Fist of Crossdress

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Jan 082012
 

Let’s celebrate the end of the internet by talking about some shitty Go Nagai OVA.

So I watched Delinquent in Drag. It’s another one of these old school OVAs that I never got around to watching back in the day, except this is one that the “I’m still new to anime and think it’s all smart and unique and shit” me literally scoffed at. It wasn’t one of those hyperkinetic blood orgies like Ninja Scroll, and it wasn’t some pseudo-intellectual pontificating thing like Utena or whatever, so I ignored it. My tastes have hit their half-lives several times since then and have degraded well past their initial standards, so now that I’ve actually seen this thing I was kinda amused.

I have no idea how much the original manga (assuming there is one) predates or postdates Ranma 1/2, but that’s basically the vibe I got from this. I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole “crossdressing martial arts” connection between the two was one of the reasons why the damn thing got licensed in the first place. The premise behind the thing is that a dude gets mistaken for a girl when registering for a new school, so they give him a girls uniform. Being the sort of barely cognitive Neanderthal that most Go Nagai males tend to be (and I mean that as an endearing compliment), the dude just rolls with it and wears the uniform. It’s one of those “if he were actually a functioning human he’d never go through with this” decisions that almost every comedy is predicated upon, so you kinda gotta roll along with it just as much as the main dude. If he actually said something about it you’d just get five minutes of him going to the front office of his school, setting things straight, and that’d be that. Comedy sucks when you start trying to be all rational about it.

So this dude goes to school, making no attempt to actually look like a girl beyond his clothing, and he proceeds to get into a bunch of martial arts fights. It’s pretty much the same exact shit that goes down in every episode of Ramna 1/2– some misunderstanding comes about, or someone says the wrong thing to someone else, and everyone ends up trying to beat the shit out of each other over it. First the dude makes the mistake of sticking up to some poor sap of a nerd who’s being bullied by the school’s token girl gang. Once he makes short work of them the principal takes notice of him and realizes that the main dude has some pendant or some shit and wants it. So she does the same sort of thing that Principal Kuno would do in Ranma 1/2: she puts a bounty on the dude’s head and has all of the school’s clubs track him down in a sequence that ends up playing like that parody of The Warriors from that one episode of American Dad (Except, you know, made 20 years before said parody and at least 10 years before it was “cool” to parody The Warriors. And by “cool” I mean “when the internet started to churn out memes based on any vaguely interesting movie that’s vaguely nerdy.”).

And that’s about it. It ends even more abruptly than most OVAs from the era. The dude beats the judo club’s only member in an amusingly twisted and anticlimactic manner and its over. Other clubs still wanna beat the shit out of him. The principal (or whoever the hell this chick is, they never really say) still wants the dude’s pendant because, like, her cat has a matching one or something. The dude is still mistaken for a girl despite trying to molest the only girl that’ll give him the time of the day. Literally nothing is resolved at the end, but it ends anyway.

Yeah, the only real reason why I found this amusing is how it reminded me of Ranma 1/2. It begins with the sort of chase scene you’d expect from Ranma. The main dude and his dad are running away from something. You don’t know that it’s the main dude’s mom at first. All you see is some silhouette cracking a link of chain as if it were a whip. The resulting chase destroys half the neighborhood and nearly kills one dude when he merges with a trash can Katamari-style. It’s a shame that, like, Devil Man or Enma-kun or Cutie Honey didn’t pop up out of nowhere and joined the chase like one of those Ranma opening sequences where the entire cast ends up chasing after one another all because Happosai stole someone’s bra or whatever. That woulda been awesome.

There’s a few little outrageous touches that would be kinda fucked up if it weren’t for the fact that it’s a Go Nagai anime. The main dude’s mom is only 11 years older than him. And yeah, she’s his biological mother. She had a kid when she was 11. In a more recent anime that’d feel like some sort of lolicon fetish shit, but in something by Nagai it just feels like a part of his demented logic. He ain’t making the mother that young because “OMG I can have an 11-year-old bride too!” He’s doing it because he’s screwed up like that. He’s like the shock rocker of anime, doing it just to get a rise and/or a laugh out of you.

Can’t say Delinquent in Drag is all that, but it was amusing enough. People beat up other people, then people beat up more people. Then there was some more beating. Yeah.