Tanjou: Debut - Reviews

Alt title: Birth: Debut

hamletsmage's avatar
Sep 30, 2011

There is a reason the badge for watching this is "Wrapping Paper is not hair". I realize this was basically a preview for a game, but it was so... bad...

Stroy: The first plot is about unrequited love, hamburgers, and for some reason, wearing a dress under an archway. It was basically you're typical high school scene. When I started the second episode, I was expecting more of the mindless high school dribble, but lo and behold, the plot had changed to something completely different. If you have ever watched Monty Python's Flying Circus, this was a similar experience. The new plot was so completely different from the first, that it was like the writers had created a fanfiction based on the original characters. It's because the episodes are Stand-Alone that there is so much dischord.

Animation: Like I said, the badge for this OVA explains everything. Someone was having a bad day in the animation office when this came out.

Sounds: The music was done by Seiichi Kyouda, who you might recognize as the music behind Sailor Moon (R and S). So, I got a bit of a nostalgic quality to the music, but that's about it.

Characters: These characters had such bland personalities. If we combined all the girl's into one character, she'd be ok, but apart, they are rather boring and you can't really relate to them at all. (Especially when their roles change between the two stand-alone episodes)

2/10 story
2/10 animation
5/10 sound
2/10 characters
2/10 overall
pikachu203's avatar
Feb 21, 2014

Let's make this one quick, okay?  This OVA is bad.  It's pointless; the animation is awful(wrapping paper hair, freakishly thick eyes, terrible movement, etc), the story is disconnected between the two episodes and is dumb anyway, and the characters are completely detatched, static, and unlikable.  It was not an enjoyable experience.

Do yourself a favor and save the hour of your life.  There are a lot better things you could do.  You could learn microbiology, or create a cure for cancer, or paint something beautiful and become the next Davinci!  OR JUST WATCH A DECENT ANIME!  

That is all.

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
2/10 overall
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KeyAndKyoAniLover's avatar
Nov 28, 2020

(Adapted from my MAL review)

First of all, WRAPPING PAPER ISN'T HAIR! Ahem....excuse me. That's just the name of a badge on Anime-Planet that you can earn by watching this particular anime, which is how I learned it existed in the first place. Despite the curiosity I felt after discovering it, though, I ended up spending years trying to find it with English subs included. I eventually found it and was able to watch this pair of OVAs; however, it's evident now that all of that searching was not worth it.

Lads, ladies, and non-binaries, I now present my review of the 1994 OVA series, "Tanjou: Debut".

Tanjou: Debut, known in English as "Birth: Debut", is based on a 1993 video game of the same name where the player is a manager for three idols; however, nothing except its opening theme hints that this is what the anime's source material is about. Instead, each of its two episodes tells two completely different stories with some of the same characters. The first episode follows Aki Itou, a high school girl with a crush on an employee at a restaurant she frequents, who is told that said crush already has a girlfriend, and misunderstandings ensue from there. The second focuses more on Saori Fujimura as she and her two friends - one of them being Aki herself and the other being another girl named Kumi Tanaka - dig up a time capsule that they buried 10 years ago. They discover that inside of the time capsule, alongside each of their own boxes with their own possessions inside, there is a fourth box with a small bouquet inside of it, but they can't remember whose box it was....apparently.

Look, I have no problem with each episode having a different plot from the last; there are plenty of other anime that are similarly episodic, but they manage to make sense for what came before each episode and even sometimes be enjoyable to watch. Tanjou: Debut, however, doesn't do either of these things. Some aspects of the second episode don't make sense when you think about what was going on in the first, such as how the relationship between two characters was established in each episode; this disconnect is rather jarring. It certainly doesn't help that neither episode is that enjoyable in the first place; both of the plots in this anime are boring, highly predictable, and full of characters I personally didn't give two cruds about. As I mentioned earlier, both episodes have the same main cast, but both iterations of these characters are as bland as the plots and go through little to no character development.

As for the art....well, a quip about a certain aspect of the character designs in the form of a badge name is why I'm here in the first place, is it not? Not only is the artwork every bit as bad as you probably expect (with Aki's design being especially awful, in my opinion), but while not flat-out awful, the animation is very dated, even for its time; I'm sure that we all know that Studio Pierrot was capable of better even back then. Meanwhile, the music is rather forgettable, as it doesn't stand out when placed next to other tunes from the '90s; I don't even remember how the opening or ending themes go, much less what they were even called. The voice acting isn't anything to write home about, either.

Overall, Tanjou: Debut is a bad way to spend an hour of your time. Looking for it isn't really worth it, either, but if you really want to earn the "achievement" of watching the "wrapping-paper hair anime", be my guest. Don't blame me for not warning you if any negative feelings are born in your heart after you watch it, though.

2.5/10 story
5/10 animation
6/10 sound
3.5/10 characters
4.4/10 overall
4EverDreamer's avatar
Dec 3, 2010

This is one of those shows you wonder why it even was made. The first episode story amounts to nothing, except for maybe a moral about not jumping to conclusions. The second story is about remembering the past. In episode one, there are fish that pop up for no reason. Also, the one girl dreams about being in a dress, but apparently for no reason. A lot of wasted time spent on scenery and animals, making it so slow paced and boring. Ghosts also appear out of the blue. This is an anime I had to grit my teeth to finish. Good thing I got a badge for it.

1/10 story
3/10 animation
2/10 sound
1/10 characters
2/10 overall
MordredMS's avatar
Oct 11, 2012

I had heard about this two-episode OVA series as one of the “so bad it’s good” ones, especially for its animation, so I sat down expecting a good laugh at something like Skelter heaven. But against my expectations, Tanjō – Debut was certainly not good, but not even bad enough to be enjoyable as such, and even with a somehow “genuine” feeling. I expected a train wreck of awfulness, but I found something that, while certainly bad, still manages to have its qualities.  

STORY: 3.5/10
In the first of these two standalone episodes, Itō Aki is falling in love with the employee of a restaurant where she and her friend Kumi often go eating. Too shy to confess, she’ll find out that reality can be harshly different from a girl’s dreams. In the second episode, the three girls Aki, Kumi and Saori go dig up a time capsule they had buried together 10 years earlier in their elementary school days, but inside they find, besides the three sets of objects they had contributed, a fourth one belonging to neither of them.

Just to shoot down the elephant in the room immediately, these OVA are a tie-in to a videogame, but since I don’t see how a management simulation about four idols could relate to these two stories, that fact doesn’t change much. Now, despite the unoriginal excuses of a plot we have here, I have to admit that they actually work quite well: sure, it’s hard to be invested in characters who have just a few minutes to establish themselves, but the ending of the first episode is actually carried out decently and, while unsurprising, at least it’s not the usual happy ending, while in the second story the “mystery” factor and its (though laughably predictable) resolution are built up effectively. Despite a warm “genuine” vibe I get from the anime, it’s hard to get rid of this feeling of uselessness it gives off, and this is its main problem: it’s useless, it’s unoriginal, it’s dragged on (which is kind of bad in a 30-minute-long work…), and the fact that the two stories are so completely different and unrelated to each other certainly doesn’t help. The execution is decent on both, also thanks to a nice direction, but, simply enough, I’ve read fanfictions with more interesting plots than these.

There’s another elephant in the room that needs to be addressed: the inconsistency of the characters’ backgrounds. For a spoiler-free example, in the first story Aki is just starting to make friends with Saori, while in the second the two are established as childhood friends. But I understand that the characters, keeping their names and their basic personality, are actually used as actresses (remember, in the game they’re idols), and the short scenes over the opening credits showing them actually acting out scenes from the episodes proper show that what we see for the most part is the four girls performing in a drama. Now, actually this is a pretty clever idea, but unless you know the game (I googled it later) it will be very hard to get, it makes the two stories feel all the more useless (that is, they’re not actual stories, they’re the acting debut of characters we know nothing about unless we played the game. And what makes the viewers understand so is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it montage rolling over the freaking opening credits), and it doesn’t help the fact that the four are such bland, unoriginal and flat characters. They’re nothing more than stock types, hard to feel, with little to no personality flashed out.

This is the only department in which “Debut” holds up to its fame: the art is… bad. I mean… bad. That’s not hair, I have no idea what it is, probably wrapping paper or a rubber-made wig, but definitely not hair. And Aki and Kumi’s faces and expressions… not human. That’s not how human eyes and noses are, and my God, are those supposed to be eyelashes?, they look more like… undereyebrows, or the result of an unfriendly dispute over the last parking space! I won’t spend too many words on the nineties-anime stock type character design or on the stiffy animations, but I’ll say this: according to ANN, the chara designer and animation director is Tanaka Hiroto, who later did the key animation for the opening sequences of such works as “Death Note” and “Rozen maiden” and even for two whole “Bleach” movies and some “Dennō coil” episodes. I’m as surprised as you are.

I’d also spend a couple of words on the direction, which has some creativity with pretty clever transitions, and actually does its job very well in weaving the plot. Again I check ANN, and what the hell is the director of “Ranma ½” and “Kimagure” doing here?

The soundtrack also kind of fails: despite a nice overall “nostalgic” feeling I get, it’s too scarce and generic to work effectively. Really monotonous, and doesn’t always create the right atmosphere. In the second episode, in particular, it’s a bit too overdramatic during some sequences, and too bland when it would’ve needed to be more dramatic. It’s probably the soundtrack from the game, because the feeling I get is of something similar to the music of a visual novel or something like that.

CAST: 6/10
The voice acting, on the other hand, is at least decent. Granted, they don’t have a great script to work with, but it shows they’re giving it effort. Kanai Mika is debatably the best of the lot (not surprisingly, since she’s actually a pretty big name: she’s performed as Kaguya in “Code Geass”, Yūkimaru in probably the only good “Naruto: Shippūden” filler arc, Satoko in “Higurashi” and others), making Kumi’s funny and lively nature the only one a bit more distinguished of the four girls. Tominaga Miina (best known as Karin from “DNA²”) as Itō is also interesting, in that her acting is probably the only reason you could be invested during the first episode. Kasahara Hiroko is quite bland, but give her a break, it must be hard to give a damn about a character like Saori. Shiina Hekiru as Sachiko does her job, but her character is secondary so she doesn’t have much room.

OVERALL: 3.5/10
I feel kind of stupid treating this so seriously, but… it kind of surprised me and left me unsure of what to make of it. It’s based around an idea that, if developed better, maybe telling both the story of the “actresses” and of the characters they act out, could have turned into something good. Instead, it ended up a useless one-hour-long tie-in to an obscure videogame, with characters hard to care for, unoriginal (if decently delivered) plots within an underdeveloped frame (without which the story will seem inconsistent and confusing instead of simply useless), and awful character design, without even being ridiculous and cliché enough to be enjoyable. Basically, something you’d have no reason to watch, unless you’re really curious (like me), want some cheap early-Nineties nostalgia, or like this kind of simple plots. And yet… why in the name of Leiji Matsumoto do I not hate it? Maybe because there’s some sort of charm to how clumsy it is? Maybe because it gives me the feeling that there is some effort in there, something that most filler arcs and shōnen franchise movies don’t?

3/10 story
2/10 animation
5/10 sound
2/10 characters
3.5/10 overall