They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Bishoujo Yuugekitai Battle Skipper, Genocyber, Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01, and more!
17: Bishoujo Yuugekitai Battle Skipper
English: Battle Skipper
MAL Score: 5.22
Despite the title, this is not a feature but the three-part OAV Battle Skipper (1995), which Takashi Watanabe directed before going on to Slayers.
When the members of the Etiquette Club at St. Ignacio’s School for Girls go down the tubes–literally–they acquire the skimpy outfits they wear to pilot the unfortunately named BSs or Battle Skippers, state-of-the-art military mecha. As “Extars,” the Etiquette Club members fight to eliminate evil from the world, which means the bizarre schemes of Sayaka, the nasty, super-rich president of the rival Debutante Club, and her flunky, Todo.
The series was created to promote a line of robot toys from Tomy, and viewers who are willing to accept high school girls’ quarrels escalating into battles involving satellite weaponry may enjoy these silly adventures.
We open with a secondary school girl in the shower because… class killed the writer’s goldfish. She gets dressed and talks with her minion about a group of “Extars” who are piloting their BS’s and causing problems. The showering scene totally adds a lot to this plot point and wasn’t gratuitous at all. We then join two different girls as they run to their first day at school. They see some upper classmen arrive and move to orientation where we find out that the débutante club is the most powerful force in the school and everyone wants to join for the connections. Our heroines, Shihoko & Saori, decide to join the etiquette club instead because Shihoko is immediately attracted to the vice-president, Rie. They’re joined by another girl, Kanami, who admires the president, Reika. They decide to break into the club at night because… they think there might be Friendship is Magic DVDs that they can watch or, maybe, the reasons are just really flimsy. It’s one of those. They accidentally stumble onto a hidden basement and find themselves inside their own BSs. The three of them join Reika and Rie as Extars in order to combat ne’er do wells.
The major problem with this OVA is the humour. Most of the time it comes across as an excuse for lazy writing. Why is the Extars’ super advanced hidden base easily accessed by anyone? It’s a comedy, don’t worry about it. How do the antagonists break in? Comedy. If our heroines are trying to fight in secret why do they throw that out the window in order to fight hand to hand, especially when they could handle the ruffians with their armoured tank suits? It’s a comedy, they don’t have to explain it. The more ordinary jokes barely register as jokes. To use an example, when Shihoko and Saori arrive Shihoko refers to her initial meetings with both Reika & Rie as fateful. It’s supposed to be funny because she falls in love easily. And no, the comedy never elevates above that.
The writing is, in general, just very lazy. The plot points are heavily telegraphed and clichéd. At one point we see our antagonist’s minion rescue Saori from familiar looking thugs. I wonder where that’s going to go? It couldn’t possibly be a set up to get close to her for nefarious purposes. That would just be crazy. At another point we see our heroines come under heavy fire by a mobile fortress. I wonder if the one that got left behind is going to come to their rescue with their own mobile fortress that was introduced near the end of the previous episode? It’s almost like our script writer, Kamata Hidemi, had no passion for the project whatsoever and just rushed through the script over a couple hours.
The characters are pretty dull. Saori is the kind of clumsy protagonist who stands up for her friends. Shihoko falls in love easily and needs to be protected. Kanami is good at everything but gets a more supporting role because otherwise she’d be even more noticeably a Mary Sue. Rie is the kind of abrasive one who likes to fight. Reika is the motherly one who looks out for the others. And our antagonist wants to rule the world because… she’s rich? It’s rather like the script writing. Very low effort and reliant on the generic.
Frankly, I’ve seen stronger artwork and animation from several other 90s anime. This is another arena where Battle Skipper just seems to lack any real effort. The action sequences are pretty weak, with an over-reliance on motion blur and with machines that shoot each other kind of slowly. The character designs are kind of dull as well. Shihoko has random circles in her hair that don’t seem to be attached and that she leaves in when she sleeps because… she doesn’t want to actually get dressed in the morning. She’d rather just let her hair get tangled in the ruddy things. But don’t worry, not looking even close to good doesn’t stop them from throwing in random fan-service of the school girls. Because Kamata has a grudge against class and refuses to have anything to do with it.
The acting is passable. It’s not good nor is it bad. They did get some talented actresses like Orikasa Ai, Niiyama Shiho, Inoue Kikuko & Shiratori Yuri but the characters are, unfortunately, too under-written for them to show their abilities. The music is similarly mediocre.
The les-yay of this series is largely limited to Shihoko’s one-sided crushes. Although Kanami may also have a thing for Reika.
That’s Bishoujo Yuugekitai Battle Skipper. I don’t think anyone involved was actually invested in the project. It feels like cheaply produced shlock that no one really wanted to be involved with but, hey, it’s a pay cheque. I wouldn’t call it a terrible or even a bad OVA. It’s mostly just kind of stupid and innocuous. My final rating is going to be a 4/10. Next week I’ll look at Shuumatsu no Izetta.
Its essentially non existent. The basic premise is that evil bad guys want technology. Good guys think that if the evil bad guys had said technology the Cylons would be born or something.
Can’t really complain about this.
It’s typical 90’s anime style. Nothing to write home about, nothing to sneer at.
This anime packs fairly decent tunes. Again, nothing to write home about but it does set the mood at the right moments.
Super Special Awesome duo.
The three newbies.
Evil ladies henchman.
Worth an hour and a half of your time, definitely. This is one of those animes you should watch before you gear yourself up for something epic like Gundam or Macross.
It’s simply a gloried ad. Its a fun little romp if you want to spare the time.
The story revolves around three freshman girls who are torn between joining two elite clubs. One club is the Debutante Club, the other, the Ettiquette Club. While the entire school population decides to try and join the Debutante’s, these three girls go against the grain and join the Ettiquette Club. Un-be-known to them however, the new club they enrolled in is just a front. The Ettiquette Club is really the home base for an elite group of heros known as Battle Skippers, who’s primary goal is to save the world from injustice.
To be completely frank, there was no real story to mention. I think I pretty much covered it all with my synopsis but here it is anyways.
The first episode focused on the girls joining the club, and finding out the truth of what their new club was all about. It was amazing how quickly all the girls knew how to pilot these multi-million dollar machines without any formal training.
The second episode focused around a love story which lead the girls to their first real fight. It should also be noted that during this episode the girls go through a rigorous ONE day training session with one of the senior members of the Ettiquette Club. During this ONE training session the girls transform from regular high school girls to incredibly fit super heroines, where they develop lightning quick reflexs, super strength, and battle tactics. It must have been the push-up’s they did 😛
And finally, in the third episode, they fight their toughest opponent yet …which means the toughest one since yesterday 😛 And you guesssed it…they win!!!
Not very original or groundbreaking and very hard to believe.
I think the anime was done in ’95 if memory serves me correct and this anime is your standard 1995 art.
The girls are dressed in school uniforms showing off lots of leg and the occational bum shot or two. No other costume changes happen throughout the series except when they use thier Battle Skippers.
The background lacks any sort of detail and they reuse scenes many times over. All your typical, low end production stuff.
It should also be noted that the mecha Batlle Skipper units they pilot look dreadful. They are chunky and slow looking and are equipt with some pretty junky weaponry…which is rarely used anyways.
Nothing about the music screamed at me “This is friggin awesome,” but it didn’t make my eardrums bleed either so that’s why it got the 5.
The english voice acting is what you would expect. Shrill, whiny voices for all the leading ladies and the shrill whiny voices (just a little deeper) for all the evil bad guys.
The main focus is on high school girls. It’s been done a trillion times before and will be done an infinite times after. No real background story takes place but you can’t really expect much from a three part series.
I can’t really relate to any of the characters, good or bad, but they all have their little quirks so some people might see something that I didn’t.
One thing that I really didn’t like was the “bad guys”. These bad guys want to take over the world, but with what??…the four Battle Bots that they have in their arsenal?? I know that it was a short series or “movie” but it was just so unbeliveable. And on top of that, they just didn’t have a reason to be bad. Not my cup of tea.
I watched this series becuase I’m currently watching a couple of 26 episode series and I just wanted a break. This was not what I was hoping for. The title “Battle Skipper: The Movie” is misleading because you are expecting a movie, not an OVA. The lack of plot, the dislikable characters, and fact that it wasn’t a movie, really bothered me…I did not enjoy watching this anime.
I’ve seen alot worse titles then this, but this is not a one that I would recommend to very many people…and I might deny watching it if someone asked 🙂 If your life goal is to watch every anime ever made, then you’re going to have to watch this sooner or later, but if you are looking for a good anime…look somewhere else.
MAL Score: 5.82
As the nations of the world begin to merge, world peace is threatened by the private armies of individual corporations. The Kuryu Group has just discovered a weapon that will tip world power in their favor. The Genocyber: a nightmarish combination of cybernetics and psychic potential. Many desire to control this monstrosity, but can its hatred be contained… Battle erupts, and the cyberpunk world of the future is about to explode with violence.
Genocyber is famous among hardcore otaku as being one of the goriest anime ever made! Does that make it good? Unfortunately…not really. Genocyber had decent art, a cliche but workable premise, and a writer that was completely insane, but had some good ideas rattling around somewhere deep in the back of his brain. Unfortunately, this 3 part OVA is one giant train wreck where each portion is progressively worse than the last. The first part was bad, but you can almost see what the writer wanted to do and you can tell he IS trying. The second part is much sloppier, abandons all effort or even pretension of trying to be decent, and the 3rd is just…WOW did that suck!
The star of today’s review is writer Sho Aikawa. Today he is fondly remembered for Martian Successor Nadesico and the 2003 Full Metal Alchemist. However, in the 1980s he was one of the absolute worst writers working in comics/anime. He penned turd after turd including the Violence Jack trilogy, Legend of the Overfiend, Angel Cop, and finally Genocyber. His stories mixed absurd melodrama, obnoxious angst, generally terrible writing and an absolute RAGING hatred for all mankind. He was in his 20s though, so maybe he was just a decade delayed and going through his 15 year old Holden Caulfield stage. Either that or Sho Aikawa learned the “body swap” technique of Captain Ginyu in DBZ and around the year 2000 he went to the United States and swapped bodies with Frank Miller, who inversely was beloved in the 1980s and became a joke around the exact same time Aikawa mysteriously started writing 10,000 times better. With Genocyber we see Sho at perhaps his worst, or at least his least consistent. His other 1980s works are fucking terrible, but they are at least consistently bad and keep the same tone throughout. Genocyber on the other hand is not only frustratingly bad, it isn’t even entertaining to watch
Plot: 3/10 for part 1, 2/10 for part 2, and 1/10 for part 3
The plot honestly starts out more generic than uniquely terrible. Scientists are performing horrible tests on a young girl to make her into the ultimate weapon, but she breaks free from the lab and now the scientists must get her back. See also: Akira, Baoh, Elfen Lied, Gokukoku, and 10,000 other anime! The powerful psychic girl befriends a homeless child after a long and uncomfortable sequence of said homeless child getting raped by generic bullies because…Sho Aikawa. The bullies are brutally massacred and Aikawa actually tries to write a touching friendship between the deadly psychic girl and the homeless kid. Considering how critically acclaimed the movie “Let the Right One In” is, this part actually COULD have worked if Aikawa knew what the fuck he was doing. Unfortunately he doesn’t and we just get bloodbath after bloodbath, China getting completely destroyed by psychic girl, and a pointless time skip. The narrative in the next 2 portions becomes far less coherent and you can really see Aikawa struggling to even fill out the run time. At this point he has completely given up and just doesn’t give a fuck! Just through in some explosions, some pointless religious symbolism for no reason, and call it a wrap.
The art is actually decent for most of it. The soundtrack isn’t good, but it isn’t notably horrible. The English dub is SHIT, but it does add a bit of nostalgia for the early bad days of English dubbing. On a technical level, this isn’t a great anime, but it isn’t THAT bad. The gore is at least disturbing and if you are a gorehound that simply wants to see blood and guts, this DOES deliver the goods in that department.
Genocyber is oldschool, Ultra-violent, and has the production values and voice acting of other anime of its time period like Mad Bull 34 and Otokojuku. However, Genocyber is NOT the unintentionally hilarious title that you want to watch with your buddies over and over again. Genocyber takes turns being: boring, frustrating, downright unpleasant and hard to watch, infuriatingly stupid, and plain WTF?! Genocyber is an absolute CHORE to watch, but isn’t that movie that is “hard to watch, but really worth watching”. Something that is profound or emotionally moving and actually really good like: Barefoot Gen, Schindler’s List, Come and See. Those movies are really hard to watch, but everyone should watch them at least once! Genocyber is both unwatchable and extremely terrible with really no value whatsoever. It does have plenty of gore though, so if you REALLY want to see old school gore, just watch one of the many Genocyber gore compilation videos on youtube.
Although the series itself as a whole is a fairly unwieldy, inconsistent mishmash of episodes, the arcs split into their own selves result in some shades of genuine genius clashing with unfortunate mediocrity.
The first (and most well known) episode consists of two sisters, one that has artificial limbs and the other incapable of speech. Although there are elements of Akira and other grim dystopian works of fiction, this particular episode succeeds in creating a gritty, nightmarish vibe with easily the nastiest and most violent usage of on-screen splatter in an anime, something many have yet to trump. It also has a nihilistic yet well made soundtrack that echoes Brad Fiedel’s soundtrack work in James Cameron’s 1984 smash hit The Terminator at times and quite possibly the single greatest end theme ever seen in an anime. There’s also an interesting use of live action and still paintings that while i’m not a big fan of, gives the episode a unique atmosphere. The English dub, which adds an absurd but acceptable amount of profanity, actually helps add to it unlike the dull original Japanese audio.
Unfortunately, this episode is marred by underdeveloped characters, quickly picked up and dropped plot lines and a somewhat overtly compressed story. However, the rest of it is so strong enough, it helps raise this very episode to a pretty good 8/10.
The second and third episodes, while a little bit of a regression from the claustrophobic urban decay of the first one, has it’s own fair shares of strong points, mainly in a sympathetic lead heroine, the nurse that treats her like a daughter, decent antagonists and one of the most out of control, goriest opening sequences that kicks off Episode 2 (Episode 3 doesn’t have such an opening though). Like episode 1, the English dub is an improvement to the original Japanese audio,
However, the decision to turn the eponymous character into a superhero figure is a bit silly, the rest of the characters aren’t nearly as interesting as those in the first episode, the naval setting less interesting than the urban nightmare presented in the first episode and overall feels like a somewhat hamfisted, cashed in attempt to turn what seems to be intended to be a sole OVA into a series of sorts.
Despite those negative aspects, the music remains good, with a new, fairly good end theme and the overt violence is still as much of a highlight as it was before.
Had these only been the episodes in this so-called series, I, overall, would’ve given it a 7/10, but unfortunately, the final two episodes are where the series takes a massive, tragic nosedive into mediocrity.
Set decades after the last three episodes, the final two episodes attempt to return to the sights and sounds of urban decay, this time with a post-apocalyptic flavoring.
These final two episodes follow a young couple that arrive in a so-called paradise in a hellhole of a world that is actually bathed in corruption, poverty and religious fanatics that, oddly enough, worship the eponymous character in a Christ-like parable.
On paper, these last two episodes sound okay but the execution is incredibly awful, with the animation largely inferior to the previous three episodes, a very cashed in feel that makes these two episodes a bit unnecessary, a sense of tiredness to the pacing, largely uninteresting and at times unlikable characters, a severe lack of the series’ famed on screen gore and a general unsatisfying sense of finality that really sinks the series hard with these last two turkeys included.
Even worse is the English dub, which is just flat out terrible. Before the English audio helped the mood, but here it simply makes things borderline unwatchable, so watching it subbed in this case is actually mandatory, though watching these last two episodes to begin with shouldn’t be required but rather avoided.
These two episodes, forming a flat out terrible conclusion to a once promising series brings the rating down, for me at least, to a 6 out of 10 (mainly because of how strong the first episode is), with these episodes isolated a 3 out of 10.
Despite the last two episodes, I do recommend watching the disturbing but memorable debut episode and if you liked that, watch the second and third ones just in case you need more Genocyber, but whatever you do, stay away from the last two episodes. In fact, read the sadly unfinished manga, then hunt down the excellent soundtrack albums instead.
15: Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01
MAL Score: 5.95
In the first test of a revolutionary personal battle-suit, the MADOX-01, Ace female test-pilot Elle Kusomoto smashes an attacking tank force and humiliates Lt. Kilgore, Japan’s most-macho tank-jockey, in the process.
Kilgore swears he’ll get even, and he gets his chance when the prototype MADOX literally falls off the back of a truck in the middle of Tokyo.
Meanwhile, the MADOX, which fell off the back of one truck, off a bridge, and into the back of another truck, has found its way into the hands of college student Koji Sujimoto. Intruiged by the MADOX, Koji makes the big mistake of fooling with it without reading the manual first, and soon finds himself locked in the suit and zooming around downtown Tokyo.
Metal Skin Panic Madox-01 (don’t you love those old-school robot titles? ‘Armored Trooper Votoms’, ‘Blue Comet Super Powered-Tracer Layzner’…) is another one of those old 80s shows with a plot seems more like an excuse for the directors and animators to cram as many cool fight scenes as they can into an hour of programming. It’s a tried-and-true formula that produces morsels of crunchy animated entertainment and doesn’t attempt to reinvent or blend any genres or push the envelope, and that’s just fine. It’s not intellectually stimulating or engaging, but it won’t bore you to tears with hours of pointless filler or aimless dialog between sparkly-eyed effeminate men wearing goofy outfits in the pouring rain staring at opposite sides of the screen. Who also happen to be ninjas.
Everything is resolved at the end, nothing sticks out and needs to be hammered down. The fight scenes are fun, the animation’s good, the English dub is awkward, and the artists seem to take too much pleasure in drawing little X-wing style flip-up targeting computers…
Seriously. There are like, several of them (I counted 5) and they all work with the same weapon. You’d think the company would have added a digital copy of the manual onboard, but… Whatever.
We’re presented with a beautiful scene of the development/testing of an exoskeleton (the Madox). This mecha/scifi goodness got me hyped up for all that is to come. Only to be disappointed by a very mediocre story about a guy, his girlfriend who’s about to go study abroad and the Madox. How does this all add up? I don’t have a clue! It’s like a math assignment Einstein wouldn’t be able to solve. I know alot of OVA are pretty horrible due to the fact that it’s hard to setup a plot, develop the characters and have a likeable story just in about 40 to 55 minutes. But Madox doesn’t even try to do any of this! There’s OVA that are horribly mediocre and have the most cringy dialogue which still makes it worth the watch but this was just a pain. Like sitting on a medieval torture device praying to God to make it stop.
To be honest there’s not even anything to review other than me saying; It’s a golden turd. Once the opening scene is over the cast comes off and you’re left with a smelly brown mushy turd. Beyond that the 2nd best part was the ending, because 1 I was glad it was over and 2 the ending song was okay. But still that doesn’t say much.
Overal I’d give this a 3 out of 10. One for existing, which in itself is actually a sin worthy of being called the 8th sin. Another one for the likeable (but misleading) opening and finally; one more for the ending theme.
Nothing of value was lost, but only my time watching this. DO NOT watch this. And if you still want to; Watch the opening and be done with it.
The story is quite simple yet effective, it doesnt challenge intelectually the viewer but it is still thrilling and keeps you looking at the screen until credit end titles pop up. However this might be the weakest point of MADOX-01, as, at least in my case, it leaves the sensation that five to ten minutes more of footage could have improved the overall result. A bit more of character development, exposition about the world in which the action takes place or whatever that could have enriched the storyline surely would be welcomed. In any case, it’s just an appreciation, i am ok with the story for the most part. The main story concept is still pretty cool and badass and the characters are sympathetic even if a little bit typical, specially the villain.
The visuals and design are alright, the MADOX is pretty cool and the plot leave enough place to show off properly all the blaze and guns, the character design is nothing special yet not bad, mildly above average. Animation itself goes the same way, not the richest you’ll see but actually good for a production of this scale, with cool chases and fights, explosions, city destruction and all that.
The sound is pretty much the same as with the visuals, correct for the most part. As i have seen a subbed version i wont really talk much about it, the seiyuus seem appropriate and deliver convincing performances.
As for the enjoyment, here is where Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01 excells. Despite it small scale, recurrent setting and lack of depth, the fast pace where there is no window for a breath prevents from distracting and the coolness and 80’s charm also do their work on making the viewer overlook the OVA flaws.
This isn’t the definitive anime, it doesnt even come near to be a classic, but that is part of the play. You wont get a fond impression that will change you forever, instead when you stop the video at the end you will be think “yeah, that was pretty rad”.
Give it a chance and you wont be dissapointed, just be sure to know what you are getting into
14: Dragon’s Heaven
English: Dragon’s Heaven
MAL Score: 6.09
In the year 3195, there was a war between an army of robots and the humans. When Shaian, a sentient combat armor, lost his companion in battle, he shut down until his internal systems spotted a new human. It’s now almost a 1000 years later, and Shaian’s greatest enemy is still alive and doing battle in Brazil. With a new friend`s help, Shaian may be able to stop this evil force before another war rages over the continent.
It’s clear that they only had the production budget for a short one-shot, so the story seems to be very condensed. Still, I love this kind of stuff.
The live-action opening breaks the animation fourth wall, but years later it still sticks in my mind.
Developed by design studio ARTMIC (who also produced such OVAs as Genocyber, Bubblegum Crisis, and the anime the kicked off the OVA boom, Megazone 23), the art style very accurately mimics that of mangaka Kobayashi’s, which has a gritty and rough style that’s reminiscent of French artist Moebius. Something of which gives it a visual flare more akin to the 1981 animated film Heavy Metal than in an anime, giving it a look that’s truly unique in the medium, and much like California Crisis two years prior, has a visual style that hasn’t been seen in anime before or since.
In the very far future, a young woman and a sentient combat mech battle robots in the desert of Brazil. Like I said, there isn’t much plot, but the characters aren’t poorly handled either. Make no mistakes though, this is almost purely about the artistic style. And despite being made during the mecha boom of the ’80s and creator Kobayashi having worked on two Gundam series, the mechs don’t look quite like what one would expect from the time. Like the art style itself, they too look unique. Speaking of unique, the OVA very surprisingly begins with a live action segment featuring the hero and villain robots in the form of remote controlled models. It’s an interesting way to start an anime for sure.
Dragon’s Heaven was easily one of my favorite “obscure” anime I’d seen some years back, and I truly wish it was given a blu-ray release. I’ve heard anime fans talk about how expensive new series on blu-ray can be, but it’s even worse with some of the older stuff. As mentioned in the beginning, it was only released on vhs in Japan, so getting a physical copy will cost you some dough if you find one. Last time I saw one for sale, it was going for over $80, and art books of the anime (also only released in Japan) run from $49 – $94. Luckily there are funsubs, and it can be easily viewed on youtube, but an anime with such a unique artistic aesthetic really needs to see an official release on blu-ray, and simply doesn’t deserve to be forgotten.
The OVA starts off with a live-action opening of some, at least attempted, creative filming using models of the actual leading mechs that are seen in the OVA. The after-credits shows the process of them creating the model-replicas that seem to actually be almost the size of a person. It was interesting, but it was clear that this was still an anime studio as the filming equipment was pretty low quality and the camera movement felt a tad amateur. That might add to the experience for some people though, so that’ll end up being a subjective call.
I would actually say that the junkyard aspect of this OVA does come with the expected result of having designs that wouldn’t work in reality, even though the models seem to be able to stand. The villain mech would clearly never have been able to stand if translated to real-life as it was shown in the animation. It can be noticed in the animation counterpart that the torso is basically a twig, while the model-version has a much thicker torso which allows it to barely stand while almost tipping forward (which you can notice from the model’s head not being able to lift properly). My claim doesn’t direct only at the main mechs though, but everything as a whole. The design-work is impractical, but that doesn’t need to be a negative as it should basically be expected when going into junkyard sci-fi.
The art is, again, pleasant with an old looking style that’s a tad colorful with a good amount of detail lines. The detail lines added are in large numbers and give everything a rough feeling, making the clear-cut characters feel very contrasted to the world around them. There is also some fair animation and some consistent proportions to basically everything. There wasn’t much cool moments of fighting, but there was action to a somewhat small extent.
The story is pretty bare-bones with there being an evil, imperialistic nation that wants to take over the world, while a girl finds a machine and simultaneously protects her city. It never was clear to me whether her goal was to protect her city or to simply fight with what she discovered, however. The other character is actually the mech she finds which has built-in A.I. There wasn’t exactly engaging dialogue between the two characters, but the characters fit the setting in its pleasant atmosphere making it easy to enjoy the company of the characters. There’s also a lacking amount of human faces shown here, mainly only the girl being shown. The human girl brings some relief in that aspect to serving as the contrast to the metal and war-torn world around her. The ending to this story isn’t really an ending to everything, but to a single issue that was occurring in the character’s pasts. The conclusion to that element is pretty anti-climactic and also makes the final words that were spoken quite comical and cheesy. Even so, the story wasn’t really the driver and wasn’t really required to do much in such a small run-time.
Dragon’s Heaven is a junkyard, sci-fi short that is based around mecha. There isn’t much cool fighting moments to be had though, while there certainly are a few times where shots are fired and explosions are made. The story is a bit basic and dry, but the setting makes up for it with being a tad refreshing in its simple goals. It also adds to the enjoyment knowing that so much work and passion went into this little OVA down to the creation of the models. Even if one isn’t too impressed with the designs present here, it’s hard to not feel a little joyed to see how the people behind this OVA felt very highly of it. The soundtrack is also orchestrated and done wonderfully. It all totaled into an atmosphere similar to something like “Dragon Heart” while being an anime in a junkyard sci-fi setting. Dragon’s Heaven is so short that it shouldn’t require too much risk to give it a shot, but the visual style might look “dated” to some who can’t handle older titles. If that isn’t a problem, try this one out.
13: Meiou Project Zeorymer
English: Hades Project Zeorymer
MAL Score: 6.14
A young man named Akitsu Masato is captured by a secret govt. project known as “Last Guardian”. He is told that his life as a normal student was all a lie, and that his real destiny is to be the pilot of a great robot called “Zeorymer of the Heavens”. The truth of this is hammered in when Masato sees his parents accept payment for raising him. The Last Guardian is preparing for the resurrection of “Hau Dragon”, an organization bent on world conquest. 15 years ago, Hau Dragon built 8 great robots. Each of the mecha represents a force of nature. However, before any of the robots could be used, their creater Kihara Masaki destroyed the robots except for the leader: Zeorymer. He took Zeorymer and an embryo to the government. The embryo became the boy Masato. Now, Hau Dragon has rebuilt the other 7 mecha and wants the 8th. It will be up to Masato and Himuro to pilot Zeorymer and fight against the Hau Dragon, but neither Masato or Himuro are all that they seem.
Poorish 80’s animation that seems to add to the series kornyness. Character designs are very similar nothing that really stands out. During the battle scenes you can see some transformer/evangelion-ish attacks which are just LAME but can also be amusing.
The only mentionable part of this was the strange dialogue, which in turn comes from a strange and dumb storyline nevertheless the voice actors did a good job playing these characters (english dub I mean).
Hmm lets see boy has to pilot a giant mecha because its his destiny and he’s the only one who can do it..lol sound familiar..It’s just a very shallow storyline which can seem familiar to anyone who has seen the many evangelion incarnates. Its not a very long series anyway so it’s quite rushed and the ending was just…..DUMB!
The characters are very one dimensional and predictable, you don’t really get to know any of them for long so what more can I say. The main character is the only one with a smudge of depth and to be quite honest it’s just not interesting enough.
I enjoyed the part where the credits came up and I took out the DVD.
This series is just another Apocalyptic knock-off done very cheaply and badly.
Probably the best thing about this series was the title itself
Project Hades…sounds cool..then again I want those 2 hours back
This show has weird progression in the sort you’d expect from an OVA that sounds too short for its britches. Masato works with this girl named Miku who sub-pilots Zeorymer with him, and he’s naturally resistant and standoffish to her since she’s in league with the people who took him away from his normal life. Makes sense, but despite their very few personal, non-business interactions in the show, Miku develops obvious affection for Masato out of nowhere and Masato’s perfectly receptive to it. The only other main character on the protagonist side is Oki, the main man in black who’s constantly wearing sunglasses. I thought his initial role was pretty interesting, as he’s given such a featureless and mute design that gives him mystery when combined with the cruel ways with which he treats Masato like a tool. Early scenes with him are interesting because he shows so little of himself despite frequently being on-screen as the only representative of the Last Guardian organization. He goes from having this interesting dynamic with Masato as he seems practically amused by his shock and suffering, but when Masato just accepts his role as Zeorymer’s pilot Oki falls into being a standard support man for Masato despite them never having any personal bonding scenes. When the finale comes and Oki is giving Masato the “go get ’em, tiger” look and saluting his liftoff while Masato is addressing him as “Oki-san” suddenly it’s just weird. Where’s all this character transitioning coming from? It’s disappointing when the move to more standard characterization isn’t even properly justified in the narrative.
That’s really enough said to move on to the villains now, who are actually much more interesting. One of Zeorymer’s distinctive traits in its writing (and probably the thing that gets it compared to Evangelion) is that Masato and all of the OVA’s villains have blatant, specific psychological complexes. The members of Hau Dragon have some implied personal conflicts and intriguing dynamics between them that do have some kind of payoff. The problem is largely the same as before though in that the set-up isn’t enough to comb the depths of its psychological ideas. The two twin sisters where one loves the other and the other hates and feels overshadowed by the more experienced one, and the uncertain relationship between Taiha and Hau Dragon’s leader Yuratei are two such examples. My favorite character in the show is Saiga, largely due in part to Kaneto Shiozawa’s voice performance. He uses a deep, soft, cold voice similar to his performance of Oberstein in Legend of the Galactic Heroes, and it grants Saiga a more immediate mystique than the rest of Hau Dragon. He’s also instantly shown to be disapproving of the rest of his teammates, which gives him particular unpredictability and a further threatening poise. Unfortunately, Saiga is the one character who doesn’t have payoff. His climactic scene undermines the idea that he was being painted as some kind of exception to the failures of Hau Dragon, and simply put his final scheme is simple and pulled off very lamely, devoid of the intelligence and stature he had as a character. This is only worse when you realize that Saiga is involved in the show’s final battle. There’s also a lot of talk in this OVA about the “Hades Project” mentioned in the title, and from what I gathered it has something to do with the Hakkeshu battles determining who will be the “leader of the underworld”. But I don’t think it’s ever explained what the hell the underworld specifically is in this context, and since the OVA immediately ends after the final battle we never find out what this whole motivation for so many characters even was. Very awkward.
Let’s talk about the mechs, because I actually quite like Yoshiki Takaya’s designs. The Hakkeshu look very alien in appearance due to their lack of an obvious human base in design. They don’t have two eyes or visors reflecting helmets, and instead their “eyes” are expressed by glowing orbs that are simply stuck in square compartments. They’re very blocky and not aerodynamic with sharp or inconsistent shapes jutting out. They kind of look like relics or statues of mythical gods with how they defy any facial characterization. Omzack doesn’t even have limbs, just being some sort of floating aquatic-like machine with several tails flowing behind it. Zeorymer itself is a massively overpowered machine which can still be cool if pulled off well, but what makes its strength kind of dull is the fact it doesn’t really escalate. It feels as though it’s about demonstrating the same level of power in every fight all the way to the end, and it’s simply always enough to destroy the enemy machines in one blow while never being an any serious danger. The fights aren’t very dynamic nor do they have complex choreography due to their slow pace, but they’re entertaining enough due to the plot and character development that continues to unfold as they play out. Zeorymer also doesn’t have particularly great animation, but when it does decide to show off some action it looks fluid. What’s most commendable is just the excellent illustration. I love the shading here, and there are several great stills that are incredibly detailed with scene compositions that are focused and easy to follow, so this does feel like a production worthy of an OVA and it has solid direction. The imagery is great, but there isn’t a lot of complex motion to marvel at. The soundtrack is decent, with the brassy “Awake! Zeorymer” and the angsty, cathartic ending theme “Crimson Loneliness” being the highlights.
Zeorymer in general just sort of ends unsatisfyingly. This OVA is full of a lot of great concepts that it doesn’t have the breadth to pull off, so it ends up being emotionally limp due to weak set-ups that don’t provide enough relationship detail or nuance to do its ideas justice, even though it has respectable ambition. The ideas that are still there such as the dark tone and psychological themes make it a decent enough watch for its run time even though they’re minor, but it never ends up outdoing itself. I can safely recommend this to hardcore mecha fans or 80s/90s OVA junkies because it does enough to distinguish itself, but most people will probably think there just isn’t enough here to leave a lasting impression. Zeorymer isn’t a heavily flawed series, it just needed to actually be big rather than just think big.
I mean, it wasn’t unwatchable. The art and animation were adequate, and the soundtrack was tolerable if dated. The plot comes close enough to making sense for an action/mecha series.
But the characterizations were weird. The “bad guys” were frequently more sympathetic than our protagonists, and not in any way that really encouraged deeper consideration. The core plot also just wasn’t really developed. The ultimate mastermind behind the whole thing seems to have launched the most complex world takeover plot ever… for no particular reason. And they never really clear up what the goal was.
Also, the titular Zeorymer is a boringly invincible mech. It wins every fight with the same move.
I don’t know. As an example of 80s mecha-action, it isn’t terrible. And it is short, so it might make a little sense to sample it. But I can’t come up with much else to recommend it. Watch some of Armored Trooper Votoms instead.
12: Scramble Wars: Tsuppashire! Genom Trophy Rally
Japanese: スクランブル ウォーズ 突っ走る！ゲノムトロフィーラリー
MAL Score: 6.17
Take the characters from a number of sci-fi based animes, a stage not unlike “Wacky Races,” super deformed madness, and general insanity and what you get is Scramble Wars. While Scramble Wars does include characters from the original Bubblegum Crisis, Gall Force and Genesis Survivor Gaiarth, it also has a few other characters from other animes such as AD Police and Riding Bean. It doesn’t matter if you loved or hated any of these series, as long as you’ve seen at least one of them you’ll have a great time watching this, though the insanity is so generic that it really doesn’t matter if you haven’t seen any of the animes featured in Scramble Wars.
Wacky Races! No not really, but close enough. Genom is holding a race; the winner will receive the Genom Trophy! Woohoo! Yay! Enter, Priss on her Motoroid, Linna and Nene, Sylia and Mackie, a Boomer… A Boomer?… okay… and characters from other animes already mentioned a million times. All will be racing against each other to win this prestigious trophy for some reason. And all of them will do anything to win it…
11: Ten Little Gall Force
MAL Score: 6.20
A super deformed parody which depicts the “making of ” Eternal Story and Destruction. A very humorous behind-the-scenes look (if “Gall Force” were a live-action series instead of being animated).
Cast and crew members run into severe and embarrassing difficulties as things do not turn out as they should; for example, Lufy totally drowns in embarrassment as she is object of a whole crowd of spectators while in the nude; the director’s obsession with realistic filming causes some real high-voltage friction with Catty; and in the end, after the premiere, the girls end up in an ongoing on-stage tussle about which one is the most popular character.
10: Rhea Gall Force
English: Rhea Gall Force
Japanese: レア ガルフォース
MAL Score: 6.25
The Solnoid race is long dead, annihilated along with their enemies in the final battle at Sigma Narse. But their descendants survive on Earth, and have now inherited the sad destiny predicted so many years before.
The year is 2085.
The third world war between East and West has reduced the cities of Earth to mountains of rubble. The mechanical killing machines created by both sides now ruthlessly hunt down the remnants of humanity. Old hatreds between human factions prevent an effective resistance, and the only hope for survival rests in a desperate plan: evacuate the survivors to Mars Base. There they can rebuild and plan the liberation of the home world.
Among them, one young woman carries the guilt of her father`s hand in the destruction of civilization. Unknown to her, she also carries the key to a possible salvation. As destiny draws new friends and allies to her, a new Gall Force is born to rise up against the coming destruction…
When I watch these terrible OVAs, deep down, I always hope to find a hidden gem that will make me look like Albert Einstein when I bring it up in conversation. Barefoot Gen is a nine out of ten and it can be found on Youtube–so anything is possible. However, Rhea Gall Force is no Gen. The story is the kind of vanilla sci fi one would expect from the 80s: robots take over, Yada Yada, humans threatened, Yada Yada, and Russians vs everyone else. The girls in this OVA aren’t even that cute. The last 80s OVA I talked about, Cosmo Police Justy, I gave a four just because the main girl was cute. This OVA did not even have that. To add to the complaint, the main girl from Rhea was also vaguely annoying. The only aspect of her character I can describe is that she is the protagonist–if you watch this you will likely know what I mean. The other characters were just as bland, not really much else to say.
Overall, if you want to seem all cool and retro savvy, then give this a watch. But if you are an actually human being with a life, then you are better off living that life. I only checked this out because after writing about Cosmo Police Justy, I got reminded to continue my search for hidden gems, which translates to me wanting to beef up my MAL account. Regardless, Rhea Gall Force… not good.
9: AD Police
English: AD Police Files
MAL Score: 6.26
The year is 2027 in MegaTokyo, six years before the Knight Sabers will make their debut. Boomers (artificial humans) are still a relatively new advancement, and the implementation and integration of boomers into society is still a bit buggy — sometimes fatally so. Whenever a boomer incident occurs, though, there is the Advanced Police, a special force trained to deal with boomer crimes.
Leon McNichol is a rookie in the AD Police, and is just starting to become exposed to the horrors and tragedies one finds every day in MegaTokyo. He and his veteran partner, Gina Marceau, slowly learn about the ever-fading line that separates man from machine.
Someone saw more potential in the franchise and decided to take Blade Runner and blend it with Miami Vice. Inspired? Foolhardy? Definitely worth a shot. The cyberpunk genre can be blended with anything, and Bubblegum Crisis brilliant as it was, could have been taken in another direction entirely, and AD Police Files directs it into moody fatalistically romantic territory.
Leon McNichol is almost unrecognisable, not just due to a change in character art, but he’s a jittery straight-laced rookie in the first episode. A far cry from the ladies man, with a penchant for showing up at the right time with a big gun that we saw in the previous OVA. You’d think this OVA would chart a rites of passage for this character, throwing him into the deep end of sex-crazed Boomers in a lecherous city and spitting him out a grizzled veteran, but he’s just another character in the background to the city and its blood-soaked tragedies.
Whereas Bubblegum Crisis reminds you vaguely of the style of Ghost in the Shell at times, AD Police Files strangely and for a brief moment will make you recall Ghost in the Shell: Innocence’s opening assault on a building harbouring a crazed robot ‘doll’. This serves as another reminder of the Bubblegum franchise’s subtle impact on the cyberpunk genre within anime, very subtle indeed.
AD Police Files addresses one of the aspects of Bubblegum Crisis, that of the AD Police being completely and utterly useless at everything. This was not so much a flaw as it was a humorous running joke throughout that OVA. This time they get a lot of love and attention, turning up at crime scenes violently, intimidating ‘normal police’, and generally causing the same amount of destruction as the Knight Sabers except with a humorously bemused scowl upon their weathered faces.
Another aspect addressed in this OVA that was lacking in Bubblegum Crisis is more of a definition and elaboration of what Boomers actually are, and their role in society. In the previous OVA all we got was rogue Boomers, custom-made and with inconsistent personalities. There was no outline for why Boomers were made, or what they were made of exactly. The line was blurry and with the array of different personalities it wasn’t clear if they were cyborgs, robots or synthetic humans. Sure the name is a riff of baby boomers, but Bubblegum Crisis didnt really do anything else with that symbolism.
AD Police Files is more direct in its approach to everything. We’re told Boomers are artificial humans made up of proteins, artificial intelligence and artificial organs. A real mash-up indeed. Future Frankenstein monsters terrorising Mega-Tokyo with random violence due to mysterious bouts of insanity. Then there is the issue of people with implants, if over 70% of their body are cybernetic then they are classed as Boomeroids. After you’ve stopped laughing at that name you realise you’re in a perfect setting for philosophical musings.
You’d think after the previous paragraph that you’ll endure endless exposition and rambling but you’d be incorrect in that assumption. One of AD Police Files’ saving graces are the stylish art direction and minimal dialogue. There are many instances of wordless scenes, set to an 80’s synth score, and its absolute bliss for cyberpunk lovers, and seasoned anime viewers in general. We’re not getting talked down to in this OVA, and although we’re also not being asked to work our brains, we’re still being entertained without being insulted. Well, much. The content of the episodes is a bit on the nose at times, though the core plots for all three are still pretty good.
AD Police Files is required viewing for fans of cyberpunk and 90’s anime. It hasn’t got the quality of the best animes of the genre, but it has its heart in the right place. Ironic, huh?
The titular AD Police are a force that specialises in dealing with boomers, and humans with enough cybernetic parts. The story follows three different cases of theirs. The first involves them trying to find proof that one of their own didn’t commit suicide by boomer, while being stalked by a sex boomer. The second involves a woman murdering prostitutes. The final one involves a cyborg fellow who can’t feel anything except his own tongue and is losing touch with his humanity. It doesn’t help that he’s being molested by a sex-crazed lady doctor.
You might have noticed a bit of a pattern there. This series has a weird, unhealthy fixation on sex, especially as it applies to women. In the first episode we have the crazed sex boomers and a lady who gets turned on by the sight of blood, which never comes up again even though she’s in the rest of the series. In the second episode our serial killer was driven mad because (minor spoiler ahead) her husband was cheating with prostitutes because he thought their normal vaginas were better than her cybernetic one. In the third, we have the lady scientist who likes to wear lingerie under her lab coat and jump the cyborg she’s in charge of. Do these guys just live in perpetual terror of the idea that a scantily clad woman is going to do terrible things to them? Because if that’s the case they should see an actual psychologist and work through their issues in a constructive fashion instead of airing them in a publicly released OVA for anyone to see. Otherwise some strange person might try psychoanalysing them based on their writing and they won’t actually improve.
The second major issue with the series is that there’s never any sense of investment in what’s happening. Not only do we know basically nothing of these characters, but the set ups largely boil down to some action sequences and fetish fuel. Take the first episode. We’re supposed to care about a dude who had, maybe two lines of dialogue and got killed because his life insurance might not be paid out. Hold on, let me try to find a single fuck to give… Nope, can’t find one. A non-character’s woes after they die doesn’t make you interested in what’s going to happen. It’s completely not compelling. There’s also a bit of an issue with the cyborgs in this world. Our final episode cyborg can’t feel anything but his tongue, but the second episode cyborg is over 70% cybernetic and can feel things fine from what we see. They couldn’t have given the battle cyborg a switch so that he could turn off his sensations in battle, but so that he would still get sensations outside of it, possibly curtailing the obvious scenario that happens with him? For that matter, we see from the same comparison that they have cybernetic genitalia. Why can’t he have a penis and just wear trousers? Is it solely so that the “sex scene” with the scientist rubbing herself against him doesn’t actually make the OVA a hentai?
About the only thing I can say in its favour is that it’s set in the same universe as Bubblegum Crisis. So, if you’ve seen that then you know some interesting aspects about the world. Even if this series doesn’t convey them.
I briefly touched on the characters being about as interesting as a blade of grass during my analysis on what’s wrong with the story. So, rather than repeat myself over much, let’s try comparing them to the ladies in Bubblegum Crisis and see where this series went wrong. In BC, we get character focused episodes that develop our main cast. We see what kinds of things they do when they aren’t fighting. We see them interact with one another and other people at length. In this series, we get very brief snippets, some of which are actually just sepia-toned still images. The interactions are likewise fairly flat. There’s the whole scene where the sex-crazed officer tries to hurl herself at Leon because… blood. We get a scene where she asks him why he rejected her and he just kind of shrugs. Dude, you can just tell her that you’re not into the blood play. It’s not like it even makes you weird. There’s not enough here to give you a substantial sense of character. Nothing to move them beyond generic. For that matter, the excuses behind why our antagonists go crazy are pretty poorly handled. Husband cheats? Well, that has to lead to madness. Don’t pretend that you’ve never gone berserk and murdered a bunch of people when your significant other was unfaithful. We’ve all been there.
If Bubblegum Crisis had an unhealthy fixation on fan-service, this series suffers from multiple neuroses about it. There are several action sequences that get interrupted for the sake of tacky bosom or bum shots. All three episodes feature women stripping out of their clothes for unnecessary, garish reasons. To make matters even worse, the character designs shift a bit from episode to episode. You know, on account of consistency being cumbersome. The series still manages to feature some decent action sequences and some nice details concerning the advanced technology.
The performances in this are pretty weak. Which I attribute to the script not giving the cast much to work with. I know that Furukawa Toshio, Wakamoto Norio & some others can act really well. They don’t in this, but I know they can. The music isn’t particularly good either. Which is a bit surprising since BC had such a fantastic soundtrack. Then again, BC also had a lot of other good aspects to it that this series lacks.
There really isn’t any. The closest we get to ho-yay is an inquiry about one character’s sexuality.
So, that’s AD Police. If you want some mindless action and tawdry sexual content, you are in luck. This OVA was made for you. For everyone else, it fails pretty badly. The story telling is just bad. The characters are awful. The music and acting are weak. The levels of fan-service detract from the action and are just in poor taste. All in all, it’s terrible and I don’t care for it. My final rating is going to stand at a 2/10. Next week I’m looking at Mononoke.
with an special eye to episode 3, wich story and mecha design is partly inspired by robocop 2 (1990) end is damn violent!
8: Gall Force 3: Stardust War
Japanese: ガルフォース3 スターダスト ウォー
MAL Score: 6.37
The girls are saved … by none other than Catty Nebulart herself! Now, the race is on as Catty struggles to complete her crowning achievement: a huge machine that will bring life to a lifeless world!
As for the story it shows some more of what the war is really about and is a bit interesting in some ways but can be something what u heard before so yeah…. its ok
7: Gall Force 2: Destruction
Japanese: ガルフォース2 ディストラクション
MAL Score: 6.39
Lufy, discovered floating lifeless in space, is brought on board a Solnoid cruiser and given another chance at life. Once the hardened warrior, she is shown events that shake her faith (one’s own death seems to have a way of changing one’s philosophy) and lessening her power as a fighter just as that power is most needed!
6: Detonator Orgun
English: Detonator Orgun
Japanese: デトネイター オーガン
MAL Score: 6.43
Fleeing from his own race, Orgun—an alien being with superhuman abilities and unearthly weapons—travels to Earth to find an answer to his origin. There, he bonds with a young man named Tomoru to defend Earth against the Evoluders, who seek nothing but destruction of other civilizations.
In a far far future where you can turn on/off the tv or the lights by snapping your fingers (wow), a young man named Tomoru is having some disturbing dreams in the last days. In one of these dreams he encounters a robot named Orgun and other mechanical aliens. The dreams would turn out premonition given that an alien robot is attacking the city. Meanwhile, in a military lab, we see a robot that was rescued on the moon and that was rebuilt by Professor Kanzaki, a smart young woman, who is trying to find out what it actually is, when it breaks out from the lab and sets out to stop the other alien. This Robot, who is actually Orgun from Tomoru’s dreams finds and asks to merge with him so they can beat the hostile robot. By merging with Orgun, Tomoru gets some information about it and the enemies. Once they defeated the hostile robot, Tomoru tells Professor Kanzaki and the military that robotics invaders are actually an alien race called Evoluder who intend to destroy the Earth. Orgun is this alien race’s defector who traveled here to protect Earth.
The story begins a bit slow, in the first episode the protagonist has almost exactly the same dream twice and only by the end of the episode he met with Orgun.
The anime works with cool sci-fi ideas like human evolution and space travel. But unfortunately these ideas are not very well explored. There’s a lot of stuff going on and some irrelevant characters with a considerably amount of screen time. The OVA being so short it felt really rushed and underdeveloped in many parts.
The main character Tomoru is bland, he has no clear motivations, even when he understood Orgun and the threat of enemies, he spend the whole second episode bitching about piloting the mecha (get in the robot, Shinji). The dialogues with him are always boring and confusing as he is always indecisive and empty of any purpose. The only thing we understand about him is that he likes things from the 20th century’s stuff. And the anime is CONSTANTLY reminding you of that, his two dreams in the first episode had this weird WWII setting, he seems to have a obsession with the local museum, once its shown him in the movie theater watching a WWII film. There is even one scene in the first episode where in the middle of an alien attack, he is almost hit by Professor Kanzaki’s vintage car by accident and after almost dying the first thing he says is “Woow, the 1962 Jaguar E”. What’s the point of all this? None, they never explored / explained why these things are important to him.
Professor Kanzaki is the best character in this. She is the military scientist who is working on Orgun and, with her super computer I-Zack, is investigating the mystery behind the alien race. She is actually an artificial human created meant to have superior intelligence and abilities so it would to be exploited in times of war. She says she first resent these abilities, but then starts reflecting on overcoming the brilliant scientists who created her and now she wants to see what she is capable of. There is a romance between Professor Kanzaki and Tomoru that might have been good if it wasn’t for the lack of focus of this anime. They had like 3 short scenes together by the end of episode 2 and this was still played like a big thing in the final.
There’s this other woman, Yoko, who is an Earth’s military commander, but honestly she is not relevant at all. We don’t know many things about her she is not a crucial character, bt she is always there wasting screen time that could be better spent in any of the other things the anime was trying to do. She kisses Tomoru in the second episode, out of nowhere for no good reasons, so I think we have a love triangle now. Thanks anime, another pointless thing.
There’s this other kid who is an esper and is always is telling the future in TV. Later she becomes able to communicate with the aliens, and at the last battle she manages to move the sun because it would be somehow convenient to Orgun defeat the aliens. This felt like absolute bullshit, even for this anime. Also, she can move the damn sun, why the hell can’t she defeat he aliens by herself
The animation is quite good for its time and the last battle had really beautiful action scenes. The Orgun has a pretty cool design, it’s not a giant mech, is slightly bigger than a human, so it disassembles Tomoru’s body to fit him inside. It creates some tension when it’s revealed if Tomoru spend too much time merged with Orgun he might not be able to come back. But why his body come back to normal after being disassembled inside Orgun is never explained, they simply say that maybe there’s something special with him.
The music is good, I loved the closing songs. It is expected since it was composed by Susumu Hirasawa, known for his work in Berserk and some of Satoshi Kon’s anime.
Detonator Orgun is a cheesy anime with some audiovisuals and interesting ideas, there are many bad things about the story and characters but I can’t say it was boring. If you really are into Mecha and Sci-Fi stuff you might have some fun watching this.
5: Bubblegum Crash
MAL Score: 6.54
The saga of the Knight Sabers continues as the group tries to find out who or what is behind the recent string of robberies, murders, and Boomer malfunctions which are somehow related to the creation of an advanced artificial intelligence. Furthermore, it seems that the Knight Sabers may be breaking up.
Crash is basically a direct continuation of the original OVA and it’s completely obvious. The animation and everything in that aspect is the same, with many improvements because it’s newer – this made me second guess myself after saying I liked the redesigned characters in 2040, because Priss, Nena, Linna, and Sylia all looked really cool in this one. The cyberpunk setting is still very grim, dark, heavily detailed, like it rightfully should be! The music also retains its awesomeness from the original OVA, great 80’s hair metal that you can’t help but love if you grew up in the age. The BGM fits the mood and is great too. Oh and the opening is just downright awesome, timeless stuff!
I’ve head some complaints about this one mainly geared towards the plot being a little contradicting against some events in the OVA. The only issue that might bother me here is that Priss could be a little out of character, with her constant attitude and decision with being a Knight Saber and fighting Boomers changing – but I have to ask, do you really go in watching Bubblegum Crisis for an in depth story and thought provoking characters? Not exactly, if you ask me… that aside the characters reminded me a lot of how they act in 2040 pretty often. Priss can be pretty hotheaded, Nena is cheerful and weary that the Knight Sabers are breaking up, Linna is just all over the place, and Sylia is her mysterious self but shows a little more character towards the end. They’re all fun and enjoyable characters.
The three episodes do connect in the end. They’re a little episodic, but 40 minutes pure episode isn’t bad. The horrible events in episodes 1-2 eventually lead up to the finale, where a previous villian is brought back (one of the best ones from the OVA, with that being said some can maybe make a guess as to who that is). Though the show does get a little silly towards the end kind of like 2040 did, it tries a little too hard to be overly weird and thought provoking. But it’s just part of the episode, rather than an entire story arc … so it’s not a huge complaint.
Overall Bubblegum Crash is simply put, more Bubblegum Crisis, more Knight Sabers kicking ass, great cyberpunk settings, awesome old school music. It’s always been something you shouldn’t take TOO seriously, but if you go in just looking for some quick enjoyment with action/comedy this should deliver. If you’re a fan of the OVA, 2040, and still haven’t seen this – definitely give it a shot sometime.
THAT ALL SAID – I enjoyed Crash a fair deal. No where near as much as Crisis, but it certainly is not awful. Continuity errors aside, each episode’s story is fairly interesting and the four Knight Sabers are as fun to see as always. It also provides an actual conclusion to the story, which gives Bubblegum an actual sense of closure after Crisis had its mother of all non-endings. There’s still a few good cheesy songs as well (though nowhere as many as in Crisis) so the spirit is still there. All in all, Crash isn’t a bad way to end the series on, and for all its flaws its still an enjoyable watching. At 3 episodes long, its not even that time consuming either, making a quick fast watch.
Bubblegum Crash had a lot of features that would make it a cool sequel to )one of) the Cyberpunk Epic(s) of the 80’s, Bubblegum Crisis. It has a spetacular Opening, with great visuals and an awesome song. It had improved animation, whichi could only add for its awesomeness. But it lack one little very important thing: It lacked memory. It did not remember its own story. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Mother of all Trainwrecks is here. This is the sequel that contradicts its original story. I have never heard of something like this before. This thing here gave birth to my first Anime-Impulsed Facepalm.
It’s possible that you think that I am overreacting, since Bubblegum Crisis was created mostly as an action show, and for many people, plot is secundary. Well, you won’t think so when you hear about what happens here.
Story: 3 of 10
You know what? The story wouldn’t be that bad… If it weren’t for the fact that it contradicts the story of the show it is supposed to be a sequel of. And not just any part of the story: IT CONTRADICTS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE SHOW!!! Let me break it down for you.
1 – Boomers, GENOM’s creation, are Cyborgs which are a junction of cybernetics, biotechnology and nanotechnology, that have multiple purposes. They have varying degrees of Inteligence, with many of them reaching sentience. This is particularly true for sexaroids, but present elsewhere. They are widespread, specially, it seems, in the Multiethnical Japan of 2032. Several of them go out of hand, and the Knights Sabers (our protagonists) are there to fight them, among other opponents). One of our protagonists (Priss) eventually befriends two of these (sexaroid) boomers, and fans will probably speculate about the relationship with one of them (probably just fan wank, though). These friendships are actually a key point in the story’s most important arc.
2 – The Big Bad, the leadership of the MegaCorp GENOM, is heavily present in the story. One of the villians from this corporation eventually transfers his consciousness to a Boomer body, and gains a God Complex. This is also a key point in the story’s most important arc.
There are other points to the story, but these are enough for what’s about to come. So, how does our beloved sequel treat these facts? Here’s How:
1 – In 2034 (Crash setting), a top secret experiment consists of the first sentient boomer, who looks like a tin can… If I recall it right, in 2032 and 2033, SENTIENT BOOMERS ALREADY EXISTED, could be confused for Human, and in several cases, had artificial blood deposits. Now people could come to me and say: ”They were probably referring to the first sentient boomer that is entirely artificial”. No they’re not. They only mentioned boomers, and the fact that you could confuse this boomer for a human being on the phone was considered impressive… 🙁 What just happened here? So, technology is lesser in 2034, and everyone forgot the previous years? First Facepalm.
2 – Priss, one of out protagonists, befriended two sexaroids in Crisis. One year later, as if she hit her head somewhere, she doesn’t seem to recall them, and outright claims to hate boomers. She has a change of heart with tin can later, but… What happened to Sylvie and Anri (the sexaroids)? And nobody else seems to remember anything either. Second Facepalm, in result of the first.
3 – GENOM, so important to the narrative of Crisis, controler of even the Japanese Government, is absent from the story altogether, leaving only its gigantic tower behind. Never is the name GENOM uttered, nor is Quincy, the CEO ever mentioned again. Also, the city, with a notable divide between rich and poor, is suddenly cleaner… What happened in here? Third Facepalm.
4 – But hey, if you think the main villian of Crisis woudn’t show up, you’re quite mistaken. The member of GENOM who resurrected as a boomer with a God Complex, who persoaded one sexaroid boomer that he would free boomers, and who fought Priss with said sexaroid nearby… IS BACK!!! And according to his words, he’s back to settle unfinished business… WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT!!? This is too much to take in. It’s messing my mind up as I write this review. It’s awful. Fourth Facepalm, in virtue of all the others.
And you know what’s the worst part? There are parts of this story that were actually usable. What a waste.
The art was spetacular. It was the sharpest art in all of the early Bubblegum Crisis franchise. It was awesome. Bright colours, a well drawn cyberpunk setting, great action animation, etc. It even has a spetacular Opening Animation. It still doesn’t make up for anything though.
It brings us an awesome OP song, and three forgettable ones. It has a mostly unimpressive soundtrack… The OST is a shadow of Bubblegum Crisis’ diverse OST, which is awesome to have. Also, while Crisis’ cast was fine before, which even some seiyuu who would appear in other prominent roles, in Crash, Priss’ seiyuu is replaced, and her work wasn’t that great. Still, she sang the awesome OP and with some effort, she would’ve made it. She just didn’t, though. No offense to her.
I mentioned Priss’ amnesia regarding 2032-2033, right? Priss’ unexplainable hatred of boomers. I shall also mention how Priss dropped her interest in Rock music, disbanded her band, and… tried to record a pop album… Yeah… Also, Linna, another protagonist, seems to not have evolved her character after past events, but because such events were not mentioned on this review, lets not go any further… This is just a part of a whole. Everyone’s ”amnesia” decreases their worth as characters. Sorry, that’s how it goes.
The action saves it from a mediocre rating, and so does the Opening and the Animation… But for all the reasons above, it doesn’t go above 6.
Overall Score is 5. A sequel that kills everything the original was is too lucky for having such a high score.
4: The Hakkenden
English: The Hakkenden: Legend of the Dog Warriors
Japanese: THE 八犬伝
MAL Score: 6.61
“During the blood-soaked feudal wars of Japan, the Awa clan faced certain extinction from a rival clan backed by demonic forces. Their clan’s salvation becomes a curse when the family dog brings back the head of the enemy warlord but insists upon marrying the lord’s daughter! This unnatural union bears fruit, but they are killed; and their eight unborn pups reincarnate as the eight Dog Warriors – The Hakkenden. The eight reincarnated souls travel their separate paths of violence and retribution, but slowly they come together as a formidable group representing the eight virtues of the bushido to slay the demons and redeem their clan!”
(Source: DVD Complete Series Back Cover)
The story is impressive: The Satomi clan is almost faded to die of starvation, so they ask for help to the Anzai clan. Instead of helping, the possessed clan leader attacks the Satomi. So the Satomi flee for their survival.
One night, Yoshizane, the Satomi leader, says to Yatsufusa, their dog, that if he brings back the head of their enemy he will give the dog his daughter´s hand in marriage.
So as promised, Yatsufusa brings the head of Kagetsura to the Satomi Clan. After forced to assume his obligation towards the dog, Yoshizane tells princess Fuse the truth. But Fuse was already engaged to Daisuke, one of the most loyal men to Satomi.
Then Fuse accepts keeping her father´s promisses, marrying Yatsufusa.
Daisuke finds out about the secret marriage and rushes to get his revenge of the dog.
By the hands of Destiny, Fuse gets pregnant of Yatsufusa, even though they never had any close encounter.
Daisuke finds the dog and the princess and shoots Yatsufusa, but the shot hits Fuse as well.
So, Fuse holding her buddhist rosary decides to open her belly out. By doing so she spreads eight beads and the souls of the cursed offspring.
Those eight souls reincarnate as humans, and each single one of them has a bead with a virtue written in it. They are the Hakkenshi, the eight dog-warriors.
The soundtrack is excelent: it got a bit old, because of the year that the series was created…but it is very japanese…the opening "Aka-Fusha" or "Red Pinwheel" is fantastic!
The characters are very well explored, and each drama reveals itself a part of the cursed destiny of those eight souls.
The art is very good at most of episodes, except for epis 4 and 10, that are hideous. The final episodes are amazingly beautiful, returning to the quality of the first ones. That happened because it wasn´t made by one director only…several directors tried to do their sequel to the series…so some are perfect and others aren´t so good.
Overall, this is an excelent example of the way japanese classics are. Breathtaking, well told, this tale of the dog warriors is a must see!
This is quite the underrated gem as I haven’t seen many reviews of it mentioned online. Before I cover the highlights to Hakkenden, I might as well cover the obvious issue with the series in the form of its animation. The series is notable for having gone through various animation teams throughout its run and it shows with the differing animation quality and styles that get employed in the title’s different scenes. In the better animated parts of the series, characters looks quite lifelike and well detailed in their designs as they exactly as they would in 15th century Japan, which sticks out from conventionally drawn titles of the early to mid 1990s. At its worst, the characters look quite deformed and cartoon-ish in their designs as they move about and are more simpler in detail. Animated scenes are also a mixed bag here as you get occasions where you see nicely animated and brutal battle scenes or nice imagery coming from the various demons that the eight warriors encounter and instances where either you get enough still shots or choppy-looking movement coming from the title’s varying animation styles that were being employed. I’m not too harsh with judging an anime purely on its animation, but there’s no denying the inconsistency of it throughout Hakkenden may be a big turnoff for folks and is still a glaring issue with the series.
If you can look past the visuals though, you’ll find a rather engaging title mixing traditional samurai story with elements of Japanese supernatural folklore. The series is a tale depicting the eight reincarnated offspring of a demonic-possessed dog and princess Fuse of the weakened Satomi clan who slowly reunite to come together to restore their old clan to power. In terms of plot, Hakkenden is mostly focused on the slow reunification of the eight Dog Warriors as they learn more of their origins and have frequent encounters with demons and corrupt feudal lords, events that are usually instigated by the main antagonist of the series in the form of the demon Aboshi, with the first episode covering how the union between Fuse and the dog came about. The final episodes then focus on the eight reuniting with the Satomi clan to reclaim control over the land and having their final confrontation with Aboshi. While the plot seems simple in setup, the title’s focus on its characters and time period add quite a bit of depth to Hakkenden.
Many of the major characters in the series are fleshed out and you come to learn that the eight dog warriors share a connection through having tragic and violent pasts attributed to their unique upbringing and the time period in which they are brought up. This offers up a fresh approach to a historical title like Hakkenden where rather than the series glorify and romanticize the Sengoku era, the series focuses on the cruel reality of the era with political instability and violent warfare about. You have feudal lords caring more for their selfish needs than the well-being of others, families willing to give away their children to political figures for arranged marriage to either gain money or status, corrupt feudal lords willing to kill off anyone to save face for situations that cause the slightest of imperfections for their image and absolute loyalty/ devotion to feudal lords having its moral downfalls. To my knowledge, this was one of the first anime titles that offered such a focus for its historical setting and Hakkenden explores the problems of the early Sengoku era very well.
Another notable element to Hakkenden is its music. Consisting mostly of light and traditional musical pieces, the various musical tracks are pleasant on the ears, flow nicely with the title’s major scenes and offers one of the more beautiful sounding OP tracks I’ve heard in an anime.
Hakkenden’s historical focus, violence (plenty of dismemberment, blood and onscreen deaths are present here) and inconsistent animation make this a series that won’t be for everyone. But if you have interest in historical anime and can look past the mentioned issues with the series, Hakkenden is an engaging experience with its rich cast of characters, supernatural elements and believable approach to exploring the early decades of Japan’s Sengoku era.
3: Megazone 23
English: Megazone 23
MAL Score: 6.79
Shougo Yahagi is a young motorcycle enthusiast living in a world of hot bikes, hard rock, and J-pop idols. The general populace go about their lives in peace, under the watchful eyes of a computer program in the guise of pop idol sensation Eve, unbeknownst to them. Shougo himself is mostly concerned with riding his motorcycle and picking up beautiful women like Yui Takanaka, who aspires to be a dancer.
Shougo’s life suddenly changes when his friend, Shinji Nakagawa, shows him a top-secret project: the “Garland,” an advanced motorcycle that can transform into a robot. Ambushed by the military, Shougo hijacks the Garland and escapes into the city. Evading the military with the help of Yui and her friends, he gradually discovers that their idyllic society is only an illusion.
The first part is outstanding. As to be expected from Noboru Ishiguro. The story has some incredible twists, the art is top notch and there’s plenty of great 80s j-pop. I’d give this part a 9/10 and was really looking forward to what happened in the next episode.
So you can imagine the disappointment when in the second part, everything was entirely different. The characters do not even look remotely similar to how they do in part one and the conclusion feels rather lackluster in comparison to the introduction. The storytelling and art is by no means bad, but is clearly not to the same standard.
Part three has even fewer similarities; there is an entirely new cast and setting, and only has passing reference to the first two parts. This is more of a sequel than part of the same story. By this point it’s really no different from any of the other sci-fi OVAs out there.
The one thing that’s consistently great is the music. 80s and 90s J-pop, yes please.
In short, watch part one, but prepare to have the quality drop considerably by the time you reach the end (if you even get that far).
When i originally saw the trailer for Megazone 23 on a random anime dvd, i couldnt help but to be fascinated by the fast pace and 80’s soundtrack that i was watching, and i knew i had to get this anime.
As a major fan of old school anime, i ordered the Megazone 23 collection with all the aspirations of old school anime glory, and i must admit, it took me for a ride that ill never forget. With this review i hope to give my own opinions and insight on what has currently become one of my favorite anime titles – Megazone 23.
As for story , Megazone 23 is quite original. I have a large anime collection, and in all my years of watching anime have i never watched anything with a story like this one. its an original piece of work that has managed to become nostalgic and stay fresh at the same time, and it also manages to merge quite a few genres together, such as – mecha, romance,action,sci-fi, and even post apocalyptica. Megazone 23 has something for everyone thats for sure.
When it comes to the Art Department, Each part of the Megazone 23 collection has its own style. Part 1 offers a strictly old school style which could only be described as “80’s animation”. Part 2 is also animated in a late 1980’s animation style, but it is slightly different and more detailed than Part 1. Parts 3 & 4 are animated in the mid 1990’s animation style, with cleaner animation with a more modern look. Though each Part is animated in their own different style, i didnt find it taking anything away from my viewing pleasure, Each Part had its story to tell and i greatly enjoyed the series despite the animation changes.
The sound is basically one of the things that got me hooked on Megazone 23. i really enjoyed the 80’s style and music that Parts 1 & 2 were infused with. The look and sound of everything fit together really well and made it a great experience altogether, whether it was 80’s rock, or pop, or sythesizers. As for sound effects, i felt they were done quite well too, especially with the vehicles (motorcycles). I bought the ADV dvd collection, so thats the only version ive watched, and i must say that the dubbing was done really good in my own opinion.
As i watched Megazone 23, i really found myself liking some of the characters, especially Eve and Shogo. The music they used with the character Eve basically made her an instant legend when it comes to anime Idols, right up there with Macross and everything, and it is certainly for good reason. Shogo was a pretty cool character too. in Part 1 he was stubborn and hot headed, but as Part 2 rolls around you can tell he has matured a bit. Yui changes a bit fom Part 1 to Part 2 as well, and Part 2 introduces alot more minor characters that are pretty cool too. all in all, the characters of Megazxone 23 in a whole are pretty memorable 🙂
As a whole, I really found myself enjoying each and every Part of the Megazone OVA. I liked the originality of its story, the old school 80’s style presentation of music and animation, and the characters were interesting and kept the series fun to watch. Although i didnt mind the animation changes, i know everyone may not care too much for them, but if you can look past those changes and focus onthe story, then im sure youll enjoy Megazone 23 just as much as i did. If you are looking for an anime that is original and one of a kind, then Megazone 23 has everything you could possibly ask for 🙂
Megazone 23 is a very original anime with a setting that will enthrall the viewer into the story, characters, and even the representation of the era it was made in. Yes, this is incredibly 80’s. Part 1 by Noboru Ishiguro is absolutely outstanding. There are so many similarities to the art design and music of the Macross series, and the plot development is top notch. Not surprising that this show eventually became a movie, “Robotech: The Untold Story.” Part 1 focuses on a biker name Shogo and his run-in with a top-secret government weapon called Bahamut. He learns more and more about what the government is, what they want, and how it affects not only him but everybody in the city in which he lives in. Not to mention the interaction with the cities pop sensation named “Eve” and his eventual love interest Yui. Art, music, plot; this first part to the OVA series is top notch.
Now, due to the times and certain decisions being made, a change in essentially everything to series happened going forward in parts 2,3, and 4. A change in staff, lower quality, even the way the characters are drawn all changed. For example, Yui changed from Macross style and green hair to Sue with short brown hair and a generic character design. Basically, the entire OVA series goes downhill incredibly fast. It is a complete dumpster dive after how great part 1 was. Part 3 and 4 goes even further with it being a completely different setting and time period. The same lowered quality and generic character designs are shown again. This time, even the music, which was Megazone’s last saving grace, is pretty much gone.
Sadly, the series falls way short on a setting and plot with so much potential that takes the viewer into the universe of Megazone. If only the concurrent parts after the way the series began were anything remotely similar to Part 1; Megazone 23 could have been something on the scale of a Gundam or a Macross. Unfortunately, the series as a whole is executed horribly. Watch Part 1 and pretend it was the only part made.
2: Riding Bean
Japanese: ライディング ビーン
MAL Score: 7.07
Bean Bandit and his partner Rally Vincent are couriers for hire – transporting clients and delivering goods in his custom sports car “Roadbuster” for a hefty price. But when they are hired to escort a kidnapped girl named Chelsea to her home, they don’t realize they’re being framed for kidnapping as their former clients Semmerling and Carrie plan their escape with Chelsea’s father and the ransom money.
The anime follows the exploits of the legendary courier "Bean Bandit" (a truly unfortunate moniker), and his partner Irene Vincent. They are framed for the kidnapping of a wealthy heiress, and are subsequently hunted by the police and various other parties.
The art and animation of Riding Bean is quite typical of it’s time, and bears a resemblance in places to the style of Lupin and Giant Robo. Riding Bean does however have something that sets it aside – the chases. Very few animes are able to convey the feeling of a high speed pursuit, and Riding Bean is amongst the best.
The sound is of a very good quality, and all the gearheads (a.k.a. car fanatics) out there will love the roar of the engines in the anime.
Riding Bean has some memorable characters, and ironically enough, the most memorable is not Bean Bandit. It is in fact, the cars. The Bean Bandit drives a customised sports car called "The Roadbuster", and if you’re like me (in other words, you like cars and racing), then you’ll understand me when I say I WANT THAT CAR! If you watch the show, you’ll understand why. I watched the showed at the young and impressionable age of 14, and The Roadbuster has been flitting around in my head ever since.
On the flip side, the police also have a car with which to hunt Bean Bandit – the Shelby Cobra GT500 **drools**
One other thing that needs mentioning is the character of Irene Vincent. I hope the name sounds familiar because Kenichi Sonoda later evolved her character into the famous Rally Vincent from Gunsmith Cats.
This is an enjoyable romp through the streets of Chicago, and the chases are truly memorable. If you’re a fan of classic anime, or better yet, a fan of Gunsmith Cats, then this is a must watch. If you like action and adrenalin, then Riding Bean is well worth viewing.
If you’re after romantic comedies, slice of life, etc, then this may not be to your tastes, but it never hurts to give it a try 🙂
Riding Bean is effectively a prequel (and dare I say – a pilot), of the legendary Gunsmith Cats, but it is just as enjoyable as GC. The chemistry between Bean Bandit and Irene Vincent is marvellous, and Inspector Percy is a hoot.
I found Riding Bean to be fast paced and highly enjoyable. The mixture of action and comedy is just about right for me, and I’ve rarely seen chases that match the ones in this show.
The car chases and stuff are fun. There’s even a mission impossible vibe with one aspect of the anime, which is great fun because it’s so ridiculous.
The plot is weak but it serves its purpose well. One link in it is especially difficult to go along with. But whatever. It’s 45 minutes, so I’m happy they cut out the crap and go straight to the good stuff – the action! Come to think of it, there’s one point at the end where a brand new baddie turns up declaring that they’re ‘desperate enough at this stage’ and its like, who the hell are you?
This anime gets ridiculous at the end. Roll with it. Understand that this was meant to be the pilot for a series, so presumably it had justifications for the direction it goes in. Sit back and enjoy. Seriously, just roll with it. It is what it is.
There’s a bit of partner abuse and lolita-ish stuff thrown in there. So, beware if these are things that put you off.
That aside, my recommendation is to watch this being aware that it sucks, but it very enjoyably sucks and actually on its own terms totally doesn’t suck. HAVE MUCH FUN.
(please do let me know yours feelings about this review via private message!)
“Riding Bean” is about cars. Cars, gangsters, and more cars, to be exact. All the action centralises around fast and furious car chases down the highway, or the main character (nicknamed “Bean Bandit”) doing some incredible things with his incredible sports car (named “Roadbuster” – you just know it’s a badass car because it has a name) to get him out of what seem to be impossibly tight spots. The action is very satisfying for the most part, but does get a little *too* over the top – by the end, this Bean Bandit guy was dishing out carnage comparable to Superman.
While “Riding Bean” is an action heavy OVA, the story is surprisingly clever, as it has more than its expected share of twists and turns that kept me guessing what was going to happen next. That said, the story is sometimes compromised by the OVA’s appetite for over the top action. For example, I’d hardly think people who are attempting to get hold of a captive from a car would resort to shooting the car with anti-tank guns in order to try and stop it.
On the animation side of things, “Riding Bean” does well with its great action sequences. However on the negative side, there’s something weird about some of the character designs that I can’t quite put my finger on. Perhaps it’s that ginormous chin sported by the Bean Bandit… I just can’t get over it.
I gathered from other reviews that “Riding Bean” is considered the prototype of “Gunsmith Cats”, as the two share the same creator. I can certainly see the resemblence in the style and setting (as well the fanservice), and in fact, the two both feature the character Irene “Rally” Vincent (something that I didn’t pick up at the time). The general consensus seems to be that “Gunsmith Cats” is superior to “Riding Bean”, but I have to disagree. I thought that “Gunsmith Cats” feels a bit stale, and does not really standing out in anyway. On the other hand, while there are times when it seems like “Riding Bean” doesn’t quite know what it wants to be (at one point I thought it was gonna go down the perverted path, but the moment passed without amounting to anything), it has a much more nifty plot and action that gets the adrenalin pumping a lot faster. Overall, it’s a well spent hour I’d say.
1: Bubblegum Crisis
MAL Score: 7.29
The year is 2032, seven years after the Second Great Kanto Earthquake decimated Tokyo. Now, the city is reborn as MegaTokyo, built from the labors of mechanical beasts known as “Boomers.” Originally created to benefit humanity, the mysterious corporation known as Genom now produces Boomers with incredible destructive power as a new type of advanced weaponry, capable of disguising themselves as humans.
The AD Police is a new special unit to counter the ever-increasing Boomer-related crimes. Overwhelmed by the sheer amount of crimes and disparity in strength, the AD Police poses little opposition to the Boomers. A mysterious vigilante force known as the Knight Sabers, wearing powersuits more advanced than the military, is the citizens’ only hope for protection. Led by Sylia Stingray, Priscilla “Priss” Asagiri, Nene Romanova, and Linna Yamazaki, these beautiful girls take out any Boomer that steps out of line.
Science fiction, ever the barometer of public fear, reflected this in books and film. Alien, in 1979, brought the world a vision of space travel in the future that for once was filthy and corrupt and run by giant corporations with no morals. The seminal Blade Runner stunned 1982 with the visually amazing concept of a huge, grimy neon tech-sprawl future LA of totally mixed ethnicity and robots that behave more like humans than humans do. And William Gibson’s famed 1984 novel Neuromancer gave the world a fevered, lavish nightmare of clashing technology and humanity embroiled in a tale of global tech businesses up to no good, in the process giving this burgeoning genre a name: cyberpunk.
Where one media succeeds, others will follow. Cyberpunk anime was as inevitable then as live action western versions of anime have become now. Bubblegum Crisis was the leading edge of that cyberpunk anime, taking the elements that worked for the rest and expertly marrying it with many of the elements that make anime unique. Today, Bubblegum Crisis is one of those \’classic\’ titles that anime fans need to know about, a Terminator or Star Wars of the anime canon. Even though its popularity in Japan was only a fraction of the reception it enjoyed overseas, it’s my contention that without Bubblegum Crisis there’d have been no Akira film.
But is it any good? On one hand, detractors can say that this is a messy blending of many things that have already been done; a Blade Runner city with a flavour of Neuromancer-come-Alien-come-Aliens dystopian griminess and high-tech evil and full of Terminators and Robocops, filtered through that anime staple, mecha. This is largely true, but doesn’t matter. Outside anime, nothing so ambitious could ever work; but within the totally created universe that’s only possible in animation or CGI, and only really practical in animation, it not only works but excels.
Originally planned as a series of 13 OVA episodes, it eventually ran to only 8 episodes, and some key plot points were altered because of this. Another 3 episodes were released later in an OVA series called Bubblegum Crash, using elements of the 5 unmade episodes that never made it originally. Each is largely self contained, but both multi-episode arcs of storyline and a loose overall plotline are also present. Being an OVA, the time period and hence staff is not as fixed as can be seen with a TV series, the net effect of which being that pretty much every episode is different from each of the others, with different emphases and different priorities. On top of this, half way through, some key decisions were reversed about the planned death in episode 5 of a character who, in hindsight, clearly stands out as the main protagonist. Plus, the eventual premature demise of the series stemmed from the two owners of the franchise, Artmic and Youmex, taking each other to court. DVD releases nowadays seem so snarled in legalities that the horrendous dubtitling is almost forgivable. So, it’s a total mess, basically.
But like I say, this doesn’t really matter. What Bubblegum Crisis does so well, well enough that it relegates these things to positions of secondary importance, is cool. BGC may not have a very sure idea of what it wants to be and do, in a general sense, but it does it with irrepressable style; everything about BGC is very cool. Kenichi Sonoda, who went on to be the man behind Gunsmith Cats, designed the characters impeccably, including their incredible sleek hardsuit armour, which look like what Lamborghinis and Ferraris would look like if they were shaped like women. Various other mechanical designs, by Aramaki Shinji, later to be mechanical designer for Evangelion and director of Appleseed 2004, largely borrows from much of early \’80s sci-fi, and frankly looks fantastic. There’s a very brash, colourful, in-your-face ‘80s vibe also driving the general design ethos, which might sound ghastly but is in fact perfect for crumbling, self-digesting neon dystopias. Much of the visuals are, as mentioned, lifted from Blade Runner and run through a series of anime design quirks. Animation is by no means stunning generally, but gets the job done, and when you factor in the fact that this is from 1987, it really has some very nice touches.
No review of Bubblegum Crisis is remotely complete without mention of the music. BGC is famous for its music almost as much as it is famous for popularising women kicking arse. Synth-rock songs that are as artificial and processed as the nutrasweet in diet coke, tunes painstakingly designed to be catchy and memorable, are the order of the day; it is hard to express how much raw fun it is. It\’s also archetypally \’80s, overblown and brash – and outside of BGC, I generally hate \’80s stuff. The songs especially manage to encapsulate that B-movie feeling; like the irrelevant pop songs at the end of a film that was cheesy but still really entertaining, they are driving, infectious ballads with amazing powers of mood-lightening. Many have noted the similarity between the opening of the first episode and the start of the 1984 film Streets of Fire; but the integration of the music into the story in BGC is much smoother. And, while I love the music, it\’s immediately obvious it\’s the kind of thing that\’s likely to provoke strong responses that won\’t be positive for everyone – a gamble any series that relies so heavily on music must make. Even if you\’re not keen on the sound, though, there\’s no mistaking the skill, high production values and copious amounts of effort behind it.
By having the rock singer character as one of its toughest protagonists is a move that trumps Streets of Fire\’s equivalent role in every way. BGC\’s other characters are far from original by modern standards, but it\’s worth remembering that they set many of those standards themselves. These are archetypes, not stereotypes; those that set the trend, not those who follow them. No-one looks down on Dirty Harry, just because he spawned a thousand maveric cop characters.
It can\’t be denied that there are some fairly major things wrong with BGC. For one, it\’s almost totally episodic, with no real overarching plot and little other than the strong, well rounded characters to link one episode to another. For another, the characters may be strong and extremely charismatic, but they don\’t really change much or develop like they should. For a third, it suffers from the lack of an ending; the last story just stops like any other, and you reach for the last disc…and it\’s just music videos (also real fun). These problems are at least addressed in the 1999 remake, Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040, but at the expense of design, music and general coolness. What the remake did not fix, however, is the basic implausibility of the whole thing. Bloodsucking robots, transforming motorbikes and mecha-tentacle beasts strain one\’s suspension of disbelief unpleasantly at times.
Nonetheless, Bubblegum Crisis, or, to give it its full title, \’Bubblegum Crisis MegaTokyo 2032: the story of Knight Sabers\’ (yes, BGC was in fact the origin of the now-common phrase MegaTokyo – another example of its wide influence), remains immensely enjoyable popcorn anime, and remains fascinating for anyone interested in the history of anime. After 20 years, that\’s pretty damn impressive.
Immediately Ghost in the Shell comes to mind, some scenes look almost identical, the Oshii vibe so thick, the possible influence on the man (and even Shirow himself) is made more and more questionable throughout the OVA with many stylistic choices bringing the GitS franchise to mind.
After the introduction of the various comings and goings of the city, a concert suddenly begins, introducing a blonde wigged character Priss, and is intercut with the appearance of a boomer wrecking havoc. The direction and editing, and hell even the music are all excellent and ensure the OVA gets off to a cracking start. 80’s cyberpunk at its best!
The story follows four plucky young women with nothing better to do in their spare time than to don cyber-outfits and blow crap up, preferably those pesky rogue boomers who keep appearing all over the city. The combined IQ of these four women finally figures out that Genom corporation, which apparently ”accounts for 68% of the world’s cars”, might have something to do with these incidents and so Bubblegum Crisis delivers 8 episodes of pure unadulterated fun in a way only 80’s anime can.
Mega-Tokyo, 2032. This is the future, but seen from the eyes of the 80’s. Each decade’s vision of the future is idiosyncratic, and so each decade produces strange and brilliant works of genius or garbage, with Bubblegum Crisis firmly in the strange and brilliant camp, albeit lacking both genius and garbage, though still retaining quality production and vision. Plenty of great directorial choices, POV shots, pans, zooms, it’s all dynamic and makes up for the dated, yet still decent, animation.
No matter the humour or clunky dialogue or 80’s sprinkled aesthetics in hair styles and clothing, this is cyberpunk at its peak. Everything associated with the genre is present, the connective nature of society, the paranoia of having satellites hovering above your head with the capability of blowing you up, biotech suits, corporate power run amok. In a sense Bubblegum Crisis is more cyberpunk than a lot of cyberpunk anime out there which sometimes jettison a lot of the genre’s traits and settle for dystopic hijinks with the occasional robot AI thrown in. Bubblegum Crisis revels in the genre and doesn’t leave anything out.
The anime came out at what might be seen as cyberpunk’s peak of influence and exposure in the mainstream, and as such is worth a watch for its historical significance, in terms of impacting the genre of cyberpunk in anime and also being a window to the time. It’s so classy it even has time to throw a shout out to The Third Man!
It’s flawed, but packed with so much creative ideas and flair, you can’t help but bop along to the 80’s tunes. Each episode starts with a cinematic musical montage of 80’s soft rock/pop and narrative-advancing imagery. This isn’t on-par with cyberpunk like GitS, you have to accept the humour and gaping plot-holes as part of the charm, or you’ll just not be involved and will tune out. The AD Police are written as what a 12 year old imagines the NYPD are like, complete with the gruff black police captain arguing with the rookie cop.
There’s lots of subtle visual flair in this OVA, the directors knew what they were doing. (Except for episode 5 and 6. That director probably went to the school of Koichi Mashimo, though he wasn’t helped by the screenwriter for those episodes either) Too often in post-millennium anime there are tons of ‘arty’ shots that are meaningless and the camera either flies around the place like a steadicam-operator on crack, or pans laboriously across the screen as if directed by an old age pensioner, but back in the 80’s/90’s they knew how to pace episodes just fine while choosing narrative-coherent viewpoints to the action. I guess I’m harping that old cliché of modern day anime being too shallow with emphasis on looks rather than content, but considering that this anime is packed with very clichéd jokes that were old even back when this was released, the argument is kind of moot.
If you want to go extra deep you could propose that Bubblegum Crisis is yet another exploration of the relationship between man and machine and clearly veers on the side of external mechanics and views bio-implementation, or to be simple about it: cyborgs, as a threat to the world. Even though boomers are technically robots, though the distinction is rarely made clear especially when they all have such charming personalities, their humanoid form isn’t a random creative decision. Boomers, anyone associated to them, and augmentation in general are clearly bad for your health and the only way to make the world a better place is to jump into exoskeleton mecha-suits and be a master of cybernetics, not a slave to them. It’s possibly an archaic almost Luddite philosophy, especially in the 21st century where bio and nano-technology is getting more and more traction. Yep, I just analysed an anime with ‘bubblegum’ in the title.
But you get the gist, Bubblegum Crisis is consistently entertaining and has very good direction to boot, and its shortcomings can be seen as part of the package; a conscious decision and not a by-product. You’re meant to laugh at the ridiculousness of the entire premise, especially the glorious last episode’s tribute to the character of Nene, and you’re meant to lap up the universe presented because you’re a cyberpunk fan. The damn anime’s called Bubblegum Crisis!
If you’re not grinning while watching this, you’re in a crisis of your own and I suggest you chew some gum to get over it.
However at the same time, being a fan I think i can give you a true reflection of the series, being able to mention things that other reviews are missing because they glossed over the series and did not give it the attention it deserved. I think in some ways a review that the reader can relate to can sometimes improve their watching/re-watching of a series.
So onto the matter at hand Bubble Crisis 2032, an OVA series which 3 top notch studios (AIC, Artmic and Youmex) gave their all towards in the 80s and in my opinion really raised the bar when it came to what you could achieve in animation and also among all of these talented people was none other than legendary designer Kenichi Sonoda. Unfortunately the downside of having so many good chefs, is the inevitable arguments over who owns what, which in the end was the downfall of BGC.
First lets talk about story, BGC gets a lot of flak over its story, many arguing that it is poor or lacks any real overbearing plot. Now i have a problem with this, yes you could say that if you’re comparing it to syndicated series which run with week by week episodes and are produced much quicker, but BGC was not produced in that manner and was never intended to be, its release of 8 episodes was staggered over 4 years due to the amount of work it required to do it to the level of technical quality wanted. At the time most of us never were able to see all episodes back to back like people now get to do, the producers knew this and focused on trying to convey EMOTIONS in each episode. The dying of a loved one, loyalty and vengeance for a friend, saying goodbye for a last time, fighting a losing battle, all of these concepts were tried to be portrayed using a situation and an fitting background song, right up to the end credits music and background image the directors were trying to convey a feeling with their story above all else. And i think that was a good approach, since the episodes had more impact on me and i was not simply waiting to see the next episode like i do with anime nowdays, i was instead thinking about the episode i just watched, which was a very good thing since the next episode was likely weeks if not months away. A lot of money was put into this series, and it was risky even for the time but im grateful they decided to do it this way as it leaves a lasting impression on most that watch it, sometimes subconsciously.
The characters themselves were a revelation, they were a new breed of tough woman leading the fight in mechanized combat suits. That was barely common to have only woman as leads in the action genre.
Though with only 8 out of the 13 episodes completed they did what they could with depth, but its what the characters represented that was most special.
They covered a broad spectrum of female heroines, Priss a tough, bike riding, battle hardened fighter who happens to be a singer, Linna the represented average aerobics girl of the 80s but with the ability to be able to tranform that athletism into fighting prowess, Sylia a smart weathly elite who isnt a afraid to drop the high class lady act and dirty her hands when she needs to, and lastly Nene a computer and electronics specialist willing to put herself in the battle zone.
What made them even more special though was they all had their weaknesses, and the designers wanted us to know they were not perfect individuals and this added something to the characters that was largely absent in other action movies of the time.
Priss is poor and has had a rough life, its also implied that she never was well educated but she does what she can to get by and enjoy her life and improve the life of people she knows…or at least exact justice on their behalf.
Sylia is seen as the cool headed leader, but secretly she has an immense hatred for Genom Corp inside her which is strong enough to impair her judgement and cause her to lash out at others.
Linna although generally up beat is not living the life she wants, she would love a glamourous life and a great boyfriend but she is stuck in the mediocrity of being a below middle class person in Megatokyo, a cycle she cannot break out of. Then theres Nene, she desperately wants to be more physically imposing and it frustrates her that she isnt given much respect, she doesnt just want to be known as a computer geek at a police department and really would like people to know what shes really capable of.
Art and character design, I think the series gets its deserved ratings here. Personally i think its a masterpiece of its era, using methods an approaches that will never been done again since they would be unfeasible today. Its a testament to what human artists are capable with just simple tools and hundreds of hours of painstaking work that they simply poured to their hearts into. If you’re an artist or have ever worked with professional artists you will understand it and appreciate it for the true paramount achievement that it was. If you’re not an artist, just look at it like this, BGCs artwork is very much like a Ferrari F40, its not the best car ever made, but its a representation of what was achievable by the experts of that era, and for that it will never be replicated again because the technology changed, people have changed and the mindsets have changed. For that reason its look will always be unique and special.
The sound, for me the music production was the best id ever come across, in both English and Japanese the production quality was supreme, the musical ability of the producers and the vocal ability of the singers is as good as it got for any form of entertainment in the 80s, and that’s saying a lot considering how great an era for music and movies the 80s is considered as being.
Lets talk about the english version music first, since for me its unbelievable to say there are some tracks that are actually better in English (Rock me & Don’t Forget). Now if any of you are familiar with older anime, you’ll know that how botched english versions can be, but with BGC they really gave excellent attention to it so it could stand alone as an equal in quality.
Though the Japanese version is better overall as expected, Ohmori Kinuko really giving a vocal performance that’s as good as it gets.
Voice acting though is just average for both English and Japanese versions. Nowadays we have near Hollywood quality (or Japanese film industry quality) voice acting in games and anime. So BGCs voice acting is a couple notches below, it just lacks the substance that you get with newer productions that really drive home the characters intentions. The relative background silence you get during speaking is typical of the sound production of the time, that is one area I am glad is gone these days.
In terms of enjoyment, if you’re a person of the era there is no way you would say this is anything less than a 9 (i say 10), because you simply hadnt seen anything like this at the time, especially if you were outside of Japan. Taking nostalgia out of it and looking at it just as an Anime fan…a knowledgeable anime fan would certainly understand what was achieved here and in that case its an 8 or even 9 still. (If you got this far i want to thank you for reading this rather long review)
Overall, its a 9/10 for me and if you grew up in the 80s and are an anime watcher you absolutely must watch Bubblegum Crisis.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Bubblegum Crisis
2. Riding Bean
3. Megazone 23
4. The Hakkenden
5. Bubblegum Crash
6. Detonator Orgun
7. Gall Force 2: Destruction
8. Gall Force 3: Stardust War
9. AD Police
10. Rhea Gall Force
11. Ten Little Gall Force
12. Scramble Wars: Tsuppashire! Genom Trophy Rally
13. Meiou Project Zeorymer
14. Dragon’s Heaven
15. Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01
17. Bishoujo Yuugekitai Battle Skipper