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Friday, February 16, 2018

Anime Hajime Impressions: Mars of Destruction

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Mars of Destruction. Reader discretion is advised.***

The Set Up

Over the course of these past three years, I’ve seen a lot of anime. There have been plenty of shows that were good. There have been plenty that were bad. Fortunately, there have been a handful of series that were outstanding. Unfortunately, there has been garbage too. We’re going to be focusing on the latter today.

I don’t put much stock in “number” ratings. To me, they don’t signify anything. What meaning can you get out of such a numerical value? To me, this is an over-simplistic boiling down of a show’s positives and negatives.

Then again, this is coming from someone who has no filter when it comes to anime. One of my goals of this site is to help people pick what sounds interesting to them. If you don’t have the time to “hope things will work out” when it comes to choosing a series, I get that. This is where I see a rating system being a nice guide.

Plus, I myself get curious. If for nothing else, I want to compare my own thoughts to what others are thinking. To do this, I end up on several different websites. Yet the two I tend to come across the most are IMDB and MyAnimeList.

Every now and then, I do see scores that make sense. But there have been shows which I have loved that had ratings much lower than I would have expected. Then there have been series I've despised with numbers equivalent to real fantastic shows.

For example, Prison School is garbage. I hate it so much. On IMDB, at the time of this Impressions, it is sitting at a 7.8 out of 10 with 1,705 users having rated it. MyAnimeList has the show at a 7.93 out of 10 with 201,066 users.

Alternatively, Gakkou Gurashi is one of the best anime I have seen. What are its scores? On IMDB with 253 users, a 7.3 out of 10. On MyAnimeList with 97,487 users, a 7.69 out of 10.

To be fair, a significantly fewer amount of people have given a rating to Gakkou Gurashi than Prison School. But can you see why numbers can be bull crap? To drive home my point further, here are some other shows I didn’t like and their scores.

1. Gantz: IMDB, 7.4 out of 10 with 5,669 users. MyAnimeList, 7.21 with 106,194 users. 
2. Maken-ki and Maken-ki Two: IMDB combined both seasons at 6.6 with 127 users. MyAnimeList, 6.63 and 6.34 with 67,249 and 31,936 users each.
3. Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai: IMDB 6.4 with 88 users. MyAnimeList, 6.98 with 69,183 users.

Let’s do one more. For fun, we’re going to look at what is objectively the worst anime I have reviewed, Pupa. Keep in mind, this show was trash, but I didn’t hate it. I liked it because it was that bad. How did other rate it? On IMDB this series has a 3.1 out of 10 with 230 users. On MyAnimeList, it managed to pull a 3.73 with 52,079 users. Those numbers are abysmal. But then again, it’s not like Pupa didn’t earn those scores.

Therefore, imagine my, let’s call it “intrigue” when I came across Mars of Destruction and I saw this. IMDB has this thing at a staggering 1.5 out of 10 with 182 users. Then on MyAnimeList, it has an amazing 2.33 out of 10 with, get this, 23,547 users. And we can’t forget the endless number of articles claiming this to be the WORST ANIME of all time.

How do I not watch this?

This is a nineteen-minute horror, sci-fi OVA from 2005 and that is all that I know about it. This could blow up in my face, but I’m excited nonetheless. Can this really be the bottom of the barrel? There's only one way to find out.

At the time of me writing this section, I have not seen this show. With that, here are my impressions of Mars of Destruction.


Our story begins in the far-off future of 2010.

Stop already. Really? You couldn’t add a hundred years to that. Or at the very least, thirty. Moving on, we can't get caught up here.

After a mission to Mars burns up upon reentry, many strange phenomena are taking place in Tokyo. Mysterious creatures known as Ancients have been terrorizing the city. It is up to an elite unit of soldiers to face them. Our team consists of the country’s top fighters. This includes girl, other girl, third girl, and a fourth girl.

Whenever these four arrive on the scene, every action they take is useless. They stand and watch as the only one who can do anything, Takeru Hinata (voiced by Nozomu Taiga) complains his way through every fight. With his advanced combat suit, MARS, Takeru can fend off these dangerous enemies. Even if he gets his nuts kicked in quite a bit.

Then there was a thing about an unidentified Ancient appearing. Where did this monster come from? What were the Ancients trying to do? What was humanities connection to the red planet? Other generic plot driving question. It doesn't matter. None of them got an answer. Remember, there were only nineteen minutes.

What the hell did I watch?

Before I say any more, let me make something clear. Like Pupa, I didn’t hate Mars of Destruction.

I’m going to call it trash and talk about why. But I don’t hate it. It’s not worth the effort. The series I listed off before actually infuriated me. I dislike them more than I do this OVA.

Regardless, from a technical standpoint, yes, this was, without a doubt, the worse anime I’ve seen. It’s baffling to think this was a thing. This was so baffling in fact, I had to watch it twice. Believe it or not, I sat through Mars of Destruction two times.

And what’s weirder, I’m glad I did.

My first viewing was rather surreal. I couldn’t piece together what was going on. This wasn’t because of the plot. Or to be more accurate, it wasn’t only because of the plot. Everything about this “show” was wrong. There was no time to process one mistake, and that’s me being generous, from the next. After it was over and done with, a second go-around was kind of necessary.

There had to be things I missed. I was right. This OVA does require you to pay attention. Not in a way that benefits this show. Instead, if you’re going to sit through this, make it count. It was during my second viewing I saw the entertainment value of Mars of Destruction. This became a lot of fun in ways I guarantee this story wasn’t going for.

You know those people on the street that shout random absurdities? Usually, you will ignore these ramblings because you have more important things to do. Then someone spouts something so out there that it catches your attention. You’re for sure not going to engage with this person since things could get out of hand fast. But you will listen to what they have to say at a safe distance.

This was Mars of Destruction.

As a fair warning, I will be talking about what this OVA did in as much detail as possible. If you’re the one person who doesn’t want this show ruined for them, come back in twenty minutes. For the rest of us, we need to decide the best place to start.

I will give credit where its due. The animation of Mars of Destruction wasn’t awful. This was a decent looking anime. Or least that would have been the case back in 1993. The problem is, as I said earlier, this came out in 2005. This is the same year that gave us Mahoraba, Basilisk, and Ichigo Mashimaro. Not to mention this was two years after Fullmetal Alchemist and five years after FLCL.

If you ignore those things, then sure, the artwork of Mars of Destruction was alright. You also have to overlook the occasions when the animation went full brain dead. But if you can do that, you may see this show’s charm.

Joking aside though, there was something that confused the hell out of me. In every picture in this post, there is this black bar at the bottom. I don’t know what this is. At first, I assumed someone did a piss poor job of framing the version I watched. I have reason to believe the people responsible were the creators of Mars of Destruction.

There was one moment in this OVA where the entire screen lit up. Why did this happen when it did? Beats me, yet it was there. But this was an indication this black bar thing was a deliberate choice on the part of the storytellers. Okay, I guess.

If I’m wrong about this, someone please tell me. It will fix nothing since this was like problem number seven with this show. But Mars of Destruction needs all the help it can get.

Also, you’ve got to love that public domain soundtrack

The next aspect we should go into is the “story”. I say that with a question mark. I’m sure someone out there would consider this a narrative of some kind. It succeeded in doing things.

Too bad this show forgot to make those things connect or have a purpose. How about I put it like this.

A character got decapitated. I would say this was brutal except this character sort of stood there. They made zero attempts to, you know, move. Cut to the hospital where this character’s teammates, who saw this happen, learned their friend wasn't going to make it. Adding to that, this news shocked the team.

I missed this during my first viewing. I could blame the reason for that on atrocious editing. However, I think my brain couldn’t comprehend this show had said something that stupid. 

Upon watching this scene a second time, it may be the funniest thing to come out of this show. That or the “twist” ending Mars of Destruction tried to pass off.

Before the big bad guy died in the most awkward of explosions, it told Takeru something shocking. Humans came from Mars and the Ancients were the true Earthlings. There was also something about a virus. Although I haven’t the slightest idea what is being referred to.

As someone watching this show, there was no reason to doubt what the Ancient said. I’m sure Mars of Destruction meant for this to be a huge reveal. Under no circumstances though, should Takeru have believed this.

Plus, he needed to stop pretending like he understood what this creature was saying.

Takeru accepted this fact so fast, you could tell him a fresh dog turd was a diamond and he would buy it.

Next, there was the “action”. I use that term with a shovel full of salt. Mars of Destruction’s idea of battle involved unloading bullets into an enemy. You'd think after the first couple attempts, someone would have noticed guns had no effect.

But expecting this show to make a choice other than the wrong one by this point would be silly.

That notwithstanding, why didn’t any of the characters use the nifty laser swords they had? I know they existed. They were in the segment that explained how everyone was an expert in some field. Those fields included hand to hand combat, firearms, and advanced technologies.

I couldn’t tell you what Mars of Destruction meant by “expert”, yet that was the word this story used.

Since shooting Ancients did nothing, our main team needed to rely on Takeru’s MARS suit. Which, even though I know better than to ask, why didn’t they start with this? Had they done so, more people would have kept their heads.

I can’t give this show too much flack though. The team’s ineptitude was at least fascinating. Something that was not the case with the fistfights Takeru was a part of. These encounters were as exciting as watching two cotton balls collide. They left about the same amount of impact too.

With everything up to now, did this show get anything right? Not in the slightest. Yet if I had to pick the most embarrassing aspect of Mars of Destruction, it would have to be the characters.

There have been casts that have made me not care about their safety before. Except I have never reached this level of apathy. I would say these characters had about as much life as cardboard cutouts. Yet with enough imagination, you can make something out of cardboard.

On multiple occasions, the Ancients demonstrated how easy it was for them to kill humans. It was odd then when the main villain thought strangulation was an effective method. This thing clutched people’s windpipe long enough for them to pass out. At any moment, this monster could have popped its victim’s head like a zit. It never did.

Had this been a one-time occurrence, that would have been bad enough. Instead, this happened three times in quick succession. And each attempt failed.

As a testament to how little I cared about these characters, their “plot necessity” shield wasn't what was annoying. I was more upset with the enemy screwing up its one job.

Is there anything else I could go over? Odds are, yes. Too bad every single second from this OVA was a mistake. I’m forgetting something, I know I am. It would be way more efficient if you experienced this train wreck for yourself.

As I said, this was the worst anime I have seen. This show lived up to its reputation. But Mars of Destruction never had the chance to do anything infuriating. Although it was because I was laughing at its failures, this was still a fun watch.

Gather a few friends and a few drinks and enjoy ripping this show to shreds.

This OVA would be the undisputed champion of any “Worst of” list. Pick any category, animation, characters, story, and this would be the ultimate loser. Yet if you asked what my most despised series are, this one would never enter my mind.

What was my impression of Mars of Destruction? It was a glorious abomination of a show any anime fan should check out once. Be aware though. This is that bad.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What were your impressions of Mars of Destruction? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

And if you liked what you read, be sure to follow me on my social media sites so that you never miss a post or update. Also, please share this review across the internet to help add to the discussion.

I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

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