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AKA: Geobreeders: File X
Genre: Slapstick action comedy with cute girls
Length: OAV, 3 episodes, 30 minutes each
Distributor: VHS and R1 DVD from US Manga Corps out of print.
Content Rating: 16+ (nudity, sexual innuendo and fan service, some violence, stupidity)
Related Series: Geobreeders 2
Also Recommended: Debutante Detective Corps, Gunsmith Cats, Phantom Quest Corps
Notes: Based on the manga by Akihiro Ito.

The alternate title Geobreeders: File X is a cheap, obvious reference to The X-Files.
Rating: Two StarsTwo Stars
 

Geobreeders

Synopsis

Kagura Security (a whole bunch of girls and one hapless guy) is hired to take on the Phantom Cats, using the powers of technology (and when that fails, artillery). Hijinks ensue. Lather, rinse, repeat.


Review

I hold a rather unpopular opinion on this title within THEM, and indeed within anime fandom. After all, this title (and Di Gi Charat) are among the favorites of one of the club's past presidents.

But I also hold the keyboard, so this is the review that's going to get written.

As I watched this title at a THEM Anime Night several years ago, I felt a vague disquiet come over me. You see, Geobreeders looks like something we'd get right into: an action comedy with elements of parody and lots of cute-looking girls. (Can't lose with lots of cute girls, right?) And some of the members seemed to really get into it ... but a rather quiet minority took it in like a heaping mouthful of antacid.

Afterwards, some of the more vocal club members cheered, and others merely walked off, numbly attempting to process what had just happened. But the hosts of the Anime Night insisted we had enjoyed the series. Surely Geobreeders has it all! Right?

For a title that should have it all, Geobreeders is remarkably brainless, deadly dull, and just plain unlikable. With a massed array of shrill, stupid, and one-dimensional characters, a stereotypically useless and sexually frustrated male lead, and a marked emphasis on style over substance, this series only succeeds at making you wonder what this whole phenomenon is about.

Granted, if it's so popular, then there's gotta be something good about the title, right? Well, let's see.

It can't be the plot, which is a throwaway action parody of the X Files and countless other movies that would have been funny had it been executed remotely well. Unfortunately, Kagura Security is far less competent than just plain lucky, and the story relies on too many lucky coincidences to be effective. And the Phantom Cats are never fully developed as villains. Besides, the whole idea of hiring incompetent crackpots to secure a military base defeated my willful suspension of disbelief, and that was less than five minutes in.

Or is it the fan service? Well, having the entire cast designed with a somewhat super-deformed look really detracts from any sort of fan service potential - and far from being cute, the character designs on these girls just look wrong. Is it just me, or do they just look like strategically-padded eight year olds in tight bodysuits? I mean, if you're gonna do the whole "gratuitous fan service in order to tease the token male" thing, could you at least give them some curves? GAH.

But can it be the characters themselves? A resounding NO. Not only are they stupid and "archetypal" (read: cliched), but they bicker, fight, and generally abuse their lone male member (a gag that ceased to be funny about fifteen years ago). And of course there's the token cypher, Maya, who is supposed to be the tie between Kagura and their quarry, though she comes off more as a pastiche of Ayanami Rei with cat ears. Nothing to get excited about here. Granted, the worst of the lot is the president of Kagura Security, who has exactly the same amount of charm and grace as Ghost Sweeper Mikami (ie: none), but with a constant "wanton Lolita" undercurrent that was probably responsible for that vague disquiet I was talking about earlier. And the whole Maki-the-Southern-gunrunner thing. Is this supposed to be character development? If so, I think the scenarists got paid WAY more than they deserved.

What about the animation and music? Hmm, nothing really jumped out at me as being particularly special, though some action scenes were done relatively well. But the action overall isn't nearly as interesting as the characters, which is a very bad thing. The final sequence (a highly improbable race with a tac nuke lifted from the opening sequence of Ozanari Dungeon - oops, I spoiled it, darn) really ticked me off because it just looked BAD. The ending song was fine ("mambo", but not mambo, woo!), but it doesn't redeem a title whose only genuinely funny laughs come from the fake commercials between OAV episodes.

Perhaps this is an adventure best left for fans of the manga, but unless you really, really like the concept of cloning Ghost Sweeper Mikami several times and making up an entire team of mercenaries from the result, then by all means avoid this first installment of Geobreeders.

This cheap bit of insubstantial fluff makes Debutante Detective Corps look philosophically deep. And if it's trying to sell the manga, it definitely failed to hook this reviewer, which is a real accomplishment, consider how much I usually like cute-girl series. Carlos Ross

Recommended Audience: Not for young kids, as despite the cutesy character designs, this is certainly teens-and-up material. There's non-casual female nudity in here (primarily a Phantom Cat girl and a pointless nudie shot in the opening), and there's the girls' constant teasing of hapless Taba-kun. There is some violence, albeit bloodless. Lolicon fanboys might have a field day with this, but the rest of us would be better off watching something else.



Version(s) Viewed: VHS, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (3/3)
Geobreeders © 1998 Akihiro Ito / Shonen Gahosha / JVC
 
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