After being delayed and ultimately coming out last year, The Island Of Giant Insects it’s finally available as a movie on Crunchyroll, even in my region, i’ve heard it’s terrible, so yeah, i’m in, let’s review it… not yet.
Honestly, i kinda forgot this was a thing, i red announcements of this series coming soon in 2018, but i forgot and i didn’t knew they actually released it in 2019… as an OVA, guess that “series” plan fell through along the way, and they ultimately went with an OVA and now a full lenght feature.
I would have skipped it, but in response to criticism, the producer said it’s basically the prologue for a feauture length anime film project… it was a lie, i found out just before publishing that it’s just the movie edited to 22 minutes, i should have trusted my gut and avoid it all together, but since the review was already finished (and this new info doesn’t really change any of my complaints) i did some minor edits, and here it goes!
Based on the eponymous manga by Yasutaka Fujimi and REDICE, at the very least The Island Of Giant Insects lives up to the title, as it features a group of teenagers lost on a deserted island inhabited by giant insects, which brings to mind the forgotten (and rightfully so) Wii launch title Escape From Bug Island, with a nearly identical plot, as they pretty much draw from the same well of 50’s style B-movies.
I can’t tell you why these people are here, though, as the OVA doesn’t give you any context or a basic overview of the premise, it just starts in media res with a group of characters arguing over a couple of dead bodies (you’re left to assume other students who came with them on the island, because nobody acknowledges them in any way), and being a bunch of assholes to the only character that knows anything about bugs, until they reach a sand wasp’s nest in order to find the class rep and her phone, find other people presumed dead being covered in larvae that inject them with aphrodisiac in order to fed on them, leave these people to die, save the class rep and the bully’s friend, and it all ends on a cliffhanger where they are about to be attacked by giant hard ticks.
Yeah, it doesn’t even have a proper finale, but then again, it doesn’t have a proper opening, and in a way i see why it doesn’t bother introducing characters, as they all are either detestable cliches or just clichès, so much it’s not even important to remember their names, you have the Big Titted Bitch™, the Snitch, the Bully, the Sakura Kasugano cosplayer/tomboyish martial arts lady, the bug expert lady that’s there to provide exposition and bug facts (she should be the leader, but ain’t), the class rep, and the “girly girl”, who really doesn’t do anything of substance besides screaming.
When the character aren’t just aggressively detestables pieces of shit, they’re dumb anyway, or just plain cruel, i wasn’t joking about them finding other people still alive being slowly eaten by larvae, them just killing the larvae, which stops the victims from receiving the aphrodisiacs, and the group just abandones them all while they scream for help. Yeah, even the nice characters just don’t bother in this case, but then again, it gels with how stupid everything else is, and this is an OVA with clear priorities, as it tries to put fanservice with horror, so you get random tits and naked ladies with larvae on them, which is gross, or the editor using the typical “shot-reverse shot” for dialogue exchange to justify a random cut to a frame showing some tits bouncing in place.
I was led to believe this had a flashback with a character humiliating another and forcing her to strip, judging by the only review up on AnimeList (by user Blood_Diver_A), but the OVA doesn’t have that scene at all, i checked, and yeah, Crunchyroll has (or should have) the uncensored version (which is odd in itself), so my guess is that happens in the manga, like other events talked about in the review, but it really doesn’t happen here. And even if you didn’t read the manga (can’t say i did or care to), it’s hard to shake the feeling something is missing, because this seems like they had a couple of episodes ready, the TV series didn’t happen, and they eventually had to put out something before the movie adaptation, so they edited the available had to make this… thing. (or so i thought, anyway)
Regardless, it’s really, really badly done, this clearly wasn’t the original plan (i hope at least), but even with a 22 minutes OVA (2 minutes taken up by credits, btw), they really could have done something better, but the final result is a choppy and unfocused mess, as tries to do an island survival adventure, a horror movie with a 50s’ vibe, and an ecchi show, but it compromises so hard i doubt there was some semblance of vision to begin with, they just tried to half-heartedly mesh these basic ideas.
I really can’t imagine anyone liking it, because it fumbles on all sides, as characters are too detestable and cliched to care about, but it’s also hard to enjoy in a B-movie way, as it takes itself seriously despite the plot and – basically – everything being stupid as hell, and even if you want to see a collection of dumb, cruel and detestable characters being picked off by bad CGI insects… there’s barely any gore and no one (of the main group, at least) dies. There’s some fanservice and nudity, but it’s mostly done in a gross way, and even this isn’t particularly shocking, it’s what i was expecing, and it’s not Galaxy of Terror ‘s worm sex scene, there’s nothing like that here (thankfully), but i feel more due to budget cuts than restraint.
All thing considered, it’s kinda surprising it’s a presentable looking show, t’s mediocre as it gets in regard to drawings and animation, character designs are generic stereotypes as well, but you don’t see obvious animation errors or stuff like character with an eye misplaced far away from the other or oddly angled (i’m looking at you, My Sister, My Writer), it’s not an embarrassing shit shows like Dynamic Chord and it’s glorious gifs of “guitar jamming slideshow” or bike jumping into a road that never existed before.
The insects (mostly wasps here) are done in a fairly cheap CGI, and i’m not entirely sure if it’s a stylistic choice to make them more creepy, or it’s just a cheap compromise. Whatever the case, they stand out way too much from the rest of the animation, and the brief actions scenes with characters fending off the bugs are… something, mostly taking place in a needlessly dark shots that it’s hard to make the “action” out.
Besides that, it’s such a pile of nothing, even as a prologue (which isn’t, but was labeled as such) it’s a failure, as it doesn’t estabilish anything, it doesn’t really set the stage in a way that needs a prologue chapter, it doesn’t even tell a story (stupid as it might be), i won’t be surprised if the movie outright ignores the cliffhanger ending of the OVA, and if it’s anything like this 22 minutes waste of time, we’re in for quite a terrible experience. I will find out soon, so yeah, look forward to the review of that, if you please.