They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Generation of Chaos Next: Chikai no Pendant, Dog Soldier, Ice, and more!
25: Generation of Chaos Next: Chikai no Pendant
Japanese: ジェネレーション オブ カオス ネクスト～誓いのペンダント～
MAL Score: 3.57
Prologue to the second game in the Generation of Chaos RPG series. Ellile is a knight-in-training in the Kingdom of Fredbarn in the Neverland World. He and Princess Roji are secretly in love, and plan to marry. Lifile, the head of the knights, finds out, and tells Ellile that he’s not strong enough to protect Roji, let alone the Kingdom. Ellile becomes frustrated, and comtemplates what to do… During the OVA, there are a few animated shorts dealing with a fourth character, Poro, her robot friend, and the GOC Next cast.
I never expected to find an anime worse than Mars of Destruction, let alone two, but Idea Factory delivers yet another puddle of piss in a cardboard box!
To start things off the wrong way- Idea Factory takes a steaming runny dump on your eyes with this shit 3D CGI that looks like someone took a picture of a Lego set that had been put in the microwave with a Nokia 3310 potato, printed it out, wiped their ass with it, lit it on fire, scanned it in, and then put it in the slides for this anime.
Next, you’re slapped with these idiotic mini cartoons that I could vomit more details and color onto.
FINALLY, onto the feature.
So half the anime is this stupid kid walking back and forth between a guy and a princess talking about things that nobody cares about. These conversations are so inane, they’d put 330a public access television to shame. Some shit about “I HAVE TO SAVE FREDBARN!” and “I HAVE TO BE STRONG!”
Fredbarn. The name of the land is called Fredbarn. I can’t even begin to describe the profound stupidity of this name, let alone someone in a studio getting this checked off as a good idea and then IMPLEMENTED!
So the little bitch boy goes to the princess and tells her he loves her. She tells him she loves him too, and they’re going to be together 5eva bby, longa dan 4eva. Then this other guy says “NO! I’M GOING TO BE WITH THE PRINCESS, YOU CAN’T HAVE HER!”, so the bitch boy tells the princess they’re not going to be together any more. (This takes place over the course of five minutes realtime.)
So then the other half is made up of some stupid ass training montage, because bitch boy is apparently a soldier… there’s some flashback shit that are literally just storyboards drawn in as little detail as possible- as in, they’re vaguely human shaped- more like turds.
Bitch boy and other guy fight… and other guy slits bitch boy’s throat, then bitch boy runs away, the end. By the time this is over, you’re wishing it was you with the sword to the throat.
There are no characters, story, or enjoyment to be found here. Unless your idea of enjoyment is pain, then you’d still rather be taking forks to your eyes and pouring liquid aluminum inside your ears than watching this shit.
Moral of the story kids, stay the fuck away from Generation of Chaos if you value your sanity, and stay even further the fuck away from Idea Factory- they’re actually the inventors of torture, and a practiced hand at it.
The hits keep rolling. Idea Factory keeps scarring people for life, and everyone gets screwed over.
24: Dog Soldier
MAL Score: 3.93
When an American scientist carrying a cure for the AIDS virus is kidnapped by an arms merchant, John Kyosuke is forced back from retirement. He accepts the challenge to regain possession of the anti-serum. He finds out that some of the people he is after are closely related, which gives his conquest a whole new meaning.
Let’s start with the laughably named protagonist, John Kyosuke Hiba. The characters can never decide what to call him. In the same sentence, they’ll call him “John”, then “Kyosuke.” What’s up with that? Did they forget his name in a split second? Is it really that hard to just stick with one name? I don’t know, but it makes absolutely no good sense.
Anyway, John is an ex Green Beret who now works a mellow construction job. He gets involved with an international conspiracy involving Chinese weaponry and AIDS. In the middle of this, he dresses up as Rambo and starts blowing crap up. Oh, yeah, that’s right, this is Rambo with AIDS.
Throughout the whole thing, we’re treated to a terrible backstory involving him and the female love interest/antagonist/protagonist, Cathy, as well their childhood friend Makoto, who now goes by the incredibly clever villain name of “Phantom.” Oooh, Phantom. That’s almost as original as Shredder from “TMNT” or Doctor Claw from “Inspector Gadget.” Just almost.
So, we’ve got a half-baked conspiracy plot, a half-baked backstory, and a thoroughly terrible military thriller. It gets worse, though, thanks to the animation. Oh, lord, the animation… if you could even call it that, that is. A whole scene gets repeated with different music, character cels are used for minutes on end, and when there is movement, it’s stiff and unconvincing. Even by 1989 standards, this is some of the worst animation possible.
The only good thing is the music. It’s not amazing, but it’s easy to nod your head along to while zoning out. And trust me, you’re going to want to zone out while this garbage is on-screen. As a funny little side note, the ending theme is called “Sissy on the Roof.” Sounds kind of like a mid-90’s gay adult video, doesn’t it? I think it does, at least.
“Dog Soldier” is awful… actually, that doesn’t begin to describe it. Given that the LaserDisc is rare and costs around 50 bucks, the unauthorized DVD release runs 10-15 bucks, and the VHS is hard to find in general, the universe seems to be telling you something about this. That thing is that you, under any circumstances, should watch never this trash heap. It’s not the worst anime I’ve ever seen (that honor belongs to “Harmagedon”), but it’s darn close. Avoid this trash. It’s barely even good enough for a cheap laugh, and the only thing I’ll ever remember about is being “Rambo With AIDS.”
If you’re looking for a serious adventure about a man’s fight against a military industrial complex, you’re going to find an anime that rounds out to that 3 I assigned it. This anime is bad. The art style is decent; it’s a bit clunky and it shows its age but it is not so horridly ugly or spectacularly beautiful that it’ll leave you clamoring for more. When I viewed this anime, I viewed it on my Japanese LaserDisc release and I’ve seen the dub at anime conventions over the years. The OAV itself was from the late 1980s and was licensed in North America in the early 1990s – and hasn’t been seen since on a retail shelf. The sound is what you’d expect from it; again, a decent rating but I’m not trying to devise the ultimate speaker set-up to watch this.
The story and characters are also fair, but I rated the enjoyment much higher. That’s because I find these elements to still be more subjective than visual and sound qualities. Again, if you’re looking for a serious adventure about one-man-versus-military-industrial-complex, you’ll be missing out. If, you have a penchant for the absurd, though, you should be pleased. The characters are over-the-top and stereotypical of 1980s pop culture. The plot points, which shouldn’t be spoiled, are a new level of absurd, you can only expect them from someone like Saruwatari Tetsuya (Riki-oh, Shootfighter Tekken). Just when you tell yourself "They can’t be serious", they are. The stoic facial expressions used very liberally aren’t like when Jimmy Fallon spoils a joke (in Fallon’s defense, it’s much easier to do in animation than live comedy). And because they are so serious, it is that much funnier.
If you can find a copy of this, then it’s certainly worth checking out. Don’t expect a cinematic masterpiece because you won’t find it. This is something that has to be viewed through the same lens as you would a really horrible B-Grade science fiction film. The creators, both of the original manga and of the anime did their best to make something good, but it didn’t quite come through this time. I say, enjoy it for the absurdity; get your friends together and have a good laugh!
Now, without much further ado:
“Dog Soldier” is an anime that promises a lot, but does only a little. Just from the poster, you can notice the character looks like Rambo. Since the main character, John Kyosuke Hiba looks and fights like Rambo, one might expect the anime to have more Rambo-ish characteristics. And that’s where it falls flat.
The story of Dog Soldier isn’t that good, but given the type of anime it is, the story is only there to give the main character a justification to join the battle. John has to save a scientist, as well as retrieve a virus for AIDS, which has fallen into the hands of a arms merchant who intends to use it as a weapon. However, this is not the most interesting part about the story. (spoiler warning) The most interesting part is that Johnny, the scientist, as well as the arms merchant, have once been childhood friends. This revelation would make the character interactions more interesting than a normal “good guy vs bad guy” plot, however, the anime does not manage to pull it off well. Instead, we have too many flashbacks and too many useless dialogue, while the action scenes, which are supposed to be the main part of an anime of this kind, do not last very long. This makes the whole project fall apart in the end, making this anime not good enough.
As for the art, it’s typical of the era. However, there are several scenes, especially flashbacks, that get recycles. As for the soundtrack, I have nothing against it.
Overall, this anime could have been much better, but it fails to deliver on the action scenes, as well as the character interactions, resulting in a lackluster final project.
Japanese: ICE – アイス –
MAL Score: 5.32
By A.D. 2010, all men have died off quickly due to a dramatic change in the environment and an unknown contaminant. The population decreased to the lowest number ever seen…until only the women were left alive.
They live huddled in small corners of a world mostly reclaimed by nature.
There are those who accept their inevitable extinction and live a carefree life…
There are those who try to continue on the race with the help of science…
It is a society of constant conflict over their differences of principles and policies.
The story takes place in the center of Tokyo. It is one of the places left for them. The conflict over the specimen of “ICE” and the chance it may provide to save humanity begins.
So after using all of his funds to hire animators, our hero realizes that he has no money left over to hire voice actors or writers. He relegates these jobs as well to his group of animators. Unfortunately, none of these people actually know the first thing about writing a story, so they decide to all pitch in in any way that they can. The only thing that our now desperate otaku can come up with is to make a bunch of slips of paper and have the animators all write two words on each of their designated slips. After collecting about 500 of these slips, the otaku throws them into a hat and pulls them out in a random order to create the story. Being that these are all pretty young kids just out of high school, unsurprisingly one of them writes “blows up” on each of his slips.
The story ends up sounding a little something like this: “All of the men in the world are dead because they exploded. Women now rule over a dying society incapable of procreating. Miraculously a baby boy is discovered by a group of female soldiers. They blow it up. Aliens show up and blow up the soldiers. The aliens then also blow up. Then birds turn into flowers. Then the flowers turn back into birds. War ensues. Everyone blows up.” The story is about as unintelligible and nonsensical as it possibly can be and it doesn’t seem as though anybody who worked on this atrocity really cared to speak up about it.
Story: ???¿¿¿??? I think I might have been catatonic while watching this
Overall: Worst thing I have ever seen in full/10
Ice is the first and only anime the obscure animation studio PPM ever made. Guess this made them go bankrupt after putting the OVA and summary movie out.
This show had the shocking art style. For a show from 2007, you wouldn`t expect it to have the 90`s artstyle, and look like shows such as The Slayers, Trigun, Outlaw Star, Pokemon, Gundam Wing, etc. without attempting to look modern at the same time. However this show doesn`t have all that much ground to stand on when it comes to the artwork. It doesn`t nearly look as good as what it`s trying to copy (It even doesn`t attempt to look modern and retro at the same time), and isn`t very pleasing to look at, aside from the backgrounds and a few characters.
The animation, not much to it, even during the action scenes. Pretty simple stuff.
The soundtrack has nothing special here except a few soundtracks. Other than that, pretty mediocre soundtrack.
This show had a story? Well, it had an interesting concept, but the execution was done poorly. The story goes in how the last man on Earth has died, so now, the women are the only ones left. Humanity will be on the brink of extinction as no babies can be produced. You got this thing called “The Ice” (Hence the title), but the problem is they make it hard to understand anything beyond how humanity is on the brink of destruction. They just throw random crap in, and hope it makes sense in the end. Other things are thrown in that are completely irrelevant even.
Where the show failed the most is with the characters. They just throw in a bunch of characters in, don`t do anything to make you care about them (i.e. no character development whatsoever), and call it a day. There is nothing redeeming about them, absolutely nothing. They`re just…there. I doubt any show could top this when it comes to atrocious character development.
It`s already a very, very, very obscure anime five years after it finished, and it won`t be remembered. There is no value to this anime.
Truth be told, Ice wasn`t painful for me to watch, but I can`t see how anyone else could enjoy it quite a bit (I probably enjoyed it more than most people), aside from it being laughably bad in certain parts, such as the black and white movie that pops out of nowhere we have near the very end.
It will be an uphill battle for most people, especially those expecting great characters and a great story as they`re not even decent, they`re just really, really bad.
Now would I rewatch this? Possibly, but I`d rewatch it probably only once. The rewatch value just isn`t really there.
Art & Animation: 4/10
Unless you feel like wasting nearly 2 hours of your life, I recommend staying away from this, and go watch something else with a much better story, and has much better characters.
I guess I can give a brief breakdown.
Was horrid. It was like watching something from 1995 or watching Dragon Ball Z before they hired more artists. So at the time of release it was already dated.
Music did a horrible job of moving the story in any direction; as if the story was going anywhere(?) Sound effects were mediocre at best and really didn’t fit the environment or even into the context that was being shown in some cases.
Characters? What characters? Oh you mean the collection of people that were on screen for a few minutes at a time and had no real importance other than the fact that they were in the movie? Honestly half of them were just perverted. There was no nudity per se, but there were things hinted at “Manly woman sitting in a room covered in women smiles as the doors close and random sounds are made”…type of thing.
There was no story, only a very good premise that failed to deliver.
well i think the review kind of speaks for itself.
22: Wolf Guy
MAL Score: 5.32
Akira lnugami is infected with a terrible poison. The only known antidote has an unfortunate side effect-it turns him into a werewolf. He opts for survival but then has to cope with his new desires and with the attention of the military, which is in terested in using his affliction for its own purposes.
(Source: The Anime Encyclopedia)
We open with a scene of a kid watching who we presume is his parent get killed. Move forward to a scene with an injured man in a hospital. Shift scene to random people we know nothing about, unless they show up in the manga, saying that Inugami Akira might be alive. The man in the pair is contacted by someone who tells him that Inugami Akira is alive and asks him to meet her in a specific place at a certain time. He responds in the most level-headed way he can think of. He runs her car off the road so that she can answer the questions she was going to answer at the rendezvous. Wait, what? This basically leads to the beginning of the quest to rescue this guy.
It also brings up one of the two biggest problems with the narrative. A lot of the major events are nonsensical. It’s not just the “running someone off the road and drawing attention to the secret meeting” thing either. There’s a bit where two characters are tunnelling over a secure installation with power drills and, somehow, no one hears them. Even though they can hear the commotion above. Even when they’re literally breaking down a wall behind some people. No one notices until it’s too late. Incidentally, the tunnelling scene also involves a woman going completely stir crazy and the only explanation for it is that “well, she’s a woman.” We also have two characters trail a third in a car. He glances at the car so they decide they need to switch cars. A bit of an over reaction there, isn’t it? I mean, you guys are in a crowded parking area. It’s not like he has any reason to suspect you’re there for any reason besides patronising the businesses. Just to make this plot point even more pointless, they immediately attack him after getting the new car. We also get some completely pointless plastic surgery that never comes into play in a significant way. Possibly the worst, though, is when a certain character gets drugged, raped and impregnated and they let the sixteen year old with a crush on her decide what to do about it because she’s still catatonic. No. Just no. You don’t let a sixteen year old make that decision. You find a relative. If she has no relatives, you let a medical doctor decide what would be best for her as a patient because sixteen year olds don’t make good decisions and this one certainly doesn’t make the decision that’s best for her. Quite the opposite. He makes the worst possible decision.
The second massive problem is the general treatment of women in the series. Wolf Guy loves to show its female characters abused, sexually and otherwise, for cheap shock value. Expect a lot of incredibly tasteless, crass sexual stuff. I get the feeling that Kazyumasa would have gotten along well with Frank Miller. Then we have the “romance.” It basically consists of women falling instantly in love with guys for no adequately explored reason. Then we have the ending. The ending is set up as “tragic” but it doesn’t work. For one thing, the tragedy comes from our “heroes” being inexcusably stupid. For another thing, it’s predicated on us caring about a character who we know basically nothing about.
The cast in this is really badly written. You might have been able to gather part of that from all of the story problems that stem from the characters acting inexcusably stupidly but it also goes beyond that. Our main protagonist is supposed to be someone we like and root for but he’s, frankly, despicable and an annoyance. The only reason we have to root for him is that the major antagonist is an actual rapist and just one of those “evil for the evils” villains.
The artwork is pretty bad. It’s not as incompetent as most aspects of the series, but it’s pretty bad. We get a lot of gratuitous bum shots of female characters. The facial expressions look bad. The action scenes aren’t well done and there’s just a lot of general laziness.
This is one of those works where they got some good actors including Toshiyuki Morikawa (the voice of Sephiroth) but a combination of poor direction and there being nothing for them to work with makes them sound like they can’t act. The music is the best part of the OVA. The opening theme tune is pretty decent and the rest is bland, but at least it’s not bad.
There isn’t any.
So, that’s Wolf Guy. All in all, it’s absolute garbage with no redeeming qualities and I loathed it. Every audience insulting, idiotic moment. I can’t really recommend it to anyone. It may not be the absolute worst anime I’ve reviewed, but it comes close. My final rating is a 1/10. Next week I’ll look at Azumanga Daioh: The Animation.
21: Phantom Yuusha Densetsu
MAL Score: 5.35
Yazawa, a Japanese pilot, suffers a crash in his Phantom jetfighter. After a six month recovery, his old friend from an airplane magazine wants him to investigate the appearance of a Phantom in an armed conflict in El Salvador. Yazawa’s investigations makes him wind up in an international arms conspiracy. Based on a series of military fiction novels.
We open with our protagonist, I don’t give a shit what his name is, being contacted by his also boring friend about a Phantom jet sighting in El Salvador. Since Don’t Care, is an ex JASDF pilot, he seems like the ideal choice to examine it for a report. Because you definitely need first hand jet flying experience to report on a jet sighting. It’s not like Journalism experience is useful for that. In any case, Don’t Care agrees to go with his friend’s camera man and things quickly turn bad as he finds himself entwined in a conspiracy where multiple government agents want him dead.
The biggest issue with this film is that, like the stratagems of Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu, it suffers from a lot of blatant idiocy. Having an ex pilot with no Journalism experience go to do investigative journalism is pretty stupid. A government agency surreptitiously selling one of their jets without erasing their markings is really stupid. The antagonists capturing the hero they’re trying to kill, having him drugged and at their mercy and then not killing him is just egregiously stupid. It might be acceptable in a piece of media for children, but this is pretty blatantly for adults. Keep in mind, this film lasts for just under an hour and manages to have all these substantial plot holes.
There’s also an underlying plot about the CIA trying to stop everyone from finding out they’re interfering with El Salvador. Which I don’t get. Granted, I’m not an expert in American politics, but I know that the US has a long, long history of mucking about with Central American countries. Would there really be that much of an outrage from the citizens because they were caught doing it yet again?
The characters barely have personalities worth mentioning. Don’t care is one of those intense macho heroes with no real personality. The villains are just sleazy and evil for no adequately explored reason. The girlfriend is there to show her tits, be assaulted and die to give Don’t Care some motivation. She’s the only female character too, unless you count the naked woman who shows up for five seconds. So, the character writing is just shit.
This isn’t one of those anime that hasn’t aged that well. That would imply that it was passable or even good for its time. It wasn’t. Even for the early 90s, this animation is bad. They use a lot of tricks to try to make it seem like there’s more movement than there actually is, but even with the strobe effect and such, it’s really painfully obvious that there was very little effort put into the animation. The movements are very minimum and janky when they do happen. The characters just look very boring in terms of design and the sex scenes are really bad. Not because of the crass nature thereof, the poor animation work and generally rubbish art just make for really bad sex scenes.
The acting isn’t very good. It doesn’t even rise to mediocrity. The actors may be fine under other circumstances but this is one of those works where the lack of character depth combined with poor direction really makes for poor performances. The music is just dull but still the best aspect of the work.
There is none. Truthfully, I prefer not to see ho-yay in a work this bad any way. Because they never do it well.
Areas of Improvement:
Develop your plot. A lot of these problems could be handled with some actual effort. For example, have our main character be an actual journalist, maybe one who used to be a pilot. Then it would make sense for him to be sent. You could also have him find documentation about where they got their Phantoms from, thereby eliminating the tell-tale markings. And have him captured, being taken to a remote spot for clandestine elimination and just wake up and escape.
Character complexity. You don’t need as many characters as this has as long as you actual give yours some compelling traits.
Have an animation budget higher than half the budget of an old Scooby Doo episode. Because this just looks terrible.
This one deserves to languish in obscurity. It’s pretty damn horrendous. Every major plot point is riddled with stupidity induced holes. It looks bad, sounds bad and the characters are trash. I’m giving this one a 1/10. It’s awful.
20: High School Agent
Japanese: ハイスクールAGENT, (ハイスクールAGENT II Uボートを追え!)
MAL Score: 5.43
Based on a manga by Tanimura Hitoshi, serialized in Comic Burger.
Teenager Kanemori Kousuke is a secret agent for the international VN spy network. Using his computer hacking skills, he tracks international criminals. Later he goes after Neo-Nazis to the Arctic were they try to raise a U-boat with a sinister secret.
(Source: The Anime Encyclopedia)
Well, that’s the idea, anyway. It would be best advised not to think too hard about the impossibility of the scenario, and how un-spy-like he acts. Adhering to strict reality is not the point of this OVA, but rather the point is to put a wacky high school student in these high-action scenarios (think as “viewer insert character”) and watch him live out the fantasy.
Or, once again…that’s the idea. Only problem is: they really did a terrible job trying to meet up with that story concept. The artwork and the animation are second-rate *at best*. The main character is utterly hopeless: he’s not very bright, he’s not very competent, he’s brash and a little annoying, not good at following instructions, he’s hopelessly naive — in short, your average, everyday teenage boy. Always getting his neck saved by his minder (who also happens to be his teacher, wink wink), Kousuke is actually a terrible spy, even by the low standards set in these two stories.
Seems to me they were trying to set this up as a recurring series that never got off the ground. And just as well, because this forgettable little non-gem should remain forgotten.
MAL Score: 5.47
Loosely based on L.F. Baum’s novel, The Wizard of Oz. Original manga done by Itsuki Natsumi.
A nuclear war has killed most of humanity and split the USA into six warring states. By 2021, a legend has grown up about the fabled city of OZ where everything still works. Scientist Felicia sets out in search of it with the mercenary Muto and android 1019. At the end of the quest they only discover a military base and a madman.
A mercenary was hired by a girl to bring her to the mythical Oz (a paradise) where her missing brother supposedly lived. Accompanying them was a cyborg sent by her brother. But Oz was not the paradise it seemed and her brother was not as sane as he was smart.
For some reason there’s an actual transgender character in the story and a frank discussion about it, even going far enough to use the word dysphoria and everything. I mean, it’s handled about as well as you’d expect from a 1992 anime OVA, but the fact that it is there adds another layer of funk to what should have been a super generic and edgy action movie.
The story throws you into mid-scene of apocalyptic earth with 60% of the population dead from nuclear war, but you don’t know why. The relationship between each character has no reasoning behind it. Just from these facts alone, the show already sucks.
I had to continuously scroll through the second episode to get to the end because that’s how bad it was. Do not watch.
OZ is a two-episode OVA purportedly based off of The Wizard of Oz. I say purportedly because the connection is pretty flimsy. Instead, we’ve got a sci-fi thriller set in a post-apocalyptic North America. A young girl and her bodyguard set out on an adventure to find her brother, who supposedly rules over the mythical land of Oz. Except Oz is actually a weaponized fortress and the wizard is an absolute madman.
Along their way, they come across an android who aims to acquire humanity. And then another android, except this one wants to kill the first android for not being perfect. And then there’s another android whose motives I can’t even recall. Seriously, there are at least 3 androids that look almost identical and it becomes a confusing mess.
Probably the best part of OZ are the action sequences. They spring out of nowhere accompanied by a musical sting, don’t last any longer than 12 seconds, and usually end with someone getting gruesomely stabbed or decapitated. A couple of times I laughed out loud at the sheer absurdity when one suddenly popped up out of nowhere.
This review may have seemed disjointed, but that’s what watching OZ really feels like. Characters get introduced left and right (and killed off left and right in episode 2), and the overall goal of the protagonists is never very well explained. But that’s alright. You don’t watch an old OVA for the plot, you watch it for the hamfisted action and the unintentional absurdness. And while OZ certainly isn’t very good when examined under a critical lens, it’s an enjoyable watch nontheless. Its runtime of 70 minutes means you aren’t spending too much time even if you don’t like it.
18: Ryoujoku no Machi: Kyouen no Ceremony
English: City of Sin
Japanese: 凌辱の都市 ～狂宴のセレモニー～
MAL Score: 5.50
There goes the neighborhood! A barbaric warrior king seizes the beautiful Queen Beatrice. As his soldiers ravage her kingdom, they introduce the city wenches to a variety of exotic sexual acts. Soon, the haughty queen and her handmaids are begging for more, and the city becomes a carnal capital of debauchery and lust!
Out of all the low budget hentai titles out there, City of Sin is what you’d call a hidden gem. Its narrative, unconventional for an H title, and the great quality of its soundtrack make it an interesting, underappreciated title.
City of Sin depicts the harsh reality of a medieval era kingdom overthrown by an army of brutal, immoral men. This theme is suitable for a more mature audience and a certain amount of emotional detachment might be needed to fully appreciate it. Be warned that all of the women in this movie are treated cruelly and raped. This dark content, however, artfully illustrates the theme, and never does the violence feel gratuitous or presented merely for shock value. The story also features a few mild twists throughout the movie and never was I bored with the events presented.
The first scene, a shot of the evil king’s castle under a stormy sky, immediately draws you in and sets the tone. The story follows Princess Beatrice as she is forced to marry a neighboring king to stop the war. The immoral, intimidating, fat king, whose ultimate goal is to generate an army of strong soldiers, orders his men to rape every woman in the kingdom for procreation, because being without child in his country is against the law. There is a good amount of dark humor in the dialogs and scenes although some of us might believe it clashes with the brutal nature of the plot. I felt that the story progressed a little too fast and that character development wasn’t given proper time, but this ultimately added to the feeling of urgency and danger Princess Beatrice must have went through trying to adapt to her new reality.
City of Sin’s biggest flaw is its unbalanced quality.
For a 2001 release, character art is below average and feels sketchy, yet the shading is at times fairly good and the uncensored, although not entirely realistic genitals are drawn with more detail than many other H titles. Background art is sometimes quite detailed and shows realistic textures, and sometimes much simpler and forgettable.
The animation quality is rich, featuring different facial expressions and movements, but the amount and fluidity of the frames in motion is only average.
One of the most remarkable features of City of Sin is its soundtrack, which is definitely among the best ones I’ve heard in a hentai title. The very first short theme you hear sounds like it came out of a Batman flick, ominous brass setting the mood. Fanfares and powerful sound effects are heard during key moments, a few ambient, vocal themes nicely fit the different settings and other tracks portray the characters’ feelings during given scenes. Even the ending theme features beautiful movements and is fully orchestrated.
Both the Japanese and English dubs are fine. The English version features a few better-written lines and at least one cheesy, hilarious voice, while the Japanese dub is more serious and better fits the characters’ emotions. Take your pick.
The female characters look a lot alike and have normal-sized breasts. Their bodies are slim and tight but a few shots also feature nice curves. The three noble women have blond hair that varies in length and shade.
Princess Beatrice, the main character, is most notable for her wide variety of facial expressions during sex. The ones she makes in the second half of the movie can be quite sexy.
Queen Vanessa is a little taller and has slightly bigger breasts than Beatrice, and Princess Kathleen is a little shorter and thinner, but otherwise look a lot like her.
Beatrice also has two female servants, a dark-skinned redhead, Faye, and a black-haired girl, Adele. Other random women and masked soldiers take part in sex scenes as well and have no distinctive features or lines of dialog.
Sex sounds effects are a little unrealistic at times but are usually subtle. Despite being forced into sex most of the times, some of the female characters eventually unveil their lewd nature and take pleasure. Many scenes include a lot of secondary characters, either naked or lightly dressed, listening to their king atop the castle walls or having an orgy.
If any of you can relate to the evil king, you might enjoy the fantasy of being an almighty ruler who can do as he pleases with his country and his people. Most scenes include rape and group sex. Personally I did not enjoy the scenes much in terms of H material because of their mediocre quality, but I appreciated how well they fitted in the theme and plot.
There are 7 sex scenes and they feature:
1: (2 servants) vaginal penetration, spit roast, cum inside, facial.
2: (crowd) orgy, vaginal penetration, blowjob, spit roast, facial, piss, age difference (older men).
3: (Beatrice, 2 servants) exhibitionism, piercing (no blood), blowjob, first time (a bit of blood), vaginal penetration, lifted position, doggie, cum inside.
4: (Beatrice) pussy licking, doggie, cum inside.
5: (Beatrice + crowd) spit roast, facial, cum inside, handjob, cum on lower body, throat fuck.
6: (Beatrice, Vanessa, Kathleen) blowjob, threesome, breasts grab, vaginal penetration, penis licking, lifted pussy licking, cum inside, lifted position.
7: (crowd) orgy, blowjob, pussy licking, vaginal penetration, spit roast, handjob (shown during scene 6).
Most memorable moment: It is impossible to talk about any of the dark humor scenes without spoiling them, so take my word for it: some of these scenes are truly worth it.
Funny fact, City of Sin is, in tone and plot, reminiscent of the well-known and highly acclaimed Berserk series, and its plot could very well fit in its universe. I’m not saying that Berserk lovers should all watch and enjoy City of Sin, but those who know Kentaro Miura’s work will notice the similarities. It is a dark, edgy, mature title definitely not for everyone. Despite its unbalanced quality it stands as one of the more unique and interesting hentai titles out there.
“This is a message from God: Get on all fours!”
17: Shinkai no Kantai: Submarine 707
Japanese: 深海の艦隊 サブマリン707
MAL Score: 5.62
A mysterious object attacks and destroys any ship or submarine. Submarine 707 has the mission to search for that mysterious object, when summoned by a whale to follow it. The whale leads them to the world of Mu. But on their way they meet the mysterious object. They find out , it is Commander Red Silver, who had attacked the world of Mu to get Mu’s magma sources. Submarine takes up the battle to defeat Red Silver and save Mu, and the world for that matter.
Successful anime are often contingent on a variety of factors, notably how well it is adapted from the original source, the quality of the storytelling, the art, relatable characters, and in some cases the popularity of the manga beforehand. When it comes time to adapt an anime, studios will either approve a full-blown series, a short series (generally OVA/ONA format), or a one-shot (a film or pilot episode depending on the studio and material being adapted). Unfortunately, Submarine 707 falls into the third category as an example of how to fail to adapt a story.
The original manga, created by Blue Submarine No. 6 mangaka Satoru Ozawa, was unique for its time during the mid-60s at the start of the rise in anime and manga. Submarine warfare, involving intricate plot lines with sonar technology, homing torpedoes, and general naval combat with a “mecha” feel allowed its popularity to grow and set the foundation for future works by Ozawa. There was an initial attempt to make an adaptation but it fell short in production. Three decades later in 1997 we were treated to this adaptation. Where this OVA “pilot” fails is a result of its brevity forcing the hand of the staff. Whether this is the blame of the studio, the director, or a combination of multiple factors does not change the fact that this contributes to the majority of the drawbacks in the final production. This leaves us with an at best average OVA that had the potential to be more.
The story is thrown in medias res, with a shared commonality to poor pilots of the era with a rushed introduction to the dilemma before the introduction of the main characters. Thereafter, the OVA swiftly goes between a few short battles, a brief dialogue between the villain and one of the characters, and finally the concluding battle. This is also not to mention the story suffers from a subplot that is introduced and then hinted once more at the end yet is never fully realized, especially considering its implications on the main story. Furthermore, the mechanics of submarine warfare are drastically simplified, and while some maneuvers of naval warfare are present, they aren’t fully realized and nearly rely on the enemy falling for “convenience” or being too incompetent as to fall for simple traps.
To its credit, the art and animation quality are relatively acceptable with smooth transitions between frames and nice character designs. The Seiyuu performance is done nicely. Overall, if you’re looking for a quick 45 min watch and can look past the clear plot holes and shortcomings for an average sitting, then this anime should fit well in that regard.
16: Megami Kyouju
English: Legend of the Wolf Woman
MAL Score: 5.63
After a strange hostage-taking case, SWAT officer Linda and her friend Mary, who works at the CSI division, discover that the perpetrator has contracted a mutated rabies virus from the hostage’s dog, which is now on the loose. Soon, the city is flooded with people turned to freaks by the decease, and to their horror, Linda and Mary’s mutual friend Kata, a stripper at the local night club, appears to have been bitten by the stray dog, too…
The plot is bland at best, and confusing at worst. The whole thing just rushes through it’s plot, and not even to get to more sex scenes. I know that it’s supposed to be a porn, but if you’re going to have plot in your porn, it had better be good plot, otherwise you’re just interrupting my wank session with pointless filler. And what I’m guess is supposed to be the thrilling climax (heh) to this whole thing is just underwhelming. It even ends on a cliffhanger.
During the first episode, a guy electrocutes the stripper Kata using jumper cables attached to his car while he has sex with her. And this is also the moment her werewolf powers finally appear. And that’s how the first episode ends. Coincidentally, the female character also keeps all of her sexy human attributes. Gotta keep one of the characters vaguely human as to not alienate the audience with the concept of furries too early I guess.
The one vaguely backhanded compliment that I can give this is that the first episode starts out with a jazz soundtrack, has darkly lit rooms, has a New York backdrop, and just comes across as atmospheric. And for half a second, it looks like some effort is going to be put into it before the anime just completely abandons that and rushes through the plot. It almost felt like watching the anime version of those sleazy made-for-TV or made-for-VHS softcore porn and erotica made in the 90s that was filled with the facade of being better than they were. But unfortunately, we got stuck with this.
The people doing the English dub who I’m assuming are doing it for next to no money knew exactly what they were in for with this dub, since they aren’t even trying. Too be fair, I wouldn’t try either. One character just laughs off people kicking a chihuahua to death after it attacked a baby. It’s like the person was reading the line for the first time and laughed at how awful it was for something in a hentai, and when he asked to do a second take, the people in the recording booth (see: someones closet soundproofed with someones clothes).
And for some bizarre reason, a group of Ganguro girls appear twice and very briefly, contribute absolutely nothing, and are just incredibly annoying. Why include them? Maybe as background characters that appear in a crowd or something, but these “characters” just appear for no reason. The time spent with these characters could have easily either gone to the sex scenes that we came here for, or fixing the plot that someone clearly thought was a good idea.
15: Yamato 2520
Japanese: YAMATO2520 [ヤマトニーゴーニーゼロ]
MAL Score: 5.77
Set hundreds of years after the original, Yamato 2520 chronicles the adventures of the eighteenth starship to bear the name, and its battle against the Seiren Federation.
On a planet harshly ruled by the Serien Federation, a group of earth teenagers discover the ancient hulk of the Earth Federation Battleship Yamato. By stealing it’s data disk the teens are able to use the Serien’s own automated ship yards to construct a new Yamato.
What we are left with is a series that, although looks nice, doesn’t have the same emotional quality of the original. The series is way too short to tell this much story. Instances like relating the whole 100 years war done in a brief pre-credit sequence, and could have easily been expanded up to several episodes. There’s no time to sink our emotional hooks into the characters.
Technically, the series is passable. The animation is fluid and looks nice, although Leiji Matsumoto’s art style and directorial touches are sadly missed on the project. The music doesn’t contain the power and majesty that Yamato deserves – nay, requires. As a result, it ultimately fails to support the series. The voice acting isnt bad, but not outstanding.
Is Yamato 2520 bad? No – if allowed to stand on it’s own, it might have been enjoyable. Does it live up to the original series? Not even close – the worst entry of the Yamato saga is still superior to 2520. In the end, it’s all academic, however – the series was aborted before the final four episodes were completed, and the odds of it making it to US shores are slim at best. In the end, Yamato 2520 will remain a footnote in the Star Blazers story.
Go watch Yamato 2199 instead.
14: Dark Shell: Ori no Naka no Namameki
English: Dark Shell: Lust in the Cage
Japanese: ダーク シェル 檻の中の艶
MAL Score: 6.09
A gang of soldiers have their way with a women who is under their protection. The women and the soldiers are trapped in enemy territory, and they must find a way to rejoin their main force if they are to survive the war.
I wouldn’t recommend this in general but if you’re looking for a really demented anime series, then this you might wanna check out.
What bothers people is that the girls are killed after being fucked. But I noticed the other reviews for this anime tend to make you misunderstand that the girls are killed by the fuckers. No.
There was a woman who lost her lover and virginity to some soldiers so she revenged by killing those soldiers and the ones fucked by those soldiers. Yeah, it’s not that the girls got killed by the fuckers, but both the girls and the fuckers got killed. So the story is not that twisted. And I can say this story about war tragedy has original in a sense.
So… enjoy and don’t complain.
13: Nana Toshi Monogatari: Hokkyokukai Sensen
Japanese: 七都市物語 ～北極海戦線～
MAL Score: 6.24
In 2099, Earth has shifted off its axis and begins to rotate at an angle of 90% to the 20th-century equator. Three years of natural disasters follows, and when things settle down, Earth’s ten billion population has died and only two million moon colonists remain.
Some return to begin the repopulation of the world in seven new cities and the remaining colonists of the moon fear that their former neighbors might pose a threat and construct a ring of defensive satellites to trap them on the newly repopulated homeworld.
Nana Toshi Monogatari has an unique if not convoluted premise where traditional battleships have resurfaced as the dominant weapon of conquest in a disaster stricken world of high sea levels and a permanent no fly zone imposed by out of control point defence satellites. The story is surprisingly comprehensive, featuring politics and military strategy. However, no particular theme is explored in detail. In fact, due to the short run time, a lot of things aren’t well developed (the world and characters). This is a shame since the characters do have potential.
The art is definately not the best 90’s anime has to offer. In fact, it looks like a darker LotGH.
Kudos to the realistic character artstyle and weapons however.
Music and sound is ambient synthrock, fits the anime well but doesn’t stand out.
I was more impressed by the A E S T H E T I C S than anything else. Things like:
-An awesome schizophrenic mix of 20th century weaponry from a vintage Hotchkiss machine gun to the HK G3 rifle. Funny to see Nazi weaponry outgunning people with modern nato weaponry- stick grenade beats squad automatic weapon!
-The nations are also a wacky mix; the desert nation uses sophisticated European weaponry and Israeli Merkava tanks but their architecture is Arabic.
-Attack helicopters ambushing battleships and then getting pwned by orbital lasers!
-a rather handsome male cast #manime
Overall ,this is a very interesting anime with potential and room for development. However, in its 1 hour runtime, it merely comes off as a poorman’s version of Legend of the Galactic Heroes set in the seas.
12: Submarine 707R
English: Submarine 707R
MAL Score: 6.27
In order to keep ocean peace, PKN was organized. It consisted of the state-of-the-art battle ships of various countries. However, they were raided during the foundation ceremony by the unidentified organization, USR, which plotted to conquer the world. They couldn’t be much for the submarine UX which was operated by Admiral Red of USR. But an old Japanese submarine, the 707 saved them, which was operated Captain Hayami at the risk of his life.
One year later, succeeding to the 707, which had been ruined during the former fight, newly developed submarine, the 707 II, went for a sail. Among the crews, there were boys, such as Kenji, Goro, and Senta, who had been trainees. PKN formed a fleet led by the Great Guardian, which was the latest battle ship of the United States. However, the attacks of Submarine U were very server, and the fleet was defeated. Then, the 707 arrived. As soon as Red noticed the 707, he was glad to reunion with his rival and began to fight.
Escaping from the submarine attack, they hid the 707 in the valley. But Red tried to destroy the valley in order to put the 707 into the torrents of mud. The 707 nearly escaped from it and got in the crater. However it was the pure water layer where the submarine couldn’t float up. At the moment, numerous torpedoes launched to the 707.
For what its worth, showing 1 big fight is probably the best way to do a 2 ep naval ova. But it is VERY cliche’ to almost any submarine anime you’ve seen. But they try a little too much to reach a broad viewing audience.
The captain looks like "Pops" from speed racer, the 3 junior sailors consist of a smart guy, a fat guy, and a closet homosexual (what is up with the dog collar WITH leash), the enemy captail looks like M. Bison, and everyone else looks like a normal sailor. On top of that the 10 minutes of "flashback" comes up its nothing but a lolifest.
Theres no reason for it to be there its just there *_* they even draw the lolis in skimpy outfits and gravure poses. Obvious Fanservice.
But if you can overlook that, the artwork and sound are really good. Most of the background art and aniation look hand drawn and hand painted. You can see this by the opening credits, and some of the massive ships. And all the other naval equipment seems to be CGI
I’ve only heard the dub but that is the only way i can see war-style anime imo. Kinda tired of engrish in war time efforts. But the submarine chatter, orders, all of that is well executed from a dub stand point. The bubbling water and ominous echoes of the subs engines, creaks and cracks of the subs under stress… its all there.
Overall, if you overlook the fanservice and pay attn to the submarine battle its not a bad little war show. But its not great either.
Note: An anime with trains that I particularly love is Galaxy Express 999 (the series, not the film version), for tanks—I would suggest Girls und Panzer, and Haifuri is a good series for battleships, or you can watch Kancolle if you want anthropomorphized ship girls. Jean Roque Lartigue is a bright-eyed inventor from Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water and Megane is the military otaku from Urusei Yatsura (as well as Lum’s number one fan).
The mangaka of Submarine 707, Satoru Ozawa, is actually the creator of Blue Submarine No. 6 as well—I couldn’t dig up anything on his background, like whether or not he had served in the Navy, but the central focus of his bibliography is apparently submarines. Out of the two, I definitely prefer the anime adaptation of Submarine 707 over Blue Submarine No. 6, the 3D renderings of the animation are a lot more clean and exciting to look at. It can be said that Blue Submarine has beautiful character designs, *Range Murata drew them after all, but when the majority of the OVA is focused on the submarine battles, you MUST put more effort in the CG! I was actually quite fond of the character designs in 707, they reminded me of *Planētes—realism with subtle cartoon features—also reminiscent of *Osamu Tezuka’s style.
*Range Murata is famous for series like Last Exile and Cop Craft. Planētes is a famous manga about astronauts that was adapted in an anime. Osamu Tezuka is the ‘Father of Manga’ and is well-known for creations, such as: Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion, and many more.
For something that isn’t even picked up by most pirating sites, *let alone licensors, Submarine 707R is a gorgeous OVA (especially for it’s time, circa 2003) and has an all-star voice cast. Admiral Red’s seiyū is *Unshō Ishizuka, Gorō Kusaka’s is *Akira Ishida, and Yū’s (Captain Yōhei Hayami’s wife) is *Aya Hisakawa. The next segment will go into the story, so there will be spoilers! You have been warned!
*Was formerly licensed by the US branch of Geneon but is now OOP.
• Unshō Ishizuka is a veteran seiyū who is famous for his roles in Violence Jack as Violence Jack, Jet Black in Cowboy Bebop, Mr. Satan in Dragon Ball Z, Van Hohenheim in Full Metal Alchemist, Joseph Joestar in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Professor Oak (Ōkido) in Pokémon, Quent Yaiden (Wolf’s Rain), and Gōzaburō Kaiba in Yū-Gi-Ō!
• Akira Ishida is famous for voicing Kaworu Nagisa in Neon Genesis Evangelion, Xellos in Slayers, Judō in Berserk, Wizardmon in Digimon, Gaara in Naruto, Athrun Zala in Gundam SEED, Shūichi Natori in Natsume Yūjin-chō, Ryūnosuke Uryū in Fate Zero, Byakuya Togami in Danganronpa, Yūrakutei Yakumo in Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū, Tōji Sōya in March Comes in Like a Lion, and Eishi Tsukasa in Shokugeki no Sōma.
• Aya Hisakawa is notable in Aa! Megami-sama as Skuld, Cardcaptor Sakura as Kero, Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon as Sailor Mercury, Shōjo Kakumei Utena as Miki Kaoru, Fruits Basket as Yuki Sōma, and Dragon Ball Super as Bulma.
The opening sequence is instantly eye-catching, since *Hideaki Anno was the director for that sequence. There’s a chivalrous feeling to the whole series; you might imagine that the world might be like this one if all was fair in love and war. The story takes place in the near-future, put simply, the organization led by Admiral Red (USR—Undersea/Underwater Silence Revolution) is an environmentalist organization that wants to stop the human exploitation of the seas’ resources… not much else is known about his motives, which gives him and his powerful fleet an air of mystery. The USR meets in a conference with a representative for each of the coinciding nations, colloquially known as the PKN (Peace Keeping Navy), to fight ‘terrorists.’ Admiral Red’s ideals seem to mirror first inscription of the *Georgia Guidestones: ‘Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.’ (as well as the tenth: ‘Be not a cancer on the earth — Leave room for nature — Leave room for nature.’) While that IS ideal for the planet, that kind of thinking can easily go wrong from a humanitarian angle, harkening back to something that a famous villain from *Rokka no Yūsha once said, ‘We would only have to kill 500,000 citizens to maintain order!’
*Hideaki Anno is the director of Neon Genesis Evangelion. The Georgia Guidestones is a monument, obviously meant to imitate the Bible’s ten commandments, that was anonymously erected in 1980 in Elbert County, Georgia—that has strange, eugenicist engravings on it. Like, ‘guide reproduction wisely’ and ‘let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.’ And, Rokka no Yūsha is a famous light novel series that got an anime adaptation.
Admiral Red sabotages the meeting by attacking the PKN and in the old clunker (the *707), Captain Yōhei Hayami and his crew show up (fatefully) late to the meeting. The USR outnumbers the 707, 17–1, but Captain Hayami is still able to outsmart Admiral Red and sink his main ship, the *U-X. The OVA concludes with Captain reconvening with the crew, after modding the 707, to go out and take the rest of the USR’s fleet on! The 707 becomes the main flagship, representing the PKN.
*Truth be told, the 707 and the U-X were the only ships, in the OVA, that seemed as though they would realistically be hydrodynamic.
While the story of Submarine 707 is pretty solid and straight-forward, the character writing was severely lacking. I was fine with the Captain’s personality, seeing as every anime ship captain after Captain Jūzō Okita in Uchū Senkan Yamato is practically the same person. Admiral Red was an interesting character but I would have liked to know more about his motivations, I’m guessing that he’s similar to Gendo Ikari in Neon Genesis Evangelion because, in the first OVA, there’s a plaque in his mansion that says, ‘*God is in his Heaven/All is right with the world.’ Since the original Submarine 707 manga came out in the ‘60s, I’m guessing that Hideaki Anno borrowed from it but I haven’t read 707’s manga, so I can’t say for sure what the origin of the slogan is.
*NERV’s slogan from Neon Genesis Evangelion.
It was interesting how the series established Captain Yōhei Hayami and Admiral Red as direct foils of each other, the dynamic exemplified with their interactions among family. Admiral Red’s mansion had an enormous garden with his docile wife and three children, who have strangely uniform personalities for children, like they were bred in a cloning facility! The scene with them pans out with blue butterflies flittering around—meaning behind that: *blue roses or butterflies often indicate a step into the uncanny.
*This trend in media started because blue roses cannot grow in nature and have to be synthetically produced.
Adversely, Captain Hayami’s family is shown to live in more of a natural habitat. When second in command, Gorō Kusaka, is sent to recruit the captain to the PKN conference, Hayami is casually lounging on the couch, while his pretty wife carries in a tray of tea; so, for the most part, the captain appears to have a normal, suburban family unit. During this scene is where I get a bit iffy on the character writing. Captain Hayami’s daughter is introduced—she’s obviously elementary school age—and Gorō gawks at her, obviously checking her out.
After he leaves, it shows a scene where the child is lounging, wearing ‘revealing’ (as in ass-cheek hugging) bloomers and a tank-top that falls over her shoulders… you can almost see her nipples! Why does a show about submarines have to have random loli fanservice in it? Not to mention that a grown man, in the Navy, has been shown to have a sexual attraction to her? Why? I haven’t read any of Satoru Ozawa’s actual manga, but I assume that he likes little girls… since the most sexualized character in Blue Submarine No. 6 is Mutio, a human-fish hybrid that looks like a small girl? The weirdness continues when his daughter reads a letter that her father wrote her mother, repeating out loud that her father wants to ‘dock in her [mother’s] port.’ Obviously, the writing has a lot to be desired if the underaged girl is included in the sexy ‘MILF’ package.
In the end, I came for the submarines—writing be damned. I was impressed with how Production Reed animated the CG ships, even including small details, like the submarines losing balance during shockwaves and including the measure of buoyancy that were necessary to keep the submarines balanced. The final battle between the U-X and the 707 was really cool—Captain Hayami was even able to use a shockwave to wiggle the 707 out from underneath an underwater crater! There’s a lot more that I could go into with the mechanics of the submarines, like the specs of the 707 or how 707 was able to beat the U-X (even when the U-X was using special torpedoes to render the 707’s sonar system useless), but just watch these scenes for yourself to know what all the hype is about! Since my sole attraction to the series is based on the submarine mechanics, I rate Submarine 707R a 5/10!
11: Strike Witches OVA
MAL Score: 6.29
In 1939, after the world has been devastated by an invasion of the “Neuroi”—alien war machines of unknown origin—humanity continues to struggle in an uneven fight. With no conventional arms able to pierce through the aliens’ hardy armor, resistance forces spare no expense in their search for a way to level the playing field.
Eventually, the so-called “Striker Unit” is designed—a state-of-the-art device utilizing the innate magical powers of young girls and turning them into deadly weapons. The women who are now gathering from all around the world to fight for the survival of the human race are known as “Witches,” with the 501st Joint Fighter Wing—the “Strike Witches”—standing at the forefront of the deadly conflict.
However, this short OVA is an excellent way to introduce people to the world of Strike Witches. I think what I like best about this short snippet is that there aren’t any obvious ecchi shots. Maybe a bath scene, but nothing like you would see in the two seasons that followed (not that they were bad, there were just times I felt it was unnecessary).
If you just want to know what Strike Witches is like, I guarantee this OVA will tell you if you’re going to like it or not (again, be prepared for plenty of fanservice if you decide to continue.) And if you’re still not sure, the two seasons that follow more or less go like this:
16 episodes of character development
2 episodes of wacky ecchi humor
6 episodes of more serious battles and small plot twists
Storywise, the most you’ll get out of the Strike Witches OVA is Yoshika’s reluctant point of view on guns and war; something you’ll definitely notice at the beginning of the first season. But it doesn’t go any further than that – you’ll have to watch the television series and see the other girls of the 501st Joint Fighter Wing that she meets to understand why fans such as myself love Strike Witches!
Although the story is rather short, there are many things explained in details, which I didn’t see in the longer anime show. Finally a load of new things actually started to make sense to me. The weapons, the places. Finally something more then just ridiculous amounts of shear fanserwis and nothing else. It was actually a good introduction to the universe and my view about Strike Witches has changed. I am willing to check out the manga and novels now.
The art is worse then the anime series, but it doesn’t mean it’s bad. It’s pretty, gives a wibe of WWII at times and there are featured many interesting images.
The sound was good, it fit well with the theme. Nothing epic to go crazy and start getting mp3’s of this, yet still quite satisfying.
The characters were shown fine for such a short amount of time. I was pleasently surprised about Major Sakamoto especially.
This was actually pretty enjoying even compared to the longer anime series, the fun is balanced with the interesting facts well, but at the end a few parts just get slightly annoying.
This wasn’t as bad as I expected this to be. This OVA might be my first step to stop my Strike Witches hate and a step that just invited me to an exploration of a whole new experience as I have higher hopes for other works now.
Not so much an OVA but a promotional video from before the main show was released. Now, as far as a promotional video goes it is pretty good but also terrible.
It is also pretty badly animated. Had I seen this first I probably of hesitated from watching the show so I don’t think it really helps it. It does work in the way of what it wants to achieve but also doesn’t.
You see a fair few characters on screen but again it’s a short that is not designed to develop.
I would honestly say overall that it isn’t too bad as a promotional video but the animation choice just really does make me question whether it would have helped people watch the show.
10: Chinmoku no Kantai
English: Silent Service
MAL Score: 6.32
During the cold war, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force jointly developed a nuclear submarine with the United States Navy. On its maiden voyage, the captain of the submarine declares the submarine to be an independent state, “Yamato.”
I haven’t watched war-related anime much, and my expectations were quite low. I only knew this production was based on a manga, that there is another version of the series that has never been translated into English, and that this OVA was cut for a western release. I must say it does end quite abruptly and absurdly.
The plot progresses quite smoothly and quickly, but not too hastily. Details concerning warfare, politics and technical details seemed accurate enough. However, when it is time to contemplate the essence of war, Silent Service fails to deliver. Character development is nonexistent. A lot of things are conveniently explained through the Japanese culture’s traditional, ingrained views on honour. It also wants to criticize the USA for acting as a “world police”, but doesn’t really offer much insight into why this is a good or a bad thing, other than countries and cultures having the right to arm themselves in return. Sometimes the role and motives of Japan and USA start to shift, merge or switch places, but whether or not this was intentional in the narrative, I couldn’t tell.
The duration of this OVA was approximately 90 minutes, and it was a reasonably interesting glimpse into 90’s animation as well as the attitudes towards nuclear technology and world politics in the 1980s.
9: Aozora Shoujo-tai
English: 801 T.T.S. Airbats
MAL Score: 6.49
When aviation mechanic (and anime fanboy) Takuya Isurugi is transferred to the 801st Tactical Training Squadron, he gets more than he bargained for. Moderated by hard-headed veteran ace Mitsuru Konishi, the “Airbats” are an all-female aerial acrobatic team consisting of loose cannons Miyuki Haneda and Arisa Mitaka, karaoke freak and gambling genius Sakura Saginomiya, and junk food lover Yoko Shimorenjaku. Both Haneda and Mitaka do not get along with each other, and their rivalry worsens when they both fall for Isurugi. But with the entire JASDF having doubts about the team, the Airbats must work as a team or face total disbandment.
Even though the story never took off because it didnt have enough time. You get to know the characters and enjoy watching them get to know each other and learn new things.
And unlike most plane anime this one doesnt focus on killing, instead they are an airshow plane group. That makes it a lot more interesting for me.
With only 7 episodes you don’t go very far storywise, but you do get to have some fun along the way. Don’t expect an ending because there isnt one.
This anime is easy 7 of 10 (if you really like planes, military theme and this 80-90s vibes of pilot movies you can easily add 2 points to the final score as I did)
The story is nothing serious, just a small simple slice of life. There are planes and girls and a boy. Enough for an entertaining evening or two.
I really enjoy the show, maybe the characters are not so remarkable, but some moments really are.
The title is short (only 7 episodes long), but almost every character got its moments to shine.
A bit naive, but really relaxing show. I like it a lot.
8: Golgo 13: Queen Bee
English: Golgo 13: Queen Bee
Japanese: ゴルゴ１３ ＱＵＥＥＮ ＢＥＥ
MAL Score: 6.59
Master assassin Golgo 13 is hired by the advisor of presidential candidate Robert Hardy to assassinate “Queen Bee,” the beautiful and deadly leader of a South American guerilla army. Golgo, however, finds this job too easy and digs further information to find out the true connection between Hardy and Queen Bee.
Without spoiling the first movie, after all that, you sort of wonder what would become of the protagonist… not that he seemed to be concerned himself, mind you.
In this one, Queen Bee, Golgo shows that he can adjust the timing of his jobs in order to accomplish other goals. I would say more, but it is hard not to spoilt it.
So, I will just say that, even if you know nothing about Duke / Golgo, this movie is enjoyable: it seems like an action-drama based on an assassin sent on a difficult job (hunting down a rebel leader, alone and in the jungle), but then seems to turn into more of a love drama, but what the true emotions of the stoic protagonist are, are left open to debate, right up to the end.
I recommend seeing this movie, if you haven’t already. It is not as well know as the classic prequel, but it is actually more enjoyable as a general movie / investment of time, since it is simpler, yet still, has a variety of locations, scenes, and sub-plots to give you a good, entertaining ride.
So, the scores, reflect how much enjoyment I had from this movie. I don’t think it could really be improved, except perhaps with some flashier artwork, but considering its age and the genre, the artwork is very good (but you know, nowadays it’s all about bullet time and all sorts of useless flashy stuff, so…), so I left the art at 8, and took a mark off from the sound because I haven’t had the opportunity to listening to it on a proper HTE yet, so I don’t know how good the Surround Sound mix is… but I will check it out and do another review or something later.
Otherwise, this gets a perfect score for me… to me, a movie doesn’t have to be groundbreaking to be perfect, it just has to entertain without messing up anything, which is a lot harder to do that it might seem.
Anyhow, I’m surprised no-one reviewed this yet… hopefully, more people will see it because of this.
Perfect 90’s anime cheese wrapped in a steaming, sexy tortilla. What I love about this is the maturity that goes into the product. This isn’t about big boobed aline girls (okay sure there are boobs) but the story takes itself and the characters seriously. The blood is harsh and real, just like the sex. And the music….my god. Right out of a Street Fighter arcade game. Probably the best part of the entire film.
The main problems with Queen Bee though is the lack of Queen Bee being a fully fleshed out villain. Sure, we learn a lot about her, her past and present state. But for me she posed no real threat, just some woman with a gun and who likes to bang. The psycho ex army solider was far more interesting and he had way less scenes than her. Also constantly playing back those frames multiple times was cool, but way over used too the point of irritating. I know that’s the style you’re going for Osamu Dezaki and maybe that was what the manga represented, but damn too much is too much. Not as good as the 80’s movie, that one had more interesting villains and a more complete feeling story. But it’s Golgo 13 and I love the guy.
Well, with the execution being bland in comparison to its predecessor, that leaves the story for comment. There’s no getting around the misogyny in Golgo 13, but I overlooked it in the first movie. My patience is tested this time around, as the titular Queen Bee character gives a ridiculous philosophical excuse for screwing and fathering literally every man and their child. It’s pretty pathetic, and of course she wants to screw Golgo 13 like everyone else despite knowing he wants to kill her. The story itself is also not as interesting this time around. Golgo 13 doesn’t come into contact with any really freaky opponents like he did in the first movie, and the villain is much less interesting. I liked the theme song “Turquoise Blue” a lot. Overall I enjoyed this basic rendition of Golgo 13 enough to look forward to the series, but it’s a real shame it doesn’t posses the bizarre atmosphere or stylistic scene composition as the first movie.
7: Stratos 4 OVA
Japanese: ストラトス フォー OVA
MAL Score: 6.73
After successfully returning to Earth on the renovated Stratos 4, the four main characters are visited by the Comet Blasters Chizuru Kubo and Annette Kerry, who bring them a shocking video. Meanwhile, Orbital Station 7 is in serious trouble…
This two-episode OVA comes between the first and second seasons.
(Source: ANN, edited by Glenn Magus Harvey)
6: Stratos 4 Advance
Japanese: ストラトス フォー アドヴァンス
MAL Score: 6.85
Having failed the Comet Blaster exams mysteriously, Mikaze and her friends are sent back to the Shimoji Island base, where, with three new Meteor Sweeper trainees around, they have been promoted to instructor positions.
Meanwhile, more comets are on their way to Earth, and the mysteries behind the rift in the Cosmic Emergency Management Agency—as well as the alien parasites—begins to unravel.
5: Stratos 4 Advance Kanketsu-hen
Japanese: ストラトス フォー アドヴァンス 完結編
MAL Score: 6.92
Crisis befalls the main characters and the Earth as well! How do they deal with the conspiracies that they have uncovered, while protecting the Earth too? (And what happens to the cliffhanger at the end of the previous episode?)
In these final two episodes of Stratos 4 Advance are the exciting conclusion to the whole Stratos 4 series. The main characters will have to draw on all the resources they have, their friends and allies and their own sheer force of will, to “bring tomorrow to Earth,” as one of the characters puts it.
4: Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino OVA
English: Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino OVA
Japanese: ガンスリンガー ガール -IL TEATRINO- OVA
MAL Score: 7.00
Episodes 14 and 15 of Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino.
To me it felt, as if it were either episodes that were closing the entire “season” or just full fledged fillers.
With that said, I’d rate the story: 6
The storyline in the first 13 eps were flowing acceptably, but the next two eps seemed to be filled with fillers with an ending that was too calm. The height of the story could have involved all of the girls in the crew in a state of frenzy, I was somewhat disappointed that it only focused on one of the girls which made the rating only fair, rather than all of them working together in a different scenario as I would have liked to have seen happen.
The art didn’t bother me at all- seemed normal for viewing (with a bit of blurry drawing in some scenery here and there), obviously the first season had better animation and contrast, but Teatrino was viewable and I didn’t have a problem with the artwork other than the fact that I might have been spoiled by the first Gunslinger Girl production.
It was the same old same old. The only thing that I somewhat enjoyed was the opening theme song from the first 13 episodes.. but seeing how these episodes were #14 and #15, there were no theme songs, but music inside the animations which didn’t seem to stand out (they just passed me by as it played in the background) as soothing or catchy.
I enjoyed the character interaction when watching each of them transform and several characters learning to be accepting and respectful of others as well as their past grudges.
However, I would have liked to see the character’s inner expressions more rather than the obvious repeat of how they’ve been feelng on the outside- it may have been that the characters were too calm in a way and may have left a bored feeling (not too bored but something felt empty).
Nevertheless, I do enjoy the series and if there was a third season by any chance, I would continue to watch it. Something about this strikes me as more than just interesting.
3: Senjou no Valkyria 3: Tagatame no Juusou
Japanese: 戦場のヴァルキュリア3 誰がための銃瘡
MAL Score: 7.30
The Second Europa War is being fought between Gallia and the East Europan Imperial Alliance, and a penal military unit known as the Nameless is on the run from both superpowers. Deemed rebels by Gallia and also a priority target of the Empire, the Nameless struggle to find their place in the raging war. To make matters worse, the company’s tank driver, Gusurg, abandons them to fight for the Empire.
After liberating a small town from the Empire, the Nameless come across Isara Welkin, an injured tank driver from Gallia’s Squad 7. Isara explains to the Nameless’ leader, Kurt Irving, that her squad is retreating from a failed raid and pleads for the Nameless to save them. They now face a difficult decision: remain in hiding, or redeem themselves only to aid the nation that marked them as traitors.
I you are trying to cramp an entire game into a 2 30mins long OVA is not going to work, because for those who do not have the chance to play the game is somewhat hard to follow. The setting of the story is in the same time as the original anime, but at different place. The story pacing is very rushed, in the 1st OVA they did a fair job of introducing the ‘Nameless’ squad an overall look of all soldiers in the middle of a war. That’s is the end of it with some other talks. 2nd OVA skip straight into Riela valkriya’s power action, and the meeting up with ‘Squad 7’ members. Finally it the OVA ended. Terrible story pace, but is to be expected for 2 OVAs it would be much better for for it to be adapted into an anime, because you will not fully understand the story without playing the game.
The art looks good, good CG in the battles, but the game’s art is much better.
I am a fan of Valkyria Chronicle’s soundtrack, and so I would love the music in this one too. Tones of the war music is serious as the theme address. Great to listen to them again.
The only characters that you will get a good grasp on is Kurt the leader of Nameless squad a very smart strategist. Next is Imca one glace she is a tomboy. Riela can’t be more obvious. As for the other members very brief details, but you do get some ideas of what their personality is upon their way of speaking.
The game dominate the OVAs. If you don’t have the chance to play the game well you won’t like the OVA, but is not like you have a choice anyway becuase their is not english version of the game. So the OVA is really pointless compare it to the depth of the game’s story.
Here, I’m about to write a review about Valkyria Chronicles 3, set in the same time of the first game, and since this is my first review and I’m not a native English speaker, expect it to be somewhat meh.
When it comes to the same series with different setting type, Valkyria Chronicles is no exception to it for it having a Valkyria and a group or squad fighting the Empire and because of that, people may feel disappointed because of the repititiveness. In a way, I sometimes can’t help but to feel the same.
An OVA composed of only two episodes, I must say that Valkyria Chronicles 3 is rushed because you just can’t fit the whole game into an anime with two episodes but I can’t say that it’s that bad. Valkyria Chronicles 3 still gives you the goodness of the game and despite of it being rushed, the action scenes and how it’s done is pretty good imo.
As for the art, it’s the same as the first anime, neat and clean and fitting for the theme. Every uniform is well detailed and the color combination is appealing and the equipnments and tanks as well.
Valkyria Chronicles 3 isn’t far from the quality of the sound of its predecessors, it’s still as good as before. From the voice actors to the background music, the OP and ED, it doesn’t give you a tiny little bit of annoyance at all. Every voice actor’s voice suits the character they are playing pretty well. As for the music, I listened to it for like 20 times and unlike some of the new songs being used in new anime, the quality of the music is far better than today’s.
Because of the series being short, you may not quite get the personality of every character in the series. You may have known a little of their personality but for me it’s still not enough and therefore it shouldn’t have been an OVA but a 12-episode one or like Valkyria Chronicles, a 26-episode one and because of this, I’ll give the character rating a 6.
tl;dr Valkyria Chronicles is a short and rushed series and the overall goodness of it comes from the art, sound and on how the fight is done.
If you’re looking for a short OVA that has action, Valkyria Chronicles 3 isn’t the best but it can give you the action you’re looking for though Valkyria Chronicles is better and can satisfy you in all aspect or you can just play the game though VC3 is only in Japanese.
I should also point out this ova contains very massive spoilers for the game, so again not really something I would recommend if you haven’t played at least half way into Senjou no Valkyria 3.
The plot seems ‘fine’ for a side story of this sort. It’s very simple, clear cut, and straight forward. I rather appreciate that they used an original story for this ova, rather than adapting anything from the game. They also do a pretty decent job of illustrating one of the more desperate points of the overall story during the first half of this ova, even if that part of it was indeed a bit rushed.
For art I did notice there were some drops in art quality here and there, but for the most part the art retained a fair level of consistency. It wasn’t top notch and could have used some better detail, but it was serviceable.
For sound, I appreciated that they had all the same voice actors from the game and used the same soundtrack too. There was one point where I couldn’t help but notice they used the out of place sound of a tire screech for the tank coming to a quick stop on dirt, but aside from that I can’t complain about the sound one bit.
It’s a bit tricky to comment on the characters. I think they’re all great personally, but in this OVA alone they don’t really establish them much at all. From this ova alone you’ll probably not learn much of anything about them, and they’ll probably come across as lacking much depth or personality.
Overall: Great fan service if you enjoyed the game, but without having played the game you’re probably not going to get much out of this aside from some minor enjoyment of the action on a superficial level.
2: Strike Witches: Operation Victory Arrow
Japanese: ストライクウィッチーズ Operation Victory Arrow
MAL Score: 7.35
Operation Victory Arrow is set in the period between the end of Operation Mars in the second television series and the 2012 Strike Witches movie. The three 30-minute short stories depict the lives of the members who returned to their respective homes.
Humor me while I play Captain Obvious: following the events of Operation Mars at the end of Strike Witches 2, Operation Victory Arrow follows the events of all eleven members of the Strike Witches as they returned home, or traveled to different countries in an effort to further resist the Neuroi. I’ll be breaking down each episode, but if you want, you’re more than welcome to skip towards the bottom paragraph for my conclusion.
Volume I – “St. Trond’s Thunder”
Stationed at the St. Trond Base in Belgica, Erica Hartmann, Gertrud Barkhorn, Minna-Dietlinde Wilcke, and Heidemarie W. Schnaufer get a visit from Erica’s twin sister, Ursula Hartmann. Being the genius girl that she is, Ursula delivers some pretty funky gadgets – but the most impressive hardware is a 50mm cannon with a jet striker unit. Reluctant to accept jet strikers as a potential replacement in the future, Erica’s stubborn behavior causes an accident during a test-flight with her sister. An argument ensues, and Erica is left out of battle during a Neuroi attack.
This episode was probably the most average. The sisters getting into a fight and making up is pretty standard for the “friendship and camaraderie” themes we see in Strike Witches. On the other hand, the action scenes were kicked up a notch as the aces of Karlsland were given all they could handle by a “splitting-type” Neuroi. The inherent danger for Minna was real enough, and something rare found in the anime (things get slightly more intense in the manga and novels). As far as references go, Erica’s attitude towards the jet striker unit mirrors Erich Hartmann’s similar feelings towards jets in the real world. On the fanservice front, the most you’ll get out of this episode is seeing both Trudy and Heidi in maid outfits.
Volume II – “Goddess of the Aegean Sea”
Francesca Lucchini and Charlotte E. “Shirley” Yeager learn that the island of Delos is being inhabited by a massive snake-like Neuroi that dug itself deep inside a huge cave, making it impervious to conventional attacks. They are both subsequently called to action by Edytha Neumann, and are joined by Hanna-Justina Marseille and her wingman, Raisa Pöttgen. Captain Neumann appears to be reporting directly to Ernst “Erwin” Rommel himself, as he joins the Witches in the briefing room. His plan is to bombard Delos with warships, while receiving support from the Witches. This doesn’t go down to well with Francesca, as Delos is near and dear to her heart. As Raisa tries to reason with Hanna, Shirley must come up with a plan to destroy the Neuroi while saving the island.
This episode took a step away from the traditional dog-fighting action scenes that we’re used to, and focused on ingenuity to get the job done. The addition of Rommel was also a pleasant surprise, as his appearance and support near the end reinforces the idea that Strike Witches isn’t quite the moé-blob series that some might make it out to be. Male characters doing anything at all in a moé series is a risky move, but Strike Witches makes it work, and is part of the reason it stands out so well. The one criticism I would have is Erwin landing a plane on so little runway, but then again, he’s freaking Rommel, so if he’s going to help save the day then bending the laws of physics is no big deal. Meanwhile, you’re going to see the most fanservice out of the three episodes here: Raisa and Hanna have their bath scene conversation, with their tits on full display. It’s pretty subtle though, and about as much as Strike Witches will show you.
Volume III – “Arnhem Bridge”
The adventures of Perrine-H. Clostermann, Lynette Bishop, and Amelie Planchard involve a boy named Julius and his younger sister, Rose. The two orphans are taken in by the girls, and are quickly treated for their respective conditions. Julius quickly takes a disliking to Perrine and further expresses his utter disdain towards all Witches after revealing that his father was lost at the battle at Arnhem Bridge four years prior, despite being promised that Witch reinforcements would arrive. Amelie tries to convince Julius that Perrine is a good person, but ends up using her powers to save him from an accident. Unaware that land-based Neuroi are still lurking near his destroyed home, Julius takes it upon himself to sneak away into a truck and fulfill his sister’s wish of retrieving precious belongings.
This episode is my favorite of the three. I suppose part of that comes from Humikane Shimada’s quote: “Not all Witches are Aces.” Normally, we’d see the Witches blast Neuroi out of the sky. As cool as that is to watch, we don’t often see the non-Aces have their time in the sun. In this instance, Perrine does everything she can for Julius’ well-being, despite several pranks that he pulled on her during the middle of the episode. If there was a moment that set up Perrine to be so awesome in the movie, this is it. She’s such an endearing character, and I think a lot of people don’t realize that right away. Lynette and Amelie play supporting roles, but I would have liked to see Amelie get a little more involvement. I suppose my biggest criticism would be Perrine suddenly leaping over large Neuroi and gunning them down from above, which may or may not have been an excuse to show off some obligatory fanservice.
Strike Witches is definitely showing off its strengths in recent years. It can get away with moments of fanservice while still being an enjoyable, character-driven series. Creating a steady transition from the Witches’ slice-of-life adventures to the drama of battle is an important balance to keep, and Operation Victory Arrow maintains that winning formula.
I do like the play on words if that is the reason for the use of Operation Victory Arrow or OVA.
It was nice to see a good set of 3 episodes that really actually brought something to the table.
All 3 of the episodes hold merit in seeing many characters that we may not see all that often which was nice. It was especially great that it links directly after season 2 and before the movie.
The last episode was especially nice with the crossing into the film and also the story that reached a nice conclusion with the kids that was great to see. The letter at the end also making the crossover. It was really good to see Perrine gets more recognition on her humanitarian efforts since it was mentioned often but not touched all the time. Also the inclusion of the Brave Witches and finally my favourite Sanya was perfect.
I could have happily had an entire episode on Sanya, to be honest, but that would make a few already then.
The art was the same as always and was really nicely done.
The sound was great as always. The engine noise that you get is superb for the striker units. The mellow music you get in relaxing times and after a battle is really soothing.
Characters like said do develop a fair amount for OVA episodes which was great to see.
Overall, it is a great addition and should definitely be watched directly after season 2 and before the movie.
It sure has been a long time since I saw this franchise but the look and feel of the OVA is still consistent with what I remember. The show is drawn in a saturated palette with vibrant scenery and some really nice sky scenes. The background is a bit inconsistent though as not all scenes get the same treatment. There is also noticeable CGI usage, though it doesn’t distract too heavily. The main characters are as they used to be though there are a few new additional supporting members.
As in the parent show, you can expect a fair amount of time in the air with the witches, and likewise a fair amount of long range weapon exchange. Effects are fair overall but nothing particularly memorable. There are also the expected levels of ecchi associated with the impractical nature of having propeller engines on your feet. There are some bath scenes with topless nudity, in case the skirt-less upskirt wasn’t enough for you.
The show has a new OP, which is fair but nothing particularly special. Each of the episodes has their own ED with the featured characters singing. The BGM is orchestral and fitting with both the setting and previous seasons. Some tunes in the BGM are still familiarly borrowed from previous seasons.
The VA cast is as strong as ever with plenty of talented veterans. Chiwa Saitou still gives Francesca a particularly unique voice and Miyuki Sawashiro still excels as the proud Perrine. You even get Shizuka Itou voicing the Star of Africa too.
I give the show props for coming up with interesting scenarios in each episode, with allusions to WWII no less. The first episode features the Germans testing out jet engines with the Witches, fittingly named the ME-262; and fittingly with the ace in the room (Erica) strongly opposing its adoption. The second episode centers on a Neuroi that has captured an island around Tunis, which happens to be particularly important to Francesca. The last episode features a bratty orphan caught in something vaguely like Operation Market Garden.
Each episode was well executed and had occasional comedy, especially the last episode. It was surprisingly good overall compared to my experience with the main shows.
Though there isn’t much to be developed here, you do get a bit more on each featured witch’s personality. Most memorable were Perrine’s leadership, which is something that wasn’t featured in any of the main shows. The interactions are fairly good though, again, a large portion of the witches get cameo appearances at most.
This is much more bang for your hour than any other Strike Witches work out there so far (not the movie yet). If you have a fair amount of the franchise under your belt, this is a no-brainer. It’s a fun but short escape back to a show I had almost forgotten.
1: Area 88
MAL Score: 7.52
Shin Kazama, tricked and forced into flying for the remote country of Aslan, can only escape the hell of war by earning money for shooting down enemy planes or die trying. Through the course of the series, Shin must deal with the consequences of killing and friends dying around him as tries to keep his mind on freeing himself from this nightmare.
In the last couple years, Area 88 has seen an explosion of popularity here on MAL. This makes it a rather tricky title to review. It used to be criminally underrated, but now it’s actually in danger of becoming overrated. While Area 88 is a strong OVA and does a number of things really well, it also has some aspects that really bug me.
The Psychological Effects of War:
Area 88 is entirely devoted to showing the horrible effects that war has on the human psyche. It’s not just PTSD or even the dehumanizing effect of how soldiers learn to see their enemies. Once you go to war, it’s immensely difficult to adapt back to civilian life. Soldiers have a hard time relating to civilians, who have never been in real danger and can’t possibly understand what they’ve been through on the front lines. This leads to social isolation, depression, and often suicide. Many former soldiers become mercenaries because they feel they don’t have a home outside the battlefield.
Literature devoted to this topic bloomed after World War 1 with the writers of the “Lost Generation” like Hemmingway, Wilfred Owen, Remarque, etc. In the Western world and especially the United States, these themes made a huge comeback in films, shows, and literature of the 1970s and early 1980s following the Vietnam War. It was this second wave that directly inspired Area 88. The mangaka, director, and anime writer had never been to war themselves, but they saw the critical success of American movies like Deer Hunter, First Blood, Platoon, etc. They wanted a piece of that pie, so we got this anime. To be fair, it’s pretty damn good and handles the topic with respect. Unfortunately, the plot is…kind of a mess.
Plot: (Spoilers Ahead! Skip plot section if you don’t want anything spoiled)
Shin is a Japanese commercial airline pilot who is in love with the daughter of an airline CEO. Unfortunately, the CEO is an evil asshole and collaborates with Shin’s traitor “friend” to create a ridiculous scheme to get rid of Shin. Do they put a Yakuza hit on him? Nope. Do they pay off a waitress to falsely accuse him of rape and fire him? Nope. Do they get him drunk and trick him into joining the Iranian Air Force during the Iran/Iraq War? If you guessed that last one, congratulations! You win!
I’m dead serious, that’s really what they went with. Now they can’t call it Iran for legal reasons, but it’s a Middle Eastern War raging in the 80s with Soviet fighter planes vs. US fighter planes. It’s clearly supposed to be the Iran/Iraq War. Shin of course rejects this once he sobers up, but the Iranians absolutely REFUSE to let him back out. The fate of the war clearly hinges on this commercial pilot with zero experience piloting fighter jets, doesn’t speak a language anyone understands, and has no desire to be there. It turns out the Iranians were smart like a fox because this airline pilot is immediately the best fighter pilot to ever live…for no reason! Even Erich Hartmann and Manfred von Richthofen bow down to Shin. Oh and he can instantly speak Farsi or they all learned Japanese…or the writer wasn’t thinking.
Shin becomes a super successful pilot and gets all over the news as a modern fighter ace. This infuriates evil CEO, so he commences what might be the most pants on head retarded sub-plot I’ve ever seen in anime! He flies to France to hire the Italian Mafia to steal an F-16 and fly it into Iranian airspace to somehow find and shoot down a specific pilot! Jesus fucking Christ! This is “galaxy brain” shit! Shin keeps surviving while his co-pilots all die. He’s able to get out of the war, but can’t adapt to civilian life. Instead, he decides to return to the battlefield and go out in a dramatic blaze of glory! That last part honestly feels like something Hideo Kojima would write…minus the nanomachines.
The dogfights are well animated and well choreographed. This is some beautiful, hand drawn 80s animation that has aged very well. The character art has kind of a Leiji Matsumoto feel, but it works. I don’t have anything negative to say about the art, it’s pretty spectacular.
So here it is. The anime that MAL’s own beloved Snob said was one of the best war dramas of all time. I feel like I’ve been unfairly, overly harsh on this anime, but it’s really not an all time masterpiece of war fiction! It’s not even as good as Rambo 1 AKA First Blood. Maybe this would work better if it were set in the modern Congo with 2 grizzled mercenaries meeting. One is an American soldier who fought in Iraq and the other is a Russian soldier who fought in Chechya. Area 88 is beautiful to look at and has all the potential in the world, but the show we got is more a flawed diamond in the rough than it was a flawless masterpiece. That’s just my thoughts on it though. I would still definitely recommend watching it!
STORY… The plot revolves around a man named Shin Kazama who ends up in an Air Force Mercenary Guild somehow (You have to watch, if you want to find out.). In order for him to reclaim his freedom, he must keep working until he reaches a certain amount of money. We all know what mercenaries do, right? They kill. But here’s the thing- Shin isn’t a true born natural cold-blooded killer. (I’ll talk more about Shin later in the CHARACTERS category.) Basically, the plot is more about an inner struggle within Shin as he tries to retain his humanity. How can one not undergo character development when he’s doing what he is required to do? The plot tears at your emotions eventually and you can’t help, but feel emotions for Shin by the end of the series. There is another part of the story which is a tragic romance part, but I feel that it really is insignificant compared to the magnitude of Shin’s story. His story will really have you paying attention from start to finish.
ANIMATION… The visuals are surprisingly good, despite being so old. The character designs look typical of old school, but where the visuals really shine is during the battle scenes. Fighter planes are drawn with good detail and when they fire at each other, huge explosions are everywhere which at times bring awe to your viewing experience. Also, wherein the visuals excels is during the expressions of the characters. They really look do human enough. If you can tolerate old school art design, then there will be no problems at all when you’re watching this.
SOUND… The sound is perfect. The voice actors fit their characters, but more importantly it’s the background music that greatly adds to the atmosphere of Area 88, making it endearing to watch. The background music comes in at the right moments to add that emotional effect, which grips the viewers emotions. The songs are perfect for the series’ theme.
CHARACTERS… This is the bread and butter of Area 88. As mentioned earlier, Shin is not a natural cold-blooded killer. He has a soul. He has a heart that cares. In essence, he’s just a man with an innocent and kind soul. He just wanted to pursue his dreams and live a happy life with his woman. What makes Shin so captivating is he goes through what we all must eventually go through- the loss of innocence. It’s like this- the world sometimes puts us in situations where in order for us to gain something, we are forced to do something we don’t like, or in Shin’s case, despise. And when we do the things we dislike, you can’t help, but feel as if a piece of your sanity, humanity, and dignity was taken away from you. But there’s no other way because you must absolutely gain what you so desire… This is an idea of what Shin undergoes throughout the whole series. I’d like to delve more, but you really should just watch this to see what happens. I can assure you it gets interesting. There are also a number of side characters which are realistically human as well, and by the end of the series, you’ll eventually like them as well. These guys are mercenaries, but they still retain their humanity… Somehow. Some will provide laughter, some you may dislike, but you’ll understand where they’re coming from. If you ask me, a splendid job in the CHARACTERS category.
OVERALL SCORE: 8/10= Awesome
+ Great cast of characters with an emotional gripping main character in Shin Kazama.
+ Plot will have you interested from start to finish.
+ Good visuals despite being old.
+ Ending could make you say, “What a tragic fate.”
– Some plot threads prior to ending left and felt unfinished.
– Incomplete ending. (You’ll have to resort to the Manga to finish this series.)
Note: Once again, this is a “substance over style” type of Anime. If you can tolerate old school animation, you won’t be disappointed with Area 88. It delivers what most Anime of today’s generation could not- a great story which tugs at your emotions from the start until the very end. Definitely recommended for any serious Anime watcher.
As someone who really enjoys war-themed stories, especially when the conflict has a gray morality to it and none of the warring factions are portrayed as heroes or villains, just two sides with different ideologies fighting for what they believe in, I had fairly high expectations for Area 88. I mean, apparently Area 88 is “easily the best war drama ever made in anime” according to some well-known pleb’s review I found out there in the internet, and since this guy is known for being such a patrician genius of critiquing who analyzes anime objectively and has very high standards due to how cultured he is, I assumed Area 88 would be great then.
No, it’s not. Area 88 is fucking dumb as hell.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against dumb anime, I even enjoy watching some of them for a laugh. Hell, one of my favorite anime is Code Geass, and that show has plenty of dumb-as-fuck moments. But do you know what Code Geass has that Area 88 doesn’t? Self-awareness. Code Geass relishes in its absurdity, the series knows how ridiculous it can get and deals with its camp-factor in such a flamboyant way that it becomes incredibly fun to watch, as well as having many likeable characters and tackling some heavy themes at the same time. Area 88 has none of that, it desperately wants you to take it seriously with its “realistic” characters and overblown drama as it makes some kind of commentary on the harsh reality and psychological effects of war, but unfortunately it lacks the good writing to back those intentions up.
So, what is Area 88 about? There’s our main character, Kazama Shin, a japanese airline pilot who was tricked by his “friend” Kanzaki Satoru into joining a group of mercenary war pilots whose headquarters is located at an air force base in the middle of the desert called Area 88, they’re engaged in some kind of civil war going on at a Middle Estern country named the Kingdom of Arslan. Shin can fight until he gets enough money to free himself from Area 88 or attempt a desertion, and left with little choice, he goes on to kill for his survival in the hopes of returning to his normal life in Japan and seeing his love, Tsugumo Ryoko. Will Shin be able to withstand the horrors of war and still be himself in order to lead a peaceful life among society again?
Indeed, this seems like a good set-up for a war drama, but unfortunately the way this is all executed is stupid beyond belief. First of all, the main villain of this story, Kanzaki, is one of the most moronic villains I’ve seen in any anime ever! No, seriously, just look at this guy’s plan: He’s jealous of Shin because he’s got the girl he likes, so he comes up with a plan to get Shin killed, and this plan is… To get Shin drunk and make him sign a paper that forces him into becoming a war pilot for the Arslan forces.
Does that sound balls-to-the-wall retarded to you? Because it is. Not only there are many other less-convoluted ways for this dude to get rid of Shin, but there’s also the question of… Why the hell did the Arslanians agree with this if Shin doesn’t even have any experience with piloting war planes or anything like that? I have no idea, but they want Shin to enter their army so badly that they even threatened his life when he attempted to back out of this contract. But hey, turns out Shin is actually a damn awesome war pilot even though he has zero experiences with war, because he’s kicking all sorts of asses in the dogfights from the get-go! You know, realistic stuff! Shin is so good at dogfighting that he becomes a enough of famous ace pilot to even appear in japanese journal papers, and that makes Kanzaki so fucking mad that he goes to the mafia and hires them to go all the way to Arslan and kill Shin…
… No, I’m not making this shit up, I swear, this is actually how it goes. Why didn’t our genius mastermind of a villain here just hire the mafia to kill Shin in the first place instead of coming up with this overly complicated scheme? I dunno, I guess that would make too much sense. I mean, Shin actually becoming this amazing dogfighter even though he had no prior experience is already absurd, but Area 88 still manages to make an already dumb plot even dumber as it goes by. The whole story is basically proceeds like this: Shin engages missions with the co-pilots he gets to known in the base, one of them dies during the mission, Shin kills their enemies and completes the mission, then back at the base he whines ’bout how terrible it is to kill people in war, how he wants to go back home to see Ryoko and yadda yadda, some side-characters talk about how hard it is to get accostumed to normal life after you go to war.
Then we get to see how things are going at Japan with Kanzaki trying to profit Ryoko’s pussy now that Shin is not around anymore, but every single scene between these two follows this pattern:
Kanzaki: Yo hottie how about you open up those legs and lemme smash like I never smashed before
Ryoko: I miss Shin…
Kanzaki: Goddammit that fookin’ bastard Shin I hate him so much
He eventually tries to get Ryoko to have sex with him under the promise of saving Shin’s life later, and she was actually willing to go that far if it will get Shin back to her. Some investigation happens offscreen and I guess Kanzaki gets arrested? I don’t know, I guess even the writers thought this sub-plot was too stupid even for this series, so they just rushed to resolve it already instead of wasting more screen time on it. Why does everyone even love Ryoko so much? She’s such a bland-ass character, and aside from her undying love for Shin, there’s nothing interesting about her. I mean, Kanzaki is also an uninteresting one-dimensional villain, and I guess I could say most of these characters besides Shin are pretty shallow in general, and very few of them are actually likeable.
Even Shin isn’t all that great, despite being the best character out of this bunch, his constant whining gets annoying quickly and the most memorable scene (in a positive way, at least) he got to me is that one with him preparing his ramen to eat, it was pretty cute, even charming. But otherwise, he’s just your typical emo anime protagonist and the “development” he’s apparently gotten in the end of this series makes no fucking sense: The guy spends all this time crying about war and going back to his waifu, but when he actually gets back to Japan and calls her… He just fucking dumps her and goes back to Area 88 because apparently he’s changed so much that it’s now impossible for him to adapt to society again. Like… What? Did Shin really change all that much? He never really stopped whining about the exact same things he’s been doing since the start of the series, so where the fuck did THAT come from? This ending was so forced and unsatisfying that it single-handedly dragged down what was going to be a 4/10 score to a 3/10, it made me get the feeling that this entire series was a waste of time and went fucking nowhere. Sure, it’s a good concept and I can see it working and being emotionally-charged if done well, but… It’s not done well. At all. Not only did I not care about any of these characters, but the twist happens way too suddenly to have any impact.
Despite all the shit I gave the plot and the characters in this, I have to say the dogfights are really cool to watch despite Shin’s obvious plot armor, especially since they’re actually hand-drawn planes flying around at high speeds and blasting each other in the skies and not CGI like it happens nowadays, it’s an aspect of older anime I absolutely love and it’s no different with this one. The character designs can get a bit ridiculous, but nothing I can’t get used to, and the art is good enough, this is a good-looking series overall, which is a weird thing to say considering this was made by Studio Pierrot. The opening themes and soundtrack in general are also pretty fantastic, some may find it cheesy or dated, but I caught myself tapping my foot to a lot of the tracks that played during the dog fights, they sound like stuff you’d hear in 80s action movies and there’s literally nothing wrong with that.
I don’t think I need to say that I’m hugely disappointed with Area 88, I truly did not expect to dislike this series as much as I ended up doing, I even feel a little bad writing this because it could have been a great war story. Instead, what I get is a contrived mess of a plot that fails at almost everything it tries to do and takes itself way too seriously for its own good. No, Area 88, you are not a good study on the horrors of war, or politics or the worst aspects of humanity. You certainly tried and presented some good ideas, I’ll give you that, but you need to be more mature and nuanced in order to pull this kind of thing off effectively. Maybe this is a crappy adaptation and the manga is actually a much better and more different story? I don’t know, but I don’t feel like checking that out unless someone manages to convince me to do it.
The dogfights are still fun to watch, though.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Area 88
2. Strike Witches: Operation Victory Arrow
3. Senjou no Valkyria 3: Tagatame no Juusou
4. Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino OVA
5. Stratos 4 Advance Kanketsu-hen
6. Stratos 4 Advance
7. Stratos 4 OVA
8. Golgo 13: Queen Bee
9. Aozora Shoujo-tai
10. Chinmoku no Kantai
11. Strike Witches OVA
12. Submarine 707R
13. Nana Toshi Monogatari: Hokkyokukai Sensen
14. Dark Shell: Ori no Naka no Namameki
15. Yamato 2520
16. Megami Kyouju
17. Shinkai no Kantai: Submarine 707
18. Ryoujoku no Machi: Kyouen no Ceremony
20. High School Agent
21. Phantom Yuusha Densetsu
23. Wolf Guy
24. Dog Soldier
25. Generation of Chaos Next: Chikai no Pendant