August 12, 2010

Mystery Meat: Master of Martial Hearts

Today's Mystery Meat is Master of Martial Hearts:

Cute shapely girls? Check.
High kicks with flouncy skirts revealing white panties? Yup.
The Most Common Special Attack? You betcha.
Nipples? Yes, we have nipples.

I think we've got classic here. Or not, as the case may be.

NSFW below the fold.


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This is amazingly derivative even for a panty-fighter show, a genre not known for originality. There isn't anything new about it. It's kind of an amalgam of Queen's Blade and Ikki Tousen, with some Najica Blitz Tactics tossed in for flavor and a bit of borrowing from Petite Princess Yucie. Or maybe I should intone,

There can be only one! Except that the participants aren't immortals.

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That business about the "most common special attack"? In panty-fighter series, seems like everyone knows the special attack that shreds clothing without damaging the lovely flesh beneath. Everyone in this show who does any fighting seems to know it. Anyway, about the show:

See, there's a magic jewel called the eternal tiara "platonic heart" which can grant a wish to the winner of a fighting tournament also called "platonic heart", or so the rumors go. Only girls (and the occasional woman) can enter. Entry is a mysterious process and those running the tournament are also mysterious. Competitors receive text messages on their cell phones telling them where they should be to meet their next competitor in battle.

Aya, our heroine, is a high school girl. As she and her classmate Natsume are walking home from school, they see a miko (name of Kazuki Miko) and a flight attendant battling, using rather dangerous weapons (e.g. blades). Miko has mastered the MCSA and uses it against the flight attendant thus exposing her breasts, but that just makes the FA angry. (It also reduces her to one useful hand in the battle since she uses the other to cover up, so perhaps it was worth doing.)

As the miko dodges the FA's next attack, she manages to jump onto Natsume by accident. At that point, Aya gets involved. She takes the FA down in very short order.

Turns out that Aya's mother was an accomplished full-contact fighter when she was younger. She's trained Aya heavily, and Aya is likewise a very good fighter. In a flashback she's shown taking out an entire gang of guys, all by herself.

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Aya and Natsume go to a hamburger place featuring a big yellow M:

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And I'll give the writers a couple of points for that joke.

The miko comes in and talks to them. They learn that her name is Miko, apparently a coincidence. There's a bunch of plot exposition which isn't worth going into, and then Aya decides to be Miko's friend. "Making a friend" was going to be Miko's wish, so she drops out of the tournament.

Anyway, at the end of the first episode, Aya receives a message on her cell phone saying that she is now a participant in the tournament, taking Miko's place.

And just after receiving that message, the flight attendant shows up. There's more plot exposition, and then a fight, and Aya eventually beats the crap out of the FA.

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The FA's MCSA is weak; it doesn't affect Aya's bra. Aya stands breathing hard afterwards:

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Confused and frightened, she runs back to Miko's place, only to discover that it's a wreck. Evidently there's been a fight there, and Miko is gone.

Swell dramatic music -- and I started laughing. I'm supposed to take this seriously, I suppose; they're telling the story in a fashion that doesn't seem tongue-in-cheek. But it's very difficult to get into that mood.

It's derivative pandering, and it isn't even very good derivative pandering.

It has a good cast, surprisingly. A show like this, I'd have expected a lot of first-timers, but it's actually quite the veteran's list. Aya has the same seiyuu as Lynette Bishop in Strike Witches, but it's a lot different kind of performance and the voice isn't recognizable. Miko was Konoka in Negima. Ueda Kana is in it.

It's produced by ARMS, who did all the Ikki Tousen series after the first one. (The first one was done by J.C. Staff, of all things.) But the art ain't all that good. Even at 480p it looks fuzzy. The action sequences are not the best I've ever seen. Compared to the Ryoko/Azumi fight in Real Bout High School, these rate about half as good. The fights are about like the Ikki Tousen fights, I guess, but the art quality in this is a lot worse. I guess the budget was lower. Or someone tried to make it feel moody by processing all the video through a blur filter.

It was satisfying to see Aya kicking the hell out of the FA, who is a real bitch. (The FA's panties are purple, and that alone is reason to hate her.) But it didn't take long and there was a lot of repeats among the art frames used.

This is a 5-ep OVA I got in today's order, and I'm writing this after watching the first ep. I'll probably watch more; it's only a four more episodes, and cheap thrills are to be had. Besides, I'm curious to see whether they can salvage anything resembling a coherent plot out of this morass.

I have a sneaking suspicion that it will turn out that they've stolen the ending from Samurai Jack.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention the reversible cover.

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Sorry about the quality. I don't have a scanner, and that's the best I can do with my camera.

I'm a little surprised that Funimation picked this up. This seems more like the kind of show that Media Blasters would license.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Mystery Meat at 08:24 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 957 words, total size 6 kb.

1 Replacing the MOS Burger logo with a yellow M and changing one crucial letter makes for a fun one, yes. However, that nattou-onion burger in the front of the stack means I would never want to eat there.

-j

Posted by: J Greely at August 12, 2010 08:42 PM (2XtN5)

2

What is "Mos burger"? I haven't heard of it.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 12, 2010 10:38 PM (+rSRq)

3 Japan's version of McDonald's, with some appropriate menu items (seafood-based burgers, rice-based buns... probably not a natto burger, but you never know.)

I think they're still outsold by McDonald's, though, which is probably why you see more yellow-M-logo burger joints in anime than red-M-logo ones.  (Or maybe they all planning for foreign licensing, and know the yellow-M reference works worldwide.)


Posted by: Mikeski at August 13, 2010 03:38 AM (GbSQF)

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