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[Battle Arena Toshinden box art]
AKA: 闘神伝 (Toushinden)
Genre: Martial arts action
Length: OAV series, 2 episodes, 60 minutes each
Distributor: VHS and R1 DVD from US Manga Corps / Central Park Media out of print.
Content Rating: PG-13 (violence)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Fatal Fury, Street Fighter II the Animated Movie

Battle Arena Toshinden


Battle Arena Toshinden is based on the "smash hit" one-on-one 3-D fighting game of that same name.

Okay, there's this guy named Eiji, see, and he's good at fighting with his sword. Anyway, every once in a while there's this really big and really secret martial arts tournament called the Battle Arena Toshinden (surprise). Last year, Eiji entered to win and hopefully encounter his long lost brother Sho. Unfortunately (?), the tournament never got to be finished due to the interference by an organization known only as "The Organization" (they really busted their brains coming up with _that_ one).

So now, one year later, a mysterious person begins to track down the warriors of the tournament, using their own special attacks against them. Thing is, this person looks a whole lot like Sho. It'll take the combined might of all the Arena fighters to find out the truth behind this new evil thingie...yeah.


Holy cow.

Whenever I make a statement that "so-and-so" is the worst anime I have ever seen, along comes something that blows it completely out of the water in terms of badness. First, it was Babel II. Then, it was Art of Fighting. Then, Final Fantasy Legend of the Crystals. And now, we have Battle Arena Toshinden. I'm almost afraid to say how bad this is, because I dread the possibility of somehow seeing something worse. Battle Arena Toshinden is so bad, it's not even funny anymore.

There isn't a single thing about this anime that's good, period. While some bad anime are at least fun to watch for their camp value, or at least to rag on, Battle Arena Toshinden isn't even fun to make fun of. Insulting this anime seems rather pointless, because it already does such a good job of doing it for you. From the cliched, ennui-inducing character design, to the crude art and animation, to the utter and complete lack of plot (even the crummy Art of Fighting had some semblance of a plot), to everything else, you'll be kicking yourself for paying the $1 it cost to rent this thing.

The plot is so inane you actually feel guilty for watching, as if this travesty were somehow your fault. Characters will appear for no reason in the beginning, get killed off, and reappear again at the end (oh, I'm sorry; did I just spoil that for you?) for no darned good reason at all. The anime seems to assume that you are already fully familiar with all the characters in this title before the opening credits roll; their idea of character development is to flash pictures of the different fighters with their names under them. AniPLOT comes up with plots that are more engaging, and believable, too. The martial arts sequences are even more pathetic than Art of Fighting; when everyone isn't firing off Dragon Ball-sized chi-blasts, they're frantically spinning around using techniques from the Anything-Goes Tasmanian School of Martial Arts ("Super Big Fighting Attack!" Whirrwhirrwhirrwhirrwhirr...).

To top off this exquisite viewing experience, BAT features (dare I say it) the worst dubbing I have heard to date. It's like the producers went to a lot of trouble to find the worst voice actors they could find, and rounded them up for this job. Ellis (the irritatingly cute knife thrower) has won the distinct honor of being the first anime character to make my personal list of "Anime Characters I Would Love To Inflict Twisted And Depraved Physical Violence Upon", thanks to her voice that would make even demons wince.

I wouldn't give this anime to my worst enemy.

I'm really, really stretching to give this one star, but I swore I wouldn't ever give anything less. >Sigh<Raphael See and Sam Yu

Recommended Audience: Not for anyone. Well, really, there is a shower shot of Sofia, and the dominatrix thingie of hers will probably raise some eyebrows. Also, there's a fair amount of blood in most of the "fight" scenes. That is, if you're not already running from the room screaming in horror. There is a "cut" version available that by definition must be better because there's just less crap to trudge through.

Version(s) Viewed: VHS, English dub
Review Status: Full (2/2)
Battle Arena Toshinden © 1996 Takara Co Ltd
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