Chinese Girl Cartoons – Bio Hunter

Do you ever get so hungry that you could just bite a guy’s hand off with your tits? Me neither, but I know a girl who does! She’s a character in Bio Hunter, sort of. I mean, she becomes forgotten pretty quickly after her initial gore and tits (perhaps the most literal use of the term I have ever had the privilege to make) extravaganza, but you know, whatever. Bio Hunter is the tragicomic, indeed picaresque tale of two happy-go-lucky biologists who moonlight as exorcists for sufferers of the demon virus, which causes extra mouths and other weird shit to appear on their bodies, and instils in them the need to eat like Goku to sustain their monstrous new forms. Our dashing heroes Komada, who has a John Waters moustache and a penchant for fucking his students (trying to square those two things in my head, and nope, can’t do it), and Koshigaya, who has been infected with the demon virus but is able to control it and use it for good(!), go out at night injecting infected people with green shit and occasionally violently assaulting them for good measure. All in a day’s work!

I watched this one in English, and sadly the shitdub isn’t rife with clunky swear-laden dialogue. If that is the case, can it really be called a shitdub? I’ve used the term quite often in my anime reviews to describe poor quality English translations, but is there a difference between a bad but boring English dub and a bad but hilarious English dub? Bio Hunter is never going to win a Pulitzer, which is apparently the go to award for literary excellence, damn you Americentrism, but it also isn’t going to win the Devilman Award for Face-Planting into a Pair of Breasts and Shouting “Fuckin’ Hellfire!” It resides in that middle ground, the Engdub Desert, if you will (and why wouldn’t you, eh, ladies? *wink*), unremarkable and turgid as its environs. So, technically not a shitdub, not so notably terrible that you laugh and cry for all the wrong reasons, and yet there is nothing in it that is not also included in that term. It’s almost as if “shitdub” was only ever intended as a vague and amusing shorthand, yet here we are, wastin’ paragraphs.

Like most OVAs that offer up gore and tits as part of their opening gambit, Bio Hunter becomes a largely tame affair for the rest of its runtime, but it does have a few surprises in store. For example, the main villain is actually a tentacle monster, and you can already guess where I’m going with this. But before you get all worked up, this ain’t no hentai, it just threatens you with the idea that it might be, occasionally coming awfully close to the mark. Like a shitdub, one knows pornography when one sees it, which is apparently the go to pithy quote to reference on pornography, damn you Americentrism. Far from being a tentacular spectacular, the murderously lascivious advances of this monster either happen off-screen or are dutifully interrupted before they can get out of hand by our pair of parasite pulverising professors. But sure enough, the monster has to eat women’s livers to survive, so approaching the event horizon of a black hentai hole (looks worse on the page than it sounded in my head) is an inevitability here. In some ways it’s like the “Squeeze” episode from The X-Files, but more rape-y.

There’s not much else to say about Bio Hunter. It’s a more or less serviceable piece of occasionally grotty mid-’90s sci-fi horror anime, not too impressive on the gore front with the exception of its opening sequence, and lacking in laughs owing to the workaday translation and dull voice acting. Coming out in 1995, the same year as both Neon Genesis Evangelion and Ghost in the Shell, I wonder—tethered as I am by my non-expert level understanding of anime as a cultural phenomenon in the West—if there was a scramble to find the next big import sensation from Japan’s animation studios, and that, for a brief period, even cheesy OVAs like this one were treated as deserving of somewhat more care than they actually were. Yes, we may have lost some comedy gold here, folks! But apart from that, Bio Hunter seems to be one of the very last of my Japanese animes of its kind, or rather, as anime got bigger in the English speaking world the plurality of genres that are common in Japan were also brought over and the ultraviolent sleazefests of yore, the marketably extreme new thing from Japan that made a big splash in the home video market in the early ’90s, was buried under a tidal wave of slices of life. Personally, I don’t think it’s worth writing long elegiac sentences about trashy OVAs, but I just did, so clearly I don’t have the first clue what in the heck I’m talking about.

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