I am all but certain that there are only about five people in the world who give a crap about this show. But that didn’t stop me from digging it up via the infinitely convenient set of streaming sites and decide that I should review it. So… DNA²!
Studios: Madhouse, Studio Deen, Central Park Media
Length: 12 episodes + 3 OVAs
Availability: Out of Print, so I see no injustice in streaming it on “illegal” sites.
As a byproduct of whatever the hell was going on around when I was born in 1994 was most likely a random pick from a now closed studio. It is lost to the world, with the rights being up in the air as far as I know. Even though you can still find the DVD copies if you look hard enough. But what is this show that I remember hearing about in 2008 about? In 209X, the human population has skyrocketed, and time travel was effectively made into a thing. However, seeing the fact that stopping Hitler was something they did not view as an issue, the government of future Japan decided that they should stop a Mega Playboy form 199X having a million male heirs. Or 12,000, because 100*100*100 is 12,000, you dimwit.
So they sent away Karin Aoi, a sixteen year old with blue hair and an odd future garb with one white leg to a purple jumpsuit. To shoot the Mega Playboy with a DNA altering bullet that would prevent him from releasing pheromones that let him bend women like his finger. Funnily enough, the Mega Playboy in question, Junta Momonari, a spiky red haired boy of the same age, vomits at the sight of a woman’s bare arse. Yet, after shooting him with a bullet to change his DNA, it sends him on the path to becoming said Mega Playboy, because Karin forgot to bring the right bullet, the derp.
Kicking off a series of events where Junta needs to maintain his personality and settle on a life where he vomits when growing intimate with the opposite sex, rather than being the greatest pimp in history. An idea that makes me chortle with delight, even before they throw in very awkward fanservice, which I’m oddly fond of, because it never seems to be presented for anything other than laughs. Even during the attempted rape scene where a schoolgirl’s uniform is cut off comes with the karmic balance of the wasteland thugs getting their asses handed to themselves. Because being a playboy genetically gives oneself super strength.
And if the last bit didn’t cement the fact, let me make this very clear, DNA² is dumb. But I wouldn’t have it any other way, as is usually the case. As an idea time travel is neat, but correcting the past has all sorts of weird implications. For a while I actually thought that was the point, where against all odds, Junta would still become the Mega Playboy, but it is hardly a spoiler to say that he stays as his less masculine and less Asian looking self. Or that he is stuck with a disapproving housewife for the rest of his days, because he only vomits around her when he gets bum-humped in the face. Proving that the one true path in taming a male is to give them a harsh woman, rather than a gymnast who has a farting problem. Or one with an even worse voice actor.
And for the first half, that is basically the show, a bunch of awkward occurrences with maybe a bit of fanservice, and a good deal of humor. However, the author apparently got bored of that, and decided to make the final six episodes something very different in tone. With the first being a nonsensical, but amazing contrast to the rest of the show where Junta must fight a giant mutant. Whom I almost immediately picked up for a character, because of how much it fancies my tastes, and is absurd. Followed by a false ending that leads to the three OVA episodes.
The series pretty much would have ended with Karin successful in keeping Junta sexually repressed, but the studio has some more money, and decided to explain things that led to more questions. WIth the term, “High Frequency Gamma Rays” being used with mind control… What? And not one to do the same ending twice, the final ending feels more like an apology for the entire show, which makes me tilt an eyebrow. Seeing as how the show may be dumb, cheesy, and pretty cliche at times, but is entertaining.
And I’d be lying if I said the dub was not a large factor in that. Spanning heights with voice actors who I believe are genuinely good at what they do, with the fact that they realized they can be cheesy if they wanted to adding to the entertainment value. While one of the women Junta tries to seduce as the Mega Playboy, a character named Tomoko Saeki, is downright hilarious in just how bad it is. With the shifts in between breaks in her appearances all the more amazing when she tries to play the character more confidently, and goes back to something from a B movie. Which I want to see from pretty much everything. but I could say the same from Karin’s voice actor, Jessica Calvello. Who more or less disappeared after the mid 2000’s, despite being excellent at voicing hyperactive young women, which pisses me off due to how much I love that idea for a character.
The soundtrack also tries to follow in making the tone, over exaggerating emotions with very blunt segments that are reused regularly. Becoming all the more uncomfortable when it tries to be emotional over a misplaced sense, but adding to the very camp value of the show. While the animation is something I’m far from an expert on, but tries to be as serious as it can with that lovely mid 90s anime look at the future. With the most unique character design being found in the two main characters, and everyone but the misplaced street gang I mentioned earlier, just being normal chaps. As they keep the animation at a very basic level, not that the show needs much more, delivering when it decides to be actiony, sudden powers of flight and teleportation excluded.
I have no issue saying that I consider DNA² to be good. There are a few moments where I think it fumbles with storytelling against its own benefit, and the pacing is actually a bit slower than it needs to be. However, the most I went in expecting was for some fun or something interesting, and it certainly delivered. Which is something that I actually value a lot after so many of the more modern show I picked up left me out in the open with nothing to do but wait for some closure, if I could be bothered. Or maybe that’s just due to how the OVA episodes made things a lot dumber, while also being less fun.
Thus ending this unplanned week of anime reviews, as I go back to Metro 2033, and continue to gnaw at the giant lollipop that is Etrian Odyssey.
A solid title that may be lacking in an infinite amount of different ways, or just a few big and difficult to ignore issues. Varies based on the medium. But still worth giving it a go!