Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Mars of Destruction

In our quest to disprove M.D. Geist as the worst anime ever like the biased fans we are, we have been looking for some of the truly worst that Japan has to offer for their animation medium. Among Roots Search and The Humanoid, as well as a number of others we are yet to review, we have another addition to the list; the blinkingly short 20-minute Mars of Destruction/破滅のマルス. At the very least, our aforementioned examples of brain-achingly bad anime at least had production values, Mars of Destruction on the other hand? It's not 20-minutes long for nothing you know.

Taking place in the far distant year of... 2010 (wow it feels weird when you're reviewing something like that now), we're treated to a static shot of a shapeless space ship re-entering the earth's atmosphere. Of course it doesn't really move, it just seems to hover above the earth as the pilots chat about unimportant things. Apparently this ship is the Mars Exploration Vessel (if Koichi Ohata was behind this in his 80s mindset it'd probably be called "MARS PENETRATOR"), they're apparently taking some artefact back to earth because it holds secrets, somehow. Unfortunately, their ship burns to a crisp unspectacularly.

A text crawl reveals to us that several months have passed since the debris of the ship fell to earth and strange incidents have been happening in Tokyo, it then cuts to three VERY badly-drawn girls in unimaginative uniforms pointing guns at two creatures covered in black with red glowy bits, they're apparently called "Ancients". Why? This anime is too half-assed to give a reason. The Ancients fire yellow energy beams, and take one of the girls' heads clean off, but it's just a hilarious-looking geyser of static blood shooting upward; anime often gets a lot of shit for its highly-unreleastic depictions of the human body spurting too much blood, but this one just takes the cake, the fucking thing doesn't even arc out or rain down, it just keeps shooting up! But enough attention to pathetic detail, the two remaining girls take on the Ancients in a pretty un-stunning fight thanks to how the limited animation makes M.D. Geist 2: Death Force look big budget. Suddenly, an armoured being called Takeru appears to try his hand at dispatching the Ancients (the muffled voice of Takeru inside the armour sounds really pathetic).

He's wounded and taken into the hospital, as is the girl who just had her head blown off, to which the doctor says "this one is totally gone" and puts a blanket over her, gee I never would have guessed that a beheaded person could still be alive. The anime takes this opportunity to give us some expository farting around and reveals that the armour Takeru was wearing was called "The MARS" (as ordered by his dad, but this is never referred back to), it's never mentioned why it's all in capitals by the way (another parenthesized mention is that Takeru's unseen dad apparently hits him in his flashback but we only hear the sound of his arm swinging, no connection, and he still feels pain it seems). Takeru and the girls work for AAST, the "Anti-unidentified Ancients Special Team" (because that rolls right off the tongue and makes perfect sense right?), which is made up of various police organizations (so I guess in 2010, police forces are made up of teenage girls), this extra bit of sloppy exposition still doesn't tell us why the monsters are called Ancients, instead it just shows more embarrassingly-dull clips of the girls trying out different weapons. Takeru is mentioned that he used to be a "typical high student" (I'm groaning just at how lazily this is written) before he joined ASSED, but for some reason, no one knows why he wears MARS or why he fights with them, because when you're in a special task force, you don't keep note of your squad mates, correct?

ASSED have to escort the remains of the ship or something, we get a solid minute of filler until one of the police cars is blown up by an Ancient's laser. Takeru steps into some crucifix-shaped chamber (because I bet that totally represents something relevant to the story) to get suited up in the MARS armour and is dispatched while some cop is torn up by the Ancients. Their leader is with them, and so joins in on the fun of killing characters as nameless and as faceless as they are. Takeru joins in at failing to do anything against the enemy, until it's defeated thanks to a gun being pulled out of the big hole of Deus ex Machina. Elsewhere in America presumably, some doctor with a crazy hairdo and a wrinkled guy talk about how humanity's development was influenced by the DNA of the homo sapiens that originally lived on Mars, the wrinkled guy says something about humans originating from Japan, I have no idea. Meawnhile, the alien leader gets up and tells Takeru that "no Takeru, YOU are the invaders", because he was one of the original earthlings released by the virus that wiped out the martians (it's not specified, I don't know what you should expect). He's shot to shit by the other girls, which makes his top half explode, and it ends.

In all fairness, this OVA was made to promote an equally low-budget PS2 game that never left Japan, but if you're going to make something so risible and uninteresting, why bother? Unless I have a dire need to learn about the terribly dull and air-thin characters, this thing would not persuade me to pick up the game, nor does it intrigue me about the mystery of the enemy. The animation is only a step away from being entirely static and acting as a slideshow, with much of the visuals being made up by garish digital effects that just make it even more of an eyesore. The character designs are the epitome of generically done anime characters and have to be the most un-fascinating pieces of artwork ever, with each female character lacking any real charm other than how they're just a lazy stab at trying to appeal to the crowd who like 'cute' 2D girls while Takeru himself even looks like a girl. The music is unnoticeable except for a few (a few is the entire soundtrack) that are just MIDI versions of classical pieces and the voice-acting is plainly bad.
  • Animation: -1/5
  • Sound: 0/5
-James, 20 January 2010 (original date)
Review source: Fan-subtitled Japanese DVD
Screenshot source: Fan-subtitled Japanese DVD

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