Knights of Ramune
by Michelle Erica Green

Holy Virgins Save the Galaxy

It's not clear from the first two episodes why Knights of Ramune is so named, considering that the series - recently dubbed in English by Software Sculptors - features a pair of spiritual trainees who discover that Ramune is planning a violent takeover of the entire galaxy. But then, a logical storyline isn't necessarily a selling point here. The plot contrivances permit numerous topless scenes, a battle fought by a naked woman in a bathtub, even a lesbian smooch-fest...all of which are necessary for main characters Parfait and Cacao to demonstrate their fantastic powers.

The basic setup is very simple: Cacao, a Holy Virgin, and Parfait, who's hoping to be chosen for the same role - probably because Holy Virgins have orgasmic reactions when utilizing their sacred powers - are sent on a mission across untold light years to rescue the Fourth Warrior Ramune, who's supposed to be a champion of the galaxy. But when they arrive, the girls discover a violent GigaGenos invasion fleet, kidnapping children from all over the galaxy as it blasts the major cities on inhabited planets...and the leader of the fleet is none other than Ramune IV. The horror!

Fortunately, Parfait and Cacao have some valuable allies. They take with them an advisor who looks like a Pokemon, rests on Parfait's shoulder, and spends much of his time insulting her. They pick up a little girl - one of the kidnapped children, whose crush on Parfait inspires her to remain with her after the kids are liberated. And they manage to commandeer a robotic mecha, which unfortunately they don't know how to use until Parfait makes a valuable discovery while fiddling around in the tub.

Although Ramune is a misogynistic creep with a fleet of women (flesh and cybernetic) who inexplicably do his bidding, it's pretty clear that he's no match for the power of the Virgins, who can create a barrier of holy light to protect themselves from their enemies and from the hazards of outer space. Cacao (who decorates the inside of the robot in a heart-themed motif which their underage recruit describes as resembling a honeymoon suite) is trained in "psychic saturation," which enables her to scan her enemies' motives. For reasons which are not explained, she must bare her oversized breasts and become sexually stimulated in order to do so.

We don't learn in this early installment, "Blast Off," what turned Ramune to evil - but we do get to watch the hyper-stimulated Cacao try to make love to Parfait while she describes the rampant destruction she witnessed through her mental powers. Afterwards we get a very funny sequence between the orphan and Parfait in which the latter first expresses concern that her new mentors have an unwholesome relationship, then informs Parfait that she followed her because she adores her...well, at least she admires her strength. To get away from the heart decorations and all this adulation, Parfait disappears into the tub, which she realizes is also the mecha's control center. Now they have a fighting chance!

The funniest aspect of this tape are the included breaks which probably preceded commercials on Japanese television, in which the girls - dressed in comically skimpy flight suits which are a big lure for Parfait on the mission - demand of the audience whether they would rather go to work or watch them frolic. For those who can't get enough of the latter, there's a locker room scene, a couple of weird sexual scenes with Ramune and his women, and a mysterious naked female android which is plucked out of space at the start of the first episode and seems to be connected to Ramune's fate.

Despite all the gratuitous sex, I would imagine women as well as men get a kick out of Knights of Ramune. The girls are likeable, plucky and smart - rather lacking in modesty yet devoted to their religion - and the episodes are full of humor. One does start to wish the Pokemon-like creature would chill out, but he's not more annoying than many Disney animal sidekicks. Though in Disney films, no one ever punches the sidekick to get it to shut up.

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