Handsome and effeminate, quiet but proud, the sinister Akito Kobayashi has a passion for the occult and has developed a computer program to summon demons and the living dead. But little does he know that fellow high school students Kojirou Souma and Saki Yagami are reincarnations of powerful and benevolent spirits. When the pair's friends have become targeted by demons trying to harvest their life energies, they must harness their dark metaphysical powers to destroy Kobayashi's threatening program, or risk losing their loved ones forever.
Oh boy! It's that time again to talk about an awful OVA from the nineties and today we have Shin Megami Tensei, based off the popular game series which I know nothing about. Aside from, that is, that many monsters seem to based off sexual organs such as Arioch, who seems to be in the shape of a vagina, and Mara, who is in the shape of a dick, along with a plethora of others who look like strange sexual...things. I literally found a top ten list in which the writer goes over the monsters that look like some sort
of sexual organ. JESUS CRISUS.
Anywhore, from what I could gather from general consensuses and from a friend who had played the games and watched this OVA too, is that this show has little to nothing to do with the games in the series which makes my job a little easier as the reviewer since I don't need to be as familiar with background information of the sorts. Not that background information would help anyway; this show will remain a mess of ideas with no idea what the hell it wants to do or who to focus on. It tries to squeeze every character and plot point into a small, collective fifty minute time frame and as a result feels rushed beyond repair and hardly satisfying to watch. Allow me to elaborate:
The narrative of our tale focuses on a complete dickhead called Akito Kobayashi, who wants to summon a tone of demons in order to get revenge on the world for his mistreatment. But what horror has this young man had to endure, you may ask? Does he live under an evil dictatorship that constantly punishes him? Nope. Does he live in a cruel and unforgiving world that must be punished? Nah. Does the entirety of the world hate him and wish him dead? No. The cruel, horrible thing that happened to him that he feels that he must destroy the world over for is that he was picked on by a couple of kids as a child. Damn! Sure, bullying sucks but destroying and killing all human life as an act of revenge? Sure, why not. Makes perfect sense. It's just like Sasuke from Naruto, who decided that his entire village must die just because a couple of the elders messed him over. This makes Akito's plan and emotional attachment to the narrative a complete joke. Aside from there not being enough time for developing his character, his reason for destroying the world is as good as a reason for me to stick my dick in a Cheerio . It's stupid, is what I'm getting at.
The OVA even tries to make us feel bad for the guy in the tritest way possible. Near the end of the show, another character comes across Akito with a girl who is lying naked next to him with a gaping wound in her chest with blood covering the entire area. Akito has a sword in his hands and while granted he wasn't the one to actually kill her, the other guy runs and punches him in the face as he believes, as anyone would, that Akito had killed her to which the Akito goes off on a tangent about how everyone is always beating him for misunderstandings. Like, no SHIT Sherlock. You're standing there, with a sword and a dead body at your feet and you wonder why someone thought that you had committed the murder? You dumb-ass.
The narrative is rather lacklustre and dull with hardly anything all too interesting happening at all. Things move at such an awkward pace and plot points, which are brought up at first, are never addressed again, disappearing into the deep void in which Half-Life 3 resides in. The other characters, who are affected by the demons are all equally as dull and boring as each other and have hardly any time to grow or develop as people. In fact, the only thing that develops in this show is how much clothing the female characters lose.
Even superficially it's hard to enjoy since there is better shlock action out there. The character designs were pretty choppy aside from the demons, however, which I'd imagine were ripped from the game and all look pretty damn cool. They give off a Devilman sort-of vibe which I've always liked. The action and animation were pretty dull with poor framing and composition. However, be perfectly fair, there were some inventive shading and camera shots, although these were few and far in between. The final fight too, I felt, was pretty fun, even if I had no emotional attachment or all too much in the way of investment at all. It's flashy, over-the-top and loud but I find it kind of funny how Kojirou (another one of the main cast, I guess) yells about protecting the land and fighting for peace while demolishing half of the damn city. Seems kinda counter-intuitive, aye? Aside from that, it's hard to see it as trashy action since the action was so boring. The gore is not as over-the-top as Genocyber and if you're watching just for the few lesbian sex scenes, then hentai would be better suited for that need.
One positive thing I can say, however, is how much fun I had with the poor English dub. While it certainly is not the worst, it's definitely not anything great either but damn, this OVA was fun! Nobody seems to care about delivering their lines in a natural way making for some hilarious unintentional comedy, most noticeably near the end where everything character gasps 'AH!' in a row and the outcome left me laughing hard. However, while there were a few times in which the terrible dub made me laugh it gets washed over by the mundane and boring script. There are funnier dubs out there, so this show doesn't even have that to stand out from the rest.
The OVA is just so dull and mediocre that it's hard to care about anything or to even get too annoyed with it. It's awful on every level and I could only recommend this to the most die-hard of Shin Megami fans. Or if you like to see naked little girls, ya sick weeb.
I have memories from watching this late at years about, it almost threw me off watching anime altogether. That's how bad it was. Thankfully Spriggan came on after that, it cleared away my desire to throw up at least.
I admit, this is an impression from watching it more then half a dozen years ago...but I have no intention of watching this again just to confirm that impression.
I was on the fence for a long time with this one. I finally gave in and bought it on eng dub (cheaply). It was a mistake. I couldn't find it anywhere to sample it. I didn't like the style of character animation or action scenes. Everything gave me the impression of a cheaply made mistake of an anime, like Kimera or Apocalypse Zero. Judge is another one that this reminded me of. Odd relationship going on between male lead and male villian. Sound was poor and characters were bland. It's one of those short and cheap OVAs. Unfortunately, this is a bad one. I
like these short OVAs like BioHunter and Vampire Wars. Both are way better than this one.
Although the OVA aren't related to the games released at the time, they still hold the themes of the games (cults, demons, etc). The story itself was not the greatest, although it felt decent enough to follow. The characters were decent enough to move along. Art & Sound were decent for the time (dub).
I believe that without knowing the origins of the Shin Megami Tensei story, many people may be thrown off by this OVA. For anyone coming in blind, I would recommend to read up prior to learn some history to understand more than what is being shown.
These episodes feel more of
a little treat for the hardcore SMT fans who enjoy the games.