They’re the best Anime that 1996 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Kakugo no Susume, Mirai Choujuu Fobia, Kimera, and more!
8: Kakugo no Susume
English: Apocalypse Zero
MAL Score: 4.76
A series of natural disasters has reduced the world to rubble, with the survivors doing whatever they must to survive in a world gone mad. But one young boy, Kakugo, gifted with amazing martial arts and a superpowerful suit of armor by his late father, has been charged with making the world (or at least his school) a safer place. But his sister has a matching set of skills and equipment, and she`s on a mission to bring peace to the world… by wiping out humanity!
The rating system thing doesn’t allow me to assign zeroes and I don’t like numerical rating in general because I don’t believe that a complex opinion such as a review can be properly simplified with math. However, I will talk about numbers and reviews here. Numerical ratings of anime are approximately earned with merits. Everything the show does to advance its entertainment purpose raises its number. That is why my real overall rating for Apocalypse Zero is zero. This show literally goes nowhere. I gained nothing but despair in watching this, and I would have better spent my time looking at a blank monitor, which would have earned the same score (so shouldn’t the rating really be -1/10?)
Apocalypse Zero is an anime without a purpose. Every show ever made, no matter how poorly, should at least have a purpose, a direction that the show explores into. Some way of entertaining its viewers. Make them laugh, cry, scare them, tell a story, give them suspense, have them relax, something cathartic so that people want to watch. The only purpose that I can even guess at for Apocalypse Zero is to make the viewer close his or her media player.
I will be able to give more insight into the show if I cover everything that the show is deficient in. First, Apocalypse Zero is without reason. There is some kind of plot, involving two siblings and the premise that the world has ended and people have to survive. The lack of elaboration about why or how the world has ended intends to add some mystery into the show. The biggest mystery, however, is how they managed to get the likes of Yamadera Kouichi (Spike Spiegel) and Ogata Megumi (Shinji from Neon Genesis Evangelion) to star in this show. This already shallow plot is poorly developed because of paper-thin characters that do not possess a shred of believability. It’s hard to care about plot or themes or things dying when you literally do not give a scrap about anybody that appears in the show. Apocalypse Zero is also without mercy. Have you noticed that when you watch really good anime, the episodes feel like they are 5 minutes long? Apocalypse Zero is the longest hour of my life. I swear, dentist appointments just breeze right by compared to watching this anime, which manages to start absolutely putrid and somehow become astronomically worse. Why? Because most importantly, Apocalypse Zero is an anime without shame. Pointless gore for the sake or pointless gore. Ugly, eye-killing vulgar nudity for the sake of, what I suspect, making the viewer suicidal. It becomes quite evident after the first episode, and mindblowingly obvious by the end, that Apocalypse Zero’s directing lacks discipline in any form. Elfen Lied was gory but it contributes to the anime. You can even say the same for things like Dokuro-chan (it adds to the silliness and humor, I guess). Apocalypse Zero screams terrible choices when it comes to design, directing, storyboards, plot, pacing, and art. This anime is far beyond terrible. This anime is insulting.
Let me take a brief tangent and talk about an anime called Mars of Destruction, the lowest ranked anime on MAL. I appreciate it much more now. It’s fun to watch. It’s fun to point out the cliches and mediocrity. It’s funny to laugh at the near comical miscues in directing. Clowns are funny because they act silly. They splash pies on themselves and fall off unicycles, a la Mars of Destruction. Clowns are not fun when they attack you with a sledge hammer and try to rape you, a la Apocalypse Zero. Mars of Destruction is the lowest ranked anime on MAL because it doesn’t do anything right. In comparison, Apocalypse Zero not only doesn’t do anything right, it seems to go out of its way to make sure everything it does has to be so overboard, so nonsensically inane, that one would suspect making terrible anime is a competitive art. You know what? Apocalypse Zero wins.
Just HOW bad could this OVA’s content be if a viewerbase normally accustomed to shameless, gratuitous sexuality and strange fetishism being passed off as thought-provoking means of storytelling, very young children being sexualized and even such tropes as *justified rape* is left completely repulsed by it? I’m… not entirely sure, but I’ll try my best to figure it out.
This post-apocalyptic tale focuses on two young martial artist siblings: the calm and determined Kakugo and the feminine, elegant and frankly crazy Harara. They inherit two all-powerful armors containing the souls of the many, many people who have given their lives for their creation. Although the armors were initially intended to be weapons of mass destruction designed for World War 2, they were passed down to the two brothers by their father slash mentor as a means of taking out evil, grotesque mutants and defending the innocent. Harara, being generally batshit insane, eventually grows up to become a psychotic rebellious misanthrope and comes to the conclusion that erasing humanity from existence and preventing it from harming our pure, beautiful Mother Earth any further would be a far better course of action. After going through a seemingly random body and gender change that is only explained in the manga, Harara hijacks one of the suits of armor before their training is complete, takes out his/her father and has a quick one-on-one fight with Kakugo, which the latter instantly loses in a very odd and disturbing way that no normal human could ever survive. But naturally he does, and it’s up to him to defend innocent bystanders from crazy monsters and his insane transgendered sibling while also dealing with the standard day-to-day anime high school life (yeah, they all live in a hyper-violent post apocalyptic world… but why should that get in the way of education?).
OVA-wise, that’s… pretty much all there is to the backstory. While the manga contains many lengthy flashbacks to explain the history of the armors and further solidify the characters as being crazily awesome, the anime simply uses the main premise to deliver plentiful amounts of crazy violence, sexual humor, mindless surrealism and pure, unadulterated badassitude. The entire two-episode OVA is simply a series of silly high school segments, followed by a scene of the Monster of the Now preying on the innocent in excessively violent ways (an infamous scene involves a massive, fat dominatrix mutant squeezing a young girl to death with very graphic results, taking her boyfriend back to her place and quite literally KISSING HIS FACE OFF), only to eventually have to face the righteous ass-kicking of our obscenely powerful hero in increasingly strange, hilarious, and dare I say it *freaking awesome* one-on-one battles.
I’ll try my besy to not spoil the rest, but please note that this is not a show for the faint of heart – if you can’t deal with gallons of graphic cartoon gore, this OVA is not for you. Even then, if your inner 13 year old who still laughs at immature sexual humor is long-dead, this OVA is not for you. If you think a pointless scene of a 10 year old female character taking a leak all over the floor or masturbating in the shower counts as valid character development and yet find the idea of a monster attempting to take out the main character using an attack named “Double Tit Bomb” inherently insulting to your intelligence as an anime connoisseur, this OVA is not for you. If you view anime as a refined artistic medium and the mature, thought provoking equivalent to Western cartoons (which are nothing but insipid children’s entertainment in comparison) your pretentiousness and sheer nerdiness have reached critical levels to the point where you will surely never feel the touch of a lover’s hand (and also, this OVA is not for you).
Another unfairly bashed aspect of this OVA lies in its visuals. While it’s pretty far from being a mind-blowing sakuga anime, there is really nothing bad about the way it looks and moves. Harara’s monsters have a hideous, grotesque look to them… but that’s kind of the point. Similarly, the human characters have a very charming, well-stylized and cartoony look. They might seem ugly to some people, but technically there is absolutely nothing wrong with the way they’re all drawn and I honestly think they are far more expressive than most anime characters out there. One particular visual aspect that I can’t help but love is Kakugo’s Zero Armor, which has a very stylish and cool design to it. If I ever broke down and started paying for useless pieces of plastic, I wouldn’t mind owning a figure of this thing at all; in fact, it almost makes sense that Kakugo has a strange, bordeline fetishistic obsession with it. Almost.
Most of the music is pretty standard action anime stuff, but it certainly gets the job done. At times the epic heroic music clashes hilariously with the crazy psycho-violence and sheer absurdity of the fight scenes presented, and that simply adds to the ridiculous over the top nature of it all. Another interesting note is that the ED was sung by Hironobu Kageyama, also known as the guy behind the Dragon Ball Z opening and a ton of equally hot-blooded, heroic-sounding theme songs. It’s really about as fun and catchy as you’d imagine, and my only beef with it is that IT WASN’T USED DURING THE SHOW ITSELF AT ANY POINT. If you have a great theme song on your hands, shouldn’t you use it at least once during a particularly cool scene? WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?
So with all that out of the way the only remaining issue would be, “do I think that this is a good OVA?” …well, in all honesty, I would say without a hint of irony or self distance that it truly deserves to be labeled as such. Not a GREAT OVA, no – this brand of over the top vulgarity can certainly be done in a better, cleverer way – Dead Leaves this ain’t. But for what it is, it’s a perfectly fine waste of 60 minutes. Anyone who can get past the initial shock factor caused by the over-the-top blood and guts portrayed should instantly realize that this is, at its core, a very silly and ridiculous OVA. What many people seem to miss, for some reason that I can’t quite comprehend, is that IT WAS CLEARLY MEANT TO BE VIEWED THIS WAY. If you’re not messed up enough to find this stuff equal parts cool and hilarious, then this OVA was clearly not designed for you… but that’s not really a reason to claim that it’s an irredeemable pile of trash with no positive qualities to it, or even watch it to begin with. After all, a simple Google search should instantly warn you about the graphic content, and I doubt many people watched this expecting a family-friendly experience without a single cock joke or drop of blood. Similarly, people who found it hilarious and fun in a “so bad it’s good” kind of way should realize that it was created with ridiculous over-the-top camp in mind to begin with. If it made you laugh and you had fun watching it, mission fucking accomplished. Above all else anime is meant to be fun, and to its admittedly niche audience, Apocalypse Zero delivers this in spades.
This is a post-apocalyptic action-oriented work influenced by Fist of the North Star with mecha elements in the vein of The Guyver. While it certainly shows no desire to hide these said influences, the series manages to have its own distinct style and atmosphere. The overall story is about two siblings, who mastered an incredible martial arts style, that eventually turns them against each other in that one succumbs to evil desires with their new-found power while the other strives to use it the right way. While the plot certainly is extraordinarily simple, it works just fine when you take into consideration that stories involving all-out fighting themes don’t necessarily require complex plots. These sorts of shows just need to be a pleasurable experience to watch.
The world this takes place in really draws you in with its cloudy skylines and interesting use of colors. It is also allot more interesting and varied than your typical apocalyptic world, since you’d generally expect the planet to be made up of desert, so you can expect some imagination put to test here. The main location for this show is the ruins of Tokyo. Within it, it seems that there is still a functioning school system where kids normally attend school, which if you ask me, is a fairly unique concept.
The cast of characters manage to be very intriguing. The main hero Kakugo is very similar to Kenshiro, particularly with his mature, stoic personality. My favorite would have to be the antagonist and main character’s sibling named Harara. While not the most original villain, there is something about her evil nature that is so effective overall, and her whole personality is hard to really find the word to describe, but it is highly “badass” if you know what I mean. The rest of the cast mainly consists of Kakugo’s school friends and Harara’s slew of villainous mutant freaks, all are very quirky and make the show what it is.
The content of Apocalypse Zero, such as the violence and sexual imagery is the main aspect here that has gotten people foaming at the mouth the most. Like any title of this sub-genre, it contains numerous sequences of exaggerated gore, and is generally what one would call a “splatterfest”. The vast majority of it is very entertaining (keeping in mind you’re actually a fan of this genre). A good example of it would be a scene where Harara completely annihilates a bunch of super macho men with their blood and guts splattering everywhere bringing out some great old Fist of the North Star-style fun. Sadly not all of it is great, as there is also a scene where a teenage girl is nastily squished by a giant mutant. It would have been awesome if it was just another dimwitted oversized goon with a mohawk, but I don’t think anyone, even Fist of the North Star fans would want to see some cute girl meet such a gory fate. This is one of the only things that bothered me about this series, and it is a flaw, although a rather insignificant, overlook-able one at that. The sexual aspects mainly have to do with the villainous mutants Kakugo has to open a can of whoop-ass on, and trust me they are absolutely hilarious. Not one but TWO of these four mutants use their penis as weapons!
The other most controversial aspect present is the artwork. The series features rather unusual “cartoony” character designs that many seem to abhor, but I for one think they’re marvelous. There is just something about their simplicity that strikes me has very innovative. While they’re not exactly attractive, they certainly look a whole lot nicer than numerous 70s through 80s anime titles, and that’s not even mentioning all the atrocious designs characters get in numerous American animation. If the characters of One Piece universally have very odd designs, why can’t this series do the same? The actual animation offered is splendid, in that it has a really “cult” look and style to it. It isn’t crystal-clear and modern at all, which if you ask me is a very good thing, and it is perfect for fans of the more old-school nineties look.
As for the voice acting, both the original Japanese version and the English dub are absolutely flawless. I was particularly surprised with the English version as well, as you generally expect the studios to get lazy on such an underground title, but none-the-less they are all spot-on. The background music is generally nothing amazing, but it does get the job done adequately, and there are a few catchy numbers that pop in from time to time.
Lastly, if there is one major flaw within this OVA, it is the fact that there just isn’t enough of it. These two episodes cover roughly 1/5 of the material contained in the manga, so it is hard dealing with only the beginning of the series getting animated.
All in all, Apocalypse Zero is while being absurdly strange, significantly charming in a way. I’ve watched this countless times, and I just love its quirky characters, utterly insane violence, and outrageously kooky attacks. This series certainly isn’t perfect, as I have said before the scene at the beginning with the squished schoolgirl can really leave an ugly impression and only a portion of this story is animated, but these faults can be overlooked. If your open-minded and don’t quickly dismiss things, than what you have here is a short but high quality title with definite substance. It is easily just as fun as Fist of the North Star, and in a way it is kind of like a more modern upbeat version while still retaining a cult atmosphere, so if you like this sort of thing, don’t hesitate to check it out.
7: Mirai Choujuu Fobia
MAL Score: 4.91
Iijima is no ordinary coed. She’s a tempestuous time traveler from a future ruled by hideous replinoid monsters. She has come to this past to find a hero, a man strong enough to wield her futuristic sword and save the women of Earth from a grisly doom!
Fobia rushes right through the plot. Everything happens so quickly that there is no proper pacing or development. If you’re going to have plot in your hentai, actually develop it. Otherwise, just put all of your focus in the sex scenes, which is what people come to (heh) this stuff for in the first place. Plus all of the plot points are so cliched and tired that you know exactly what’s going on.
For some reason, the anime goes between slap stick and horror, and because the hentai is rushing through the plot, having the anime go in between both can cause some whiplash. I guess it’s not the worst horror themed hentai I’ve seen, but those standards are pretty low. I still don’t know who the audience for horror themed porn is. I guess there has to be some audience for it, and you have to get your tentacles in there somehow.
Considering what we’re here for, let’s talk about the sex scenes. The few sex scenes there are here are not that great, with most of the run time being taken up by plot. At least something like “Mystery of the Necronomicon” actually paced out it’s plot, even though it wasn’t that great. Here it’s just terrible plot with sex scenes that are too few and far between, and are too short to be considered good.
The anime ends on a cliffhanger, and I doubt that it’s going to ever get resolved considering nobody has ever heard of this, and I doubt that the people who have aren’t clamoring for more. I imagine it would be the same cliched and trope filled plot as the first two episodes. The anime is episodic in nature, leading to every monster encounter being exactly the same.
The English dub is the typical 90’s English dub you see in most terrible anime from the time, and is lazily slapped together because the English distributer had to slap something together for it’s Western audience just so people didn’t have to read while jerking off. You even get the odd line, such as our main protagonist saying “But she was such a cute girl though.” in response finding out that one of his classmates was found dead in the school pool. Not exactly that great of a protagonist when he’s thinking with his dick.
If you’re looking for something to wank to, you should probably skip Fobia unless you’re really desperate, or mediocre 90’s hentai is your thing. However, if you’re looking for something for your so-bad-its-good night of anime watching, you could do a lot worse than Fobia.
MAL Score: 5.11
Osamu and Jay are two cereal salesmen traveling for work when they encounter a barricade. Curious as to what is going on, they step out of their car and enter into a government secret. Two mysterious demon-like men have been terrorizing the military, who came to respond to a car crash involving a vehicle carrying government research material. Inside the car wreckage, Osamu finds a beautiful hermaphrodite with gold and crimson eyes trapped in a frozen chamber. Osamu shares a kiss with them through the glass before he is forced to flee the scene.
Osamu and Jay interrogate Jay’s father, a top researcher at a government laboratory, who reveals that what Osamu and Jay saw was top-secret, and they would likely be sitting in prison if it weren’t for his influence. While Jay is ready to forget everything that happened, Osamu cannot let it go that easily. After stealing a security badge, Osamu finds where the person he kissed is being kept, and learns that their name is Kimera. Osamu wants to run away with the beautiful Kimera, though he does not know why Kimera is being held captive or what a relationship with them means for the future of humanity.
Kimera was created by the same woman who wrote Boku no Sexual Harassment, so we’re off to a great start! The animation studio behind Kimera was Animate Film, who mostly did in-between animation for larger studios. However, they did create a few independent projects apart from Kimera, most notably the ecchi classic Plastic Little, directed by Satoshi “King of Breasts” Urushihara. Here is where things get messy. Myanimelist doesn’t actually list a director for Kimera. If I go to Anime News Network, it lists “Kazu Yokota” but that name doesn’t pull up any other results outside ANN. So likely the director used a pseudonym because he was too embarrassed to be credited with this piece of shit. One of the few people who wasn’t too ashamed to be credited was veteran animator Yasuomi Umetsu. This is a man I’ve talked about in many of my reviews. He was the founder of Studio Arms and worked on a lot of schlocky, hyperviolent OVAs during the 90s and early 2000s. He directed Kite, Mezzo Forte, and was lead animator on several popular anime. Notably, he was the lead animator on the first and last episodes of Elfen Lied.
Kimera was based on a shonen-ai manga that ran for 20 chapters or 2 volumes. However, the anime tries to cram those 20 chapters into a single 40 minute OVA. Unsurprisingly, the anime is an incoherent mess of random asspulls and rapid fire exposition dialogue that has no emotional impact and just leaves the viewer dazed. One of the villains tries to cram the vampire race’s entire tragic backstory into the last 5 minutes of the OVA! It’s basically that scene in Mars of Destruction where the aliens randomly say “We were the real Earthlings all along!” about 20 seconds before the ending and expects that to be meaningful to the audience!
The plot is about a Japanese cereal salesman going overseas for a business trip and discovering an alien capsule containing a beautiful, androgynous alien. Seriously…a cereal salesman?! There aren’t even any Japanese brand breakfast cereals available in America! Of course, this is the writer of Boku no Sexual Harassment and this is very consistent with her poor knowledge of international business in that series. Anyways, the cereal salesman is driving through the desert and suddenly is stopped by a military barricade. He gets out of his car to ask questions when suddenly there is a series of explosions and police start fighting the alien vampires. The salesman runs for safety into some kind of warehouse and sees Kimera inside what looks like one of the healing tanks from DBZ. He then does the logical thing and immediately starts kissing the glass. Kimera wakes up and starts kissing the glass in return. Talk about love at first sight! After killing some police and army dudes, the vampires fly off and it cuts to the next scene where cereal salesman and his business partner are being grilled by some government scientist. Fortunately, they get released because the lead scientist is the father of salesman’s partner. What happens next are a series of battles and exposition dumps in which we learn that alien vampires abducted humans and created a bioweapon named Kimera who can wipeout Humanity. However, one of the alien vampires had second thoughts at the last second and is now teaming with human scientists to kill Kimera and avert the extinction of Mankind. The other alien vampire wishes to wipe out humanity as revenge for humans killing hundreds of Vampires in the Middle Ages, who came to Earth as peaceful ambassadors and were killed despite never actually doing anything to humans. The vampires end up killing each other and the salesman is told that he must finish off Kimera or else all of Mankind is doomed. Salesman decides to breed with Kimera and likely sacrifice all of Mankind purely out of passionate lust. The sex was just THAT good! Sure, all of Humanity is a heavy price to pay, but Kimera really hits that G-spot when he’s getting plowed from behind.
The art is this anime is pretty sloppy and was definitely rushed. However, some of Umetsu’s character designs are decent. That’s honestly the only good thing I have to say about Kimera. This is a Yaoi series that kind of forgot the actual Yaoi scenes and relied on its plot…which was rushed to death and made no sense. I’ve seen this piece of shit twice now and there is still SOO much I don’t understand about this plot.
Kimera was released by ADV as an ecchi series, but they were instructed by the Japanese producer to not refer to it as a yaoi. Kimera is instead referred to as female and this was marketed towards heterosexual males in the US, since they were seen as a larger fanbase than fujoshi. However, Kimera is clearly drawn to be male and this strategy did NOT work. Horny teens bought this hoping for boobs and instead got gay shit! lol. I think that’s a huge part of the reason this has a 3.20 rating on Anime News Network and is rated there as one of the top 10 worst anime of all time. Don’t get me wrong, Kimera is fucking horrible. It’s a BAD anime, but it’s not as technically bad as the only other series to score in the low 3s on ANN. It’s honestly pretty funny to imagine a horny male otaku in 2001 paying 40 dollars for this on DVD thinking it was like Plastic Little and getting gay vampires from outer space. The nerd rage that this series caused on release here in America is honestly the best thing about this series. I would give this a 2 if ADV did this purely to be trolls, but sadly it was just the Japanese producer trying to make money through dishonesty. So sadly Kimera will have to settle for a 1.
There’s nothing remarkable about the way Kimera looks. It’s cheaply made. The backgrounds are flat and minimal, and the color palette consists mostly of a muted mishmash of grays and dark greens which, combined with the generally low production values and lack of ambient lighting, give the OVA a very dull and industrial aesthetic. The design work isn’t much better; Kimera’s human characters have square, blocky, seemingly featureless faces with dime-a-dozen expressions, while its monstrous villains look like half-baked concoctions of various oozing creeps from B-grade sci-fi films the world over. The animation itself can vary, and at its best it’s actually not too bad, offering suitably squirmy movements for the abundance of disgusting, gore-seeking tentacles. However, speed lines, quick cuts away from action, and other budget-savers are just as abundant, providing for a weird fifty-fifty split between modest but acceptable animation and terrible animation. Quality control appears to have been skimped on altogether, and the show can’t maintain a constant level of visual detail for more than seven or eight minutes at a time. Some of the more consistently animated portions of its blessedly short running length include a gratuitous sex scene and a thirty-second shot of a man’s organs exploding out of his chest and forming a neat little pile on the ground. These serve as good indicators of where the priorities of the work’s creators lie, if nothing else.
Kimera’s score bats a perfect zero—without fail, when there was music playing, I found myself wishing there wasn’t. Oh, the music itself is plenty awful; its constituents include squealing, high-speed violin compositions, overwrought operatic organ pieces, and vaguely 80s-sounding synth-rock, none of which should have ever been allowed the privilege of existing, much less coexisting within a single forty-minute span of time. It’s all bad enough that I feel sorry for whoever was tasked with integrating it into the OVA in a way that would benefit all parties involved. That poor soul must have tried, because Kimera usually at least attempts to put two and two together and play music that is supposed to be sad over scenes that are supposed to be sad, fast-paced music over scenes of action, so on and so on…but, honestly, the effort was doomed from the start. The soundtrack is such an ill-considered, intrinsically conflicting mixture that it’s pretty much unworkable, and it’s the factor that pushes some scenes in Kimera over the thin line between “weird and nonsensical” and “unintentionally laughable.”
In fairness, it’s hard to not laugh at a story like this one. Kimera posits that earthly legends about vampires are actually the result of alien beings from another planet (who survive by sucking the life force out of other beings) landing on Earth in the past. Lately there has been turmoil on the vampire homeworld, they’re in danger of becoming extinct, and now three vampires/aliens have crash-landed their spaceships on Earth with the intention of starting a population of vampires there and using humans as their livestock. The key to doing so is the female vampire, Kimera, who is captured by the Air Force and kept in an underground lab. Our two lead characters encounter Kimera before she’s captured, and one of them falls in love with her. Okay, so the concept itself sounds like the demon-spawn of many terrible, terrible things, but they could make it work if the execution were good enough. Unfortunately, it carries all the hallmarks of hacky storytelling. There are unexplained leaps in time, unexplained transitions from one scene to the next (at one point the setting changes, as if by magic, from an Air Force facility in the middle of nowhere to a bustling city). Most of the backstory is revealed through a short flashback which occurs thirty minutes into the OVA, which is quite untimely, to say the least. The progression of events is hectic, cluttered, and everything in between, and while it’s not quite bad enough for me to say I couldn’t tell what was happening, it’s pretty close.
The next time a work of fiction introduces its two protagonists as “the hardest working corn cereal salesmen in America,” a fact seemingly slipped in just for the purpose of explaining why said characters know each other and why they are driving through a deserted, mountainous, Air Force-patrolled region in the dead of night, I’ll probably take the hint and go watch something else. Their names are Osamu and Jay (or Main Character and Blonde Guy, if you prefer). Their personalities initially appear to be pretty clear-cut—Osamu is a tepid and uninteresting everyman, Jay is a constantly ribbing, buddy-buddy jokester type. We’ve seen them before.
However, there is a gaping discrepancy between what these characters are supposed to be and what they actually are. Our two “cereal salesmen” break into government laboratories plastered with warnings about biohazards seemingly on a whim. One of them spends a good portion of the OVA french-kissing a green-skinned alien succubus who has never even spoken one word to him. Jay is the bystander mentioned above who appears to think that swatting a loaded gun out of someone’s hands is a good idea. It’s one thing for characters to make devastatingly stupid and irreversible decisions; that’s certainly not a problem in and of itself. To err is human, as humans like to say. However, in reality and in well-written stories, these would be weighty choices, potentially carrying great consequences; the kind of choices that nobody would make without putting some good, hard thought into it. But neither of these average Joes appears to have any regard for life and limb. With the exception of an initial, brief “this might not be a good idea” from Osamu, the two treat breaking into an Air Force laboratory like it’s a prank, giggling with schoolyard glee about whether or not they’ll need a password to breach its giant interlocking doors (and they don’t, because that would make sense). And so Kimera rolls on, with nobody ever pausing to consider anything, gape at any of the fantastic events that occur, or do anything that would cause real human beings to understand them or feel a connection to them. Point being that these are only “characters” in the most cold and mechanical sense; they’re wheels that turn thoughtlessly to carry the plot to whatever ridiculous landmark it wants to visit.
Ironically enough, it’s something in the same vein as that quality which prevents me from giving Kimera the lowest possible score. I don’t think this OVA is meant to be taken as a joke, yet, having seen it, it’s very hard to think of it as anything but. Do I recommend watching this? No, definitely not. It’s excessive, poorly written, poorly presented, cheesy, and constantly straining to cover its own screwups. But it’s not truly mean-spirited, and there’s a (very) little something to be said for this tiny universe where everyone, good guys and bad guys alike, are brick-stupid, and the switch for common sense, reasoning, and decision-making is covered with cobwebs which permanently tether it in the “off” position. In spite of and because of its silly incompetence, it inspires just the tiniest bit of admittedly condescending affection, enough for me to turn the dial one unit to the right of where it probably should be. Kimera says “take me seriously,” and we can only shake our heads and smile knowingly, as if gracefully rejecting the outlandish request of a child.
It’s about a vampire wanting to use Kimera to continue the race. During this there seems to be a lot of Damsel in Distress on top of her being a vampire. The weirdest thing about her is that she has the upper body of a man and the lower body of a female. There appears to be a rape scene of some sort too, but it’s just odd because Kimera looks like a woman/man or something.
She doesn’t talk, which is boring, she talks in flash backs but nothing else. She is fixated on this guy who helped her.
I like the art, it’s beautiful and it uses a fun use of colour, but I have nothing to complain about but it wasn’t anything super special.
The music was okay, it fit what it was being used for but it had no tracks I found amazing.
I think the characters were well developed during the story, but I honestly thought there should be more Kimera interaction and talking, I couldn’t give a damn about her mostly because she was a silent character. Even in the end she had nothing to say.
Bleh. Watch it if you want.
5: Youjuu Kyoushitsu Gaiden
English: Demon Beast Resurrection
MAL Score: 5.17
From the radioactive emptiness of space comes the Demon Beast! A hideous alien monster, the Beast shares a psychic link with the beautiful Earth woman, Kayo. Bound by a forbidden past and a horrifying erotic encounter, she is destined to lure the Beast back to a helpless Earth. Her tortured soul cries out across dimensions, calling the Demon Beast to begin his reign of bloodlust, carnage, and terror!
4: Choujin Densetsu Urotsukidouji 5: Kanketsu-hen
Japanese: 超神伝説うろつき童子 完結編
MAL Score: 5.34
Only one episode of this was partially completed, the released version containing numerous examples of animation that is missing in-between frames. The story as such concerned the arrival of the real Chojin as he/she (a hermaphrodite) makes moves to wipe out all life on Earth.
Interestingly, the setup for the show was far more heavily connected with the first two, more popular, chapters in the Urotsukidoji saga, with appearances by Nagumo and Akemi (unseen since the early episodes of Part III), and redesigned character models that more closely resembled the earlier episodes. Some of the less popular characters introduced in chapters III and IV, particularly Buju, were nowhere to be seen. Nevertheless, such strategies did little to get this final saga off the ground and the story was shelved.
3: Jigokudou Reikai Tsuushin
MAL Score: 6.16
Tetsushi, Ryouchin and Shiina are a youthful trio not to be trifled with; they have a fearsome reputation. One day they decide to enter Jingkudou, a store which is rumored to be the gateway to Hell, the storekeeper sure is creepy enough. He tells them a story and after that they decide, with a magical token provided by the storekeeper, to try and find the restless spirit of a murder victim in order to give her release. This is only the start of their supernatural career…
2: Blue Seed 2
English: Blue Seed Beyond
Japanese: ブルーシード 2
MAL Score: 6.45
A renegade scientist in San Francisco has found a way to create a new creature called a Neo-Aragami without the power of Susanoo. When these monsters start to terrorize California, the U.S. turns to the old members of the Terrestrial Administration Center (TAC) for help.
The animation is more shotty then Gonzo, which says a hell of a lot in my book. Character designs have been changed for the worse, what action there is (And that is not much) is speed lines, hold posses, and even just cut away’s where they cut to someone talking and then back to the now killed creature.*Face…. Palm*
Voices are ok, close to the original if not the same characters but I really couldn’t pay much attention to that as the whole thing was really making me feel sick for even watching this.
1: 3×3 Eyes: Seima Densetsu
English: 3×3 Eyes: Legend of the Divine Demon
Japanese: 3×3 EYES聖魔伝説
MAL Score: 6.94
Yakumo has trained and searched for 4 years, following Pai’s mysterious disappearance. However, when he finally finds her, not all is well as her memory seems to be gone. They attempt to return her memory by going to the Holy Land, birthplace of the immortal race of Sanjiyans.
But seriously, the nice thing about this anime is that Yakumo finally comes into his own, having learned how to use his own abilities as a Wu, their roles reverse and he starts to save her rather than the converse.
Its bloody and violent, and of course, as Yakumo can’t die, he winds up splattered all over the place, but he’s lost a little bit of his comic edge having been hardened by his journeys.
The story at times seems somewhat fragmented in comparison to the manga. It tries to rise a bit above the generic random anime-monster of the week, and succeeds a bit better than its predecessor.
Both the art and sound were good for their time, but the art style is somewhat dark and hasn’t aged well.
But in the end its all about the endearing quest of one girl to become human and Yakumo’s inhuman efforts to help her on her way, and these characters help drive this anime. I don’t give it a 10, if only because some of the support characters tend to be a little 2-dimensional.
All in all, it is a journey that is well worth your time.
Four years after the first OVA, Yakumo is wandering alone in search of the missing Pai. He finds her, but she doesn’t seem to remember him and freaks out when he starts chasing after her, treating hi like he’s some strange pervert. After speaking with the elderly couple that she’s been living with, Yakumo finds out that Pai lost her memories. After fighting a monster that tried to reseal them, he sets out for Tibet to find an old monk who knows how to release the seal on her memories. She goes with him, curious about what secrets her past holds.
Let’s start with the big problems with the OVA. The ending is a big one. They had a chance to have a really strong, bittersweet ending, but they screw it up at the very end and opt for something that would be better suited for a cheesy children’s movie than a more dramatic series for adults. There’s also still an issue with the romance elements being pretty weak and, given the amnesia and handling thereof, this OVA doesn’t even ultimately do anything to advance the romance.
There are plenty of good things about the OVA too. The overall story is actually really interesting with a legitimately good twist. The Hindu influence is still strong in the series and it’s still used in an intriguing way.
Only a few of the major characters from the first OVA return, Yakumo, Pai, and Benares. We get an all new supporting cast for this one. I will give the series credit, most of the supporting characters are fairly interesting and fleshed out. The exceptions being the old couple who took Pai in and her friends from school who are just generic. Yakumo’s character develops pretty well. He’s become a lot more capable of things besides just being a human shield. He still has his moments where he takes enough damage that he would die if he was a normal human, but he at least manages to give a good account of himself. On the downside, Pai is actively annoying in this one. When I talked about the first OVA I said that the only thing stopping her from being an annoying character was the Sanjiyan personality. In this series the Sanjiyan has about five minutes of screen time before the very end when she takes over to wrap things up.
Studio Junio puts a real effort into replicating the style that Toei Animation used for the first OVA. And it does hold up pretty well. I will give them the proper credit on that account. It is, however, not as strong as the first series.
The voice work is still really good. Hayashibara Megumi, Tsujitani Kouji, and Ootsuka Akio all give strong performances as they did in the first OVA. Ohtsuka Houchu, Canna Nobutoshi & Saikachi Ryuuji all give good performances as well. The one weakness is that the bland side characters have kind of weak performances to go along with them. The music is still pretty spectacular with Wada Kaoru returning to work on it.
There really isn’t any.
3×3 Eyes Seima Densetsu is not as good as the first OVA. It has some strong moments and it does advance Yakumo’s character but it also has some real writing problems, some weak secondary characters and performances. It’s worth watching if you enjoyed the first OVA and it’s still pretty decent in spite of those flaws. My final rating is a 6/10. Next week I’ll look at Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie.
The only redeeming factor is Yakumo actually knowing how to fight for once.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. 3×3 Eyes: Seima Densetsu
2. Blue Seed 2
3. Jigokudou Reikai Tsuushin
4. Choujin Densetsu Urotsukidouji 5: Kanketsu-hen
5. Youjuu Kyoushitsu Gaiden
7. Mirai Choujuu Fobia
8. Kakugo no Susume