It's a movie about a brainless doctor finding some key to some ancient civilization (whose name nobody can even pronounce properly). Go watch Indiana Jones if you actually want to see a film about archeology. All that you really need to know is that this is the Japanese equivalent of watching an Ed Wood movie, and that you have just been warned.
Now where to start......
Is Psychic Wars the very worst anime I have ever seen? Well....I wouldn't quite go to that absolute. But it's definitely a strong contender.
Like a 50's B-Movie, this piece of drivel displays illogically placed imagery, the complete failure to follow the "show, don't tell" principle that typically leads to successful filmmaking, an utter lack of emotion in the characters' voices and a corresponding avoidance of eye contact between any two people, and, above all else, an uncanny ability to incite expressions of incredulity (for example, "Nuns...are...using rosaries as lassos") in the viewer. And, like many poor-quality anime from the days of old, it gives us unnecessary sex scenes (consensual, but unnecessary all the same), digital panning in droves, and scenes in which the entire color scheme suddenly turns from the already dull colors to sheets of grey, not to mention a point in which a filter is clearly slid from left to right. With pseudo-religious crap that makes Evangelion look straightforward to top it all off, we have a cinematic disaster that not even a carefully selected team of Japan's best animators could have salvaged from its own fodder. Heck, they probably would have all just laughed their butts off... and Hayao Miyazaki and Mamoru Oshii would finally have had something to agree upon.
So what value, if any, is there to this garbage? Simple: it really is so bad, so hideous to look at, and so stupid that it becomes funny. There is, in truth, a wealth of comic value in listening to lines such as "He KO'd me in the first round. He punched hard", "the Gammon period was pretty primitive" (cue Archeologist who sounds like a voice-over from an educational PC game for kids, but at least those voice-overs usually pronounced the technical language correctly), and "the monsters take our woman and eat them for food" all delivered in tones that could be those of someone reading the ingredients off a cereal box and set to a backdrop of endless, embarrassingly prominent sexual moaning.
And as to that last line of dialogue, there are far worse things that those monsters could be doing to your women. Count yourselves lucky.
The whole thing is crap, but aside from the battles, whose complete lack of coordination is painful to watch, it's all hilarious crap. After all, who isn't going to get a kick out of seeing an idiot doctor fight a monster that is, in all seriousness, a vampire armadillo? Out of seeing a director who has not the slightest sense of pauses, transitions, or pacing steal plot devices from The Terminator and Alien (the facehuggers? You thought we wouldn't catch that?) and still fail at making anything remotely watcheable? And the title? Perhaps they were going to say something about telekenesis in the sequel, but someone was smart enough to stop this train-wreck while she could. After all, I'm certain that it wouldn't be nearly as funny the second time around....
I could go on, but the point is this: Psychic Wars is bad. It is very, very bad. Looking for good anime? You probably turned back at the mere sight of the cover, and I tip my hat to you for being smart enough to do so. Indeed, it is sometimes smart to judge by outward appearances, which only goes to show that no proverb is entirely unbreakable. On the other hand, if you are looking for melodramatic drivel to bash, MST3K-style, this will be the perfect match for you.
But first, I will ask one and only one thing of you. For the love of God: please, please rent it.
I'd give this a 1.25 just for the laughs I got, but there's really no denying that it's a mess. — Nick Browne
Recommended Audience: If the stupidity does not turn one off, the nudity, implicit sex, and violence will make this inappropriate for children. But it's all just so terribly animated that they probably won't even notice what's happening, anyway.
Version(s) Viewed: VHS (English Dubbed)
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Psychic Wars © 1991 Toei Animation
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