’80 ANIMATION – THE BEST TEN: THE REVIEW

Here’s to a new year at the WEB and what a better way to start 2022 than watching a “film” from 1980 and then reviewing it? Eating takoyaki? Laughing at some guy named Jack Goldman perhaps? No?

Anyway, here’s ’80 Animation – The Best Ten.

’80 Animation – The Best Ten is not a TV special despite the name, it’s actually a film that parodies the TBS music ranking show “The Best Ten” but with anime on it. The “show” was hosted by comedian and MUSIC STATION mainstay Tamori-san and Miyuki Kojima (now known as Pai Pai Miyuki).

The film was released as a double feature with Cyborg 009: Legend of the Super Galaxy on December 20, 1980 and it was believed to be lost forever…until the fine folks at Femboy Films and kei17/Nappasan/TheWorldDBZ found a 35mm reel and restored it in full 4K HD glory.

I had to compare this one with an actual episode of The Best Ten and I can’t seem to find any episode from late 1980, one from early 1981 would do (January 15, 1981 to be exact).

Toei somehow really hit the nail on the head when it comes to parodying the actual show’s format and they even included commercials from Yakult to Sharp to even Weekly Shonen Jump.

Miyuki Kojima really tried her best to parody The Best Ten’s female co-host Tetsuko Kuroyanagi and she really nailed Tetsuko’s voice and mannerisms while Tamori-san, well, acted like how Tamori-san would act in MUSIC STATION.

It has voice actors performing anime theme songs just like how singers and idols performing songs on the actual show, it had interviews, it had on-the-scene reports, and it even parodied the show’s ending wherein the hosts and the guest performers take a picture while shouting “po~su!”.

It’s not all beat-by-beat copying though as they put in their own spin on some of the segments like here on this clip of the top 10 anime characters.

On the original show, they would show clips of the top 20 singers while the names are scrolling up on the background, this film instead shows top 10 anime characters on tissue paper being flushed down the toilet, names of the top 10 male seiyuu (voice actors) written on daikon radishes and so on.  

While the parody aspect of the film was done perfectly in my opinion, the production of this one…not so much. It’s obvious that Toei didn’t put any thought into this one because for one, the stage where the performers would sing at is as simplistic as it can get.

It’s just white background with some simple lighting and a smoke machine, and sometimes some curtains to simulate waves or something. It created some awesome images though like this shot at the beginning of Isao Sasaki’s performance.

The whole “grandma who takes an interest in anime” bit was the lowest point of the film.

For one, it might come as transgressive to those who are politically sensitive as the “grandma” is just the late Masao Komatsu in badly dressed drag makeup complete with a bad set of teeth. Make it what you will.

Another thing is that it takes you out of the “The Best 10 parody” experience.

Going back to the 1981 episode of the actual show, there’s no point in the show where Tetsuko Kuronoyagi or Hiroshi Kume let someone’s grandparents take over the show and ramble about how their grandchildren love Seiko Matsuda.

This segment is where it also showed that Toei didn’t give any semblance of thought about making it at least presentable because there’s a boom mic that shows up as the camera pans out.

Overall, ’80 Animation The Best Ten is a quirky piece of film that was produced and shown during the late seventies – early eighties anime boom in Japan and it’s both a satirical take and a somewhat love letter to the Japanese anime industry. The anime fans at the time, however, don’t see it that way.

According to kei17, not a lot of people watched this film because it was coupled with the third Cyborg 009 movie (and that thing has its own controversies) and anime fans at the time disliked the whole feel of this movie. Even with a very little knowledge of Japanese, I really felt like Tamori-san and Pai Pai were pandering too much to the anime audience that it gets irritating at times.

Cyborg 009 and Dr. SLUMP were mentioned a lot of times in this film because Toei Animation handles the anime adaptations of both shows.

Speaking of Dr. SLUMP, this also marks the first animated appearances of Senbei and Arale Norimaki. This is a treat for fans of Akira Toriyama’s body of work such as myself because what you see here is a pilot film for what would eventually become 1981’s Dr. SLUMP and Arale-chan.

This is also a treat for fans of Leiji Matsumoto’s body of work because this film gives us a sneak peek of “The New Tale of the Bamboo Cutter: Millennium Queen” or more commonly known by fans as Queen Millenia.

One thing to notice about both Dr. SLUMP and Queen Millenia previews on this film is that some things would be changed once the final product got released.

In the case of Dr. SLUMP, Arale doesn’t seem to be voiced by Mami Koyama and Senbei Norimaki and Gatchan have different colors. As for Queen Millenia, the Galaxy Express 999 Wiki, the sequence of events on the TV series greatly differ from what we see here. I’m no expert when it comes to Leijiverse lore so I’ll direct you to the Twitter thread here.

This film also has cameos of Shotaro Ishinomori (basically to promote the Cyborg 009 movie that it’s being featured with) and Leiji Matsumoto (because Galaxy Express 999 was ranked as the top 1 anime of 1980).

Special thanks to the aforementioned Femboy Films and kei17 for getting a 35mm. print of this seemingly lost film and restoring it for us modern anime fans to experience some late 70s otaku culture in its glory. You can watch the whole movie here or here if you’re living in Japan due to copyright issues.

2 thoughts on “’80 ANIMATION – THE BEST TEN: THE REVIEW

  1. I really thought you were making a list of top 10 anime of the 80’s. I’ve only seen a fraction of Dr. Slump aside from Arale’s cameo in the original Dragon Ball anime.

    Liked by 1 person

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