Sunabozu (Desert Punk) Anime | My Reviews 12 OCT 2008

Desert PunkThe future. Japan is a barren wasteland now and in the Great Kanto Desert, scattered humans eke out a meager living in this unforgiving world of heat and sand, doing anything and everything just to survive.

Handymen are the desert’s jack of all trades and the greatest one amongst them is a man known as Sunabozu, the ghost of the desert. Seemingly invincible and willing to take on almost any job that will net him a profit, there is just one small catch when dealing with this legendary handyman – he is downright the most immoral, money-grabbing, cantankerous person you may ever encounter!

Do not get on his bad side.

(And if you are a woman, pray that you aren’t beautiful, or more importantly, big breasted!)

Sunabozu, or Desert Punk as it is better known as here in the West, is a 24 episode long adventure/black comedy anime based on Masatoshi Usune’s manga of the same name. It is directed by the relatively unknown Takayuki Inagaki and Gonzo is responsible for the animation production.

The first thing one has to say after watching this guilty, laugh a minute show is that it is mostly probably unlike anything you have ever seen before (unless of course you are already a fan of the infamous Ping Pong Club anime). There is no hero or savior in this story. No, instead you get a lecherous young man who will do anything for a quick buck, chases after anything with a round chest and is surprisingly good with an old fashioned shotgun.

The story is action packed and there is a lot of fighting sequences littered all about, but what makes Sunabozu such a hit is all the black humour that it is constantly oozing out all over the place. The scriptwriters aren’t afraid to pull a laugh out of anything, and almost no sacred cow is left unturned. This show is about as sexist as you can get, but rest assured, at least our protagonist NEVER comes up tops!

The series begins by taking us through some of the various missions that Sunabozu picks up and slowly but surely introduces the more regular supporting characters that we get to see a lot more of as the series progresses. As the episode count keeps ticking over, so the depth of the stories and scenarios increase and when you hit the final quarter of the series, the storyline really kicks into high gear and you are left with some pretty dramatic stuff, a far cry from the relative silliness of some of the earlier episodes. However, that said, the show continues its extremely comedic feel all the way through and there is certainly not a single episode that won’t have you curled up with laughter, as long as you are not the uptight kind of person of course.

Visually, Sunaboza must be complemented on its high level of details, strong colouring and polished backgrounds. The look and outlines of the characters are sometimes a little strangely depicted, but this makes it easier to slot in the super deformation and exaggerated facial expressions which are an integral part to the whole Desert Punk experience. You won’t be getting your polished ‘pretty boy’ anime look here, but the visuals are certainly entertaining enough and on par with anything else you are going to catch on television anyway.

The animation itself is pretty smooth and there are some good visual effects thrown into the mix, making everything flow beautifully together. The gunfights are also particularly well done, though the clear winner in the end is definitely the visuals’ superb comedic timing, ensuring that none of the show’s physical comedy moments ever fall flat.

The two opening tracks and two closing tracks used throughout the series fit the feel of the show perfectly and indeed, the general sound effects and voice actors are all pretty top notch and everyone puts in a great performance. The talented and very experienced Chihiro Suzuki provides the main voice as Sunabozu if you really want to know.

In summary, Sunabozu is most likely the most un-PC show you will ever come across, so if you aren’t uptight, appreciate some good black comedy and are looking for an action-packed, laugh a minute show which is sure to offend almost all watching around you, then Sunabozu is a must watch.

While it starts out nice and fluffy, Sunabozu quickly backs it up with a solid storyline that is nicely fleshed out as the show runs a long, making it more than just a popcorn, throw-away title and you will certainly be hard-pressed to find anything quite like it out there. So one of those definitely should catch show for all us older, still immature viewers then! :)

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.