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ADVENTURES IN ANIMATION: 'Baoh' (aka 'Baoh the Caller')

by Eli Kroes

The realm of 'adult' animation is an interesting one. For a lot of people, it begins and ends with the Adult Swim channel or 'The Simpsons.' Some associate the genre with gross-out borderline-porn flicks like 'Fritz the Cat.' To be sure, this is only a small chunk of the animation that's not intended for children. In fact, the earliest cartoons were meant for an adult audience, and there is a lengthy list of terrific animated features you don't have to be twelve to enjoy. 'Adventures in Animation' will feature reviews of such films...  

'Baoh' (aka 'Baoh the Caller') - 1989, Directed by Hiroyuki Yokoyama

Here's another one of those lovely oddball animes from the 80's. This one kind of plays like an episode of 'The X-Files' on steroids, with a hare-brained soft-science plot and a whole lot of face-melting. So, basically, it's pretty good.

It's definitely not as nasty as some of the stuff out there (as far as the graphic content goes) but it's sufficiently action-packed, and only about 45 minutes long, making it the perfect length for this variety of trash. After becoming familiar with OVAs (or 'original video animations') it's pretty clear to me that anything goes with these as far as content and subject matter. They're the animated equivalent of a straight-to-video release meaning no content filters have been applied usually. 

But, like I said, aside from a few head explosions and a pretty gross worm-parasite, there's nothing too bad here.

From what I can tell (because the plot is fairly confusing, as a lot of the OVAs tend to be) the story concerns a boy and girl who have been abducted by some sort of government-science-type-organization. The girl has powerful psychic abilities, and the guy has been turned into some sort of super-warrior by way of a parasitic worm. They escape the organization because, of course, the government guys didn't think the super-warrior was THAT powerful.

Thus begins a chase that lasts the rest of the film. Along the way, the super-warrior character takes care of several enemies without realizing it, because he's fairly unaware of his powers.

There are also some odd higher-ups who wear gold masks for some reason. They are apparently backing the whole 'super-warrior' project and turn up from time to time.

Sure, it might not be life-changing stuff, but if you're looking for 45 minutes of pure 80's sci-fi goodness, it doesn't get much better than this.

Photo by Animation Stuff.