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AKA: 蒼い世界の中心で (World War Blue)
Genre: Videogame company reference fantasy.
Length: OAV series, 3 episodes, 24 minutes each
Distributor: Currently available streaming on crunchyroll.
Content Rating: PG-13 (Violence, deaths, fanservice, "mature" situations.)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Ixion Saga DT, Excel Saga, playing the games the show is referencing instead.
Notes: Adapted from the manga World War Blue by Anastasia Shestakova with art by Crimson, licensed for the US market by Seven Seas Entertainment.
Rating: One Star

Aoi Sekai no Chushin de

Synopsis

The war over the land of Consume have been fought by the Segua Kingdom and the Ninteldo Empire for years, and Segua seems to be on the losing side. Gear, a young man whose father once lead the armies of Segua, joins the Segua army after losing his best friend Til.


Review

So... yes, this is an anime based around the big videogame war fought between Sega and Nintendo. I know... some of you might have tried denying this fervently after seeing the almost hilarious lack of subtlety in these references, but it's true. I really feel for you, and... I am sorry. Really, I am.

The really painful part of all this is that Aoi Sekai is honestly trying to play of all this ludicrousness as serious drama. Gear (aka Sonic) loses his brother Til (Tails) in a scuffle against the Ninteldo soldiers, and tearfully bids him farewell, promising "never to run away anymore". He's accompanied by Nel (Nei from Phantasy Star), and as he promises, he heads to the Segua capital where he does indeed join said army. There, he meets Ramses (Columns) and gets into a scuffle with Opal (Opa Opa from Fantasy Zone), who is a bit of a tsundere about Gear joining the army and challenges him to a showoff -- or was that faceoff? -- to decide whether he gets to stay. (Despite this not really being her decision to make, as she is not the commanding officer of the Segua army. That would be Ramses.)

Now, I'm going to assume I don't have to tell any of you who Sonic the Hedgehog is. Or Mario. Or Luigi. Or Nei. And I'm also going to assume you're familiar with the Tetris games, because you don't necessarily have to know these characters to realize how little sense this show makes, but it helps.

See, in this world, Gear is a blue-haired human dolt whose greatest ability is his speed. Nei... er, I mean Nel... just kind of tags along, and as for Opal, I would very much like to know what kind of thought processes lead to her transformation from a small flying craft with cartoonishly feathery wings into the most stereotypical fantasy elfin babe ever. Or Tejirof turning into a devilishly handsome young man with a perverted streak a mile wide.

This is the sort of thing that makes up the main payload of Aoi Sekai; tired references. The whole setup of the war between Segua and Ninteldo is obviously a reference to the videogame war between Sega and Nintendo, with a short throwout about the Atarika nation and the impending videogame crash. For what it's worth to any of you, the show is seen from the view of Sega, but I'm not sure it'll go over well with fans of either videogame company. Besides, seeing as Sega eventually threw in the towel on the whole hardware battlegrounds, does that mean that, if this show actually gets sequels, that Gear would eventually become a mercenary, fighting for whomever he deems worthy along with the whole damn country? (Meaning with or against the new upstart nations of Soeny and Macrosoft or something like that?)

Aoi Sekai is just a short OAV, but that's no excuse for it to be this utterly terrible. Granted, it's also not even close to being a complete story. The OAV is basically about the introduction of the characters, their training and the assault on enemy ground in an attempt to locate and rescue General Alex (Kidd. And it's actually kind of funny imagining him running up to the enemy forces trying to defeat them with a game of rock/paper/scissors, only to be beaned across the head with a club and thrown in jail.) To help them with this rescue mission, they enlist the aid of Tejirof (Tetris), a collossal pervert whose personality can be summed up with sign language.

Seriously. That's Tejirof -- and... well, basically the whole show in a nutshell. He enters the Segua forces main office fondling Ramses breast and spends his entire screentime speaking the language of sexual innuendo... fluently, which makes it all the more painful the second you realize his job is explaining things and training Gear in the fine arts of becoming a "Killer", which is basically the elite warrior of the land, gifted with a special power of absorbing other fighters.

Aoi Sekai might have worked as a comedy, seeing as the references in it are pure hilarity with every ridiculous reveal. But, as I mentioned, that hope can and will be dashed once you realize Aoi Sekai plays out its story with a completely straight face, driven by its painfully derivative dialogue and generic characters. Gear, our titular hero, is as typical as somewhat naive go-getters are, while Opal throws her tough-girl weight around until she's in over her head and needs some savin' from rape, defilement and peeing herself by the menfolks on the Segua team. (Because go feminism.) Seeing Mario as a hulking warrior knight among the Ninteldo elite is a bit amusing, I'll admit, but his role, alongside most of the Ninteldo killer teams, is minor at best and merely referential at worst. At least he rides a kickin' dinosaur, which is supposed to be Yoshi, I guess.

The show ends with Gear having to absorb his father's powers and then going completely nutso inside the enemy base, and it's exactly as goddamned ridiculous as it sounds. Our hero absorbs his father's powers and then murders everyone on the base. Yes, it's a war, but the guy doesn't even offer anyone the chance to run away or surrender. I guess mercy is an outdated concept among heroes these days. More egregiously so seeing as the supposed villains, the Ninteldo "Killers", didn't really come across as villains as much as merely "the other side of the debate".

I can only assume Aoi Sekai no Chuushin de was meant to be a pilot OAV for a longer series, but I can and will not under any circumstance recommend this wretched nonsense to anyone, nor do I ever want to see it get a sequel. It's just dumbfounding in the extreme how this nightmarish conglomeration of shallow characterisation and lackluster plot progression could ever have been greenlighted. Did someone actually find this nonsense charming?!

Wretchedly childish, yet ambiguously stupid. It's another board in that infamous bottom lid of the barrel.Stig Høgset

Recommended Audience: Tejirof says hello with a breast grab, Opal has some pretty typical fantasies about how Gear will ravish her upon winning their challenge/bet and the few enemies that are actually fought in this game are all for raping and torturing Opal just to show us how evil they are. Opals clothes also gets shredded or torn off every now and then, but curiously enough, there is no detailed nudity in this show. Violence is also mostly bloodless, though Gear's exclamation about murdering just about everyone in the base at the end of the third episode is just what it sounds like.



Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream from Crunchyroll, Japanese with English subtitles.
Review Status: Full (3/3)
Aoi Sekai no Chushin de © 2012 5th avenue, S-Wood, Team Crimson.
 
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