Newest Reviews
Morfalous, Les
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Funeral, The
Burning Sea, The
Godzilla Singular Point
Ace of Aces
Innocents, The
Beast and the Magic Sword, The
Last Hard Men, The
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
  Timefighters in the Land of Fantasy What the heck is 'Fantasy Time'?!
Year: 1976
Director: Ippei Kuri, Hiroshi Sasakawa, Takao Koyama
Stars: Yoshiko Ota, Mari Okamoto, Noriko Ohara, Toru Furuya, Kazuya Tatekabe, Akira Kamiya, Haru Endo, Jouji Yanami, Junpei Takiguchi, Kei Tomiyama, Reiko Katsura, Ryuji Saikachi
Genre: Comedy, Animated, Science Fiction, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: At the start of this second feature film compiled from episodes of the anime series Time Bokan, time-travelling teenagers Junko (voiced by Mari Okamoto) and Tanpei (Yoshiko Ota) are still searching for their missing grandfather, nutty scientist Dr. Kieta (Ryuiji Saikachi), aided by trusty if emotional robot sidekick C-Bot (Reiko Katsura), talking parrot Perasuke (Junpei Takiguchi), and their amazing bug-shaped shape-shifting spaceship. However, Tanpei hits on the smart idea of projecting a second, empty time machine into the past where, sure enough, the good doctor rides it back to the future. Now happily reunited the young heroes still face the task of collecting those elusive energy crystals, Dynamonds, scattered through time and space before they fall into the evil hands of Grocky (Jouji Yanami), Warusa (Kazuya Tatekabe) and sexy, scantily clad villainess Majo (Noriko Ohara) who can't keep her clothes on for very long, even though this is a kid's film. Having seemingly exhausted history, Junko and Tanpei decide to extend their search for the crystals by exploring "fantasy time."

Fantasy time? What the heck? As unlikely as it sounds Tatsunoko Studios, the anime outfit behind the Time Bokan franchise could not come up with enough historical adventures to sustain the entire sixty-one episode television series. So series creator Ippei Kuri and his team contrived this outrageous conceit to have Junko and Tanpei interact with fairytales. Luckily, Time Bokan was never intended as an educational show with meticulous historical research. Fact or fantasy, kids did not care where the leads ended up so long as there was wild robot battles, silly slapstick and general fun to be had. Nevertheless in blurring the lines between history, literature and surreal science fiction, Time Bokan unwittingly opened the door for unhinged children's anime like Superbook (1981), a Biblical-themed show wherein two kids and their robot buddy are catapulted into the Old Testament where super-intelligent dinosaurs plot to steal the elusive Time Gospel so they can assassinate Jesus Christ.

Junko and Tanpei fractured fairytale adventures seem almost sober by comparison. The time teens rescue Snow Flake (sounds like?), a young princess imprisoned by an evil Queen, help nice young Jack climb the beanstalk to battle the malevolent giant, arrive in Hamelin the town overrun with rats before the Pied Piper shows up and play fairy godmother to help lovely downtrodden Cinderella go to the ball. Through it all they're opposed by the terrible trio of Grocky, Warusa and Majo who deploy all kinds of ridiculous giant animal-shaped robots to disrupt things. These include a robot stegosaurus dubbed with Godzilla's roar, a sake-swigging robot Tanuki (see Studio Ghibli's Pom Poko (1994) for a glimpse of these folkloric shape-shifting raccoons), a King Kong-sized robo-ape that wields giant cymbals as a sound-wave weapon. Perhaps the most memorable is the giant robot ant-eater with the power to mess with people's minds (y'know, like ant-eaters do) which results in a surprisingly unsettling sequence wherein our young heroes freak out on nightmarish hallucinations then beat each other up! Tatsunoko were famous for the visceral intensity of their superhero shows, e.g. Science Ninja Team Gatchaman (1972), released in an English dub as Battle of the Planets, and even their more whimsical children's fare like Paul's Miraculous Adventures (1976) or Hutch the Honeybee (1970) could not resist including the odd traumatic incident.

The re-edited English dub renders an already breakneck narrative even more frenetic with some big continuity holes. We also have a greater number of musical sequences this time around. Lovely Junko sings a treacly ballad during a flashback to happy times with grandfather while the villains constantly burst into song ("We are devils, we are cads and everywhere we go we are the lowest of the low!"). Unfortunately the Americanized version replaces most of the original jaunty J-pop soundtrack with borderline atonal synth mush that manages the unique feat of being infernally catchy whilst only barely resembling music. Nonetheless, nearly forty years on this still ranks among the most charming and inventive anime ever made. The chara designs by then teen prodigy and future fine artist Yoshitaka Amano retain their charm, displaying a notable Disney influence with the fairytale characters, Cinderella in particular, and the shape-shifting mecha action is as marvelously madcap as before. Imagine Transformers meets Looney Tunes with a dose of Wacky Races thrown in. Alas, there was no third compilation movie but rest assured, the TV show had a happy ending. Ah, Junko.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 2053 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith


Last Updated: