In the distant future, mankind has colonized other planets in the universe. While many planets lived in peace, the planet Jerra has been ravaged by decades of war. Geist is an M.D.S. (Most Dangerous Soldier), an enhanced human with unsurpassed combat capabilities and an insatiable lust for battle. Because of his uncontrollable nature, Geist is cryogenically frozen and locked in a satellite. Several years later, the satellite crashes and Geist wakes up from his sleep to engage in another war. This time, to help the army stop the planet's central computer from activating a doomsday device that will lead to total annihilation of all life on Jerra.
You've just had your lunch money stolen for the eighth time this week, your Dad's out on a 'business trip', and Rage Against the Machine isn't around for you to pour your angst into today. Welcome to the 90's, jerk face. Sit your ass down on that water-bed, slide this burnt VHS you got from Gerald on into the TV, and experience a journey into the most fantastic slice of storytelling gold since Tolkien, Lucas, and Henson got together to create Lord of The Star Labyrinth. Oh, they didn’t? TOO BAD MD GEIST TIME.
1. THE STORY: I’m not going to ruin anything for you, but
Geist shrugs narrative structure of yesteryear because, well, it is too bad ass for that. Bam! People are dying! Bam! Welcome to Fist of the North Star minus ATATATATATA. Bam! Geist is naked, and you know he’s the hero, because he’s the hardest dude around.
See, MD Geist achieves something most anime can’t even dream of. Exposition is for the weak. You see Geist, and you know Geist. Appearances are what makes this, and you don’t need some family history to let you know anything, okay? The story is like an eight-course-meal when you only ordered seven. It’s so much, and all you can do is accept it, because, secretly, you wanted it all along. It comes naturally, and isn’t hard to stomach in the least.
Otherwise, Geist presents several glimpses at dystopian post-apocalypse society, questions the superficiality that the movie indoctrinates us to (OH, MIND BLOWN, RIGHT?), and even constructs masculinity in such a way that has us wondering at the end if our drive for power—which is greater than sex—will ultimately destroy us. Amazing. Potent. Far beyond what any moe~moe or typical shonen could hope to ever achieve.
2. THE ART: Not a single frame is wasted in the rich portrayal of Geist’s Most Dangerousocity. You see, back in the nineties/late eighties, there was this idea that people should look, well, like people, and tech should look like tech, and everything should be this detailed, amazing experience. This gave life a meaning, because you could take a break from the dreary ad nauseam of reality and escape into this believable, hyper-realistic, super-awesome world of beauty, blood, and intrigue. The designs for the robots, suits, weapons, and characters are so top-notch, well done, and just fun to see. It’s all like imagination made real, like what anime should aspire to. Nothing is left to imagination—Fire is fire. Blood is blood. Geist is a man. Bishoujos go home. As I mentioned earlier, the art even mirrors an ever present question throughout the plot: Nothing is what it seems. The Charismatic Hero? He’s actually Geist. The Scandalous Babe? She’s actually a weak woman, wishing only to be loved. See, characters are far more complex than what’s exterior, and the way that looks play into the plot mirrors the murkier aspects of society.
3. SOUND: Despite the dub of this being made of gold, I’m going to tell you to watch this subbed. Why? Norio Wakamoto is Geist, the most powerful man in the universe. If you don’t know Norio, well, he’s the most powerful seiyuu in the universe. But, hey, if that isn’t enough, this OVA also features the most inspiration, well-made tune in anything, ever. If you haven’t heard Merciless Soldier, time for infinite Youtube. Because you’ll want to listen to it more than once. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised that Norio got his voice from being inspired by that song.
4. CHARACTER: Geist is the Most Dangerous. I don’t need to say anything else. Honestly, if Char Aznable grew a pair and became the most dynamic wastelander with a purpose, you’d have a weakling version of Geist, who is, essentially, this dual character of Christ and the Antichrist. Reborn in flames, making this journey, purging the sinful… Think about it, man.
5. ENJOYMENT: There is not a single second of this that isn’t amazing. At one point, Geist guns out this robot’s window and stabs the pilot in the face. WITH A GRENADE ATTATCHED TO THE KNIFE! Hardcore doesn’t begin to describe what’s going on here. Every movement is so quick, so amazing, and so unlike the last. Geist’s journey becomes our own, and it’s an amazing adventure, allowing escape from the corrupt politics of the early 90’s and into a world where those same politics are shut up by a jack-knife to the face.
6. OVERALL: MD Geist is one of those rare masterpieces that manages to humbly whirl its fingers, sleep through class, and make a solid three-point-five GPA. Geist is a tearful journey through society itself, following what represents unlimited choices, ending in a way that’s never pandering to fans, never giving up on its true intent. If you’re tired of the tedium that is anime nowadays, or, heck, life nowadays, give MD Geist a go. It’ll flip turn upside down your entire forty minutes of life spent worshipping it with your eyeballs. At the least, it’ll transport you to those days of yore, where everything was simpler, strong men fought stronger men, and life was meant to be enjoyed.
Wow, I'm honestly surprised that this is the first review for M.D. Geist on MAL.
Particularly surprised considering how old, "well-known" and (in)famous this particular one-episode OVA is. M.D. Geist is really not any better or worse than most of the subpar anime series that was released to the U.S. from the early 80's to the early 90's. In some circles, it's particularly infamous but not so much for what it actually is or how bad the story is, but more on that later.
Story: 5 (Medicore)
The story begins in the far future, where humanity has colonized space. One of the planets, Jerra, lost contact with Earth
and civil war broke out between a grassroots rebellion and the ruling planetary government. To counteract the rebels, the government created the M.D.S., or Most Dangerous Soldier (yeah, seriously) program, which would create bio-engineered soldiers capable of taking on any mission. The first fully capable soldier from the program, M.D. Geist, was so unstable he was locked away on an orbiting satellite until it crashed into the planet's surface, unleashing Geist upon a divided and war-torn world.
Of course it's easy to make any work sound cliche through a basic, boiled-down premise, but with M.D. Geist, that's all you get. A "twist" thrown in is that Geist is more interested in chaos than actually helping either side establish order, but as any M. Night Shaymalan fan can tell you simple twists wear thin real quick. A legitimate twist does come at the very end, way too late to salvage anything. The story is certainly not going to carry this OVA at best and at worst, is just downright bizarre and disturbing.
Art: 5 (Medicore
And neither is the art style, which as far as I can tell is completely unremarkable compared to contemporary works. There's not much to say about this category, so we're moving on.
Sound: 2 (Dreadful)
The sound or music quality isn't really all that spectacular, but neither is it really all that bad. What really brings it down, however, is the voice acting, which is a nice segue into....
Character: 3 (poor)
Actually, the characterization of Geist isn't all that bad. His voice actor (who is otherwise most notable for providing the voice for background or minor support characters, and sadly passed away a number of years ago) remarkably carries off a tone not unlike Vin Diesel's performance in Pitch Black, perhaps all the more appropriate given just who Geist is. Geist is a very one-dimensional character, but when all you crave is wanton chaos and destruction, it's easy to let that one slip by. However, this all at best makes him a rather average if not interesting character, and the rest of the cast and voice acting is simply dreadful. At the top of the list is Freya, whose character model is actually pretty damn sexy for what we're dealing with, but is a completely flat, unmotivated character whose actions are performed solely to remind the audience that she's not a zombie, and worst of all, her voice actor is just atrocious. Seriously - I had to listen to someone drag their fingernails across a chalkboard as therapy after listening to her grating work. Though at least she probably still had a lot of employment in the past eight years or so - going to places like Abu Grahib and Guantanamo Bay where her voice no doubt provided valuable interrogation work. Geist and Freya are the only two characters the OVA wants you to care about (but not the audience) which probably is the reason why all the other characters to appear are either mind numbingly bland or have bizarre character designs whose only purpose is to remind us of how stupid 80's fashion accessories were. Oh yeah, they also have another purpose - to die horribly.
Enjoyment: 5 (Medicore)
Really, the massive amounts of gore being splattered against everything is probably actually the most enjoyable aspect, and perhaps the only reason why this OVA is worth watching. Otherwise, this work just comes off as bland as everything else in it.
Which gives M.D. Geist an overall score of:
Yup, it's...decent. Just...decent. Come for the blood and guts (you'll probably find it so over the top you just can't help but enjoy it) and admittedly pretty good action scenes, stay for the...well there's nothing to stay for.
Fun facts: This was, bizarrely enough, the favorite anime of John O'Donnell, who happened to be none other than the CEO of Central Park Media, one of the largest distributors of anime in the English speaking world during the 80s and into the early 90s. So enthralled was he with M.D. Geist that he made Geist a part of the logo of CPM at the beginning of every anime intro that was licensed by them and even bought a rare vinyl record of the OST. And in the ultimate show of love for a particular anime, he and CPM funded and commissioned entirely on their own a sequel, M.D. Geist II: Death Force, of which you can read about in my review of that work. More information on both the sequel and John O'Donnell's bizarre love affair can be found at Justin Sakis' "Buried Garbage" column at Anime News Network.
MD Geist: The Most Dangerous Geist was an atrocious one episode OVA series from the mid-80s and tries to be super MANLY without having anything interesting or even all that much bad-ass-ness contained in the show. It feels like a Chinese bootleg of Fist of the North Star and saying that is truly an insult to Kenshiro's unrivalled manliness! If you look at the photo for Genocyber, it proudly displays that it was directed by the same guy who directed this piece of trash. Why in the holy mother of hell did they believe this was a selling point was way beyond me. If I
had worked on this travesty, I would've wanted to track down every known copy in existence and destroy it with a sledgehammer.
MD Geist tries so hard... SO hard to be an edgy rule of cool bad-ass show set in a post-apocalyptic future in which the populace fights just to remain alive that it's almost comedic in that sense. The entire show reeks of trying way too hard and as a result, all of the characters feel so flat and one dimensional. The main character who is simply known as 'Geist' is an insane war hungry monster who travels from place to place looking for a place of war and death. The character is both dull in personality and appearance but also a dickhead too. How do I know this? At the very end of the episode, he activates something that is known as the "Death Force" in which thousands of evil, killer robots are unleashed onto humanity resulting in a giant genocide which rivals the likes of Genocyber. Jesus...did this director seriously have a boner for Genocide? We also learn that the main reason why this absolute jack-off activated this thing was that he wanted to continue the fight and have some worthwhile opponents to fight 'cause to hell with all the women and children who were brutally massacred! As long as Geist can fight that's ALL that matters. Man, right? Fuck this guy.
Even if we view this character from an asshole perspective Geist is still not endearing in the slightest. He fails at being a bad-ass in the same vein as someone like Duke Nukem. He has no charisma, no character; he doesn't have the insanely over-the-top fighting style of Kenshiro nor does his character have any psychological aspects like Guts. He is a thirteen-year-old's interpretation of what a bad-ass guy should be and it fails horribly. The character has no motivation aside from finding new people to kill so the narrative has no narrative investment or engagement. Hell, the plot is incredibly inconsistent anyways featuring characters with no purpose and the tone is so cynical to the point that it borders nihilism. Vayia, the other main character, sort of, it literally defined by the fact that she wants to have sex with Geist... great character, right? I know that she wants to manipulate him into lusting after her body since he would be able to protect her, but this idea is only mentioned in passing and seems more so an excuse just to get a naked chick in there. She is a pair of walking tits. That's it.
I realise that these people are living in a world in which morality has completely gone out the window but it still doesn't make the narrative any less broken or the characters any less retarded. The fight scenes and animation is terrible with no shortage of arm amputations and scenes of people being ripped apart and crushed albeit nowhere near the levels of Genocyber. Whenever anyone's arm gets cut off, it looks like they used a god damn paint tool or something to draw the blood gushing out of the wound; it looks awful. Moreover, the character designs and general look for this show is so god damn unappealing. Trust me, if your eyes could puke, they would. The music was typical 80s rock music which, in all honesty, does a decent job. It's nothing great but it's decent at the very least. What's worse is that this show did actually get a sequel....in 1996 that is. A full ten years! And the sequel actually looks worse than the original!. How in the hell did they manage to achieve that? It's almost god damn impressive! Why on God's green Earth did they decide to make a sequel to this piece of garbage is beyond me especially when it came out ten years later when all of the niche fan-base it may have had died out completely.
Despite all of this show's failures, it is quite the quintessential "so bad it's good anime". The terrible writing, awful English dub and insane plot points make for a show in which I couldn't stop laughing at. Everything is so stupid, so asinine, so ridiculous that I found myself bursting out with laughter at every line delivery and at every fight scene since they were all so bad. This doesn't make the show good, not by a LONG shot but at the very least you can have fun with it. Much more fun than Genocyber anyway...
MD Geist is a very unusal lead. He is one of my most favourite characters ever in anime.
MD Geist has a fairly simple, straightforward, story, and works well because of it.
There is no need to be overcomplex, when you can have a badass lead and well written, but straightforward, characters.
It's nihalistic, dark, and straightforward.
MD Geist is the complete opposite of wussy boy anime males. The total and utter opposite. Handsome, powerful, and masculine.
He does nothing you might expect, including when it comes to the female lead.
He likes killing, and nothing diverts him from it.
You'll never think
of combat knives in the same way again, once you watch it.
Nothing is what it seems.
The female lead, Vaiya, is not what she seems.
Even the 3 bandits she works with are unusual. At one point they display uncommon good sense. You think they're going to be meatshield fodder. and they do the exact opposite.
The twist at the end is surprising, and good.
The music absolutely awesome! I love the music. It's some of the best music in any anime, ever.
You should definately watch this anime. It's awesome!