Home > Anime, Check-out Station > Check-out Station: Cleopatra (“Queen of Retarded Failure”)

Check-out Station: Cleopatra (“Queen of Retarded Failure”)


Has anyone ever had a friend, or been that friend who watched horrible, campy material just for the laughs.  I used to be one of those.  I would watch terrible low budget (or big budget) horror movies and my friend and I would laugh heartily at them.  Seeing things like a woman being killed by a clown with a waffle iron, or a man killed by a big headed midget with spatula (or some random kitchen utensil) was just good entertainment.  We laughed at their unintentional and well-meaning humor.  In the end we still got entertainment from their failure, so it wasn’t all bad.  It was still worth the time.  But there are some productions, some instances of entertainment material that fall through the safety net.

It was a simple set-up.  I was going through the great Osamu Tezuka’s early catalogue and came across Cleopatra: Queen of Sex.  Now I don’t watch horrible anime on purpose.  It’s different from when I watched movies.  I feel it’s a waste of valuable time.  But surely Tezuka couldn’t make something as bad and tasteless as the title hints at.  I was wrong.

I couldn’t make out much in the way of historical accuracy.  But I could make out the fact that this exploitative, cheesy and a bit racist.  But most of all, it just didn’t make sense.  The beginning starts off in the future in some sort of pseudo animation style with live bodies  and animated heads.  A technique that I hope will never be used again.  It was awkward to watch, poorly done and very creepy.  I honestly can’t imagine why they would try something so strange and out of the way.

The plot seemed to get lost in the events of the movie as we traversed through time.  We don’t really get any mention of it as we go back in time to Cleopatra’s era.  Instead we get a lot of really tasteless and offensive humor, some magic, some incest and a big blue gladiator.  The words strange and embarrassing kept popping into my head as I watched this, fearful that my wife might catch me indulging in something so… well strange and embarrasing.

This movie is categorized as a hentai, so I feel somewhat obligated to speak of the sexual material.  Focusing on this aspect, the sex is a lot of boobage, good and bad if you know what I mean, and not much else.  The sex is obscured in some weird psycadelic filter that just let me know it was time to use the bathroom.  If this was supposed to be a hentai it fails at that, too.

I suppose if I found anything redeeming about this prodution, it’s that Caesar’s assassination was done in a unique and surprisingly tasteful kabuki style.  The combat had its good moments of suspense, gore and visceral violence.  Also some character designs were rather consistent and appealing, at least for their era, this is a early seventies production afterall.

Overall, this was cringe worthy waste of my time.  At the very least, it had a strange and inconsistent tone, and humor that completely fell flat.  God help me, this movie was so bad I told my wife to get out of the room.  I was embarrassed to be seen watching it.  If you can find this production avoid it at all costs, unless you can find humor in the most horrible of productions.

  1. August 21, 2010 at 13:25

    Oh yeah, Tezuka made some stuff that was pretty out there that time has thankfully forgotten. For one, this movie belongs to a trilogy of adult films and Tezuka was involved in another one of them. Then there is some more questionable manga he did like MW. The God of Anime indeed.

    • August 21, 2010 at 16:22

      Yeah, despite the fact that this movie was a huge turn off, I won’t look down on Tezuka’s other works. A man has gotta make a buck, I just don’t have to like what they do for that buck.

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