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Assemble Insert
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 12/20/2001

Synopsis:
Demon Seed is a criminal gang who pulls off high-profile capers throughout the city on a regular basis. The police are helpless against them, and so a task force called the Special Anti-Demon Seed Group is set up to deal with the problem. Chief Hattori is the head of this organization, and in a moment of drunken frenzy, he proposes that they search for a super cute and super powerful girl to become Japan's ultimate crime-fighting idol star. Schoolgirl Maron Namikaze fits the bill perfectly -- she's cute as a button and she possesses enough strength to rival Superman. Will Maron be able to accomplish the job that the police couldn't handle? And can the general public forgive all the property damage that would be incurred by Maron's bouts with the Demon Seed on account of her cuteness?
 
Review:
Assemble Insert is one of those anime titles buried in near obscurity, beneath a mountain of more popular fare. The plot seems rather simple -- with its whole cute girl turned superhero deal, but that's not all there is to it.
 
More than anything, Assemble Insert is one big parody of Japanese pop-culture -- poking fun at Japan's fixation on cute schoolgirls (in sailor uniforms), superheroes (especially the cute girl variety), idol stars, and more. Things are taken a step further with original live-action commercial breaks which plug a fictitious energy drink called "Supovitan C". Assemble Insert doesn't exactly make it to the list of funniest anime I've watched, but then the fact that I'm not Japanese may very well have something to do with it. No matter how much one studies Japanese society and culture, it can't ever be the same as actually being born and growing up in Japan -- which would provide the best gauge as to just how humorous or on-the-mark this parody is. One thing is certain: the humor and in-jokes would be totally lost on those who are new to anime or are totally unfamiliar with Japanese pop culture.
 
The visuals are average at best. The artwork looks quite dated and the animation could use more smoothness and fluidity. Character designs are different from what we are used to. Maron is cute, but she also looks somewhat strange with eyes that seem to consist solely of pupils and lashlines. Several characters look strikingly nondescript, particularly the members of the anti-Demon Seed group. The English dubbing is basically okay, but the original Japanese version features seiyuu Hiroko Kasahara (also Fuu Houjou in "Magic Knight Rayearth") as Maron. I should mention that there are some differences in the English and Japanese dialogues as well. The songs and music are also... cute, just as Maron is. Despite being originally released back in 1989, AI retains a certain freshness that sets it apart from the pack. While it's not phenomenal, it's completely unlike the usual type of anime we get subjected to -- something more jaded anime fans would appreciate.
 
Miscellanies:
The DVD release doesn't show the Japanese credits in English. It's sparsely loaded to boot -- with only a readily accessible version of the live-action "Supovitan C" commercial as a real extra. The rightmost screencap below is from the commercial.
 

Screenshots
Assemble Insert
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Review Title:
Assemble Insert
Type:
OVA
Episodes:
2
Duration:
60 Minutes
General Rating:
3.5 out of 5 stars
Aired:
1990
Suitable For:
Teens
Genres:
Comedy
Sentimental Journey
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