Prefectural Earth Defense Force
Following the vein of parodies like Project A-Ko, the one-shot Prefectural Earth Defense Force is a hijinx-laden romp through anime clichés and hysterically funny dialogue. Though this 1986 feature is somewhat dated, it's still a fun watch. It's completely forgettable and inconsequential, but sometimes that's what a comedy is for.
Plot? You need a stinking plot? Well, there is one, amazingly enough for all the silly stuff going on. A mysterious group known as the Phone Pole Group is planning on world domination. Since our nefarious villains know that everybody who attacks Tokyo first always loses, they decide to take on a little neighborhood first to see how the taking over kind of thing goes. The principal of the local high school recruits a few dedicated folks from the otherwise useless baseball team and makes them into the defense force to defeat the threat. They might just defeat the Phone Pole Group with the help of Carmi, a guy who accidentally got himself turned into a cyborg by a mad scientist. Thrill to the sight of thousands of missiles fired simultaneously! Witness the fury over spilled Hokkaido milk! Sigh at the world's worst losers on a date! And more--lots, lots more!
If it isn't obvious from the above paragraph, this show intends itself to be nothing more than a laugh riot. At times, it really is. There were points that I was just rolling at the insanity, though the physical comedy PEDF employs has been so done to death that it's just OK. The dialogue, however, is a stitch. Though there's nothing wrong with the animation, the point here is to have a great time, and for the most part, I did.
The only thing that makes it deserving of its B rating that I'm giving it is that once I was done viewing it, I was left with an overwhelming feeling of, "that's it?" Yes, all plot points are wrapped up, no really lose ends per se, but it doesn't have the charm of other parodies such as the afore-mentioned A-Ko. We never get to know the characters in any meaningful way; they are simply there to drive the story along and to be humorous. A more recent parody that I liked a bit better, Shinesman, had a little bit more to relate to in that it was a homage as well as parody, and the characters were slightly more defined.
Of course, nobody ever went to see an Adam Sandler or Chris Rock movie to see character development, either. You go because you want to have a little fun. Prefectural Earth Defense Force is certainly witty and good for some belly laughs. At around 50 minutes, it's a decent title to rent or borrow, though I believe it's too short and too inconsequential to receive a higher rating.
Prefectural Earth Defense Force -- violence -- B