"Assemble Insert" cover.

“Assemble Insert” cover.

There are a lot of tropes common in Japanese media. Idol singers as heroes, powered mecha suits, super sentai fighting teams, even goofy commercials. Assemble Insert parodies all of them, creating a light-hearted romp through all of it.

Tokyo has a problem. The super villain team known as “Demon Seed” has been wreaking havoc all across the metropolis. Banks and jewelry stores have been robbed and museum treasures have been looted. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police are powerless to stop them. Even the special task force created just to address the problem isn’t making any headway.

The chief of the special task force decides to hold a contest to find that special someone who can help them defeat Demon Seed. It makes perfect sense, right? That’s what any reasonable person would do. Enter Maron Namikaze, a typical high school girl with not-so-typical super strength. With a debut hit single, she begins her double life as pop idol and super hero.

Yes, Assemble Insert really is as crazy as it sounds. Masami Yūki—creator of Patlabor and Birdy the Mighty—is no stranger to bizarre stories. In this one, he takes all of the craziness, weirdness, and downright wacko he’s ever channeled and puts it into one short series. The OVA (original video animation) series is based on a two-volume manga series published in 1985.

The animation is pretty basic here, and it was done fairly cheaply. The storyline isn’t the best one ever. It is fairly typical of the shows and media it lampoons. That said, each of the main characters is interesting and has a unique personality. They are not just cookie cutter, fill-in-the-frame, save-to-use-in-another-show characters. Even with the tongue planted firmly in cheek, time was spent making sure the story in Assemble Insert was still interesting.

There are so many jokes and homages planted in the two episodes that it would take multiple viewings to find them all. If you are a fan of the types of shows I mention at the top of the review, you will have fun trying to catch them all. There are even two live-action commercials which are poking fun at real commercials.

This short series will never win—and has never won—any awards. It is worth watching, though, just because it is so goofy. The theme songs are catchy, and you’ll find yourself rooting for Maron and feeling sorry for the Demon Seed minions. If you need some good, mindless fun, Assemble Insert a short and satisfying series to watch.

Original Release Dates: December 21, 1989 and February 20, 1990 (Japan)
Suggested Age Rating: 13+
Distributor: Right Stuf
Language: Japanese, English
Original Title: アッセンブル・インサート (Assenburu Insāto)

MySF Rating: Four point zero stars
Family Friendliness: 100%

Content:

Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (several of the characters smoke)
Language: 1 (mild, infrequent)
Nudity: 0
Sexuality: 1 (brief glimpse of adult video cover)
Violence: 2 (large-scale destruction, humorous violence)