World peace never lasts. The nations of Earth face a threat as old as war itself: organized crime. The sinister Black Orchid group has amassed enough wealth to build secret bases with high-tech weaponry, and they now wish to take the world for themselves. To combat this threat, military officers from around the world have been recruited into the elite Storm Force. (Ooh.)
Storm Force 9 has been given a mission: the operation to unmask Black Orchid's true identity. The codename: FireStorm. (Ooh.)
And so Jason, Christi, and I fired this thing up. The credits rolled by, as random mecha launched from each other like high-tech Russian dolls, and we recognized the name of Gerry Anderson ("Thunderbirds are go!"). We figured, if the tribute Team America World Police was entertaining, then this quasi-spinoff couldn't be that bad, right?
For Gerry Anderson, it seems that, in this case, lightning has not struck twice.
We sat there watching badly rendered 3D CG mecha fly across the screen for almost ten minutes. It seemed as if the creators were trying to build the suspense, because we were unable to see the faces of any of the characters. And then, we finally saw why they took so long to show off their 2D animation skills.
Imagine, if you will, the somewhat blocky character designs from the Jonny Quest TV series. Give them your best "anime-style" makeover. Ratchet down the animation frame rate to, oh, maybe 7-8 frames per second. That theoretical product would be a tad better than what is actually presented to us in FireStorm. I had thought that Genma Wars TV was the worst animated show in modern anime history, but now I've been proven completely wrong by just the first episode of this show.
To show you the level of sophistication of the writing in this series, I submit to you a play-by-play of an action scene. A redshirt flying on of the good guys' seriously clunky-looking mecha (a "Thunderbolt" ... how clever) is trying to escape the drastically more advanced airframe of the Black Orchid pilot. Suddenly, he's warned, "He's on top of you!" And, well, the Black Orchid jet is LITERALLY on top of the Thunderbolt, inverted, and the enemy (who we know is evil because all that is visible through his helmet is a sinister red eye) proceeds to kill the redshirt with ... a pistol.
And this is par for the course. Main characters grandstand and act like drama queens in the middle of dogfights, especially the token Japanese girl (naturally, the main character), the irritatingly "perfect" Nagisa Kisaragi, who has apparently just graduated from her previous gig as a character on Fanfiction.net. If this is supposed to be "the great hope for mankind", then we're doomed. If anything, this series needs to be cited for sucking like Van Buren Street after midnight.
While I am normally leery of hanging a series out to dry after just one episode of twenty-six, the synopses given by Enoki Films seem to imply that the first episode of FireStorm was no fluke.
Thankfully, Madhouse has since redeemed itself with other, more worthy work. However, I seriously recommend locating the masters for this series and cleansing them.
With a fire storm.
One half this, one half that ... and the ammonia pellet makes one, bright, hot star! KABOOM! — Carlos Ross
Recommended Audience: The violence makes this unsuitable for children. The plot makes this unsuitable for adults.
Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Partial (1/26)
Firestorm © 2003 Firestorm Production Committee
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