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WARNING: This anime is filled with blood, gore, violence, and nudity. Viewer’s discretion is advised
As someone who grew up when Blockbuster was still a thing, I will always have memories of seeing certain movies or shows on the shelf, and never renting them. I can remember a handful of the titles I never got around to seeing and should have, like the critically acclaimed Fantastic Planet. This was also during a time when I was not really big into violence and gore, and today’s review is about two titles that were stuck in my head that I never saw until recently, MD Geist I and II. If you look at the retro anime scene, a lot of people will point to MD Geist as being one of the worst anime of all time. This notorious schlock title was brought over by the now-defunct Central Park Media, and was directed by Koichi Ohata, the same individual who directed the utterly boring Cybernetics Guardian (which I have reviewed) and the even more notorious Genocyber. With a title that is well known for being the face of awful 90s anime OVAs, this must be pretty horrible. In fact, if you read some articles written up by Justin Sevakis, there is a really interesting history behind it being localized, and how the individuals of Central Park Media felt about the overall project. So, is this as bad as people made it out to be? Well, let’s find out.
The two OVAs are set in this Mad Max/Fist of the North Star/any generic post-apocalyptic world that was destroyed by two different armies. The OVAs star a super-soldier named Geist, a specially-made super-human, one of many that were all apparently wiped out in the past. The plot basically has Geist dealing with gangs, one of the armies, and then in the second OVA, an army of flesh-eating robots and another super-soldier.
Let’s start with the bad. Why? Because there is so much wrong with this set of shorts that makes it so hilarious. Seriously, there is basically no plot, and what plot is makes no sense. What makes the power armor powerful, if all it takes is one strong spear toss to take someone wearing it down? Why did the humans make a last resort plan with flesh-eating robots that will even attack the creators? Why is there another super-soldier when it was said in the first MD Geist that Geist was the last one? Why is there a cyborg? How did a kid near the end of the second OVA get struck by the spear, when he had to have been at least two feet or more off the ground to get struck by it? What does the military gain from double-crossing the second super-soldier when he is trying to get rid of the flesh-eating robots? I could go on and on about more of these plot elements that make no sense, but that would end up taking over the entire review. There are so many story elements that make no sense, that it really does show that the director had no idea what he was doing. He was basically on the level of Hollywood/YouTube not knowing how Fair Use or copyright works on YouTube (remember to fight for fair use and make sure copyright isn’t abused #WTFU), and that isn’t a positive thing at all. It becomes downright hilarious, since you are just waiting to see how bad the plot gets, and it just gets worse and even more hysterical. It helps too that the voice acting is so hammy and horrible, that you can’t help, but listen to how badly the English dub was directed. Some of the action seen throughout the two OVAs is entertaining, but it is also hilarious to watch for all the stilted animations, obvious post-edit changes, and downright sloppy execution of animation as a whole. Heck, the version we got with the “director’s cut” was apparently even better than the original version that had even more mistakes and missing story elements.
As for the infamous ultra-violence seen in this anime, MD Geist is much more violent than Cybernetics Guardian, but I have still seen worse in terms of gory anime, like Genocyber and Violence Jack. Geist’s violence is definitely more graphic than most, but due to the animation, it didn’t make me squirm enough to have an effect. The characters are not memorable at all. They are just archetypes of what was popular during that time in anime. I mean, this was anime during the late 80s and early 90s; you would have to scavenge through the rampant misogyny and violence to find likable and endearing male and female characters. The music is also just cheesy, and so bad that it’s good to listen to.
Out of this entire trainwreck that was apparently the flagship title for Central Park Media, is there something good to be had here? Why, yes. I mean, if I haven’t made it clear, this is a glorious trainwreck to behold, with an even more interesting history behind the production of said series of OVAs. Sure, it can be a tad boring at times, but once those bits of inept insanity come through, it will get a laugh out of you, or your money back. It’s just funny that this came out in a time where Japan was willing to put anything out on a VHS or DVD, not caring if it was well made or not.
MD Geist I & II are easily some of the worst anime you will ever see. Its entire plot makes no sense, the animation is garbage, the characters are stale like moldy bread, and it’s just an insane trainwreck with a director who had no idea what he was doing at that time. Still, it’s a really good choice for a “so bad it’s good” or bad movie night. It has enough crazy to be enjoyable on an ironic/guilty pleasure level. You can find the collector’s edition DVD for about $15, but I wouldn’t pay more than that for it. If you can find it for cheaper, I would recommend picking up this horrific pile of garbage, if you are one of those kinds of individuals. Or, if you want to watch it online to not feel guilty, a site called tubitv.com has both OVAs up. (By the way that wasn’t a paid promo. I would have said it was at the top of this article). While it is a bad anime, I have seen so much worse in terms of both old and new anime. So, how about we look at something crazy, but really good? Yes, next time, we will be taking a look at The Triplets of Belleville. Thanks for reading and see you next time!