Sunday, 5 June 2011

Skelter Heaven

Like with lots of critics, we often seem to find things we brand "the worst ever", for us, that usually seems to be anime. So far we have routinely topped what we've last said about something: Roots Search has always been a good contender, Dog Soldier has quite a few problems but actually isn't all that awful in some cases, The Humanoid was flat-out terrible and so far, the one title to truly annoy me with absolutely NO redeeming qualities is 2004's Mars of Destruction, and already it seems like this title is ready to be topped, but technically, this title and Mars of Destruction are on in the same. 

Meet Tenkuu Danzato Skelter+Heaven/ 天空断罪スケルターヘブン, does "Skelter Heaven" make you think of The Beatles? Will that name ever make sense within in the context of the show? Of course not, this thing would prefer to come from the school of Roots Search and have a title that leaves you outright baffled. Much like Mars of Destruction, this dismal 19-minute OVA is nothing more than an unmoving promotional vehicle for a low budget PS2 game that thankfully stayed in Japan. You know what? If you didn't see this coming already, then I'll put it to you directly: Skelter+Heaven is by the same team who gave us Mars of Destruction. This is most definitely a seal of quality, a putrid level of quality, right off the bat there is not a single thing to look forward to from this foreseen travesty.

...And then the OVA happily confirms this, by opening to a horribly done digital sequence of nothing really happening, other than some stars in the background shaking about as the camera zooms in on the earth. The person with the creative input on this part must have had no knowledge about establishing scene or location, or they were just trying to fill up the minimal time duration, my money is on both. Through the method of expository time-wasting, it's revealed that Tokyo has apparently been attacked by a giant monster and humans have fled of course, all this anchored by several slow pans of buildings that don't appear to be suffering any damage from this alien threat.

Are any videogamers reading this? Specifically Megaman fans? Guess what, X5's opening has more animation than this OVA's intro, and if you've never seen the opening to Megaman X5, do it now to get an idea (I'd prefer it if you looked up the American version as it has better music). To rub salt into the wound, this opening is geared with a completely forgettable sugary J-Pop song while showing off its characters and their unremarkable designs. I have to mention that I am watching this as I write and the singer's vocals, squawking uninspired lyrics that have been heard before in 100+ other anime openings, are really getting on my nerves.  

With that out the way, we open to a looped news reporter talking about how the "mysterious object" has begun to move over Tokyo, the mysterious object in question is a giant floating CGI squid that has barely been textured let alone animated. We're seemingly introduced to our limited characters, but there's honestly not much to say, other than how one guy, Funagai, appears to be huge. We cut to a mansion to show off some of the female charactes, oh god, UGH, the voice acting! The voice actresses appear to have gone for a painfully cute route by giving high-pitched, squeaky performances, much to the chagrin of my ears. More hideous CGI abounds as two girls spar in some extremely unimpressive power suits. This whole scene seems to be a very confused backstory as the main girl (no I don't know her name, I don't recall being told it) remarks about how she can't believe five years has already passed while standing in the shower (since what is never established), it then fades to... some ungodly kind of training sequence showing two of the girls strapped down to some machine as it pumps them up and down, and then it cuts to the main girl having her shoulder grabbed by Funagi, and then cuts to all of them being at the control room... I don't have a fucking clue. 
Their commander gives the most bombastic briefing ever, that essentially boils down to him just telling them they may as well be aiming for the weak point of a Boss in a shoot-'em-up game; "there will be two steps to defeating this enemy - understanding its weak point, and destroying it", informative. Oh we finally learn the name of the main female, Ichikawa Lin, not like it'll make much of a difference. On their way to suit up in their mechs, some girl called Misaki argues with Funagai because of how Ichikawa has elected to be the main player in this mission, it's bullshit really. Misaki, in her utterly inanimate CG shit-brick of a mech, lands on the surface of the giant squid that isn't attacking for whatever reason. Oh wait, it's attacking now, very slowly knocking the girls away with its tentacles.

Funagai's jet is taken down by the squid and Ichikawa tries to rescue him, it then abruptly cuts to a flashback with the nameless commander talking about how Ichikawa is basically an artificial creation. It then jumps to Ichikawa being in a classroom talking about her lifespan because she's artificial, honestly, all of this stuff is so poor it doesn't qualify as being development. It then finally cuts back to the squid with Ichikawa and Funagai being back in the fight, Funagai tries to kamikaze, but Ichikawa announces her love for him out of the blue, so the girls just all attack in unison. Ichikawa somehow ends up inside the squid and floats about while delivering some pap that I suppose is meant to sound philosophical before shooting at the core. From the outside, the squid lets out a grey blotch of smoke and then stiffly falls down, absolutely pathetic. Cut to a year later, and the same looped news reporter from earlier casually talks about how more squids have appeared over Tokyo.
Yeah, I really don't know what to say.

This abomination just barely has a narrative, with exposition being injected at every turn and being terribly told in general, Mars of Destruction's narrative is only marginally delivered better, solely because it does not keep moving backwards and side to side. I really shouldn't have to embellish this any further, but this is a really bad anime, the artwork thrives on its blandness and the animation borders along non-existent, music is unnoticeable and the voice acting is awful. I never thought I'd say this but, both Mars of Destruction and this make Roots Search look good. BAD films and shows normally have something that makes them enjoyable, but these two titles have features that hardly break into being 'good', I would call these factually two of the worst pieces of animation ever, they have nothing going for them, and I'm putting them both together because of how they're by the same team. Power DoLLS proved you can make decent to good promotional OVAs with limited funds, but I highly doubt the game this OVA is promoting is much good anyway.
If anyone ever says such-and-such is the worst anime ever, slap this in their face.
Skelter+Heaven doesn't even deserve a joke rating.

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