The "special features" on DVDs just don't seem that special anymore. At one point, just having a menu seemed pretty novel. Nowadays, we get bloopers, deleted scenes and Arnold Schwarzenegger babbling like a boxcar tramp. We're so spoiled by these bells and whistles that we forget that humanity had to rewind its movies a dog's lifetime ago.
"Can we, like, hollow those out and fill them with flash drives?"
But there are a few anime DVDs out there that have tried some (ahem) "unique" special features that probably won't become as commonplace as the deleted scene -- and for some very good reasons.
#4. The Jiggle Counter
Have you ever watched a movie and mused aloud, "Gee, self, I need to know exactly how many times over the course of this motion picture that the characters' bosoms went on a bouncy rampage"? And if you're this kind of extraordinarily obsessive-compulsive pervert, this inclination crosses your mind in the unlikeliest of places. Like during Steel Magnolias.
"Confound you, Olympia Dukakis! You can't hug Shirley MacLaine all movie long!"
But for the anime Plastic Little, DVD distributor ADV Films cornered this discerning viewer by adding a breast-shaped counter that kept a real-time tally of every time cartoon sweater puppets swayed in the breeze.
"It's a commentary on a metaphor for a symbol that I can't justify my own viewing habits to myself anymore."
Was one of ADV's employees paid to sit in a dank basement, breathe through his mouth and annotate each frame like the Zapruder film? We honestly cannot say, but we do know that ADV loved this idea so much that they trademarked the name "Jiggle Counter." (We're pretty sure the portmanteau "Boobacus" is still up for grabs. Hey everybody, go make your millions!)
#3. Baffling Pop-Up Videos
Most DVD commentaries offer either A) behind-the-scenes insights on the filmmaking process or B) the cast and crew hopelessly shithoused. But the "Fun Facts" DVD setting for the science fiction flick The Humanoid revolutionizes this trend, as it teaches you nothing about The Humanoid (and nobody's drunk).
Instead, the commentary accurately recreates the experience of watching a movie with a malfunctioning Cleverbot. The viewer learns a lot about coffee, mustachioed men and bald celebrities, all of which have zero bearing on the film's plot (which is about a robot who learns to love to the sounds of mediocre arena metal, incidentally).
#2. The Magical Trading Card Dungeon
Aquarian Age: The Movie -- which is based on a Japanese trading card game -- contains a bonus tutorial starring two actresses who have no connection to the film. The women are transported to a basement where a disembodied voice commands them to play Aquarian Age.
See, this is why we prefer chess.
One woman refuses to obey her unseen master. Her primary objection? She doesn't know the rules to the game (she's unfazed by the fact that she's now living in a 1980s Doctor Who episode). The bossy cellar god strikes his kidnapping victims with rainbow chain lightning. His electrical boon blesses them with a basic knowledge of Aquarian Age and lifelong nerve damage.
What follows is a tremendously boring explanatory game, the highlight of which is the English announcer yelling his translation over the original Japanese narration. At the conclusion of the game, the two actresses inexplicably shoot lightning into each other's eyes, which -- in a surprise twist for the DVD's American viewers -- means that they have just passed the Japanese SATs.
"Should this basement have a door, I'm thinking of Cornell."
#1. Neo-Nazi Karaoke
For reasons unknown, the DVD of the anime Hellsing Ultimate includes a karaoke version of a six-minute speech by the Major, a bad guy tasked with psyching up a vampire Nazi battalion for a rematch against England.
With dialogue like "I love war! I love holocausts! I love blitzkriegs!" you wonder just what the hell anime company Funimation was thinking. America has plenty of stupid pastimes, but "reciting the closed captioning to American History X in one's rumpus room" is not up there with "regurgitating a blooming onion while rapping Crazy Town's 'Butterfly' at Chili's karaoke night."
"Vampires can't be racist. Everyone knows that!"