"Crusher Joe" is an anime series from the late 70's that I was not made aware of until the early 2000's. Either it didn't get syndication here in the US or it did and it was never broadcasted in my town as a kid. Regardless, when somebody recommended watching it I had gone through the standard "anime phase" or "cycle" most people my generation did:
Stage 1 "Innocent Kid" - "Wow! What's this new style of cartoon that looks really awesome! Holy cow! People die and get killed in this stuff. DUDE! They pilot robots and mecha! I want red motorcycle too! OMG, this is the greatest shit ever!"
Stage 2 "Exploration" - "I'm going to watch all the anime I can! THERE'S HOW MUCH OF THIS STUFF IN JAPAN??? I must go to every obscure video store rental in my neighborhood to see if I can find it. I heard my buddy has a connect and is loaded with it."
Stage 3 "Realization" - How come none of these plots make sense? Why did the robot just turn into a pretzel? I don't get it. Will they ever get to the point and fight the bad guy? Is there even a plot to this? Why the lengthy boring dialogues that are supposed to be deep, but were made for 13 year old Japanese kids and when translated they suck?"
Stage 4 Indifference - "What? Yet ANOTHER anime about mecha and young kids piloting them as they grow and mature through life? Yaaawnnn.. oh, hey, college is starting. No more anime for me."
In short whatever novelty and uniqueness about the art or style of Japanese anime is quickly overshadowed by the generally crappy, if not outright lack of, plot or character development. You go from an intrigued kid with too much time on his hand to an adult who doesn't have time for lousy animation and you rarely revisit anime again, and thus why I was skeptical about "Crusher Joe - the Movie."
However, every GREAT once in a while a masterpiece of anime comes out that doesn't suck and actually warrants your time and viewing. Cowboy Bebop being one of them (practically mandatory), Spice and Wolf (yes Mr. Fuller) being another, and Ninja Scroll being a third. "Crusher Joe - The Movie" is one of these films and since I know have a subsegment of anime fans let me provide a quick review.
The drawing style is 1970's/early 80's. There are some obvious mistakes made (note the ambulance scene), but these do not detract from the overall quality of the film. Matter of fact I would almost say it makes it "classic" in that 30 years have gone by and it is interesting to see how the style matches the fashion at that time. The plot is CLEAR and very straightfoward. No attacking octopus god from the sea who changes into a super mecha only unless the princess can overcome her feelings for a young boy and interfaces with some quasi deity. They are mercenaries for hire, period. They get a mission, period. The mission does not go as they presumed, period. Ass-kicking commences.
But what I like the most about it, especially for it's time, is its character development and dialogue. It's very witty, very clever, especially for the era it was made. It would be on par with the crew of "Firefly" or "Cowboy Bebop."
Unfortunately, I believe they stopped making the movie in production in English because so few are out there they now cost around $200.
So if anybody has a Crusher Joe dvd or knows where to get one, I would certainly appreciate it.