The last time CJAS showed To-Y was the 1995 fall semester marathon. The day after, I couldn't sleep, as I kept thinking about the anime. Compelled and restless, I immediately wrote an article about To-Y for the next semester's newsletter, and here I am again in 1998. I put a lot of love into that first article, spending hours on less than one page of text. I don't think I can match that effort. Since then, however, I've seen To-Y at least 10 times, and then I stopped counting (and I still rewatch it regularly). I wasn't the only person who liked it. We showed it again at HaVoC's spring break marathon, where we sang along with Arashi no Ato (by The Street Sliders), to James's dismay (he dislikes that song). Also during that year, we took some embarrassing footage of ourselves pretending to be To-Y or Yoji, as our plan was to make a live-action version of To-Y. That fell through, but the footage remains *shudder*. James started a To-Y homepage, we bought the soundtrack, I bought the manga, and I recently made a new webpage. You might call it an obsession.
The story is about a punk band called GASP, its lead singer To-Y, his catgirl-friend Niya ("nyaa" is the Japanese word for "meow"), cousin Hiderow, rival Yoji, and various other characters. There's not much you need to know in advance to enjoy the OAV, but you should know that it isn't plot intensive. The story is simple and enjoyable, focusing on various feelings as emphasized by the use of the rock and pop music soundtrack directed by Masaya Matsuura of Psy-s (who was also the music director for Parappa the Rapper). By using music as part of the story as opposed to just BGM (background music), To-Y is much like a narrative music video in its presentation. Based on the 10-volume manga by Atsushi Kamijo, the OAV is really just a snippet of the overall story. The animators did an excellent job translating the manga's atmosphere into anime.
To-Y was made in 1987 and was directed by Mamoru Hamatsu, who also directed the first two installments of The Heroic Legend of Arislan. The animation was produced by Studio Gallop, who also did Kodomo no Omocha, Anime SanJuushi, Tekkaman o Oe, Hime-chan no Ribbon, Akazukin Cha Cha, and Rurouni Kenshin. The seiyuu (voice actress) for Niya is Nokko, the lead singer of Rebecca, a well-respected J-pop band. Rebecca has since disbanded, but Nokko is still out there on the J-pop scene.
After all these years, I still love To-Y. I find myself drinking too much Coke Classic because of it.
For more info, visit my To-Y webpage at http://www.cjas.org/~leng/to-y.htm.
[12/2/04 Update: For further articles by Lawrence Eng, see his anime page.]