Mezzo Forte: Director's Cut
The three-member freelance group known as the Danger Service Agency (DSA) is known in the underworld for performing dangerous work no willing else is willing to take. Deceptively innocent-looking Mikura, ingenious mechanic Harada, and hard-bitten ex-cop Kurokawa are asked to kidnap Momoi Momokichi, the owner of a tainted local ballclub. However, his daughter, Momoi Momomi has some tricks up her sleeve, and the DSA must use all the tools at their disposal just to survive.
Oh, yeah, and there's a couple of sex scenes in here. I should probably mention that.
"Watch yourself, I'm a bad ass!"
Let me tell you right now: I hated Kite, and I despised Yellow Star.
You would, therefore, think, that I would probably be the worst possible reviewer to attempt watching Mezzo Forte, since it offers more of the same, right?
Well, frankly, to say that would be a disservice to this show, because it's everything I hoped those other works would be.
The magic of Mezzo Forte is that it doesn't take itself terribly seriously. Rather than the heavy, soul-sucking angst of Kite and the relentless meanness of Yellow Star, Umetsu Yasuomi imbues Mezzo Forte with an unexpected lightness that essentially tells you to just enjoy the ride. Instead of giving us a bunch of unlikable, unrelatable, or hapless leads, we get to follow the amusingly skewed and outright cheerful members of the DSA. Beating the crap out of baseball yakuza. YEAH!
I like this show. Sure, it only took three times to get it right, but Umetsu seems to have hit upon a winning combination here. The action is over-the-top and super bloody, yes ... but with the lighter tone of the piece, it comes off as excusable and occasionally hilarious rather than unbelievable and stupid. The often self-deprecating humor is welcome - they know this is a show, let's just get on with the action. It helps immensely that the animation is really good, and while most characters are (again) super-ugly, it's not as unbearable as in previous pieces.
Also, gosh darn it, Mikura is cute. CUTE, I say. And, yes, quite the bad ass.
Now, of course, this being the uncut version, we've got a couple of sex scenes, which frankly are unnecessary and really detract from the flow of the film. While the sex itself is animated decently, the men's members seem a bit exaggerated in size -- it seems like they were trying to overcompensate a bit for reality. This is also where the voice-acting is at its worst (I screened the Japanese track for this review) but thankfully it's short enough and we can get on with the film (plus there's fairly good reasons for this).
You could completely edit these scenes out and have a perfectly coherent work.
Apart from that, the music was fairly unremarkable (but at least inoffensive), and the voice acting (apart from the aforementioned scenes) was about where it should be for this kind of show. A little over-the-top, but it's obvious the seiyuu are having a good time.
A little dangerous, a little naughty, and more than a little fun, Mezzo Forte is, well, freakin' awesome.
Action fans rejoice - this is a grade-A can of whoop-ass. The sex scenes are unnecessary, though, and feel like they belong in another film. — Carlos Ross
Recommended Audience: ADULTS ONLY. Two fairly explicit sex scenes, with some non-consensuality to go with it. There's a bit of a caveat, but to reveal them would be spoiling the show. Also, the violence is fairly graphic and over-the-top, though fairly unrealistic in that it's bloodier than it would be in real life.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (2/2)
Mezzo Forte: Director's Cut © 1998 Green Bunny
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