Oh no...not again.

I can't tell you how many times that phrase ran through my head as I watched Villgust. You have to give some leniency to old anime; it's always possible that when you see a cliche play out, it might be the first time it happened. This is particularly true when watching a famous anime of yesteryear like Urusei Yatsura or Touch. But when all the cliches show up in one anime, it's due to lazy scriptwriting. Playing to the cheap seats is never a good idea, but that's what Villgust does.

Villgust is a simplistic show full of chibi-style characters. The plot involves a band of five adventurers battling evil monsters and a wicked sorcerer, given power by some mysterious goddess who wants good to triumph. Imagine a blend of Magic Knight Rayearth, every Japanese RPG you've ever played, add in a liberal helping of catgirl and enough cute to make you throw up a Care Bear, and you've got it.

It should be no surprise, I guess, that Villgust started its life as a video game. At one point in time, it seemed that the only sure anime failures were OVAs based on arcade games...but as time rolls on, it's become clear that it's hard to make any video game into an interesting anime. The interactivity is gone, and all that's left is the story -- if that was ever all that good in the first place. Truthfully, computer gaming in 1993 (the born-on date of Villgust) was a very different beast than it is now. When you go find screenshots of the game online, the anime converts the basics pretty well -- the characters all looked about five years old in the game too. But is this worth animating?

What makes it worse is that the jokes are not only stale but also disturbing when the players all look like they just got out of pre-school. The first major joke is the "guy and girl fall over together and he grabs her breasts by accident" oldie. The second revolves around the lead heroine winding up running through the woods half naked when goofy monsters spy on her in the bath. I just don't need this kind of thing in my life.

Even with that in mind, nudity and coarse humor don't destroy a show by themselves. But there is nothing new in Villgust. I saw not one thing that showed a spark of creativity. It's a Frankenstein monster of stolen parts meant to be sold to fans of the game. That's it.

While I had heard decent things about Villgust way back when, I can't think of a time in my life when I would have found this interesting or funny. In fact, it's made me realize that I've got to stop watching grade-Z short films, even if it means I take longer in between reviews of television shows. This sort of crap depresses me too much to make a steady diet of it.

Villgust -- comic violence, nudity, obnoxious ancient jokes that weren't funny the first time around -- D