Call Me Tonight
Rumi may be a normal school girl by day, but by night she is the owner and operator of Telephone Communications Madonna. She's an adventurous, independent call grrl who has seen a lot of things in her line of work, but nothing like Ryo. He's called her looking for help, saying that whenever he masturbates, he turns into a tentacled freak! Of course, when she goes to investigate, she gets more than she bargained for.
Say what you will about digital sources and piracy, but one of the coolest moments in anime fandom is when a fan group collaborate to sub something old and forgotten. The good folks who subbed and remastered old Madhouse junk OVAs To-Y and Bobby's in Deep recently struck again by releasing another unheard-of title: Call Me Tonight. It's not from Madhouse, though; instead, it's a schlocky and unpretentious title from AIC, the studio who did Bubblegum Crisis. In fact, it's pure C-grade horror, from the silly script and corny dialogue down to the nudity and tentacles. And while that may sound like something you'd have to wrap your mind in caustic irony to enjoy, it turns out that even though this OVA is pretty trashy, it's also pretty fun.
Fun in the same way that silly horror movies are, that is. It's hard to take this anime seriously- from its funky premise to its kinky ending. Really, who telephones a call girl, and not the doctor, when masturbation makes them become tentacled freaks?
Wait, hold that thought. That's right, I guess if you're going to do that you need to call a certain kind of call girl. The very, very kinky kind.
Rumi is not that kind of girl. She's adventurous, she's independent, she's fun, but Ryo's alter ego really grosses her out. It's admirable that she takes matters into her own hands by suggesting that Ryo just learn to "hold it in"-easy for you to say, honey-and it's sweet of her that she roughs it out with Ryo. She's the typical "prostitute with a golden heart," which is an old shtick, but it's played well here. Maybe she just looks interesting compared to Ryo, who should be the most interesting character, but comes across as the dullest. In fact, he wants to be dull- the reason he wants Rumi to help him is because he wants to go back to normal and live a normal life. He also keeps having to buy new clothes because he rips whatever he's wearing when he hulks out. He acts as a great foil for Rumi, though, as she drags him around Tokyo, finding places to "turn him on" and make him publicly transform until he learns to control himself. Just when he does, though, there's a wrench thrown into their plans when a snoopy high schooler named Oyuki hears about Ryo. Oyuki is that kind of woman, and wants to see for herself exactly what kind of monster Ryo becomes.
Call Me Tonight is the kind of strange show that sells itself easily by its premise. It promises titillation and weirdness, but doesn't quite deliver on either. The hentai factor is fairly light, and the story would have been better if it delved deeper into the weirdness, instead of trying to come up for air. Even so, it's well animated, entertaining, and brief enough to warrant a viewing for fans of the macabre.
Short, eighties-tastic C-grade horror that doesn't really horrify, but it is fun. — Bradley Meek
Recommended Audience: Nudity, tentacles... the two don't really meet, but they come close. College students and up.
Version(s) Viewed: Fan-restored digital video
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Call Me Tonight © 1986 Studio AIC / C Moon
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