Meltylancer is a Galaxy Police Organization unit comprised by six girls, all of which who have their own special skills and talents. A year has passed since the unit's disbandment, but a new threat leaves the GPO no choice but to recall all the members. With a new commander and a new aide, Meltylancer is deployed once again.
Melty Lancer is an action comedy ova based off of a Konami game. You may know them as that company that seems bent on losing any good will it might have ever had with pachinko machines based off of their franchises and whatever the hell Metal Gear Survive was. The studio they got to work on this was Gonzo. The same studio that gave us Final Fantasy Unlimited, Solty Rei & Sunabouzu among others. How does this hold up compared to their other works? I'm guessing better than Sunabouzu, not that that would be hard.
We open with a bunch of old, politician looking types approaching
a prisoner. They offer him a deal. He leads a group they're reuniting and they'll give him his freedom. They don't even care what happens with them. We cut to his aide travelling about to find the members of the titular Melty Lancer. Fortunately, they gather just in time to stop an attacking giant robot. Unfortunately, they seem to be pawns in some kind of political game, probably connected to the case Sylvie's been working on. Will they be able to survive and conquer this perilous situation?
Honestly, the big issue is just that the comedy is so generic. We're talking jokes that are super obvious and overdone like the old chestnut about men being a bunch of mindless apes who will lose it at the sight of a pretty girl. Because I know when I'm supposed to be guarding something I'll just give a pretty girl access immediately. They also have the old jape about the powerful looking machine that has a really glaring weak point but it's okay because they lampshade it. The series just never makes use of surprise or has anything uproariously funny. The best it can manage is being kind of, sort of funny. And that's a big issue when you're looking at a comedy. What's supposed to make up for it? The strength of the plot? Because, I have to say, this isn't a complex, compelling plot line.
That being said, there's nothing in the series that's bad. The comedy might be underwhelming but it's not cringey or awful. The same is true for the script. It's not particularly interesting, but it's not bad either.
The cast is pretty standard. They're bland comedic characters. And a comedy having characters who are kind of one-note can work. We saw that last week with Galaxy Angel 2. The difference betwixt that series and this one is that that series had characters who had strong comedic interactions. That series had characters who were enjoyable to watch get into shenanigans. Whereas this one has characters who are just dull.
The character designs aren't bad. They aren't the most visually interesting group out there but they're fine. The backgrounds and action sequences are perfectly acceptable. Again, not the most interesting you'll see but they work.
They did get some strong actors for this. Ogata Megumi, Tange Sakura, Yukana, Ikezawa Haruna & Iwao Junko are all good actresses. (No, this isn't a Cardcaptor Sakura reunion.) And their performances in this are good, not their best but good. The biggest issue is with Iwata Mitsuo. He has two modes in this series, mumbling and shouting. Maybe the director thought that would be a good quirk for his character but it's not. It's kind of obnoxious. Amano Masamichi's soundtrack is decent enough. I won't be listening to it on its own or anything but it was fine.
There are some moments that come across as a bit les-yay, but those are very few and nothing comes of them.
Ultimately, Melty Lancer is a below average series. But hey, that still makes it better than a lot of Konami's recent output. It's not bad but it's far from good. My final rating is a 4/10. Next week is my 400th anime review (obviously not counting the manga, cartoon, comic or live action ones) and you all know what that means. That's right, time for some Star Power make up.
Okay, to start, I'm not a fan of studio Gonzo. With the exception of their work on Peacemaker Kurogane and Real Bout High School, they've failed to keep my interest with lackadasical stories, sub-par animation, and boring, architypical character traits. For me, most of Gonzo's production didn't start to get on my nerves until Last Exile and Gankutsuo, a poor take on the novel The Count of Monte Cristo. Before those came to ruin my life, I endured another smattering of Gonzo-based mediocrity; Melty Lancer the Animation.
Now this isn't a really bad OVA series, in fact it's a bit enjoyable as a smash 'n
dash action show that doesn't have to take itself too seriously. One of the problems being is Melty Lancer is probably one the most generic anime titles you could ever watch. Almost every scene is virtually ripped and pasted from other realms of sci-fi action anime in a slightly run down fashion. Nothing is even vaguely original. I'll start with the cast. Every character in this show is comprised of every anime cliche from 1989 to 2000. These are bio quotes of the six female leads from the Bandai licensed disc jackets:
Silvia: The gung ho girl who fights for justice
Nany: The sorceress from another dimension
Angela: The beast girl born for battle
Jun: Powerful girl in a power suit
Melvina: The Super Commander
Sakuya: A saintly, soft-spoken girl
Now, I'll translate these for your convenience
Silvia: The main girl with the gun
Nany: Kawaii moe magical girl with transformation
Angela: It's a cat-girl in an anime....What a shock.
Jun: Typical loudmouth, battling, tomboy girl
Melvina: These girls would be dead without her
Sakuya: A C-level Belldandy clone
That might seem a bit harsh, but the very second a line of dialouge emits from these girls, it's hard to take them seriously as personalities that will develop. I let this slide, thinking in the back of my mind that this is a parody of an action show, so if you put aside the lack of substance in any of the Melty Lancer team (maybe Melvina being the one with the most depth), they're a pretty fun group and play their run-of-the-mill traits decently enough to be entertaining. Heck, these girls are more entertaining than the cardboard cut-outs in Burst Angel.
Outside of the six girls, the plot and remaining pretty much a starter set of action anime cast cliches leftover from a failed Dirty Pair series that never got off the ground, although, I did get a kick out of the sub-villianess, Vanessa and the Vanessars. She and crew put me in the mind of Team Rocket.
Character designs and backgrounds look nicely detailed and some of the animation is pretty smooth, but some of the pre-year 2000 era computer animation is kind of bad and visually distracting. I have horrible eyes, but there are certain points where there's so many effects going on at once, it could give you a headache. Characters pass out and wake up out of conscience with a bizarre fading effect that almost gives me vertigo. The english dub isn't bad, in fact, it's a pretty good Ocean Group offering. Soundtrack is a bit dated with techno J-rock tunes, but gets the job done.
IN CLOSING: Melty Lancer is an above average offering from a studio that doesn't impress me. There isn't enough promise in it to get really mad at anything it didn't do or try to do. The goofy CG animation is probably the only thing that really bugged me about this anime. If you are in the mood for a nonsense, mildly absurd action title, or is getting someone else started in anime, Melty Lancer is a nice straight down the middle title that does nothing you haven't already seen.
OVERALL SCORE: 6 out of 10
PROS: Nice English dub, decent action scenes, the Vanessars
CONS: Unoriginal in every aspect, crappy CGI effects, core story means nothing