I spent last weekend watching some awesomely bad anime with friends. One title that stood out though, that is the very opposite of bad, was the OVA Baoh, based on the work of Araki Hirohiko, creator of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. This was not my first time watching Baoh, as it was actually one of the seminal titles that made me into an anime fan when my brother brought it home years ago, but it’d been well over a decade since I last laid eyes on the blue man who shoots needle lasers from his hair, and I was eager to revisit. It was an uproarious time, and it sports one of the best dubs ever. Listen to the Anime World Order review of it to give yourself a better idea of the glory of Baoh.
Just for fun, I decided to look on Anime News Network for a review of Baoh, and what I found was a terribly misguided summary of the OVA, with choice quotes such as this:
Making matters even worse is the show’s ludicrous habit of freezing the action mid-battle to display the names of BAOH‘s attacks. Do we really need to know that BAOH has just performed the “Reskini Harden Saber Phenomenon”? Is there a quiz after the show?
Now, I can obviously forgive this review as it comes from a less enlightened era of anime fandom (2003) and most likely the original writer has improved and matured since then, but it does bring up a recurring problem in the realm of anime discussion: Those who know little about a show’s content or genre discussing the work from a position of authority.
Anyone who’s watched action-based anime knows that the Special Move Name Displayed at the Bottom of the Screen is a common theme in such shows, and is often used for dramatic effect in ways similar to the combination sequence for giant robot anime. This is why the above quote is so off-putting; it shows a lack of knowledge of the type of show Baoh is trying to be, even if it doesn’t pull it off perfectly. I feel that it’s like criticizing a Power Rangers show for using spandex and rubber suits, or a harem anime for featuring lots of attractive girls. It’s a problem which still plagues ANN from time to time, though I understand that when you review professionally, you can’t always pick what you want to review.
I’m not saying that people should not discuss or review anime of genres and tropes to which they’re unfamiliar or for which they have a strong dislike, but that to do so while assuming a position of authority just makes a person look uninformed and trying to toot his or her own horn, rather than actually look at the work.
In summary, if you’re going to give a negative review of Twilight, you can complain about how you think the writing is awful. You can complain about characterization. You can complain about the portrayal of vampires in the story, or even lament the popularity of the suave, handsome vampire. What you can do but should not however, is complain about the fact that there are vampires in Twilight in the first place, because–Surprise!–this series is about vampires.