Tohokushinsha Flim Corp
Make it a classic, please.
By Adam "OMEGA" Arnold
"I was drunk when I submitted the project and they approved it anyway!" - Chief Hattori
When I first turned on Assemble Insert, I wasn't sure what to make of it. I mean, pop idols, mecha, and cops? Isn't that the concept behind Bubblegum Crisis?
Not quite. Assemble Insert takes the meaning of parody to a whole new level that is only rivaled by Otaku No Video. But, where the Gainax animation shows human nature's depressing side, Assemble Insert keeps the comedy coming at all the times and even throws in some angst to boot.
The time is the present. A gang known as the Demon Seed are terrorizing Japan and the riot police are helpless to stop the powerful mecha. The public is losing confidence in the police forces, so a new division is created to combat these criminals. The only problem is, the division is already a lost cause, and the staff is so depressed that they do nothing all day but watch music videos that they rented from the store below their office.
Then, in a drunken stupor, Chief Hattori gets clearance to hold a pageant to find an idol singer to pit against the vile criminals. Enter: Maron Kamikaze, a cute high school senior who has about as much talent as Lynn Minmei. But, she's got the strength to kick some serious bad-guy butt.
The thing that makes Assemble Insert so much fun is the fact that it doesn't take itself seriously at all. It's got a coherent plot and I found myself really caring about Maron at the end of this two episode series. But, the show intentionally pokes fun at itself by playing towards the fourth wall, i.e. the viewer, through the use of blatant product placement. Heck, there is even a live-action commercial that's played in both episodes that makes you want to drop everything and try that drink.
Strangely, I didn't find the dub nearly as bad as I originally thought it would be. There are only a few main characters, and they are voiced fairly well. J. David Brimmer does a wonderful job portraying Hattori, though he does make him act just like the other role he did as Yamamoto in Captain Tylor. Jessica Calvello even does a fitting job of portraying the soft-spoken Maron. The majority of the other voices in the show seem to sound like they were intentionally trying to mimic the sounds of the Muppets by speaking in a nasal voice, which is kind of funny in a way because all of the supporting cast members lack noses entirely.
But, there is some good news about the dub. All the J-Pop songs have been left in Japanese. There is one drawback to this. The songs aren't subtitled, which is kind of sad because they are pretty catchy and I would have loved to have understood more than just the line "I love you".
For an OVA series that was made in 1989-90, it has aged fairly well. Sure, the character designs look like something that would come out of the 80s, especially when you realize that leg-warmers haven't made their comeback yet. That aside, the animation successfully spoofs a lot of different styles from the 60s to the 80s. In some ways, Maron has an Astro Boy flair to her when she's in the heat of battle.
In terms of picture quality, this is by far one of the best Right Stuf VHS releases I've seen. There isn't that dark tone or even the rainbow pixelations that I've seen in past Tylor and Flint volumes. The only part of the series that really showed true signs of fading was at the beginning of the second episode.
If you love comedy series or maybe just want to take a break from the serious stuff on the market, you can't possibly go wrong with Assemble Insert. Don't let this jewel fall through the cracks, because it's a definite keeper.