It's a movie about a brainless doctor finding some key to some ancient civilization (whose name nobody can even pronounce properly). 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 absolute worst anime I've ever seen? Well....I wouldn't quite go that far. But it's definitely a contender.
Just like you'd find in a 50's B-Movie, we get randomly placed imagery, the complete failure to follow the "show, don't tell" principle, characters with utterly emotionless voices and no ability to make eye contact with one another, and, of course, an uncanny ability to make whoever's unfortunate to watch this thing gawk in incredulous silence (she sits there as she thinks "ghost nuns....are...using rosarios as lassos"). Like a lot of terrible anime from this era, we get unecessary (but at least consensual!) and very poorly animated sex scenes, digital panning by the dozen, and scenes in which the entire color scheme suddenly changes mid shot, not to mention that there's multiple scenes where you can see a filter being slid across the screen. To top it all, the pseudo-religious-archeological crap in this movie is enough to make Evangelion look straightforward, and we get a cinematic disaster that not even the finest team of Japan's best animators could have saved. 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's almost funny. There is, in truth, a lot of comedy 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 of these lines are delivered in a tone that makes the people sound like they're reading the ingredients off a cereal box, but bizarrely, so much of this is set to a backdrop of...endless, embarrassingly prominent sexual moaning. Yeahhhhh.....
The whole thing is crap, but aside from the battles, which are just boring, 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 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 sight of the cover, and kudos to you for being smart enough to do that. It is sometimes smart to judge by outward appearances, which only goes to show that no proverb applies in every single case. 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 don't buy 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. — Nicoletta Christina Browne
Recommended Audience: The stupidity alone is enough to require a warning....but there's also nudity, implicit sex, and violence, and so it's totally inappropriate for children. But then again, it's so badly animated that they probably won't even figure out what's going on....
Version(s) Viewed: VHS (English Dubbed)
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Psychic Wars © 1991 Toei Animation
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