They’re the best Anime that 1997 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Hakugei Densetsu, Shin Tenchi Muyou!, Battle Athletess Daiundoukai (TV), and more!
10: Hakugei Densetsu
English: Hakugei: Legend of the Moby Dick
MAL Score: 6.65
A courageous young man tries to find the only person who can save his planet from the most terrifying beast in the universe—the great white whale Moby Dick—in this futuristic anime adventure set in 4699. But locating the outlaw Captain Ahab and his illusory crew of whale hunters and persuading them to put an end to the leviathan’s long reign of terror won’t be easy. Will Ahab take up the challenge one more time?
First, Hakugei is not Melville’s Moby Dick. It is not a modern interpretation of the classic novel, nor a space-age reimagining. Typical of the anime industry, the writers of Hakugei have merely appropriated high-profile elements of Melville’s classic and have applied it, unnecessisarily but to interesting effect, to a space opera that reminded me in equal parts of Star Wars, Dune, Blade Runner, and, perhaps more so, of The Seven Samurai (indeed, I’m now convinced Gonzo’s Samurai 7 was a remake of Hakugei rather than of Kurosawa’s classic.)
So, does all this derivativeness make Hakugei a bad show? Nope. It’s pretty decent, usually entertaining, and occasionally fantastic. While not exactly fast-paced, the writers do a good job of maintaining narrative thrust. The first half is a fun space adventure with stand-alone episodes that effectively build a believable, if occasionally unsettling universe as well as a collection of likeable, rag-tag characters. The second season is far more ambitious and has perhaps too many plot threads without the thoughtful writing to pull them together.
While the animation is lacking, a typical flaw of late 90s productions, and is occasionally too cartoonish for its own good, the art design is fantastic. This is especially true of the setting second half of the series which features a burned-out environmental disaster of a planet and some awesome neo-noirish spacecraft.
The characters are for the most part a positive element of Hakugei (the annoying android parrot and the “journalist” notwithstanding)- especially Ahab, a combination of the quintessential anime alpha-male and a prototypical wacko goofball. This is what I imagine most shounen brats would be like when they grew up. Ahab’s crew is a fine, if typical, cast of characters. The only complaint with them is that they turn into something of a greek chorus of sophmoric slapstick comedy in the more complex (and grim) second season. Thankfully, the second season features a couple of the best villains I’ve seen in anime in a while.
Sadly, like many anime, Hakugei has some seriously annoying flaws that make it hard to recommend. The second season is downright schizophrenic in tone (cartoonish one second, melodramatic the next) – and much of its humor seems both dated and geared toward a Japanese audience (this added a bit of character for me, so I didn’t mind too much.) It also simply fails to successfully address its ambitions in the second season – it’s not necessarily a bad thing to want more when an anime ends but in Hakugei’s case, a lot of plot lines are, not so much left hanging, as poorly managed. Still, the ending wasn’t a bad one compared to many anime. So long as you don’t expect too much (and it’s Hakugei, so why would you.)
So, who would I recommend this to? If you just can’t get enough of 90s sci-fi anime and have seen Bebop, Outlaw Star, Captain Tylor, LoGH, etc, but just want more, try Hakugei. Or, if you enjoy the occasional quality, oddball anime that seems to have disappeared from the radar (Neo Ranga, Shingu, Stellvia, Clockwork Fighters, etc…,) try Hakugei. But if you’re looking for Moby Dick? Try yer Kindle.
To begin, the story has very little to do with the original novel of Moby Dick and only borrows the titular whale character but re-imagined as a cyborg. The planet Moad is under martial law and is set to be destroyed. A kid named Lucky requests the help of Captain Ahab to save the planet and its people. Ahab agrees as the Moby Dick acts as the destroyer of the planet and it also responsible for Ahab’s loss of his left eye and leg.
Initially starting as an episodic space pirate anime, it gradually shifts into a darker tale of cyborgs with a doomsday clock. Part of the serie’s lore are the punishment of criminals who are turned into cyborgs to further extend their suffering. Similar to the law of robotics, these criminals are given certain commands they cannot break such as killing humans or committing suicide. The science fiction plays a larger role in the last act of the story as it becomes more serious with our character’s backstory, specifically the characters Due and Jacobs.
While does have a darker tone it is sometimes unbalanced by the goofiness of Captain Ahab’s crew. There are many scenes where a very tragic event occurred then the next minute will feature a very comical art style filled with very outrageous slap stick gags. The animation certainly helps demonstrate such energy in these comic relief scenes. I don’t exactly hate this instability but I can certainly many others to be bothered by its mood swings.
Despite the lack of stability, I found myself enjoying the series since it incorporated a manly pirate, very gruesome science fiction, a war story and giant Moby Dick cyborg to tie it all together. Captain Ahab is a really manly character; being the best interesting character in the story. There’s a scene in EP 15 that really sums up his opinion of God, thus possibly being the best scene in the anime. Whether he’s being serious or goofy, he still possesses a charismatic charm; a bit similar to John Silver from the Treasure Island anime of 1978.
The story of Moby Dick has really nothing to to do with the novel( aside from the whale), but delivers variety from episodic space adventures to plot related drama and even a little bit of boxing in episodes 18-20. At the same time, those episodes also feature a couple of intriguing antagonists, Madame O’ Hara & Jacobs, who become tragic characters as the series reaches its conclusion. Speaking of the ending, I accept the tragedy but something about the very last scene felt a bit abrupt. Personally, I felt the series needed a short epilogue to better end it as there are some events occurring in the universe that are a bit unresolved. I probably expected a tad more since each episode opens with a narrative from the viewpoint of Lucky, implying the series events have already occurred as it’s told in the past tense.
Regardless, Legend of Moby Dick is still good but its complaints will all be very subjective due to its constant comedy. The series is directed by Osamu Dezaki who once again shows his iconic style through visual stills or post card memories. Hakugei excels in its art as there are plenty of fascinating imagery scattered throughout the anime and with its sci-fi setting allowed more room for creativity. I recommend Moby Dick in English dub simply because of John Swasey’s performance as Captain Ahab. The Japanese is good too with Akio Otsuka but the pirate slang works better in the english tongue. Oh and Vic Mignogna & Stephanie Naldony are also in it. Legend of Moby Dick is definitely one of ADV Films best dubs and is a show that deserves to have a license rescue.
This is the story of a muscular and handsome Don Juan called Cpt. Ahab (one of Osamu’s alter egos) who likes to sing karaoke and rejects every beautiful girl that comes to his way. As a well-rounded captain should be, he’s accompanied by a silly, womenless tripulation with a dark past. But… do they really have a dark past? Or it’s the universe’s corrupted ways that made them into acting like this? This series is a mixture between artful and dramatically mysterious beauty and the most cheesy telenovela you can ever imagine.
From time to time, they sing along original songs all of them with an old vibe of Japanese enka, Pop from the 70s or 80s (even though this series is from 1997). I really like the opening song and it really fits the ambiance. For those who know a little about music, they include several leit motivs and every background music is changed alongside the scene so don’t be shocked by sudden transitional moments combined with melodies that get abruptly interrupted…
All I have to add is that there are some plotwist in character development, that’s why I love it. I’ll be sure to watch some of other Osamu’s works after finishing this one.
9: Shin Tenchi Muyou!
English: Tenchi in Tokyo
Japanese: 新 天地無用!
MAL Score: 6.87
Tenchi Masaki heads out to tackle the big world, setting off to school in Tokyo! But not everyone is happy to hear he is moving away, as his female friends sulk and complain at the prospect of him being alone. However, Tenchi is not by himself for very long, as he soon meets a kind and compassionate girl named Sakuya Kumashiro who helps him get used to life in Tokyo.
The two become close friends, but Sakuya wants more than just that, so she proclaims her love for Tenchi. This confession comes as a shock not only to Tenchi, but also the girls back home. In response, the girls decide to step up their game, and they immediately flock to Tokyo to take Tenchi for themselves.
With the girls competing for his love, Tenchi must decide once and for all who the most important woman in his life is. However, he is going to have a hard time deciding, as strange events start happening that drive Tenchi further apart from his friends.
STORY – I’ll admit it. The first time I saw this series, I hated it too. But I rewatched the whole thing more recently and found that it actually wasn’t as bad as I remembered. Like the Tenchi Forever movie, I think most fans were indignant at the introduction of a "Mary Sue" character and consequently abhorred the entire series. But while yes, Sakuya was more or less an "intruder" character to our good ol’ harem, she forces a very interesting situation onto the rest of the girls. After two whole other series of being fought over by the crazy women he lives with, Tenchi finally moves out and finds someone on his own. Come on now, isn’t that an intriguing twist to the premise of the Tenchi saga?
It isn’t even as if Ryoko, Ayeka, and the rest disappear altogether and are unimportant; rather the opposite is true. With a puppeteer orchestrating everything in the background, it gradually warps into a grand epic as they once again find themselves needing to save the world, not to mention Tenchi. I, for one, found it incredibly interesting to watch see the girls struggle with life without Tenchi, especially as they were faced with jealousy, spite, and general unhappiness at their "replacement" by Sakuya. And in the end, as everything twisted into a crazy supernatural plot… well, with so much emotional drama going on, I suppose we needed something to remind us about that other kickass blowing-stuff-up part of Tenchi.
CHARACTER – Honestly, I think the characters’ depths are explored much more in Tenchi in Tokyo than in any other Tenchi, and this completely due to the fact that Sakuya exists. For once, you’re able to see Tenchi as more than just an awkward shrine boy who doesn’t know what to do about anything — he becomes more human as he’s allowed to interact with people that aren’t aliens or freaks of science, and that makes him a much more convincing and three-dimensional character. Because of his feelings for Sakuya, his feelings for the others, especially Ryoko and Ayeka, become more clear and he’s finally able to put things in a more concrete perspective. It’s actually very refreshing to see him come so far when he originally wasn’t very interesting at all.
Ryoko and Ayeka, as the ones most affected by the loss of Tenchi, both show fantastic character development throughout the course of the series. Their feelings, the anger, jealousy, and hurt, are very real and easy to sympathize with, and their subsequent actions expose the many flaws in their personalities which further their complexities as characters. Of course, this forces their overall characters to be a bit different from their previous incarnations, but I don’t find it to be an unwelcomed change. The rest of the girls aren’t as affected and consequently don’t seem to stray much from the typical character molds cast for them originally.
Now, Sakuya… Sakuya is an interesting character if only because of the fact that she isn’t really real. Her validity of her personality and feelings are really up to debate though, especially since she does declare herself to be real and not a puppet. In the end, I’m not really happy with the character Yugi is revealed to be; it seemed like a cheap way out of something that had built itself up to be so epic, but I guess everything can’t be perfect.
ARTWORK & ANIMATION – I believe one of the other big complaints about Tenchi in Tokyo was that its art style was vastly different from the previous two series. It does take some getting used to, but I don’t really think it’s that intolerable in the end. The style is rounder and more feathered along the edges, so some people claim it to be a "lazier" style. It makes for some strangely stylized portrayals, but it isn’t as if any of the characters are twisted out of all possible forms of recognition. And it’s definitely not awful by any means.
MUSIC – A little lacking in this department, the music isn’t nearly as good as it had been in previous series. It’s mostly generic sounding, which means the background music always suits its scenes, but nothing really stands out. The OP/ED are quite awesome though, considering that both "Yume wa doko e itta?" and "Yamerarenai Yamerarenai" are sung by the voice actors, which is always fun.
VOICE ACTING – I’ve seen this both dubbed and subbed. I’ve always considered the Tenchi series to be one of the better early dubs, back in the days of Toonami. Ryoko and Ayeka especially had voices that suited their characters very well (though for Ryoko, I’ll always be partial to her Japanese voice because it’s Ai Orikasa). Tenchi’s English voice I was never really fond of, but it still suited his character well enough. And the rest of the cast is very much the same in that respect.
OVERALL – Tenchi in Tokyo really deserves more credit. It threw a wrench in the great harem premise and allowed for some fantastic emotional drama. The supernatural side got a little predictable from time to time, but I don’t really feel like that was the most important part of the series. It was great watching Ryoko and Ayeka beat themselves around the head trying to deal with the loss of Tenchi to another girl, and if you’re a great, big, sadistic fan of character ANGST like me, then I think you’d like this series. :3
However, if you enjoy the Tenchi-Muyo series simplyfor its pure silliness then you will definitely like this anime. I would say it’s only slightly more intelligent than ‘Ninja Nonsense’. So if you like that stuff, then this is the series for you.
8: Battle Athletess Daiundoukai (TV)
English: Battle Athletes Victory
MAL Score: 6.87
Akari Kanzaki has just joined an all-girls academy in hopes of entering the University Satellite, an elite sports training facility. She wants to win the title of Cosmo Beauty – a title held years ago by her mother. It’s not an easy task for her as fear, doubt and peer pressure get in her way, but friends, rivals and fans slowly encourage her to overcome her obstacles and become the best of the Battle Athletes.
Our story opens in a training ground in Antarctica where a bunch of young female athletes are racing across an obstacle course while dragging giant steamrollers. It urns out that after an event that wiped out most of humanity, humans rebuilt and set up training schools to try and get the top athletes. The best students go to a satellite University to compete for the coveted “Cosmo Beauty” title. What I like about this series is that it doesn’t take itself seriously. It uses all the regular elements of a sport anime, but it uses them in a tongue in cheek way, mixes in sci-fi elements and just plays up their absurdity in general. So, while it is predictable, the comedic elements keep the viewer invested and keep the action interesting. That being said, the series has its problems too. The biggest being that it’s pretty racist. For most of the athletes, the series will give some specific country or place of origin: China, Osaka, Russia, the United States, a specific encampment on the moon and so on. There’s one character, however, whose area of origin is a continent. Her name is Tanya and her area of origin is “Africa.” Not like that’s a huge continent or anything. To make it worse, she’s a very… “primitive,” is unfortunately the most apt term, character. She’s superstitious, she runs on all fours, she’s simple minded to an absurd degree, she even howls at one point. Who knows, maybe the nations of Africa were too busy making artistic and scientific advancements, but they didn’t want to offend the rest of the world so they found the dumbest, but most athletic girl they could, made up a bunch of superstitions to teach her and sent her on her way. They bet on the rest of the world being too clueless to notice that Africa has multiple countries. Another issue is that the het romance, although there’s very little of it, is really creepy and involves major age and power imbalances. On the positive side, the yuri romance, which there’s a lot more of, is pretty cute and well handled. Was Hideyuki trying to actively encourage lesbianism or did he just figure people would accept the het regardless of how screwed up it was and, consequently, he didn’t bother trying to make it good? The world may never know but this is the writer behind Read or Die, so the former seems likely.
The major characters are, for the most part, decently fleshed out and developed. The major exception being the aforementioned racist stereotype. One nice little touch is that Akari’s development arc is pretty realistic. She goes through both good and difficult times with certain elements becoming prominent based on which end of the spectrum she’s on. Each cycle she goes through becomes demonstrative of her growth. She becomes better at handling both extremes with maturity and grace as things progress. I also really liked Akari’s love interest, Kris. She’s just amazing.
The art is nothing special. It’s pretty standard late 90s fare. About the most visually interesting it gets is towards the end when certain elements are introduced that I can’t really go into without giving spoilers. That being said, it is competent artwork.
The voice acting in this is really good. You have some really great actresses like Hisakawa Aya, Kawakami Tomoko and Itou Miki being among the biggest names. The music is pretty nice as well.
The ho-yay factor is a 6/10. Primarily because of Akari and Kris. Although Akari and Ichino have their moments as well. There’s also the dynamic between Lahrii and Mylandah.
And that’s Battle Athletes. To be honest, I rather liked it, in spite of its racism. It’s a fun series with some good characters, and one really bad one. The jokes are usually very effective, Akari and Kris have a lot of cute moments and it is an entertaining watch, if you can ignore or forgive its issues. Final rating: 7/10. Next week I’ll look at Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge.
What is this anime about?
Anime turns from light comedy into quite serious spokon with drama about girls who try to overdo their own abilities, with blood, jealousy, broken bones and rivalry until the end. Sometimes serious scenes are mixed with slice of lifecomedy parts.
Anime pays particular attention to such kinds of sport as running and swimming, and also pole vaulting, tennis, air hockey and so on.
Also near to the end you will be surprised by some entertaining plot twist.
Mankind was nearly destroyed 3000 years ago, but then Earth was recovered and humanity colonized Solar system. Sport became important part of people`s everyday life. Sport academies were founded on each planet to find the best athletes to attend the University Satellite.
There the best sport girls can take part in The Big Competition to become a Cosmo Beauty – the best athlet in the universe. Why only girls can attend this university you will find out when that plot twist happen.
Main heroine is cute and gentle Akari Kanzaki. Her mother was the legendary Cosmo Beauty who set lots of records. Akari will have to go through the hard way and turn from a weak girl, who hides from the troubles in the cardboard box with inscription “Akari house” to strong athlet to keep her promise given to her mother. I liked Akari so much actually.
All other characters have their own peculiarities too. Ayla and Jessie compete so hard that fall unconscious while swimming, Ichino starts envy to Akari when she becomes better that her, but fate punishes Ichino for this wrongdoing.
Anna does a terrible thing to her sister to attend the university. Chris torments between her religion and sport, and also she is a lesbian and loves Akari. Tanya is mischievous african girl who worships to totems.
Average for those years, but I liked it.
Nice OP song “Tsubasa” by Yukari Asakura. Also I liked voice of Akari`s seiyuu Rio Natsuki.
Sometimes sport competitions in this anime finish a little bit naive, nevertheless it was so pleasant to watch. I definately recommend it for people who like sport, drama, girls and the relationships between them.
One of these young hopefuls is Akari Kanzaki, who… Let’s just face it, is completely hopeless. She’s slow, fragile, and is just as clueless as to what she’s doing at the Antarctic training site as we are. Being the daughter of Tomoe Midoh, the greatest Cosmo Beauty in the history of the Great competition, she has the genetic make-up that any other competitor would kill for, but her athletic abilities, and her attitude towards training, make her long-lasting lock on last place feel even more painful to watch. While some of her fellow students may have a soft spot for the doe-eyed lump, others see her as an insult to everything they’ve dedicated their lives towards, and aren’t shy about letting her know it. But could the apathetic Akari be more than meets the eye? Could her exterior, which is about as threatening as a rag doll, be hiding an untapped well of talent that’s just begging to be discovered? And even going beyond that, is there some darker truth hiding behind the Great competition itself? As the competition heats up, and the champs rise above the chumps, the 1003’rd Cosmo Beauty may turn out to be the most important one of all.
For Battle Athletes victory, we return to AIC, or Anime International company, only this time we’re looking at one of their earliest works, which came out in the late nineties. The series will be 20 years old this October, and as such, it looks extremely dated. This was a time when the moe style was nowhere to be seen, anime had to work harder to look good regardless of budget, and character designs ranged from cartoony to realistic, while rarely ever straying away from believable human anatomy. Artwork was a lot less polished, and physiques were exaggerated a lot more than they are today. For the time it came out in, Battle Athletes victory looks really good… When it wants to. The animation in this title is heavily inconsistent, and it works for the most part. For athletic competitions that can’t be written off with cheap budget saving tricks(And a few of them definitely are), the animation can be straight up gorgeous. I’ve heard it said that one of the most difficult things to animate is character’s legs when they’re walking and running, and yeah, I’ve seen enough failed attempts to understand this.
A lot of work goes into the simple visual of feet hitting and pressing back off of the ground, which is why a lot of animation tends to focus on above the feet, if they’re not just resorting to bouncing the image of the character’s face. In spite of this, I’m not exaggerating when I say that Battle Athletes Victory makes running animation look easy. They can pull it off at any speed, from fast running that doesn’t give you time to analyze it, to slow-motion running that perfectly captures every single movement of the body to the point that I have to wonder just how much live action research they must have done beforehand. A lot of money clearly got poured into these scenes, because most of the other sports featured in this show aren’t really as impressive. That’s not to say they look bad, but there’s a lot of close-ups, a lot of short bursts of action, and occasionally even repeated animation cycles that are meant to give the illusion of physical activity, and thanks to some smart editing, it almost always works. About half of the action in this series is running, of course, so it’s still an impressive looking series.
Well, for the most part, at least. The budget gets spread too thin at times, and when they run into trouble with it, the quality just abruptly tanks. There are sequences, and a couple of entire episodes, that look less like a high budget show from the late nineties and more like a low budget show from the early nineties. A lot of the material between competitions is just characters talking, interacting and having the camera freeze on them during internal monologues, and this does worlds of good for the budget, but at it’s worst, even scenes like those wind up looking like ass. The character designs, while imaginative, don’t follow the most attractive color palette, making the artwork look kinda grungy at times, and since the characters are mostly designed to carry realistic human anatomy, there are only a few of them that can get away with deformed anime expressions… Some of the more serious characters, such as Akari’s rival Jessie, just look terrifying when attempting to do the same. The color saturation and use of lighting are beautiful, but there are too many instances where the artwork looks rough, and over-all unfinished.
The music, while pretty repetitive, is unbelievable. As with any good sports-related media, the story has a deeply emotional feel to it, and the music composed by Yoshikazu Suo was clearly designed to augment these emotions. Some of the happier moments between competitions will be played alongside the upbeat “There’s no Point Unless You Goal,” actual competition will be accompanied by the intense pounding beat of Battle Program, and for those more devastating and heart-breaking moments… Of which there is a surprising amount… We’ll get the violin track Adagio of Despair. Character themes were very thoughtfully put together and instantly reminiscent of the characters they’re attached to… Even when that’s primarily because they’re based on the races of extremely stereotypical characters, which i’m going to get to in a minute… But the highlight is Wings, the opening to the series, and easily on of my favorite of all time. Joyful and inspirational, and full of imagery that gives each character a fair dose of screen time while throwing in subtle hints about the series. Too bad you only get to see it once per disk… No, I’m not kidding. The same can be said for the sweet Honeybee, the closing theme.
The English dub is a bit hit or miss, but I still prefer it over the Japanese by a great deal, even if the writers made a few embarrassing mistakes in it, such as mistakenly writing a flashback scene as a current scene, or having Akari say another character’s name before actually learning it. I can kind of imagine mistakes like those happening in the old days, but it would be unheard of today. Hey, at least they didn’t try to crowbar in any pointless references to obscure current events, am I right? Anyway, the cast is full of Geneon actors from the late nineties, including the legendary Lia Sargent as the main character Akari, whom she plays very straightforward, innocent and full of heart, even as she grows from a spoiled and co-dependent slacker into a stronger, more confidant idealist, constantly changing while still sounding like the same person at heart. Wendee Lee plays the gruff Osakan native Itchino, in what’s probably one of my favorite roles of hers, as she balances the characters softer and tougher sides fluidly. Steve Blum also gets a small role as the University Satellite headmaster, Grant Oldman, although it’s not a very demanding role, his presence is still appreciated.
Bridget Hoffman pulls double duty as both the Chinese stereotype character Ling Pha, which she performs in a comedically exaggerated accent, and then in a much more dignified role as Anna, who… Like one of her more recent characters… Is a sweet, diminutive girl with a dark, potentially dangerous side that’s hiding beneath the surface. As a treat to any Trigun fans that happen to be reading this, Dorothy Elias-Fahn plays Kris Christopher, a strange but strong-willed girl who has a deep, unrequited crush on Akari. So it’s basically the Milly and Meryl pairing you thought would never happen. Also, as an interesting for Ghost in the Shell fans, two different Motoko Kusanagi actors… Mary Elizabeth McGlynn from the anime and Mimi Woods from the video game, play characters that never actually meet or speak to each other. They’re both good, but McGlynn is phenomenal at how she plays an emotionless character who finds emotion through competition. Julie Maddalena probably had the only bad performance, but I don’t really blame her, because she was playing an annoying and entirely problematic character, so she was probably doing the best she could with what she was given. Finally, we get Jamieson Price, and as much as I’d like to go into detail about why he’s so amazing in this, his character is unfortunately mired in spoilers.
So if you haven’t realized by now, this show is really freaking weird. It’s possibly even one of the weirdest anime I’ve ever seen. There are a ton of strange anime out there that just shove weirdness into your face until it hits diminishing returns and becomes passé, such as Hare + Guu and Excel Saga, but with victory, the weirdness is paced in a way that it can keep consistently shocking you, as each strange detail that gets added to the story makes it’s impact and then settles neatly into the reality of the series’ universe, becoming commonplace for both the viewer and the characters… Until the next kooky detail comes along. So what if one of the main characters has a pet cow that’s allowed to live in her dorm with her? That’s just Gyuube, don’t mind her. So what if an alien turns a girl into a car? those aliens are just like that. So what if one of the show’s only male characters needs a constant supply of chocolate to survive? So what if some characters have unexplained jewels embedded in the foreheads, while other girls don’t? This series takes place in a strange world, with a strange premise, and it seems to revel in the idea of completely ignoring your expectations.
To it’s credit, though, it’s not like it tries to trick you into letting your guard down for it. Victory lets you know right off the bat how weird it’s going to be right from the first shot of episode 1, where the athletes at the Antarctica Training Center are in the middle of an important assessment test, racing while pulling gigantic rolling weights behind them. They’re not just pulling these multi-ton items behind them unhindered, however… They’re moving over rough terrain, avoiding booby traps, and even using their weights as weapons against each other. The results are of course catastrophic, as them main character(Whose been in dead last nearly the entire race) accidentally launches into the air and takes out a media reporter’s hot air balloon. And if that’s not enough, right in the second episode, there’s a biking competition where the contestants are riding on a roller-coaster track, which is designed not only to go up and down, around curves and loop-de-loop like a real roller coaster, but which can even be moved and rearranged DURING THE RACE from a control room overlooking the action.
If you can get through episode 2 without picking up on the fact that this series will leave no shark unjumped, you must have been fiddling with your phone the entire time. Not everything got the sci-fi treatment, of course… We get more normal sports like racing, soccer, tennis and the like. But when it came to making up weird sports, this series goes balls to the wall with it’s level of creativity and imagination. Like a game of pool where the balls are huge, and you have to break them by bowling. Or zero-gravity lacrosse that adds several new dimensions to the game. Then there’s my personal favorite, when they play air hockey, but the puck is as big as a dinner plate, and it’s literally hovering in mid-air. There are others, of course, but in most of these events, the human limit is constantly being pushed and broken, even before we see runners that can accelerate fast enough to create shock waves, and there’s seemingly no rule against injuring your opponent in the middle of battle, as people being taken out with grueling injuries is seen as little other than an elimination.
I’d normally be tearing apart a show like this over how ridiculous it is, how little sense it makes, and how almost none of it could feasibly happen in the real world, even in a dystopian future. Hell, there ARE some plot details I can’t get over, but that’s just the thing… They’re plot details, not connected to the weird pieces of sports logic throughout the series. What ultimately saves this show from being too stupid to excuse is just how sincere it all is. Yeah, the featured sporting events may be ridiculously beyond human capabilities,
but to it’s credit, the athletes performing them are constantly TRAINING themselves beyond human capabilities, and the final story arc gives us an actual solid reason(albeit still just as ridiculous) for why they need to train to surpass conceivable human limits. It never feels like their abilities are undeserved, either… The characters train their asses off, and even when you don’t get to see them do so, you can easily tell from their attitudes what their approach is to training as well as just how serious they are about it. Those that don’t are considered ‘naturals,’ and are treated as anomalies.
So, ultimately, what saves this series from being laughable is it’s mastery over character writing. Every single character who gets even a mild level of importance is given a distinct arc, full of development and memorable moments. Akari easily gets the most of it, because in a way that’s almost reminiscent of Goku, every time she breaks into a new level of ability, there’s another major lesson she has to learn, and another serious challenge for her to overcome, and they all seem to make sense, despite rarely being predictable and once or twice relying on some shaky logic. I went into some detail about this in my review of Gunbuster last year, but throughout the course of the story, Akari is forced to evolve and grow as a character, from a whiny, spoiled little doll to a fierce competitor who can shave significant time off of her running speed just by reading a tip in a book. She has to overcome limits and challenges that are really more psychological than physical, and she’s not the only one. Everyone in this show has demons they have to deal with in order to grow and develop.
There’s a lot of ways to bring depth to your writing, and one of those ways is to have your story be about something. It can be a theme, it can be an idea, but it has to be consistent. Battle Athletes victory is a story about Truth. I don’t mean abstractly, like learning how not to lie, I mean deep, complex truth. The truths we hide from others, the truths we hide from ourselves, and even the truths that get buried throughout history. I said before that there’s a lot of character development in this series, but more specifically, every character has a hidden truth… Sometimes multiple… They they need to uncover within themselves in order to grow. An emotionless girl who’s been trained to be an athletic machine will be forced to realize that the only thing she truly cares about is beating her rival. A prideful overachiever will be devastated to realize there’s another plane of greatness she’ll never be able to reach. The goofball will realize just how much winning the competition meant to her, when she no longer has food or friends around to comfort her. You may train your best friend, only to be forced to acknowledge how much being better than them means to you when she starts to close in on you. Hell, the most dishonest character in the cast, Ling Pha, is arguably the only one who never really develops.
But the most important truth in the series, to me, is the one that rang true to me a few years ago. I’ve seen this series multiple times, and one of those rewatches happened when I was having trouble at work. I was slowing down, not really giving it my all, and after a while of it, I got called into the office. They asked me what was wrong, why I wasn’t producing results, and I said I didn’t know, claiming that I was busting my ass… Words I almost choked on, because even I knew they were bullshit. This all changed when I realized that I was doing the same thing Akari was doing. Whenever I was faced with a task that looked too difficult, I’d automatically accept that it was impossible, and I’d use that excuse to not try. I didn’t have a friend like Itchan to wake me up to this fact, but it was true, I was sabotaging myself, making excuses for failures that hadn’t happened yet. As soon as I realized this, I put a stop to it. I decided that no job was impossible, no matter how unreasonable. Ever since that day, I’ve never given up, I’ve never made excuses for myself, and I’ve continued to be employed as a result. It’s easy for a story to teach life lessons to kids, but when you can change the life and outlook of an adult viewer, there’s something special there.
Having said that, this series isn’t perfect. It has some flaws, and they go deep. There are constant logical derps… The true nature of the character Eric might have you pulling your hair out… But it’s biggest problem is it’s over-use of harmful and insulting stereotypes. The Russian girl is an emotionless machine, the Chinese girl is a dishonest cheater who’s always trying to sell stuff to people, the lesbian is a predatory lech who pays no regard to consent or mutual attraction(think the black girl from Pitch Perfect but not quite as bad), and the black girl… Holy shit, the black girl. Yeah, there’s a character here who’s from Africa, and her character is so racist that even Paula Dean would be insulted. She’s likeable, don’t get me wrong, but if this were an American cartoon, it would be one of the Censored 11. She runs around on all fours, uses her nose like a blood hound, is a “Natural runner,” and there’s an entire episode dedicated to her running around school in a tribal uniform, worshipping a totem god and painting everyone’s faces. There’s also a lot of lame jokes, such as the gimmick of a trio of hijackers, and… Okay, honestly, the whole episode that began the University Satellite arc kinda sucked.
It’s second biggest problem, right behind the racism issue, is the availability of the series. I mean, the lack thereof. Battle Athletes victory was available from Pioneer, which would eventually become Geneon, which would eventually go out of business. It’s been out of print for almost 20 years, and I can’t find any information about anybody trying to rescue it. If that’s not bad enough, the DVDs that it’s actually available on are pieces of shit, dated in all the worst ways. First of all, as I mentioned before, you only get the opening once per disk. That’s because it uses Dragonball Z’s marathon feature, only it’s not a feature, you don’t have a choice. Opening, three to four back-to-back episodes, closing. And the dubbers plastered white text over the opening instead of trying to avoid blocking the visuals. You can find these DVDs for fairly cheap online, and if you’re trying to get all 8 of them, you may even get lucky with a fifty dollar bundle on Ebay. The original OVA is also available stateside, but the manga is not. but seriously, if you’re reading this and actually have the right connections, PLEASE get this series rereleased. Discotek’s been into that kind of thing lately.
It’s not often that you hear about an anime changing someone’s life. They can turn you off from violence, help you to overcome prejudices, change your attitude towards your own life, make you appreciate your loved ones in new ways… Battle Athletes victory is a series that literally, tangibly changed my life, and I’m pretty sure I’d have lost my job and a significant portion of my livelihood without it. I won’t BS you by calling it a masterpiece, that’s not true… The visual quality is inconsistent, the logic isn’t always sound, it’s only black character is too much like Rob Schneider from The Animal, but if you’re able to get past all of that, this series is beautiful. It’s full of heart, has an undeniable passion for athletics and competition, and it’s always finding new ways to make you cry, without having to rely on any cliché modern day tragedy porn. There’s nothing manipulative about it, just genuine emotion and sincere sportsmanship. The sci-fi elements are also a blast, and while the final stretch may have jumped the shark a little too far… Even I’ll admit that… It’s very rarely unenjoyable, even then. It’s an obscure title, but it’s well worth the effort it’ll take to find it. I give Battle Athletes Victory an 8/10.
7: Hyper Police
MAL Score: 6.93
Sasahara Natsuki is a poor bounty hunter in a world where monsters and humans live together. Most of her cases involve monsters infringing upon the rights of humans, who are protected by law from their generally more powerful neighbors. Being half-human and half cat-beast, Natsuki straddles the two societies and tries to understand and respect both while enforcing the law. She is assisted by a werewolf named Batanen who is afraid to admit he loves her; another werewolf named Tommy; and a Kyubi fox demon named Sakura who has her own plans–which include eating Natsuki to complete her her nine tails and thereby her magical powers.
I like having fun, and the nineties was a time when anime was okay with being stupid and cartoony for the sake of entertainment. Nowadays, you very rarely get that sense of fun when watching anime. Maybe it’s just me and my nostalgia. Maybe I have a soft spot for Hyper Police’s style. Maybe I’m going to overrate Hyper Police purely because of my love for this sort of anime.
So take that into consideration when reading this review.
Hyper Police takes place in a world where monsters, humans, and gods coexist, though not exactly on friendly terms. Humans are given all kinds of government aid and many aren’t big fans of the monsters. Natsuki is a bounty hunter in Tokyo, where she works with her friends to take down the big bad guys and earn enough money to live. She’s a cat girl, her love interest is a werewolf, and there’s another werewolf who tags along.
When Sakura, a nine-tailed fox with only eight and one-fifth tail, sees Natsuki’s lighting attacks in action, she decides that she wants to steal that power to gain her final tail. She joins the bounty hunting agency to get closer and, of course, eventually befriends Natsuki and decides against killing her.
It’s a pretty basic set-up for an episodic anime. Very early on, though, the bounty hunting agency closes down and everyone goes their separate ways, which leads me to wonder what all the set-up was for in the first place. We’re given time with characters at the beginning who barely matter in the least. That’s not to say there are any characters who are given too much time and don’t make an impact later on, but I feel that the abruptness of the shift in plot was too early and didn’t have enough build-up.
This, truthfully, sums up the rest of the plot. A samurai from the sixteenth century shows up and after two or three episodes he’s married to Sakura. One episode she’s completely infatuated with him, the next it opens with babies running around. I don’t take offense to moving the plot quickly, but sometimes you should build things up much more before you let major plot events like a marriage happen. It’s bad enough the marriage isn’t even shown and the characters aren’t given enough time to gel before it happens. Later on, there’s an episode that makes you wonder why they even got married in the first place.
This problem is compounded by the tonal shifts. It starts as a bounty hunting adventure, becomes a sort of comedy, starts dealing with relationships, then toward the end gets serious again with the idea of humans having racial problems with monsters.
That’s way too much jumping around. If Hyper Police had focused on perhaps one or two of these facets rather than juggling so many, it would have benefitted. Instead it juggles romance, comedy, action, and a serious plot and doesn’t do so very well.
But nobody remembers Hyper Police for any of these things; they remember it for the cute girls! And Hyper Police delivers the goods. Cat girls, fox girls, dog girls, bounty hunter girls, prison warden girls!
That said, the male characters are hopelessly in love with our female characters. Batounan is in love with Natsuki despite the fact she’s like, half his age. She’s in love with him too, so I guess it all works out in the end. But then there’s a guy named Tomy who is in love with a girl who works at the prison and he winds up in all kinds of silly situations trying to admit his love to her.
The dub is…tolerable. There are no good voice actors which might contribute to why this anime, despite having a dub and DVD release, is so little known in the states. Names are pronounced one way, then another , then the original way. Some of the voice actors seem to be phoning it in, especially Poe’s, who speaks in this airy, bored way that isn’t even convincing despite Poe’s uncaring attitude. It’s a real amateur hour.
The music is alright with a decent opening and overused tracks during the show. The animation, like the music, is just average.
So what do I like so much about Hyper Police?
It’s got cute girls, it’s definitely funny, the setting is fun, and there is a definite sense of silliness that pervades the anime and kept me watching. It’s got a lot of problems and could benefit from better pacing and writing, but it is too entertaining to pan for its failings.
I can’t recommend it to everyone. Hell, I couldn’t really wholeheartedly recommend it without knowing you well. It’s a perfect example of nineties cheese, and Lord knows I love cheese.
The story follows Natsuki who is a rookie bounty and half human/half cat in a world where humans, monsters, and gods live together after mankind has fallen many years back as now in this time they call it the holy era. Natsuki and the other bounty hunters jobs is to keep the peace from many monsters and sometimes human who are trying to breaking it. That’s the plot and here is my main gripe. Its episodic. That’s the reason why I’m disappointed because there is no plot to speak of until when its at the very end of the show. There are times that does show a plot but mostly its just filler. But they are entertaining enough to see and the comedy is pretty decent enough. So while the plot is non-excision, at least it does a good job to try to entertain me which is why I give this section a five.
The art is ok at best. It doesn’t look great but its not that bad ether. Character designs look well enough and the action scenes are well fluid in animation wise. I like how the world looks as it really shows that it use to be all beautiful before the holy era began. So the art is while not great, it is fine for what it is.
The op by AYA is really one of the catchiest songs that I’ve heard and the ending by Yuko and Chiyako is also my favorite ending so for. But what about the other music. Well they didn’t impress me as its like any generic music you hear in the 90’s. Nothing special but it fits and they don’t sound out of place.
English dubs vs english subs:
This is where I’m gonna decide which track you should listen. The dub is ok at best as its not that bad compare to the other 90’s and 80’s dubs but I do have my gripes. Batanen voice is a little to deep in my opinion, Natsuki is too high and annoying! And secondary characters are hit or miss. One voice that I praise is Dorothy who did the voice for Sakura as she really gives her character personality. Now I only watch this in dub as I couldn’t find the japanese version online. Its like it doesn’t exist and I look high and low for it. So if your gonna see this then skip if you want subs but those who wan’t dubs then this is good to listen to if you can handle the voice of the main character(seriously her dub voice is annoying).
Winner: English dub by default unless if you know where the subs is then the english subs is the winner.
The cast is decent enough to follow. There really isn’t much depth to them but there personalities are very good and clever even if I have seen this before. They kinda develop as the episodes go by but they still act the same. So in terms of characters they are enjoyable but don’t expect them to develop them well.
I did enjoy this when I watch it but as I go on, it kinda drop. I was expecting at least some sort of plot line like how the world is form because it didn’t explain it well. But if your in for something to waste your time then this is for you.But if your hoping for good story telling and character development then skip it.
Hyper Police’s world is very detailed – from the visual design that always brings new ideas of monsters, characters and mechanics, to the the dialogues that explore laws, ethics and lifestyle, it almost feels like a real parallel universe.
Some episodes focus on side characters and so you get a lot of different approaches to this world. There’s a variety ensemble of at least 10 recurring characters, each unique and interesting enough to receive a spin off of its own.
Almost every character has a love interest and the main couple, Batanen and Natsuki, is one of the sweetest ones I’ve seen. I was on the edge of my sit for every small development between them and it was extremely fun watching their chemistry.
The show never gets repetitive or boring. The writers control the pace with a tight grip, always finding new character interactions or situations to put them in to keep the narrative fresh.
The episodic structure of the show sometimes feel forced, but if you’re looking for an epic story with drama, twists and turns you’re in the wrong show. Still, the show has a story continuity and there are some really unexpected character and world developments.
If you’re looking for a fun entertainment with light drama you must watch this anime. Highly recommended.
6: Dr. Slump
MAL Score: 6.99
In Penguin Village, humans live alongside talking animals and objects. Senbei Norimaki is one of these humans, and he’s an inventor with the lofty dream of creating the world’s best robot girl.
The product of his efforts is Arale, but depending on your definition of perfect, she’s anything but! Not only is Arale severely nearsighted, but she also has no common sense! At least she has super-strength, though that often proves to be a setback as well.
Although she means well, Arale only causes trouble for her neighbors in the whimsical Penguin Village!
5: YAT Anshin! Uchuu Ryokou
Japanese: ＹＡＴ 安心！宇宙旅行
MAL Score: 7.00
The emergence of the dimensional tunnel sets the background for a new space era in which space travelling can be designated to planets outside the solar system. Hoshiwatari Goro is a space traveller who goes in search for his father whose whereabouts are shrouded with obscurity. His only link to his father is an old photograph. In order to attain his goal, Goro participates in a young space travelling company known as “YAT” which organises tours to different planets. However, in the midst of his journey, he was involved in an accident which resulted in the destruction of the spaceship. As a form of compensation, he had to work for YAT and this sparks off a train of space adventures for him.
MAL Score: 7.12
Sorao is an ordinary student who lives an ordinary everyday life of a typical kid, accidentally makes friends with two aliens stranded here on Earth. His life changes as he decides to help them find a way to get home. When they do reach the aliens’ homeworld, Sorao along with Miki, discovered a blood feud between two different tribes. Things gone awry as the tribes’ representatives try to out do one another in search of the missing treasure of the past with the help of an uncovered clue.
3: Saber Marionette J
English: Saber Marionette J
MAL Score: 7.34
In the distant future, since the Earth has become overpopulated, efforts to find and colonize on other planets have begun. However, one of the ships, the “Mesopotamia” malfunctions and all but 6 of its inhabitants are all killed. the remaining 6 manage to escape to a nearby planet named “Terra ll “, which is similar to Earth in many respects. However, all of them are male. Therefore, as to not let their efforts go to waste, they begin to set up 6 countries and to reproduce through cloning and genetic engineering. however, there are still no women, and to make up for it they create lifelike advanced female androids called “Marionettes” which do everyday chores and work. However, they are all emotionless machines. But one day, a ordinary boy named Otaru finds and awakens 3 special battle type Marionettes that have emotions due to a “Maiden Circuit” within them. It’s up to him then to teach them and allow their emotions to grow, and when a nearby country threatens with world domination, it’s up to to Otaru and his “human” Marionettes to protect their country.
The story revolves around Otaru Mamiya and his three Marionettes named Lime, Cherry and Bloodberry, but they are not just an ordinary ordinary marionettes, they have a system called “Maiden Circuit” that act like the source of their emotion thats why they can laugh and cry. A futuristic setting in a planet named Terra – II in the country of Japones where there are no female and all male are born from cloning. Female was replaced by Female machine called Marionettes. Thus begin their wacky adventure under one roof. The gags are old but still funny specially when the punchline is hanagata. The story is not always about humor, there is drama also, its the main point of the story on how the three marionette grows emotionally thru happiness and hardship. The anime’s story is slow pace but not boring so you will have time to enjoy how the it will develop.
Meet Otaru a normal boy who live a normal life, kind and hard working . One day he accidentally activated a Marionette named Lime. Lime a marionette with a cute and childish personality, always eat and play around and loves Otaru a lot. She’s my favorite marionette because whenever she’s around the surrounding become cheerful. Next is Cherry the second marionette Otaru awakened. She always give a maiden aura, in cuteness i think its in par with Lime. She loves to cook and more importantly loves to daydream about his master Otaru.The third was Bloodberry, she’s a how should i say it… a muscle woman? Well she’s not as cute as the first two but she emits an older woman aura, she has the biggest breast among the three and loves to seduce Otaru. For side character, let see, hmm… Hanagata hes a loser so lets forgot about him (Hanagata: What did you just say?) just joking, he always introduce himself as Otaru’s bestfriend, a pesky character who appears anywhere near Otaru.
Otaru, his design is quite simple, passable for a normal character.For the character design of the three marionettes, Lime, since she loves to move around designing loose costume fits nicely with her character. Cherry, she’s loves doing housework so the cutely designed pink kimono si looks good in her. Bloodberry with the blood on her red suits her best, well only her hair is red, she got the most daring design because of her nicely proportioned body and big-sister like character.
The Opening song is good, you will like it the more you listened to it. Same goes for the Ending song, with a great visualization it will make you listened to the song as well. For The Seiyuu’s, I really like the japanese voice for Lime, Megumi Hayashibara. It match perfectly with Limes personality, cute and playful. I dont like the english dub, it gives a kind of feeling that its not Lime-like. Same goes with Cherry, i like her polite voice. When u talk about Bloodberry, that means Power, power in the voice but with a sweetness of an older women and the seiyuu deliver it nicely.
After many years of not seeing this anime (10 years +) it give me a nostalgic feeling and with that i enjoy it a lot. I laughed in the funny scenes and got teary in those touching moment. I couldn’t ask for more… 😀
if u read some weird grammar, its my bad haha, ore ningen da mono~
The premise of the series is that sometime in the future, a group of 6 explorers made an emergency crash onto the Planet of Terra. There was the inconvenient problem that they landed without any females. Rather than wither off on this distant planet, the six decided to make clones of themselves, and thus repopulated the planet, but without females. The compensation for the lack of females is the development of female-appearing robots called marionettes, who can function like a human, but can’t experience feelings of their own, except, that is, for a few special marionettes whom our intrepid protagonist discovers, leading to ever more grand adventures until the fate of the planet is at stake.
A few complaints with this show are that it has a very obvious plot, most of the jokes aren’t funny, an irritating worm put in for comic relief really degrades this series, and a lot of the story is patronizing. I think this series is made especially for kids. The OP & ED are quite catchy, the animation is bad by today’s standards, and the characters are a bit flat. It’s still good clean fun though, worth watching with popcorn and friends.
It came to be this way because of an accident on a colonization ship that left six men alive on the surface, and they use genetics to populate the planet of Terra II. The direct clones of the six survivors rule the six nations that exist on the planet, Otaru being from Japoness which looks like feudal Japan.
Otaru tries to grow the personality of the three Marionettes throughout the series while having to deal with Gartland’s (Germany during World War II) ruler Faust and his own set of three Marionettes. The story is alright if you don’t have a problem with small details that could be considered giant plot holes with a lot of thought.
The art is dated even for a show from 12 years ago. The marionettes look vibrant, but completely out of place. The backgrounds of the other nations seemed to have been picked because they are easier to depict. Action scenes look merely average. It’s not horrific, but it would be hard to call it good.
Characters are a much stronger point. Otaru is not your typical male harem lead. The marionettes show diversity in character as the series progress from one-dimensional to something more.
Overall, Saber Marionette J is a solid, if not spectacular, series. It sets the table well for the OVA and second series that followed, though a conclusion could have been provided in this series if they really would have wanted it.
2: Kidou Senkan Nadesico
English: Martian Successor Nadesico
MAL Score: 7.51
Akito doesn’t want to fight. Despite a childhood spent on the anime Gekiganger 3, a Mecha show, he’d rather cook than pilot a Mecha. Fate intervenes when his home on Mars is destroyed, and he is transported instantly to the Earth, mysteriously. He has questions no one can answer fully, but follows a girl from a chance meeting in hopes to discover any. The girl, Yurika, is captain of the private battleship Nadesico, and in order to follow her, he enlists as their cook. Possessing the nanite implants that allow to control mechas, he’s a handy backup pilot for the mechas of the Nadesico. He joins a crew bent on avenging Mars that seems to be composed of only misfits, otakus, and ditzes; however, in reality, they are handpicked experts. They take their own private war back to Mars to face the harsh reality that life may not always be like a Giant Mecha series.
Nadesico is a love letter to the space/mecha genre, both laughing at it and along with it with the same level of panache as Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
It parodies the genre with clichés, and honours it by keeping to them itself. For example, Nadesico lampoons over the top sacrifices via its in-show 70’s/80’s inspired mecha anime ‘Gekigangar 3’ then does the same thing itself anyway, revelling in the genre trope. It has a young adult unwillingly thrust into a mecha on an almost daily basis, yet his mecha is pink for crying out loud.
It’s actually a smart comedy because beyond the love for the mecha genre they’re playing with, the writers are self-aware enough to acknowledge the details that a serious story would tackle, such as the (contractual) consequences of a corporation funding a military ship, funerals for the deceased, the effects of anime on viewers, and the different cultures of Earth, but never stopping the laughs along the way. They even justify the sillier stuff in the show such as having such an airhead for a captain, by again satirising corporate tendencies. (the concept of tailor-made captains because of technology handling the rest of the ship)
The backbone of this show, the factor that keeps it from descending into meaningless skit show histrionics is the attention to detail, on both a narrative level and thematic level. It has the enthusiasm for sci-fi so much that it goes to lengths to explain many of its technologies using nano-machines, cyber-networking and boson particle manipulation and any number of concepts that any avid reader of hard sci-fi will automatically recognise. Bear in mind this was released in the mid-90s before nano technology had hit the mainstream media as it has today, in the way it’s overridden nearly every mainstream sci-fi story as an explanation for fantastical stuff occurring on screen.
On top of that, the show for the most part avoids one of my own little pet peeves, that of ships in space taking hits from lasers and not blowing up instantly, as if they were back on Earth and only got hit by a few stray bullets. This little annoyance is avoided by the usage of actual force fields bouncing lasers off of the hulls. The animators even show waves in the ocean peeling backwards as the Nadesico hovers above.
It’s this trivial, yet much welcomed, attention to detail that helps elevate the anime above mere comedy. It’s not just about making you laugh, but immersing you in its world with consistency and delivering a genuinely engaging story. Rather than be a gimmick, the Gekigangar anime actually becomes more and more relevant to the main story in interesting ways that are better left unsaid in a review.
The story flows between cliché and creativity every five minutes constantly surprising you. Individuals who in no way belong on a ship are brought together anyway, characters who look like they’ll be in main roles are dispatched speedily, enemy ships get progressively stronger, generic alien bad guys are revealed to be not so faceless or generic after all, a brilliant time-jumping Memento-esque episode that riffs on Evangelion’s psychoanalytical finale in a humorous (yet always honourable) fashion also pops up, it’s just a complete mix.
And every single character on the Nadesico gets some level of development, which is no mean feat considering the comedic nature of the show. Even Nadesico’s successor, TTGL, didn’t develop every character to any kind of level (Leeron for example), so when Nadesico goes out of its way to give a little detail to the past of a random pilot who you figure is only there to give bad puns, well you really appreciate it.
The actual plot of Nadesico when you strip everything else away is actually pretty interesting, which is why the anime works, it’s built on a good foundation. What starts as a generic ‘faceless aliens invading Earth’ story ends with the characters and viewer not wanting a victory for either side at all. The Nadesico ship itself belongs to a corporation, hence justifying the motley crew of misfits and the airhead of a captain. Because their superior technology is mostly automatic the captain was chosen for her looks, tailor-made for the crew’s emotional wellbeing. It’s crazy, it’s cynical, but you just know corporations could be that stupid to do such a thing one day, obsessed as they are with end results and not the methodology to get there.
The mega corporation responsible for the Nadesico ship is also a brilliant way to force conflict and danger upon it, from both Earth’s self-defence forces who don’t like the idea of corporations messing with military matters, and of course the invading aliens who don’t like the Nadesico for its pesky meddling. This is much more interesting than having a generic plotline where a military ship goes ‘rogue’ for the billionth time in a sci-fi tale. (ok, that happens later as well) As the threats to Earth get larger, and more time passes, uneasy alliances are formed, love triangles are formed then imploded, revelations are uncovered, suppressed memories are, well, unsuppressed.
The first three episodes are perfection, throwing you headfirst into its pitch-perfect comedic tones with hilarious stuff involving humour on both a physical and meta level. The voice acting is oldschool 90’s assured goodness. Nadesico has some of the best and funniest ‘Engrish’ I’ve ever heard in anime. The soundtrack is also very decent; nothing too memorable except for the OP music, but the soundtrack isn’t too generic either.
So as stated earlier, Nadesico shares much in common with TTGL for its skill in blending irreverent humour with its homage to a very popular genre of anime, but a key difference between the two is that TTGL is not afraid of leaping outside the box and tossing physics to the side to bring almost-abstract comedic imagery, whereas Nadesico is always weighed down by consistent logic whether in physics or narrative.
This is to say, no matter what crazy stuff happens in Nadesico, unlike in TTGL, there’s always a reason behind it. In TTGL Kamina’s sword can stretch to infinity for no reason other than to make you laugh. In Nadesico, for example, there’s a reason why only certain people can boson jump, it’s not used for convenience’s sake. Nadesico is actually a better homage in that it uses meta-humour with the Gekigangar TV show, not for a gimmick but as part of the actual plot. Nadesico is actually a decent analysis and commentary on anime. The latter half of the show ups the drama and emotion, and pretty much blatantly celebrates the very medium itself with bold proclamations that are infectious.
Nadesico is an essential anime for sci-fi/comedy fans. Observe a young guy with suppressed memories get pushed around the solar system by a blue-haired witless captain of a White Base-ish ship blowing up insect-looking baddies while watching mecha anime in his spare time. The ending is far from cliché, however much it will leave some viewers disgruntled for its unresolved story, the fact is that everything of importance in the narrative actually IS resolved; it’s a cliché-avoiding ending that doesn’t resort to what Gekigangar, the mirror of most mecha anime, does.
It doesn’t force an ending on you with cheap happy shortcuts, Nadesico is better than this, going at its own assured pace always treating story and characters with respect. If you’re the type that just has to have every single plot point wrapped up and a more ‘complete’ ending, then there is the subsequent Animage Grand Prix Award-winning movie Nadesico The Movie awaiting you, though the movie is a separate beast entirely, different in tone from the series.
So there is only one Nadesico folks, one specific combination of humour, drama and space hijinks that hits the right spot each time. “Gekiga In!”
STORY – I guess I will start with the story, the fantastic story. The story is mostly a parody of more modern mecha anime, which just so happens to include a parody of your typical 70s/80s mecha anime. Fans of every genre will find something to like within this series. Fans of harems, romance, action, mecha, comedy, parody, and drama will all find something to like here. It’s simply a jack of all trades among anime. Truly one of the more diverse series. After the halfway mark, the story begins to answer questions found earlier in the series. The story takes a life of its own and is no longer just a simple parody, and several twists take place. Though the comedy fades slightly, I’m willing to bet it will be near impossible for anyone to drop the series at this point as it still retains its delightful addictiveness.
ART – Yes the art is from the mid to late 90s which may cause a problem for some people. It did for me as I’m very much now used to the extravagant art of today’s anime. There’s nothing really wrong with it, it’s just dated. I did notice some problems with Haruka Minato though. For some reason it just seemed like she was differently drawn than the other characters. Once you get by the fact that it’s from the the mid to late 90s, you’ll have no problem enjoying the art. Another thing to point out is how well the 70s/80s stereotypical mecha anime characters are included into a more modern mecha series.
SOUND – The opening theme, “You Get to Burning” is insanely catchy and will probably stick in your head for awhile. The ending theme, “Watashi Rashiku” is equally as good, and will probably follow suit, and stick in your head as well. The bgm is typical science fiction fare. It fits the setting, and none of the music is out of place, which is great, considering the diversity of this series.
CHARACTER – One of the best features of this show. You get great diversity within the cast. The tomboyish girl, the moe girl, the ditz, the justice loving guy, the “afraid to fight” guy, etc…etc. The best part is how wacky the crew is, yet they are all extremely qualified for their positions. You’ll see what I mean when you first see Yurika. The relationships between characters are also really well done. You’ll feel sorry for some, while hating several others. In my opinion that equates to a great series. To fully appreciate the cast, if it weren’t obvious enough, the series must be watched in full. Also, I feel it’s near impossible to not fall in love with Ruri, you’ll see what I mean.
ENJOYMENT – The series is highly addictive and very entertaining. When you’re not laughing, you could be feeling one of many emotions guaranteed while watching this show. It has its dramatic moments, but you’ll be mostly laughing throughout the series. It’s a great anime, and I feel it would be very hard to not appreciate at least a little.
OVERALL – I make it my goal to watch a series that usually places among those considered the best in anime, and though I just finished this series, I have to say it is one of the best I’ve ever seen. It was highly addictive and hilarious. It had great characters, and a decent plot. Oh and did I mention it was hilarious? One of the best features is the diversity of genres within Martian Successor Nadesico. There is literally something there for fans of nearly any genre to appreciate (except for horror). I would certainly make it in my best interest to view this series as soon as possible.
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or new to mecha anime, Nadesico doesn’t fail in its quest to poke fun at its ancestry and let you know about it. It’s rather fun to watch the show and point out the parody moments in each episode. It even contains a parody within a parody in the form of Gekigangar 3, a spoof of the mecha anime of the late 70s and 80s. Don’t think that parodies are the only things that will make you laugh. There are many points where the crew takes over and keeps the laughs coming with their daily interactions.
Speaking of which, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the crew of the Nadesico. Each crew member is unique and memorable in his or her own way. The entire spectrum is there: the otaku, the diva, the quiet one, the pervert, etc. It’s almost impossible to not find one character that you can relate to in one form or another. The seiyuu do an equally great job at fleshing out their respective characters. Houkou Kuwashima (InuYasha’s Sango, Azumanga Daioh!’s Kagura) does a wonderful job as Yurika, switching from heartfelt to hyper with ease.
As the series cruises along the half-way mark, the focus changes. The rampant parodies are taken back a bit, and a solid plot emerges. There are several psycho-analytic moments that blatantly poke fun at Evangelion, but I just didn’t find myself laughing as often as before. As everything hit the fan and the end began to come in sight, I was waiting for the epic conclusion that I had planned out in my mind. What I saw was nothing close to my hopes. Rather, Nadesico simply ended.
The ending left me with mixed feelings, and it will most likely be seen as a love it or hate it ending among others. On one side, there are numerous plot holes that are left wide open, and several events are left unexplained. To put it simply, under most circumstances, I would see such an ending as a failure. However, I found it to be fitting finale for such a quirky series. There didn’t need to be a perfect ending. I was able to leave the Nadesico with a smile on my face and a satisfied feeling, and that’s what matters.
Whether you’re a fan of mecha anime or not, I still highly recommend this anime as an enjoyable comedy. Sometimes, you just have to take some time to laugh at yourself, and Nadesico does just that.
1: Yuusha-Ou GaoGaiGar
English: King of Braves GaoGaiGar
MAL Score: 7.82
In the year 2005, a race of alien monsters called Zonders emerge from underground and launch a series of attacks on the city of Tokyo. The only defense against these creatures is the secret agency known as the Gutsy Geoid Guard (or 3G) and their ultimate weapon, the awesome giant robot GaoGaiGar. GaoGaiGar’s pilot, Guy Shishio, is a former astronaut who was nearly killed two years before when the Zonders first crashed to earth. Guy’s life was spared when a mysterious robot lion called Galeon pulled him from the burning shuttle and brought him to Earth. Guy’s father, Leo, then used Galeon’s technology to rebuild his shattered son as a cyborg, in the hopes that he could stop the aliens when they appear. Now, with Galeon as its core, GaoGaiGar fights to protect Earth. He is aided by a team of transforming robots and by a young boy named Mamoru, who has the power to purify the Zonders’ cores, and seems to be connected to the mysterious Galeon.
The over-the-top characters play a big part in this. Guy Shishio is a badass without even trying. He’s a man’s man, who’ll never give up, no matter how difficult the odds. While this kind of character is a staple for super robot shows, Guy takes hot-blooded to new levels with his ridiculous screaming, speeches, and Zonder-breaking. He’s a static character, but he’s so likable that you don’t really mind. I don’t usually faun over voice actors, but Nobuyuki Hiyama (you’ll know him as Viral from TTGL and Link from the Zelda games) does an excellent job. His yells and dramatic speeches have real weight behind them-they’ll blow you away. Guy’s English voice, Michael Sinterhisnameistoocomplicatedtospell does a very commendable job filling out Guy’s shoes-I’d send him a bottle of throat spray if I could.
The rest of the human characters are relatively stock as well, but none of them are forgettable-especially Taiga, the Commander of the Gutsy Geroid Guard’s Japanese branch. You owe it to yourself to watch this show, if only to see his dramatic pointing. Really, that guy can point. Despite the male-oriented nature of the show, there are plenty of strong female characters who play their part in the GGG epic, and aren’t just fanservice, either. Guy’s girlfriend and technical support also plays a role that you won’t expect. One of the few characters that gets some decent development is the magical boy protagonist Mamoru-a refugee from an alien civilization that is the key to victory on more than one occasion. I can hear you groaning already, but trust me-you’ll learn to love him more than you ever thought you would.
Like Transformers before it, the robot members of the GGG (you’re going to see that letter a lot, so get used to it) are characters as well. They’re sentient, and have distinct (and cheesy) personalities, from the ninja police car intelligence agent Volfogg (yes, this is an amazing combination, and unlike vodka and soy milk, it will not give you a headache) to the American-made rock-and-roll bard-class bot Mic Sounders XIII. Even though they’re stock characters and, well, robots, you end up feeling for them.
The titular robot, while not sentient itself (or is it), has a character all its own. In the beginning of the show, GaoGaiGar moves like a creaky, slapped together bucket of bolts-it’s been hastily built to defend the earth from the approaching threat from space, and it shows. The signature combination sequence barely works, and the finishing move, Hell and Heaven, damages GaoGaiGar and is slowly killing its pilot. Even until the end, GaoGaiGar cannot handily defeat any enemy without the help of the other members of the team, and the clever way the writers find a way for it to win despite its limitations serve as a handy way to break up the monotony that usually plagues shows like this.
The silly-looking design aesthetic that permeates GGG (the robot) and the show doesn’t detract from how brutal it can be. GaoGaiGar breaks its enemies in the most literal fashion every episode. Even with the over-the-top antics, the show separates itself from other super robot shows, and the other Yuusha/Brave series by grounding it with a sense of plausibility and strict continuity that you don’t see in a lot of anime. One look at the gorgeously animated stock transformation sequence is proof of the ridiculous attention to detail in GaoGaiGar. While most super robots are known for their “unpossible” transformations, GaoGaiGar is covered in tiny vents, treads, panels and blinking lights that you’ll only catch for a glimpse. Even the inside was completely drawn out in the concept art, and you can see the mechanical designs (even for a pink VW van!), along with fictional specifications in the eyecatches. All of this comes to a frothy, delicious head with the few plot twists and “keys to victory” scattered through the series. When you see some of them, you’ll gasp, and want to go back and look for them in every episode. It gets even more ridiculous when a seemingly useless and innocuous prop becomes the key to victory in the spectacular OVA GaoGaiGar Final! (Seriously, you’ll shit a brick.)
The music is nothing short of a triumph. There’s an amazing leitmotif going throughout, from the “Final Fusion” gattai scene to the GGG’s theme, and of course, Mic Sounder’s amazing power up songs. You’ll be humming them on the way to work or school.
All of the pieces of the show coalesce into something both familiar and wonderful. You know a series is worth watching when you wonder what you ever did before you’d seen it, and GGG is one of the rare anime titles that I’d put up on that lofty pedestal. It’s a true labor of love, filled with fanservice for every stripe. Like the show itself, the message of courage and perseverance might seem cheesy at first, but it not only grows on you, but envelops you, in a way that few other shows can.
It’s must see for super robot fans, and I’d encourage everyone to buy the DVDs. If you know me well, you know that I don’t like paying for anime. Fuck Luffy, I’m the true Pirate King. If you see an anime DVD on my shelf, then you know I think it’s not only worth the money, but one worth celebrating. It’s probably the highest praise I can give any series.
Any effort this grand deserves to be compensated for. I highly recommend it.
When I first began to watch the show I was pretty dissapointed. The early episodes of this series aren’t exactly bad, but they sure are mediocore. The biggest problem in GaoGaiGar is the pacing. The first 25 episodes are barely worth watching, they’re meant to introduce the cast characters I’m sure, but story wise not much happens. Its really formuliac stuff, kinda like you’d expect out of a 70’s super robot show. Each episode follows the same grind of a monster appearing, GaoGaiGar swoops in to save the day and uses a new move.
I wouldn’t blame anyone for missing out these episodes all together. You won’t miss anything, and after episode 25 the story becomes much more fast paced and interesing. Still, the series never quite shakes this monster of the week formula, and if that isn’t your thing GaoGaiGar probably isn’t for you, unless you have a whole lot of dedication.
I was initially put off by the designs in this series. The character designs are very basic, especially the many annoying kid characters, who all look like they’ve stumbled into the wrong show. The mecha designs are something you’ll either love or hate. Their done by Kunio Okawara, who’s well known for doing the designs for most of the Brave series. His designs aren’t anything new, very blocky, and have more of a resemblence to Transformers than the works of Go Nagai like most SR shows have. The titular GaoGaiGar has a nice design, but the rest, especially the villains, were a bit basic for my tastes.
The animation itself isn’t terrible, the best of it ussually saved for those truly epic scenes every now and then, but there is an overeliance of re-used animation. Towards the end of the series I was becoming really bored of seeing the same damn attacks over and over again! I realise that this is common in mecha, but there have been plenty of SR shows which didn’t rely on stock footage nearly as heavily as this series.
They’re isn’t much to write home about in this department. The OP itself is brilliant, but other than that it was pretty bland. Still I can’t say anything harmed my senses.
The biggest annoyance in this categorie were the child characters. They were supposed to be cute, but Mamoru and his friends often come off as more annoying than that. By the end of the series these characters do mature a bit, but they still got way too much screentime throughout the series.
The rest of the cast was pretty mixed. The protaganists are nothing you wouldn’t expect out of a super robot series, and neither are the villains. I only wish they’d spent more time fleshing out some of the more interesting members of GGG, rather than just Guy and Mamoru all the time. Towards the end of the series I found myself appreciating some of the characters more, but over all it was a pretty bland cast.
Obviously, I went into GaoGaiGar with high expectations and was dissapointed. Its not the worst Super Robot show, but its by no means the best. There are moments greatness in this series. The last ten episodes especially are filled with everything I could want out of a series like this, tension, outlandish battles, manly speaches and heroic sacrafice.
But that doesn’t make up for the huge amounts of filler in this show, and the blandness of some of the characters and mecha. Its a fairly enjoyable series, worthy of its place in the super robot pantheon, just be sure to realise that it might not be worth ALL the praise it gets.
The best way to watch this show is in small chunks, on a saturday morning, turning your brain off and just enjoying the many manly screams of
The story is a basic Super Robot anime. It revolves around the members of Gusty Geoid Guard, Or GGG for short, as they deal with attacks from the Zonders, who are an alien machine race. The first 25 episodes are pretty standard monster of week, which mostly serve as a way to slowly introduce new characters and weapons for GGG. Please be aware that this show was meant to sell toys. After that though, the series begins to grow and the real plot begins to unfold, and that is where it really shines.
The Art is very well done for a show done in the late 90’s. It has well defined lines and bright vivid colors which create very crisp visuals. Everything in this show has its own identity and nothing blurs together.
Oh, this is what makes a super robot go from good to fantastic. GaoGaiGar has some of the best sounds and OST in any anime I have watched; and I have heard stuff from aldnoah.zero and Attack On Titan. Every sound from Golion’s roar to the G stone charging up is uniquely its own. I especially liked the sound they use for the machine noises when robots are combining. GaoGiaGar also has a great OST. Evey character has his or her theme song to go with them; the most memorable being GaoGaiGar Final Fusion theme. The voice work in GaoGaiGar is top notch with Hiyama Nobuyuki voicing Guy. I just loved hearing him yell out, “HIKARI NI NARA!!”
With every Super Robot anime the selling point is the robots and GaoGaiGar delivers it in tenfolds. The hero of this story is a cyborg named Guy who is a man’s man boiling to the brim with courage and bravery who is also a symbol of hope to everyone else. Guy is also accompanied by fellow brave robots, the twin rescue brothers HyoRyu, who claim collective and his hothead brother EnRyu who is a shoot first ask questions kind of person. There is also the Ninja Police Intelligence Officer Volfogg. On the human side the most predominate would be Mamoru. Hes a kid with the unlikely ability to purify the Zondar cores. There are many more but you get the idea, its a colorful cast of robots and people that you can’t help but love.
Overall, I really did enjoy GaoGaiGar. It delivers on everything that a Super Robot Show should. Yeah, there are faults. Namely, it takes time to build up to its main plot point. If you can’t stand monster of the week formula, it probably won’t do much for you, but if you enjoy over-the-top crazy robot fights with yelling and more courage than you can handle, this is the show for you.
Gutsy Geoid Guard, Mobilize!
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Yuusha-Ou GaoGaiGar
2. Kidou Senkan Nadesico
3. Saber Marionette J
5. YAT Anshin! Uchuu Ryokou
6. Dr. Slump
7. Hyper Police
8. Shin Tenchi Muyou!
9. Battle Athletess Daiundoukai (TV)
10. Hakugei Densetsu