Genma Wars Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: F+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: C
  • Video Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: C+
  • Menus Rating: C
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Genma Wars

Genma Wars Vol. #2

By Derek Guder     July 16, 2004
Release Date: May 27, 2003


Genma Wars Vol. #2
© Media Blasters


What They Say
Jin has committed to destroying Genma and sets out on a training mission. He meets a female Ninja, Ran, and returns with her to the ninja tribe. The now exiled Loof travels the land with his new companion Meena. The pair head for Meena's home village in the hopes of finding sanctuary and rest. Their homecoming is short lived as the townspeople discover Loof's Mah heritage. The two set out in fear for their lives as Genma's troops hunt them down.

The Review!
An incompetently told story with bargain-basement quality digital animation, this turned out isn't consistently bad enough to be entertaining, it's just a mediocre waste of time.

Audio:
I listened to the English audio first, as I'd heard that it was a hilarious bad dub and I figured I'd tackle that first. Sadly, it didn't really cross the line, despite the valley girl voice the seductive ninja was cast with. Most of the actors might as well have phoned in their lines to pay their rent. The dialogue itself was fairly close, but most of the actors didn't bother to emote and end up either sounding childish and silly or cartoonish. The Japanese track didn't have any particularly stand-out actors either, but it was about what you'd expect from a standard below-average show.

It was interesting to note that there were a few changes to the background noises in at least a few scenes. Specifically the orgasmic moans of tortured/enraptures souls were toned down so much in the English soundtrack that I didn't even notice them until I went through the scene again in Japanese. Some terms are also changed. "Mah" becomes "Wizards", for example.

Neither track made much use of directionality or other effects.

Video:
The wildly varying animation level and even style aside (going from acceptable to horrible in the blink of an eye), the video quality is okay. There is some mild artifacting in some dark or more vibrant colors, but nothing that you'll notice unless you're looking for it.

Packaging:
The cover is something of a collage of the two brother and their father with the title in big, gold letters emblazoned across everything. The back cover has a few images from the show, mainly of scenes that might have been dramatic or important in any other show. A few of the weirder looking characters from the show get to sneak in as well. Finally, there's just the obligatory insert with a list of chapters on one side and some ads on the other.

Menu:
The menus are all very simple, lacking any flair. Still images are accompanies by samples of music from the show.

Extras:
There are no extras, so nothing to comment on.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
To begin with, I had rather low expectations of Genma Wars after looking at the cover. The Transformer's font they used and the old, retro character designs turned me off immediately. Most of the men look like they stepped out of some Saturday morning cartoon, and all the women have these starry eyes that make them look like brain-dead zombie aliens or something. You can actually tell which of the women are evil, because they are the only ones that get normal looking eyes that they might actually be able to see out of. And then there are the monsters, which look like some little kid's scary daydreams.

There are three episodes on this second volume, but I didn't feel like I was missing anything - mainly because nothing is really going on. In the first episode, the psychic Jin is desperately trying to find the Ninjas to join them and fight against the Mah/Wizards. Lucky for him, he stumbles across one while hunting for food and, impressed with the power of his Force (i.e. poorly animated psychic powers), she brings him back to the Ninja headquarters to join. Jin's companion wolf spends the entire time telling him the whole thing's a bad idea and basically being a grumpy (and correct) old man.

Meanwhile, Jin's brother Loof has been exiled from his father the wizard king's palace and is basically living in sin on the run with a human girl. Loof's disgust with humanity and his whole-hearted attraction to the girl Meena was one of the most interesting parts of the show, actually. My expectations were raised quite a bit when they actually consummated their relationship on the beach. They flee to Meena's home village, but he is driven out once they find out that Loof is part wizard himself. Of course, the evil minions of the wizards come to find him anyway and he must rush back to rescue the woman he loves and kill some bad guys. Only then do the villagers understand the error of their ways.

The second episode on the disc has Loof and Meena bonding while stranded in the desert. Jin trains with the Ninjas and questions Dan's (the exotically named Ninja leader) tactics of stealing food from the very humans they're supposed to be protecting. He gets nowhere, however, and is berated for his insolence.

Loof and Meena's romantic interlude at a desert oasis is interrupted by an assassin who pretends to be an old man. He delivers some cryptic exposition about a star falling from the sky to destroy the old civilization that lived on the planet and allowed the Mah to rule. For some reason, this surprises him so much that the assassin is able to strike, and only Meena jumping in the way of his fireball saves Loof and shocks him into fighting back. Despite having no visible wounds and the scene lacking any dramatic tension of any kind, Meena dies. Somehow this affects Loof deeply and he pledges to live a new life. Of course, I wouldn't have known that without the narrator stating it flat-out, since the characters couldn't be bothered to show any emotion and the director obviously had no idea how to make us care about the sacrifice of what I thought was a main character.

In the final episode on the disc, Jin continues his training with the Ninja while getting special tutoring from his talking wolf companion. The female Ninja that found him (and is supposed to be the leader's lover) continues her blatant attempts to seduce him, stripping down right in front of him while they are on a mission to sell the stolen food back to the starving humans. He spurns her of course, and she plots revenge. Jin gets in trouble when he returns to the Ninja, since he gave the food away instead of selling it. He redirects the leader's anger by revealing the infidelity of his woman.

Loof is in some dark forest fighting illusionary demons. He escapes after a nonsensical battle scene, only to run into some demon aristocrat who wants to enlist his aid in some sort of coup to take Loof's father's throne. When he is offered a delicacy of eating the brains of living human children, however, Loof attacks his host and escapes with the children. One of the more plucky ones latches on to him as some kind of sidekick.

At the very end of the episode, Jin and Dan have a heart-to-heart talk over a meal that the Ninja made to appear like human meat to mess with Jin's mind. After a battle that seems to take place on a massive scale involving meteor and tidal waves but doesn't have any effect on the surrounding area, Jin kills Dan relatively easily. Not before Dan can strike a single, deadly blow at Jin's wolf. Now Jin is the new leader of the Ninja, and the first challenge that he faces is Dan's unborn child. But that's for next episode, apparently.

In Summary:
I've seen much worse anime before, but Genma Wars is such a mish-mash of clichés and poorly implemented plot-twists and story elements that I alternated between being bored and disgusted with it. Even the animation is incompetent. The plot is weak, the characters wooden, the direction elementary and it's ugly to boot. Nothing is executed well in the show, but neither is it really so bad that it's unintentionally funny. Instead it floats in the middle ground of poor mediocrity.

The only thing I can see using this for is a mock-showing with a group of friends where the actual entertainment for the evening is making fun of the show, but even then there are far better choices.


Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic CT27SX12AF 27" flat-screen TV; Koss KD365 DVD player; Onkyo TX-SR501 receiver; RCA 6-piece home theater speaker package; Component video and optical audio connections

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