If there is one thing anyone would have learned about me by now, is that I am a very easily impressed person. You pitch me a show or a game or a band with some ridiculous concept that makes me either laugh or say “that’s awesome,” and it gets points with me, even if it sucks. In this case, an an*me about rally racing. Yeah, that sounds pretty cool. Despite my proclamation last year to start watching real life rally racing, I uh, I forgot. As such, it’s a blind spot in my auto sports fandom. So hey, this will have to be a quick and dirty substitute. Anyways, what is this show called?
It is called: “Goddamn.”
Now, if you don’t think I am dropping everything I’m doing to watch a show called “Goddamn,” you clearly do not know a goddamn thing about me. Of course I’m going to watch this! The title is a swear word! That’s funny.
Goddamn is a two episode OVA that is itself based on a manga series that only ran for two years. It follows the exploits of Gen Todoroki, a rally driver who has exceptional behind the wheel. Exceptional talent that is only displayed when he isn’t crashing his car, which is all the time. Despite the somewhat minor issue of “not being able to finish a race,” Gen is still offered a spot on a hot new rally team. A young Nikita Mazepin takes notes. The crux of this OVA is his attempt at winning the Safari Rally Kenya Championship, despite sucking and his navigator hating his guts.
The thing about Goddamn’s art style is that it’s pretty inconsistent. Characters can be a bit iffy at times, and backgrounds are extremely flat and simplistic. However, the cars are detailed to such a degree that you would think someone on the animation team was jerking off to it. It’s clear that the budget was spent on making these vehicles as realistic as humanly possible. Probably because these are all actual cars being portrayed here. In fact, the car driven by Gen is a Ford Sierra Cosworth, which also goes a long towards explaining why Gen’s car becomes so thoroughly fucked up as the race progresses (Japanese manufacturers are notorious for not allowing their cars to be portrayed as damaged in any way, which is also why racing games like Gran Turismo don’t feature any real noticeable car damage. Western manufacturers are far more relaxed on this.).
Another thing about Goddamn is its pacing. On the plus side, something is always happening on-screen, with little in the way of filler (if any at all). A race, a character being introduced, seedy behind the scenes politics with the team owners, there is constant progression. The problem though, is that because this is only episodes, there’s no time for anything to rest. A lot of characters get introduced at once, and good fucking luck trying to remember any of their names. Some I had to go back and re-watch to learn, some I had to look up online, and a couple of them just so happened to have their names on the cars they drove, otherwise I’d have no idea who they were. With that, there is very, very little in the way of character development. This feels very much like a show for people who have already read the manga, rather than the usual purpose of an OVA to get people into a manga. 99% of anyone on-screen at any given time has a personality that begins and ends with “I like racing.” So you end up with characters like “Joe” and “Arnold.” Though credit must be given to Gen’s navigator, who is named, no shit, Dick Van Dyke. Sadly, he is unrelated to the famous comedian/Amiga enthusiast. His character arc is “being very racist” then “okay the Japanese guy isn’t that bad” in short order.
At the very least, because this is a show about racing, you can have two episodes dedicated to a single race and call it good, so that helps the extremely fast pace.
Because of this, I’m not doing the point-by-point synopsis; it’s a race where cars drive fast, and there’s drama because the main characters are trying to win the race. Despite the total lack of other plot development, it’s fun enough. It’s not a realistic take on racing; as Gen and his navigator Rov (figured I would introduce characters as suddenly as the OVA) drive down the face of a mountain without somehow dying or killing anyone else on the way down, and at one point drives head-first into a fucking collapsed tree to try and get another car’s rear out from under it. The kind of goofy shit that you can admire.
At least, you could admire it if the ending wasn’t a giant middle finger telling you that you just wasted an hour watching this fucking thing. Now, I get that sometimes, an OVA will end on a cliffhanger, sometimes even a real downer of an ending. For example, Berserk ended on what could be vastly undersold as a downer, but the proceeding episodes didn’t feel as though Guts was simply spinning his wheels. Goddamn’s ending sees the team getting 3rd place, then having to drop out of the rest of the season, as their parent company has withdrawn from the auto sports industry. In other words, everything that every character had worked so hard to do to get to this point has meant absolutely nothing. That just…sucks. I’m sure the manga is fine, but damn, this OVA is so pointless. Goddamn is an hour of looking at well drawn cars. That’s cool, I guess. But that’s really all this show had going for it, which is a shame, as I’m not sure there are any other series’ about Rally racing, and that’s a niche that can stand to be filled more. What a shame.
I can’t recommend that you see Goddamn. The art is mostly okay and the animation is fine, but the lack of any plot and that dogshit ending really ruin it. You can find it on YouTube. I’m not linking it, because you should find better uses of your time. Yeah, that’s…that’s it.
I’ll finish this by posting more screenshots of cars and blatant product placement to maintain a sense of realism despite a significant lack of it during the actual rally.