Call Me Tonight

What would you do if you were possessed by alien creatures that manifested themselves whenever someone of the opposite sex made you a little excited? I know, I know...some of you use that excuse now. But would you call an escort service to try and help the problem? That's the basic premise behind Call Me Tonight, a surprisingly good one-shot OVA from 1986. I doubt it will be released in the English speaking world any time soon, but it's entertaining despite its age.

Natsuki appears to be an ordinary schoolgirl, but after hours, she works for a telephone escort service. Natsuki's used to a higher grade of clientele in her line of work, but this caller is a little different from any she's had before. See, Sugiura was recently out camping and met a strange supernatural force in the woods...and ever since, whenever he starts to get worked up over a woman, he transforms into hideous beasts! Natsuki agrees to meet him, and she gets to experience one of these bouts firsthand. Natsuki decides that the best way to protect Sugiura is to desensitize him to his problem, so she tries to show him a good night out on the town. Though she doesn't succeed in correcting Sugiura's condition, their efforts do attract the attention of a group of crazy hentai bikers who think that having Sugiura around as a plaything is a great idea...and things go nuts from there.

Call Me Tonight's character design is a mix of what you see in more classic anime like City Hunter, the first Megazone 23 film, and the original Dirty Pair. It's actually quite good for the time period, and the animation itself is pretty clean. But it's not really the animation here that sets this show apart. What's really the pull is that this show combines a diaspora of elements and combines them well in a very short timeframe. The show is in many respects a comedy, though it combines many elements from the Japanese horror genre; although it predates much of the gruesome tentacle horror shows Western audiences are accustomed to, such as Legend of the Overfiend, it makes fun of the form while using some of its tactics. It also wisely steers clear of showing too much--though the show revolves around sexual situations and includes a small amount of fan service, it uses restraint often unseen in anime, particularly in this genre. It may still offend some by its subject matter alone, but it's tasteful in comparison to much that's out there.

Call Me Tonight is a nice exception to the rule that one-shot OVA reek. It's still short, but it works well for what it is. It also says something that this show was thoroughly enjoyable to me in the original Japanese, despite that I only understood maybe an eighth of the dialogue here. I also like seeing something just a little unique, which this is. It won't go on anybody's top picks list, but if you'd like a parody on the horror genre, this isn't a bad place to turn.

Call Me Tonight -- brief nudity, adult situations, violence -- B+