Twin Signal

Even in a time where we get the newest and hottest titles almost straight from Japan, it’s nice to see companies releasing older classics along with the young guns. So seeing Twin Signal in the lineup is something of a surprise – not least because I’ve never heard of it. So, curious as ever, I stick it in – and immediately I’m back in the 90’s.

The basic premise is that a prototype robot named Pulse was stolen by your typical mad scientist. Pulse was then reprogrammed and sent to destroy newer, more advanced model Signal (who bears a striking resemblance to Tenchi Muyo’s Ryoko, despite being of the opposite gender), created by said mad scientists’ rival, and his grandson Nobuhiko.

Of course, things are never as simple as all that, and there are enough twists to complicate matters. Such as the way Signal transforms into chibi form whenever Nobuhiko sneezes, often at the most inappropriate moments. Or when the professor’s understudy builds her own robot that then goes off on a mad destructive rampage. Or when the utterly incompetent “girlfriend’ robot gets kidnapped, and then does more damage the mad scientist’s plans than Signal ever could on his own”¦

Chaotic comedy is the order of the day, with wacky characters doing wacky things with wacky consequences, and the occasional bit of robot fighting action sprinkled around for good measure. What we have here is something that is a lot of fun to watch, because it staunchly refuses to take itself too seriously. If you liked Slayers or Dragon Half, you’ll probably like this, as it follows pretty much the same formula.

Which leads me to Twin Signal’s biggest problem; it’s also nothing remarkable. The characters are a somewhat clichéd, the plot is uninspired, the visuals are generic, and there aren’t enough truly funny jokes. Ten years after its original release, and it all comes off as distinctly average. It’s not that Twin Signal is bad, by any stretch of the imagination – it is a perfectly enjoyable slice of fun – it just hasn’t stood the test of time as well as other titles from the same era. Everything about this just feels dated and somewhat disposable, the kind of thing you’d watch it once or twice and then never look at again. The fact that there are only three episodes does little to help matters, and the extras are nothing to shout about either (although some of the outtakes are pretty funny).

In Summary

Although an enjoyable way to spend 90 minutes, time has not been as kind to Twin Signal as one might have hoped. That said, it does have its moments, and does manage to raise laughs in the right places. If you’re looking for an enjoyable bit of fluff with slice of retro charm, then you can’t go far wrong with this – just don’t go expecting another Akira.

6 / 10