THEM Anime Reviews  
Home Reviews Extras Forums  
 
AKA: 幻魔大戦-神話前夜の章- (Genma Taisen -Shinwa Zenya no Shou-), Genma Wars: Prologue of the Myth, Ghenma Wars - Eve of Mythology
Genre: Dark fantasy adventure
Length: Television series, 13 episodes, 23 minutes each
Distributor: R1 DVD from Media Blasters
Content Rating: 16+ (violence, adult themes and situations, nudity)
Related Series: Harmagedon
Also Recommended: Cyborg 009, Gilgamesh, Kikaider
Notes: Based on the manga by Shotaro Ishinomori, and in turn, on a novel by Kazumasa Hirai.

An earlier chapter of this story was animated as the movie Harmagedon.
Rating:
 

Genma Wars

Synopsis

As far as I can gather, Genma (who doesn't look like the same Genma as the one in the movie) is the demonic leader of the Mah tribe, and wants to father a child with a member of the Hito tribe. (Ma = demon, Hito = people, *just* like in Japanese! Get it? How CLEVER!) And so Genma sires two children, Jin and Loof, who are separated and raised among their respective tribes. On the cusp of adulthood, each is forced to leave their homes, and fend for themselves in the brutal world of Genma Wars.

Review

I can hear Shotaro Ishinomori rolling in his grave all the way from here, and I'm two continental plates away from the poor guy.

As if the original, subpar film (released in the United States under the hopelessly corny title Harmagedon) weren't bad enough, the marketing geniuses at Ishimori Production and Japanese channel AT-X decided it would be cool to resurrect the 1960s-vintage manga as an anime *again*, except that they used an *entirely* different part of the manga to form the plot for this story.

Yeah, right. Good move, guys.

It only takes one episode to spot the biggest problem with Genma Wars: the animation. Or lack thereof. It's absolutely terrible. It stinks like month-old garbage. I could find more inspiring art and animation by swirling mildew on the bath tiles of a college dormitory, taking pictures of the mess, and slapping them into a slide projector. It's THAT bad.

Considering this series is from 2002, and the movie was released in 1983, I find it equally odd that the character designs in the series look more archaic and simplistic than the ones in the movie! Half the characters have hair like they're imitating the frontman from Prodigy ... I mean, what the hell? And the females ... hoo boy. They all look like space aliens, they're so damn weird-looking. More on this later.

The animation and acting are so distractingly bad that I haven't even begun to piece together what sort of plot is actually happening, except for the awful "psychic powers" bits and a couple of rape scenes (I'm not kidding, RAPE scenes! Rape scenes with SPACE ALIENS! ARRGH!) which look even more remarkably stupid because the bad animation and simplistic character designs have led you to think this was a kid's show.

Nope, it isn't.

Of course, now we get into the subject of the violence and rape and nudity (oh my!), which really ought to be the demesne of the field at the very bottom of this review page. Except that this release is edited (heavily, according to reputable sources). I'm not sure if the edits are the fault of the Japanese or the American licensors (my bet's on the Japanese, actually, though it wasn't edited on broadcast), but they're obvious and largely pointless, because the nudity and violence are transparently non-explicit (mostly because the animation style isn't *capable* of it). Genma Wars is a pretty lame series to begin with, but the addition of edits is just a bit too much.

Speaking of characters, I couldn't get a bead on what these characters were supposed to be, as they were acted so dully that I couldn't be brought to care. Granted, the names are so silly and ridiculous (Loof? Non? Nuu?!? Nuuuuuuuuu!!!!) that I couldn't keep them straight at all.

I had to struggle just to get through the preview episode I screened, so I'm not even sure whether the rest of the series is even worth my time. Granted, I'm not hearing a chorus of acclaim from the rest of anime fandom here, and based on a quick preview, I can safely say that this is one series I'm not going to be in any hurry to finish.

I have to wonder why Media Blasters licensed this, because it is one of the absolute worst titles I have ever seen get an American license. On top of that, even if it were remotely good (though I have already let it be well known that it isn't), its bizarre retro fetish puts it far into the realm of embarrassing and barely marketable. Most fans would avoid it based on the goofy character designs on the cover, and anyone trying to give it a chance solely to be fair (like, well, me) is going to get burned by the violent (and badly animated) content (and, oh yeah, SPACE ALIEN CHEESECAKE).

It's no surprise this remarkably awful version ofGenma Wars was only 13 episodes, because it should be no surprise that the only person who could have remotely told this story correctly and in context would have been Ishinomori himself.

Everyone else should have just left this story alone.

Unwatchable due to horrible animation, weird character design, bad plotting, and pointless edits.Carlos Ross

Recommended Audience: There is some violence and adult situations fairly early on, and nudity (albeit largely edited in the US release). Older teens and above (if anyone, really).



Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Partial (1/13)
Genma Wars © 2002 Ishimori Pro / Ghenma Wars - Eve of Mythology Production Committee