Anime Meta-Review


Kishin Corp.


By Date




Title Info

  • alias: Kishin Heidan
  • seen: 1-7 of 7
  • type: OAV
  • grade: flawed
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Recently, but I didn't record the date.
  • mod: none

Sooo aggravating. Sitting and watching an anime that should be good but for some uncertain reason simply...isn't. This led to it being both watchable and aggravating which caused it to be rated down here. The base story is pretty weird, but actually somewhat intriguing. It is set against the background of world war 2, but in this version there's another battle going on. It seems that aliens have taken an active and dramatic interest in Earth, and they don't seem to be here for the scenery. On the positive side mankind seems to have got a hold of some of their technology to fight back, with the Kishin Corp (courtesty of huge retro mecha), being able to go up against the aliens and win. On the down side there is a war going on and the side which controls the alien technology, even if not fully under control, would have an immense military advantage. And while the Kishin Corp are nominally neutral (albeit funded by the allies) it isn't long before the axis forces start to demonstrate an active interest in alien technology. We experience this conflict, and the ensuing cloak and dagger, through the eyes of a young boy who find himself suddenly suddenly in possession of a valuable artifact that both sides will stop at nothing to get. Surely dashing period action, spies and espionage and steel mecha can not be far away.

At least that's what you'd expect...but it goes on to waste its assets in a suprisingly lifeless film. Mind you, the first episode is not bad, but it's also by far the strongest one. What exactly is wrong with it? I'm not really sure I know. For a start I can say that the story has lots of holes in it and many parts that don't make much sense. It tries to bring `war themes' into the story but does so very badly, it muddles around with historical figures for no reason and it has all the required characters but doesn't develop them. The fact of a war being on in the background is almost entirely absent, the aliens are simply fodder (and why are they carrying machine guns?) and a lot of story threads and event connections are confusing or lead nowhere. This is accentuated by some strange, and generally slow, pacing. The enemies meanwhile have the whole `villainous' thing going, although they're a pretty freakish bunch, but a lot of the plots are so meaningless that it becomes hard to care. There's too many plot elements but too little plot and character development. And then there's the conclusion which is certainly epic and impressive...but even more strange than the events leading up to it, and then suddenly it is over without even a clear resolution. I'm sure the patient could fit all the plot points together into a coherent story, but that's a virtue of the viewer not this production. And considering how slow and disconnected it is most people won't care that much. A little energy, humor and character would have gone a long way towards making this a much more enjoyable experience. And you can certainly see that they had all the elements in place, you can spot which personality each character should have, but it simply doesn't work.

This is also very evident in the production. The action is every bit as stilted as the writing. There's a nice chase scene in the first episode, but after that most of it is pretty dull and far less common than you might expect. The mecha are terribly unexciting and the battles are simply thumping matches between the two ground mecha while the submarine mecha gets a minor role and the air mecha...well, flies around. There's quite a lot of repeated animation, especially of the mecha start up and aliens getting shredded which wasn't exciting the first time. The animation itself is actually pretty good, a bit oddly styled in place (perhaps trying for a retro look) which makes it look a bit `old' or messy, but there is some money and production quality here. However the dub is awful and really magnifies the dodgy dialogue and story. It isn't that the individual voices are bad, albeit they are a bit over the top, it's that they sound like they were recorded seperately and carefully lip-synced. As a result they don't work well together and the delivery sounds very strange. And then there's some weird epic period music played over certain scenes which is way too strong.

If it sounds at all tempting please try it. This is one of those tapes where I would love to be proved wrong, and have people discover something they love. But I found this, considering the money and effort put into it, to be a really unenjoyable experience. If nothing else, rent it first (and more than the first episode) before you buy it. There's a minute almost review from Lord Carnage has calls it a "good method of torture". There's some partial entries from the Anime Review page (1-3 last time I checked) that are much more positive towards this `adventure serial'.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:20 WST 2009