Ichigeki Sacchu!! Hoi Hoi-san

January 8, 2009

Bugs. You know those tiny creepy crawlers which send shivers down your spine whenever you just catch a glimpse of them? Except for bug lovers, I’m one of those many Homo Sapiens who fear the six-legged (the more the scarier!) insects. Of course there are some which I can stand, meaning I won’t go shrieking like a little girl at the sight of them, such as ants. And there are those intolerable ones which made me go otherwise, like cockroaches.
You may be asking what has this anime blog of mine got to do with bugs? That’s because I have recently watched the anime called Ichigeki Sacchu!! Hoi Hoi-san. It literally means, One-shot Bug Killer Hoi Hoi-san. Anyway I wouldn’t really consider this series to be a series because it’s just an OVA with 1 episode. Yes, one stinking episode. And if you think that is short, the running time is actually only 11 minutes. Oh wait a minute, since there are no opening credits and only end credits, the actual running time should be cut down to just 10 minutes. Hahaha.
This OVA was released back in September 2004, the same time a 1 volume manga was released too, though it has been serialized in a manga magazine called Dengeki Daioh. For a short OVA such as this, I’m sure it can’t cover many aspects of the manga and it would just focus on a small and short part of it. Unless they cram everything into that 10 minutes.
Now, as I also found out that there is some comedy and sci-fi element in it but after watching the OVA, I must say that I only found myself laughing on 2 occasions. Okay, so 10 minutes isn’t enough for me because I thought I would be expecting to laugh the whole way. Didn’t turn out that way. Also, I found out that the manga is more violent and gory as compared to the anime as the latter is more toned down. Plus, the manga has more witty and bizarre lines compared to the anime. And no, for your information, I have not read the manga. So how do I know all these stuff? Courtesy and thanks to good ol’ Wikipedia of course.
Having said that, you may be wondering what kind of anime is this. The main plot is that in the near future, the year 20XX (I supposed it’s a convenient date to put so it seems not too near and not too far from present time), bugs have become somewhat immune to all forms of pesticides. You know, insects especially cockroaches have a thing for survival so it’s no surprise that their evolution has turned them into something like this. Mankind beware. Attack of the killer cockroaches! Not.
Due to this, a Japanese pharmaceutical company has come out with a cute but expressionless doll-like exterminator nicknamed ID3 Hoi Hoi-san. That’s short for Interceptor Doll Version 3. I suppose those scientist who made this doll are otaku fans because the doll can double up as a bug exterminator and a dress-up doll whenever it’s not killing tiny invertebrates. These little dolls pack quite a fire power with miniature machine guns and even sharp swords of their own to seek and destroy, shoot and hack that many humans deemed as an inconvenient threat… like yours truly :).
At the start of the series, the onscreen display narrates how bugs are already immune to insecticides and that a Japanese corporation has started selling small-sized doll-like exterminators to fight against them. In the dead heat of the night in some house, Hoi Hoi-san starts to activate and leaves her charger when she detects some bugs. After trudging a few centimetres, she whips out her machine gun and locks on her target. With her infrared vision, she starts shooting all the cockroaches in an instant. I wonder if all that shooting has caused some damage to the furniture and wall. I mean, they’re real bullets, right? Can’t have toy ones to finish off those cockroaches.
At the same time, there is another doll-like exterminator called Combat-san, created by a rival company, who is more than just destroying cockroaches. Why, it seems Combat-san is trying to destroy Hoi Hoi-san! Probably it’s natural for the programme of the rival companies to outdo and take out each other. But as Combat-san points her gun at Hoi Hoi-san’s head, she experiences a malfunction. As Combat-san lay motionless on the floor due to some system error, Hoi Hoi-san, with her squeaky boots, walks back to her charger. And it amazes me that the owner of the house can still sleep through all that gunfire. Miniature guns doesn’t mean that the sound is miniaturized too, you know.
The next day, a pharmaceutical store employee named Kumiko Dewa narrates how she loves little dolls when she was a girl and thus fell in love at first sight when Hoi Hoi-san was released. So when she bought her the first time and brought her home, little did Kumiko know that it was the start of her nightmare. I thought it was going to be the noisy night which will freak Kumiko out but it’s actually this. The next morning, when she woke up, she is shocked to find Hoi Hoi-san has gathered lots of dead cockroaches before her eyes. Hilarious and laughing scene number 1. I suppose all Kumiko wants is just a doll for a pet rather than noisy rampaging little ones. Ever since that day, she tries to warn customers into not buying Hoi Hoi-san, like giving excuses the cash register is broken. But she wasn’t courageous enough to do so as that was just what she always hoped she would like to say to them. Perhaps she should just change her job. Can’t do that either, huh?
Thus, another sale of Hoi Hoi-san goes to a lonely otaku guy named Aburatsubo. After purchasing it, he soon comes back to buy Combat-san but finds himself short of cash. Nevertheless, he decides to use his credit card first. That crazy, huh? That night, another quiet and peaceful night has been shattered when Hoi Hoi-san once again detects another target. However, since it’s a spider, the programme considers it not to be a threat. Looks like this robot only targets cockroaches. Combat-san too goes into hunting mode as she targets Hoi Hoi-san. Hoi Hoi-san then swiftly points her gun backwards and starts shooting as Combat-san does the same thing with her laser beam rifle. After the dust has settled, it’s revealed that Hoi Hoi-san has targeted a cockroach. Wouldn’t that amount to overkill? Meanwhile Combat-san experiences another malfunction before she could even reload. As Combat-san overheats, we hear her computerized voice mocking that this isn’t original parts from the company which made her. Hahaha. Hoi Hoi-san approaches a motionless Combat-san and whips out her water gun to cool her down. Unfortunately, such hi-tech robot still isn’t waterproof as this causes another explosion.
The next day, a teary Aburatsubo takes back the damaged Combat-san to Kumiko and he’s pretty sad about it. Kumiko advices him to express his love for them better and take good care of his dolls, which gave some hope to him. Just then, Kumiko gets a visit from her pal, Mutsumi Fushikawa or better known as Muu. Kumiko takes a break to have a chat with Muu at the seaside. Muu enthusiastically shows Kumiko both a yukata-clad Hoi Hoi-san and Combat-san that she has. However Muu notices Kumiko is feeling gloomy because she just ‘lectured’ her customer. Muu manages to cheer her up by saying that there are lots of people who like Hoi Hoi-san and who are stupid.
Kumiko notices how the dolls are very well made and she remembers how someone bought her a doll a long time ago and her mom made a matching yukata for her and the doll. Kumiko then thinks of wearing one to the festival. As they both stare into the sky, Muu notices that both her dolls are missing. Then Kumiko hears that all too familiar gun firing sound as it sends a shiver up her spine. Muu takes a look at a nearby dustbin and are fascinated that the dolls are battling the bugs. She really digs them in action. Though we won’t get to see how gruesome it is as said by Muu, she wants Kumiko to come and watch it. But Kumiko isn’t too pleased as she’s trying to hold back her anger-cum-frustrations as she tells Muu, "You’re gonna get somebody killed with those one day!". Kumiko covering with some angry red aura was laughing scene number 2 for me. And thus, the battle between humanity and the bugs continue…
Alas, this short OVA was just okay for me. Nothing that spectacular. Perhaps if they had turned it into a longer OVA covering more chapters from the manga, then perhaps I would understand it a little more. So those who are unfamiliar with this anime nor have they heard or read about it before hand, may find this a little weird and wondering what is going on. My only grouse with this OVA is that the night scenes are sometimes a little too dark to see anything.
Initially I was hoping to see how Hoi Hoi-san rip apart cockroaches with her bare hands or slice them with her sword because I read in a review that is what she also does. But as mentioned earlier on, the violence and gore are toned down so the action sequences here are short. It isn’t enough to do Hoi Hoi-san or Combat-san in particular, any justice even though they’re loveable enough for their short appearance.
Though I wasn’t going to bother about the seiyuus, especially for a short OVA, to my surprise, I happen to noticed that there are several seiyuu stars which I know who lend their voices here. Such as Rie Kugimiya is the voice of Hoi Hoi-san (Shana in Shakugan No Shana). Wow. I couldn’t recognize her probably because of the slightly computerized voice. In addition, she didn’t say her "Urusai! Urusai! Urusai!" trademark line ;p. Also, Rie Tanaka is the voice behind Combat-san (Suigin Tou of Rozen Maiden). Once again, I couldn’t recognize her. Then there’s Mai Nakahara as Muu (Noi in Yamato Nadeshiko Shichihenge), Shoutaro Morikubo as Aburatsubo (Shikamaru of Naruto) and Megumi Nasu as Kumiko (Sae of Peach Girl). For a short series using such famous seiyuus, I must say I’m impressed. But then again, this is year 2004 when the series was released so the seiyuus may be nobodies at that time. Also, there is no music when the ending credits start rolling. It’s like a deafening silence. Hey, why spend more money for an ending theme for just a one-off show?
In addition to the OVA and manga, there has been a game prior to the release of this. I’m sure it’s going to be the kind to shoot cockroaches. What else would you expect from it? Yeah, maybe dressing up Hoi Hoi-san in a maid outfit while doing so. Plus, there is a spin-off manga released in 2007 entitled Ichigeki Sacchu!! Hoi Hoi-san Legacy. Guess what? I’m guessing more cockroaches killing. Hahaha.
So I’m thinking that perhaps we need to get one of those Hoi Hoi-san dolls to help exterminate bugs. Unless you don’t mind having holes in your furniture and walls. It still amazes me how much damage those cute little dolls can cause but I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry… from bugs. The thought of bugs getting immune to pesticides in the future (may be sooner than you think!) still remains a possibility. Yeah, I know bugs are God’s creatures and we shouldn’t just kill them because we find them yucky and gross. If so, why couldn’t God make them like cute wide-eyed anime bishoujos?! I’m sure we’ll get along just fine…

Ichigeki Sacchu!! Hoi Hoi-san

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