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"Desert Punk": Hilariously Horny Hijinx

There have been a lot of anime where the main character, a rather nerdy/wussy-looking male, comes into constant contact with well-endowed female characters and ends up in compromising positions. Heck, browse your local Best Buy or Suncoast and you’ll probably find thirty series just on the first rack. But most of those series not only take themselves seriously, they put the sex above the plot. Then came Desert Punk.

In the Great Kanto Desert, people live in small villages set up around watering stations. Ruined buildings and sand cover the land as far as the eye can see, all a result of humanity’s stupidity. Unfortunately, mankind is still made up of a bunch of dumbasses. Businessmen trying to find lost technology, bandits siphoning a town of its funds, the government hiding a WMD in a truck literally full of crap. Even in this day and age, it seems mankind is still too self-centered to look at the big picture. This is all emphasized by one Mizuno Kanta, also known as the Desert Punk. A mercenary, Desert Punk lives only for his own gain. He’s survived countless trials, pulled numerous tricks, and betrayed even his childhood friends.

Oh yea, and he’s horny. Very horny. Extremely horny. So, when he meets a buxom babe named Junko Asagiri, he’ll happily try anything, even keeping her in his own private dungeon, just to lay between Junko’s ripe melons. Why, he’ll even take a 13-year-old girl named Kosuna as his apprentice with the promise that she’ll grow up into a voluptuous babe all for him if he’ll only train her to be a mercenary. He’s also attempted to take a village chief’s daughter’s virginity as payment for protecting a town, sexually harassed the sister of his friends when there were kids, and constantly has dreams about lying in a pair of Double-Ds. In short: Desert Punk is a horny scumbag. But he’s such a lovable horny scumbag.

You know those movies that basically rely on sex and toilet humor for ninety-some minutes? The ones that flooded the market after American Pie? Desert Punk is essentially a TV anime version of those movies, except written much better. Most of the series is made up of short adventures (usually never lasting more than two episodes) where Kanta and eventually Kosuna are hired to do a job, screw around for fifteen minutes, then finish off the job before the end credits roll. There’s no real underlying plot until the last third of the show, but that doesn’t detract from the series at all, as you will have too much fun watching Kanta screw people over then get screwed over himself later on. And while there are a bunch of toilet humor jokes (including an episode where Desert Punk protects a storage truck full of crap, literally) as well as sex jokes (you can’t go five minutes without Punk making some kind of remark about women’s breasts), it doesn’t get quite as irritating as it does in movies or other anime series.

The main reason it doesn’t get irritating is that it doesn’t take Kanta’s perversions seriously. Right from the get-go you know that you’re not really supposed to take anything seriously (and really, how could you when the first bad guy is obsessed over pudding and turns into a yellow Hulk after a “yo mama” joke?) and that strengthens the series overall. Punk, Kosuna, Junko, the Machine Gun Bros. (Punk’s rivals), and even the random passersby all make fun of each other at any given moment, even in the face of death. These are people who respect, but don’t like, each other and it shows as they argue and bicker with each other over every little thing every time they appear together. Even the narrator gets in on the fun by ruthlessly mocking everyone in the show to great hilarity. Even the dark rival of the show, Rain Spider, gets in on the silliness. Sometimes he runs away extremely fast when the situation gets too sticky, or he’ll have a duel with Desert Punk by flicking rubber bands. The guy is one of those characters who, in most other series, would be the dark badass of the series, upstaging everybody whenever he’s on screen, but in this series he’s just another dumbass like Punk and Junko.

But you can’t really talk about Desert Punk without talking about the boobies. Boobies are fun, and Punk runs away with them. At least once an episode he has a daydream about a woman’s breasts (usually Junko’s), and FUNimation has showcased several of the more lewd scenes in the various trailers (the most notorious being Kanta’s mirage daydream about fifty-foot-tall breasts jiggling around in the desert). Normally, I get annoyed by this, but not only does it enhance the plot, it’s also genuinely funny. This isn’t a shy guy who accidentally falls into a woman’s crotch then gets the crap beat out of him. Nope, this is about a not-so-shy guy who will tackle a woman, fondle her breasts as long as he can, then gets the crap beat out of him (or just ridiculed mercilessly, depending on the situation). It’s not exactly flattering to women, but it’s all in good-natured fun, and Punk always gets his in the end, so it’s all good.

But while Desert Punk is great, turn-your-brain-off fun, it’s not perfect. Sometimes the toilet humor can go too far. One episode has the main characters literally fighting in crap (granted, it’s gold-colored crap, but it’s still poop) while another pretty sick scene has Punk creatively making some mud in order to sneak up on a foe. It wouldn’t actually be nearly as disgusting if he weren’t coddling the bag like it was the Holy Grail or something. Also, the final arc of the show leaves a bad taste in my mouth, partially because it gets way too dark to go back to the whole “Let’s have some juvenile fun” routine and partially because it leaves off on a gigantic cliffhanger. I mean, it’s so big it almost feels like Gonzo had plans for a Desert Punk II, but didn’t make it. The ending itself isn’t a rushed mess like other Gonzo series like Trinity Blood, Solty Rei, and Black Cat have had, but it still leaves one unfulfilled.

Now, if you’re going to draw a series centered around crap and boobies, it better look damn good. Luckily, Gonzo’s A-team were signed up for this project. The animation isn’t “blow your mind” awesome, but the shading, framerate, and coloring are all near Gonzo’s best. Sometimes the characters’ designs go off-model, but it rarely happens and it’s not quite as noticeable as in other series. And for a show where 90% of the palette is various shades of brown, the coloring really pops and makes things look great. The desert, the CG, the models, they all come together to make a really great-looking show—much better than, say, the kitchky Black Cat or the pan-heavy Trinity Blood. This is a high-energy comedy/action show and the animation helps prove that. Oh, and the jiggling jugs are animated well too, of course. Even the intro and ending songs get in on the action, as the first ending song ends with Punk chasing down Junko (whose boobs bounce up and down) while the second opening begins with a series of shots of Kanta’s various breast fantasies and his various gropes.

If there’s any company you would expect would have a field day with this type of series, it’s FUNimation (or maybe ADV—those Texas dubbers love sex humor), and run with it they did. Every episode has at least a couple euphemisms for breasts, especially Episode 1, where Eric Vale (Punk) spouts off at least a dozen in mere minutes. As per usual, FUNimation’s dub proves to be the superior language, as Eric Vale, Callie Young (Junko), and Luci Christian (Kosuna) all perform at their best. The Japanese cast is also quite good, but the added raunchiness of the FUNi dub just works. As for the music, the first opening and ending themes are awesome, as they reflect the self-parodical nature of the show (especially the ending, “Sunabozu Drawing Song”), but the second pair of themes offer a more soulful take on the series, focusing more on its serious underlying plot and how much of a struggle it is to survive in the desert. While “Destiny of the Desert” is a decent song, if a little too Final Fantasy X-2 or Kingdom Hearts-ish for my tastes, I’d rather have the songs that mock the series. Oh, and much like their dubbed songs for Case Closed, Kiddy Grade, and Tenchi Muyo! GXP, FUNi’s dubbed songs for Desert Punk are awesome.

Yadda, yadda, yadda, no extras…wait, what? Wow, look at all these extras! Each disc includes a variety of Japanese extras, including two radio shows and two segments on how to prepare to play a survival game, the latter offering a lot of good information on the various guns and equipment used in real life. One featurette also takes a look at how the live-action first opening was created and another features a guy dressed as Desert Punk and the model Mari visiting various magazines for promotion. There are also two commentaries, one by Vale/Young/Christian, which goes off-topic every three seconds, and one by directors Jeffery Inman and Zach Bolton. As I learned from Baki the Grappler, Jeffery Inman is a funny, funny man, so the more commentaries he has, the better. Also included are two “edited for Japanese TV” episodes that are MST-worthy. There’s also detailed bios on every character in the show, bloopers, a video reel showcasing every foul line uttered in all 24 episodes of the show, textless openings, textless closings, trailers, and all that good stuff. Each disc also contains two parody posters, but they seem rather redundant since a booklet featuring all the posters is included as well. Plus, it all comes in a really nice tin with a nice sandy texture to it. All in all, a nice wealthy collection of extras.

If just want show that’s pure fun and don’t mind learning 10,000 different ways to say “boobies,” then Desert Punk is for you. Now if you don’t mind, I have a Sunabozu to draw. First you draw one circle…

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