Saturday, November 28, 2015

Bavi Stock

With some OVAs, like Oz, Hi-Speed Jecy, and Sanctuary, I'm baffled about why they were left behind on Laserdisc or VHS and never released on DVD. For others, though, the reasons are kind of obvious. Bavi Stock falls into the latter category.

Bavi Stock I and II are mid 80s sci-fi OVAs. They have the same characters and universe but were done by different studios. As a result, they are qualitatively very different, with different character designs and stories. Bavi Stock I is barely passable, if you're feeling generous. Bavi Stock II is utterly lame. Bavi Stock I never made it past Laserdisc. Bavi Stock II didn't even get that far and languished on VHS. I don't propose to rehearse all the deficits of these two shows; there's a very complete and utterly damning analysis here

Bavi Stock I is set in a group of floating islands known as the Bentika Empire. The only opposition comes from the GPP (Global Police Patrol?), whose symbol is a friendly-looking turtle in a police uniform. The story begins with GPP officer Kate freeing Princess Mooma and convicted murderer Bavi Stock, both of whom hold information vital to defeating the Empire. By accident, she also rescues another prisoner, Bavi's scheming cellmate Sammy. However, the whole "defeat the Empire" Macguffin is promptly lost in an incoherent chase plot, as the Empire's psychokinetic villainess Lus Mila and her android assassin Eyesman pursue the good guys through and around a high-stakes hovercraft race. Bavi's crime, Sammy's scheme, and Mooma's power are never explained or even explored.

Perhaps the loose plot threads were supposed to be resolved in Bavi Stock II, but it was done by a different studio and went off in a totally different direction. The good guys are now galactic treasure hunters, and beyond the floating islands of the Bentika Empire is a normal-looking universe. The episode starts out on a comic note. Then Our Heroes fly to a heavily forested planet that is stolen from Return of the Jedi, right down to a goofy-but-competent R2D2 ripoff and forest-loving pseudo-Ewoks. There they again encounter Lus Mila and Eyesman and, in scenes inspired perhaps by Raiders of the Lost Ark, unlock the secrets of Mooma, Bavi, and the Sacred Vessel, whatever that is.

Then why did Orphan do these shows? Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Bavi Stock I has been on the BakaBT list of "old shows needing subtitles" for ages. Orphan has generally had good luck with 80s OVAs, so we went ahead with the project. But our luck ran out with this pair.

Moho Kareshi translated, macros74 timed, I edited and typeset, and Calyrica did QC. Bavi Stock I was encoded by macros74 from a Laserdisc rip by an anonymous collector. Bavi Stock II was encoded by Erik of Piyo Piyo Productions from a VHS rip by the same anonymous collector. There is some VHS tracking error at the bottom, but on the whole it looks fairly good.

So as Yogi Berra said, some days you win, some days you lose, and some days it rains. I'm still excited about OVAs from the 80s and the 90s. Sometimes even the bad ones, like Ear of the Golden Dragon, have enough laugh-out-loud value to make working on them worthwhile. Unfortunately, there aren't many yucks in the Bavi Stock OVAs, unless you give them the full Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment, which they richly deserve.

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