Anime World Order Show # 160 – Why Must You Be So Cruel to Brain

It’s a Christmas miracle, everybody! We’re joined once again by Mike Toole, hot off the release of the 2017 Crunchyroll Holiday Special, as we fulfill the promise made a long time ago, back in…uh…actually it was four episodes ago when we last had him on to discuss The Wings of Rean. Anyway, we’re talking about 1998’s Brain Powerd, directed by–who else?–Yoshiyuki Tomino. Why did any of us think this would be a good idea?!

Note: this episode contains Mike Toole singing and therefore the alternate title is “BETTAR THAN CRUNCHYROLL HOLIDAY SPECIAL.”

Introduction (0:00 – 17:15)
First things first, we’ve got to catch up with what Mike’s been up to since his last appearance on the show. Namely, his professional anime dub voice acting debut! While he could not confirm nor deny plans to start his own anime podcast, thus permitting us to fade away and classify ourselves as obsolete (OBSOLETE!), or disclose the existence of the Crunchyroll Holiday Special that just came out today, we know what’s really up…maybe. In the emails, vitally needed light is shed on the original Wings of Rean source material and why the various anime adaptations of the Byston Well saga end up the way they do. Aside from the obvious, that is.

Promo: Right Stuf Anime (17:15 – 20:22)
Last time, Daryl was unavailable to record the promo so he got the help of some famous pop culture personalities. This time, with Christmas upon us, he sought the aid of the person most relevant to the world in late December 2017. Yes, none other than SANTA CLAUS himself! At least, we think it’s Santa Claus. He said he was, anyway. It’s definitely not a shoddily scripted, poorly filtered attempt to disguise our own voice in falsetto. We’re not R5 Central (RIP) here. We would never embarrass ourselves or our listening audience that way.

Review: Brain Powerd (20:22 – 2:10:25)
Oh dear God. Just look at that timestamp. There’s no way we could fill that much time with content. This makes something we have in common with Yoshiyuki Tomino, I suppose.

11 Replies to “Anime World Order Show # 160 – Why Must You Be So Cruel to Brain”

  1. The truly crazy thing is that as awful and incoherent as this show is, Tomino turned out Turn A Gundam not a year later. While that show is not completely exempt from Tomino’s eccentricities (wonky pacing, weird one-off stories, Cancer Kafka, etc), it’s an immensely better work and (in my opinion) the only good show he’s ever directed.

    Did he just vent the majority of his awfulness into Brain Powerd? Was he so busy with it that the other writers could take the reins on Turn A and make it sound and work like something written by humans? Did he finally start taking some Prozac between this show and that one? The world may never know.

  2. A CHRISTMAS PRESENT!!! Johnathan is my favorite character he’s a real mother fucker. I watched Brain Powered last year because the opening peaked my interest and it almost killed me cause I marathon’d it .

    1. Johnathan is such a precious character. The scene where he sat in the background rubbing his tits after screwing the main dude’s mom was excellent. Speaking of which, I actually knew a dude that always rubbed his nipples whenever he stood still and talked to people. He was a photographer at a junior college I used to work at. Perfectly normal guy otherwise.

  3. As a Brain Powerd fan, I had a lot of things I wanted to say in response to this episode, but I decided to cut this down to a few vital bits:

    1. Y’all mention a lot of stuff being absolutely confusing/making a lot of sense/being boring/getting tossed aside, etc., and conclude that it fails on almost every level, down to the soundtrack. Personally, I don’t think it fails so much as it breaks with tradition in directing and writing. Tomino’s style, especially in these later shows, is incredibly unique; there’s no one else like him. Gen Urobuchi is a dude that’s incredibly popular nowadays, but I don’t car a lot for most of his anime. Why? He’s too Hollywood. Everything he makes has that typical American summer blockbuster/popular TV show scripting, writing, and plotting to such an extent that you could easily remake, say, Psycho-Pass entirely in live action for the US market, and nothing would be changed. Not so with Tomino. Almost everything he makes has his own distinct flavor, with some works more pungent than others. With BP, the Tomino is too strong for most; like heavily-peated scotch, it’s too pungent for many. However, also just like heavily-peated scotch, I can’t get enough of it.

    While I disagreed with a lot of y’all’s critiques (they explain where the Brain plates come from, for example), y’all made a good point about the Novis Noah being completely unrealistic and illogical. I had never thought about these concerns at all when watching the show. (Apart from acupuncture girl becoming the captain. She is worst girl.) My reaponse to these is that, quite frankly, Tomino doesn’t trade in logic; he trades in emotional truth. If a setting requires some elements that aren’t based in cold, hard logic and would be completely inconceivable but it serves the tone, Tomino will do it. And that isn’t for everyone. I personally thought the final scene was heartwarming, illustrating that the idea that Orphan would destroy the Earth was nothing but a bitter fantasy from the selfish adults and corrupted kids who had given up on Earth.

    2. His take on modern parenting does seem to be a bit sexist, but I feel like his interviews explain that. He mentions that he focuses more on mothers in the show because he feels he was a failure of a father, especially when compared to his wife’s mothering. As such, that’s why he focuses more on women that abandon kids for their careers, rather than the men. I can’t really blame folks for getting a bad taste in their mouths from their first taste of this element, but I wouldn’t say it’s anywhere near as bad as I’ve seen folks make it out to be.

    3. The clothes are cute, the robots are cute. Everything in this show is cute as hell.

    4. I feel like the soundtrack dissonance is a bit deliberate, but I also know jack shit about music.

    5. Lastly, BP was also in SRWJ, ACE 2, and ACE 3. Sounds like there’s some other folks with good taste out there. ;p

    Man, that’s still a lot of crap I had to say. Well, anyway, even though y’all trashed another one of my faves, this was still another great episode. Y’all keep up the good work.

  4. With regards with “I really wanted to do movies but ended up in anime instead”, I’ve read the same thing in an great interview Tomino did for Animerica. [I was reading from an interview Tomino did for Animerica. Gave the issue number and date and everything… –Daryl]

    In that, it seemed like he was jealous that America can do Star Wars while the best Japan can do for live action sci-fi at the time was tokusatsu.

  5. Another great episode! Can’t wait for the Bananya dub!

    Regarding Tomino’s relationship with his parents, doesn’t Yuu or someone actually say something to the effect of “Wanting to murder your parents is a legitimate way of expressing anger and people need to understand that”

    I always believed that some artists and writers create work solely as an alternative to murdering people, and Tomino was the first one who openly confirmed that.

  6. That zinger at the end… what a thing of beauty. I’ll have to add Mike singing to my ongoing “Mike Toole Greatest Hits Collection” which include his musical talent in the Crunchyroll Christmas special, and the Robot King song.

    Interesting that Mike mentioned Toonzone as the particular crowd of people that would react to this series IF it ever aired on Adult Swim / Toonami (well scratch that, it deserves to be on Adult Swim). That sounds like the Earth 2 reality of Toonzone if this show ever made it to TV in the early 2000’s.

    I just see this review as motivation for my co-host and I to review it in our upcoming Tomino v. Takahashi segments that we are long over due for.

  7. “I also tried to make a story that would tell anime fans that there were other things out there better than anime.”
    “No fucking shit.”

    I can’t help but wonder sometimes whether Tomino’s professed hatred for anime is itself a major influence upon the way he writes it. Still, to paraphrase Elie Wiesel, better that than indifference.

    Would it be fair to say that with Shin Godzilla, Anno and Higuchi have proven themselves to be most successful Japanese directors to work in both anime and live action feature film–that is, managing to make genuine successes in both media?

  8. I think there is something to Tomino’s changing opinions. It’s a known fact that he hated working on V Gundam (since that was when Bandai bought Sunrise) and on the Japanese DVD wrote something like “this is a bad show, don’t buy this”, yet when I saw Tomino in 2009 and someone did the usual “what’s your favorite Gundam design?” he said the V Gundam ones because the smaller sizes of the MS seem more practical.

  9. I heard “sexy librarian look” .. immediately Google’d a clip and it was Yuu pointing a gun at his hot mom, so I was like ‘okay I’m sold!’ Then I read the wikipedia article where it mentioned Sentai holds the license, so I went to the Sentai Filmworks site and .. nothing.

    I mean I’m pretty sure I can find the dubbed/subbed 26 episodes on DVD overpriced via some re-seller on Amazon but, come on Sentai get crackin’ ya nutjobs, or at least give the license to Discotek where I can buy it at a reasonable price like the mother-trucking Golden Boy OAV.

    Great show & happy new year! It brought me back to lurking the old Anime Jump forums. I just wish Brain Powered was available @ Right Stuf or Sentai’s site .. ya know, for masochistic reasons.

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