Most anime releases in the UK at the moment are pretty new series. The UK is catching up to the US, we're nearly on the cutting edge. The only downside of this is that some interesting older anime is being overlooked in favour of shiny new productions. Which is why Twin Signal is a bit of an anomaly on MVM's schedule.
Debuting in the mid-nineties, Twin Signal is a good example of the kind of fun comedy action series of the time. Set seemingly in the near future, the story follows the strange household of Professor Otoi, a talented robotics scientist who has created a robot bodyguard for his grandson Nobuhiko. The robot, called Signal, is programmed to act as an older brother to Nobuhiko and keep him company whilst his scientist parents are away. Unfortunately, Signal has a glitch. Most of the time he is exactly what he is programmed to be, but when Nobuhiro sneezes Signal involuntarily transforms into a three year old baby version of himself that craves chocolate. This would simply be annoying but harmless if it wasn't for the fact that nefarious enemies are trying to capture signal to learn more about the mysterious material he is made from. To make matters worse they have reprogrammed one of Otoi's prototype robots, called Pulse, to aid their cause. Armed with vicious blades, laser vision and an unwavering urge to fight Signal, Pulse is an extremely deadly adversary and Signal is going to have a hard job defeating him. To complicate matters Signal and Nobuhiko are both vying for the attention of the sweet and innocent female android Elara...
Twin Signal is the kind of cheerful comedy series that was common in the eighties and nineties but seems largely a thing of the past now. It is completely inoffensive, highly enjoyable and packed with fun gags and a likeable cast. In many ways it is similar to the likes of Ranma 1/2, Slayers and Tenchi Muyo, and like those series it is very entertaining and doesn't exactly tax the grey matter.
I like Twin Signal. It would be easy to talk about how it isn't very original, how it isn't particularly intellectual or how it doesn't push any boundaries, but to do so would miss the point. Twin Signal tries nothing more than to be an enjoyable and fun comedy with cute robots, some silly situations and comedy villains, and on these counts it excels. The characters are likeable and there are plenty of funny situations throughout - I particularly like the villain's henchmen (especially their accents in the English dub) and also cracked up at how the captured Elaru inadvertently delays his evil plot by just doing household chores! The three episodes on this disc are crammed with funny situations and bizarre robots, and whilst there is nothing groundbreaking on show it certainly raises a laugh throughout.
It can't be denied that despite the surrealism and fun it hasn't dated too well, but on the plus side it - along with some of the Slayers films - is probably the best example of this style of fun comedy anime available in the UK. One big plus it has is that at only three episodes long it is a perfect way to try out an older title. It has a shedload of slapstick and visual gags and still manages to squeeze in a few action scenes, which even add an element of drama too. In fact the only odd thing is that is that it seems to be the start of a longer series, but these were the only episodes made. It leaves the ending open and even does the heinous crime of ending on laughter, something that would be a major drawback if it wasn't so damn enjoyable. It is a shame that because of its age and the glut of newer titles available, it will largely be overlooked by the buying public. Even though it is not the greatest thing ever it is certainly more enjoyable than some other titles available here.
If you like Slayers or Ranma 1/2, you'll really like Twin Signal. Like those titles it is packed with madcap comedy and decent characters, and, even if it doesn't really push any boundaries, it is still strong enough in its own right to be worth a look. I have a soft spot for uncomplicated comedy shenanigans and if that's your bag too then look no further!
Pretty standard stuff, trailers, art galleries and a selection of English dub outtakes.