characters make little to no sense, it isn’t even the insane type of fun bad, it looks painfully boring, and it has knock off sounding music. Don’t watch it. You’ll be bored solid whilst wondering what the fuck is happening. However, I haven’t even mentioned the worst thing: the fucking Blue Butterfly Fish isn’t even in the show!
Final Score: 1G