Eat-Man 98


300 minutes
English Subtitles

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I remember it well. Three years ago, the first time I was formally introduced to Herr Skabs. Driving him home to the mythical land of Bensalem in Jerry's Windstar was quite the experience, especially sitting on the floor because there were no seats in the back. Previously Jerry had been instructed on the basics of parallel parking. Unfortunately he had to learn about it the hard way, by smashing his side view mirror off on a tree. The sad thing? He had four car lengths and a bus lane to work with. Later, on the way home I would show our Filipino friend the joys of cruise control. But in the brief interim between those two monumental driving events, Jerry and I sat back in that prime piece of American manufacturing and bellowed the lyrics to this show's very theme song, Burning Blue, at the top of our lungs while his discman accompanied us. That will always be my finest memory in regards to Eat-Man 98. But it's not the only one, not by far.

And, you know, I figured I'd take it easy on myself and only take screencaps from the first disc. But damn if they didn't put a girl with a choker in at the last second. Chokers are like kyrptonite to me, I was powerless to resist. Showing that we're equal opportunity here at I've got my choker wearing Thelma and Bare's got his wavy haired mercenary, Hard, whom I believe he has a non-sexual crush on. Fair enough, I say, as Hard is a pretty cool guy, but it's still pretty weird to hear your room mate say "Awww. I liked that guy" no matter what the context might be.

"Who is this fellow", you might ask. I'd reply that it's Bolt Crank, the main character of this twelve episode series. Bolt is a mercenary (or explorer, if you believe the dub) and wanders the world like some sort of cowboy, helping those in need like some sort of Deus ex Machina. Like all heroes in these kind of shows, you could say it's hard to guess Bolt's intentions. Yeah, right... maybe for the first fifteen minutes. Generally, Bolt acts all aloof (and maybe even joins the enemy side!) but always comes in at the end to save the day and help the poor/underprivileged/about to be raped or mind controlled person. Don't let that put you off, because it's still cool every time he does it, but it's pretty predictable.

Bolt also has a rather unusual ability. He can eat anything, not only that, but whatever he eats he can make materialize in his right hand for later use. Eat he does! The man chows down on swords, screws, axes, GIANT ROBOTS, even wads of cash when he can get his hands on them. While being your down bank might sound somewhat alluring to you, I can't help but liken it to Mexicans smuggling heroin across the border. Do you really want to touch that condom after you've found out where it's been? He doesn't have any qualms with it though. I guess I'd be willing to put up with a lot too if I could eat a giant machine gun and poop it out later. Gross, maybe, but effective. I suppose there could be better powers in the world, but I don't see Bolt complaining. Who am I to argue with the man who eats giant robot crab claws for no real reason? If you wanna step up to him, be my guest. Just remember, this is the guy who says "this is my job" on two separate occasions.

The really weird thing about Bolt's adventures is that they almost seem to span time. I mean, I suppose you could find a pygmy village and a sprawling metropolis on the same planet, but you'd have to walk a pretty long stretch to get between them. The grossest offender of this is the "Ambrosian Days" arc, which lasts a full four episodes. The techno-fantasy stuff is not entirely lost on me, but I think I'd prefer not to have evil wizards tangling with gun wielding fourteen year old girls, if it can be avoided. Otherwise everything is perfect. My personal favorite is how Bolt is kind of like a magical genie when it comes to his more evil minded employers. Kind of a "careful what you wish for scenario".

The music certainly highlights these strange temporal shifts, you'll be hearing odd trumpeting stuff one moment and, well... kind of "God Save the Queen" stuff the next. Most of the soundtrack is pretty forgettable, but the two themes the show most employs are are a very subtle Arabian kind of rhythm and my personal favorite, the ever popular cowboy funk. Eat-Man 98 provides that while Cowboy Bebop may have popularized this brand of music, it certainly didn't invent it. If there was a soundtrack readily available for this show I would pick it up in a flash, and just for those two songs. Much like my obsession with Cutey Honey's Burning Up! If anyone has any information on that, give it to me and I'll let you have use of your choice of Amdy or JL's sister. Get me both and feel free to ask for a 2-for-1. What do I care? They're not MY sisters.

Honestly, there isn't much not to like about Eat-Man. Bandai has seen fit to grace us with the entire series on one two disc set. If you don't realize it, let me tell you... that's awesome. I'd say they could've split it up, but that'd bring me to the other thing I have issues with. Only the first two episodes of this series are dubbed, and that sucks. I'm not against watching subtitles per se, but watching ten episodes of them in a row is a bit much for me. This is probably one of the hardest reviews I'm gonna have to write just because I had to sit down and watch 4+ hours of animed entertainment in one sitting. That's already too much to me, but when they force you to read for the majority of it that's just pushing it too far.

But if I can do it twice in my short time on this planet, then I don't see any reason why anyone else wouldn't be able to as well. Plus, you people probably don't have my weird fixation with watching an entire DVD at one time. I've gone over this before, but if I won't watch a movie in two parts then why should I bother doing it for anything else? Bandai tried to trick me by putting it on two discs, but I've watched Lawrence of Arabia on DVD and so I'm no stranger to that sort of thing. Buy Eat-Man '98 right now. Normally I don't like to rate DVDs on anything but content, but this show is a 4 1/2 content with a 5 for quantity. $28, 12 episodes of anime, and a total lack of fan-service. The only nudity comes about when the crazy demon chick goes nuts. If it's good enough for Toshifume Kawase it's good enough for me.