It is the dawn of the 21st century. The cataclysmic earthquake which reduced half of Tokyo to a broken landscape of twisted steel and shattered stone was only the first sign of the impending apocalypse.
Athletic and popular, Isato Kaiza was an otherwise ordinary student. But nothing could've prepared him for the day he was given a Caizer Stone by fellow student Kash , alias Hellstinger. Armed with the mysterious crystal, Isato now possesses the power to transform into the armored hero: Gowcaizer!
To save the Earth, Gowcaizer and Hellstinger must join forces against Omni Exist, the manifestation of all negative human desires, and the force behind the recent disasters, before the entity obliterates the human race!
Let me remind you people, this is a anime out of the late '90s
Let's begin with the story, our main protoganist is given a Caizer Stone. Armed with this mysterious crystal, Isato posseses a power to transform in the hero, Gowcaizer. But for the higher purpose, To save the earth, Gowcaizer and his partner in crime, Hellstinger must fight the evil Omni Exist, a manifestation of all negative desires, and of course the source/force after behind the recent disasters.
It'...s a pretty cool story, they brought it well in this anime, actually nothing to say, except is is a good story.
The art is from a lesser
level, but hey, it's old. Aside that it's a pretty good style to draw, the animation is of the "90s" level too, but it's extremely good for that time. Same goes for the sound.
The characters, not much to tell there, everythings standard, we have the standard hero with his friend as sidekick, the needed women to bring up the odds and the guy who we think is bad.. but is actually good. As far as the enemy's go, we've got some slime monsters with tentacle's, the mastermind who's all powerfull and the needed minions who match the good guys. And of course one character that gets possesed by the evil force and has to be rescued.
Pretty standard right.
But it's an enjoyable anime, if you like good animation of this time and quality, then it's not an anime for you, but if you don't give a shit if it's old or new, or don't care about quality, then this old anime is something good to see.
Few anime are quite as infamously bad as Voltage Fighter Gowkaizer. What is wrong with it? What is RIGHT about it? The art is the worst in the history of anime, the story is terrible, the characters suck, the dub is an absolute joke, the soundtrack is lackluster, EVERYTHING is simply awful!
When comic geeks bring up the topic of the absolute WORST comic artist of all time, it is always a fight between Greg Land and Rob Liefeld. However, anime geeks don't really have an equivalent that all fans universally think is a horrible artist. This is one reason fans of American Comics often dislike
Japanese anime and manga. US comic fans believe that the Japanese use a VERY simplistic art style that is easy to draw and the difference in quality between the "worst" and "best" is basically indiscernible.
I have heard this argument MANY times from my fellow Americans. I respond to them with one name: Masami Obari. Isayama the author of Attack on Titan said the Colossal Titan in AOT was taken from the cover of an anatomy text book. Isayama needs to lend that textbook to Obari for the good all that is holy! Bodies are contorted in absolutely inhuman poses, arms are thicker than legs, facial features are distorted even by anime standards etc. If Obari was TRYING to draw a trippy nightmare to disturb the viewer, this would be impressive. Unfortunately, he is being dead serious and is simply a HORRIBLE artist.
The story tries and utterly fails to adapt the already plain story from an obscure fighting game of the same name. I never played the game because it was only released on the Neo Geo: the console that absolutely NO ONE owned. I grew up with a friend whose evil parents bought him a Phiips CDI and forced him to play it because it was an "educational" system. I played those God awful CDI games growing up, but I didn't know ANYONE that owned a Neo Geo. The main reason is that the system cost over 600$ in 1990 and each game was 300$. Was it simply THAT much better in graphics compared to other game systems as it claimed? Not really. It used 24 bit graphics at a time when other systems used 16 bit graphics. It was a technically superior system in that regard, but not by much. Honestly there isn't much to say about the story or characters. It is a generic post apocalyptic battle anime that is sort of a mix between Street Fighter and Violence Jack...only way more boring.
The next time you meet some jackass that says Bleach, Elfen Lied, or Angel Beats is the "worst anime of all time" kick the shit out of that guy and make him watch Voltage Fighter GOWKAIZER! This is the standard by which other bad anime should be measured.
Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer is a 1997 3 episode OVA, that later got made into a whole movie. It was produced by J.C. Staff and directed by Obari Masami, who really doesn't have any major work besides this and quite a good amount of Hentai!
The basic premise of Gowcaizer is about Isato, an ordinary highschool student that one day receives something called a Caizer stone from one of his classmates with whom he now has to fight the evil power called Omni Exist who basically represents all bad emotions of humanity and threatens to destroy earth. This already showed through several catastrophes that point out that
apocalypse is about to happen.
This setting already is where the first huge flaws are to be found! Why you ask? Because the viewer basically doesn't have any idea about it! The movie does a terrible job at explaining itself and the viewer is basically left alone to find out what the heck is going on, which is almost impossible by watching the movie in itself! Personally, I went into the movie without having read the Synopsis and if I wouldn't have read it half way through it, I probably still wouldn't have any idea what it is about! However, even if the viewer does know what the movie is about, it really doesn't help a lot in understanding what is going on! The pacing for the movie is absolutely horrible in every way! It often seems to be dragging on for ages and if it doesn't, it feels rushed to the point where it's hard to determine what exactly is happening! Every plotpoint feels completely out of context and none of them get any explanation at all! They're simply left as they are and as it stands make absolutely no sense! And that pretty much summarizes the whole plot: Nonsense! There's not a single thing in the show that seems to make any sense, ranging from the physics, to the random Mahou Shounen transformation scenes, to the character interactions and what's left and actually understandable is absolutely generic! Any plotpoint that actually doea get somewhat clear is part of the typical Genre cliches! From the Shounen Power-ups, to the pseudo-philosophical themes of how humanity are the ones being evil, that get touched once and never again, to the character archetypes used! There's absolutely nothing that we haven't seen before and gets boring incredibly fast! Of course the movie is from 1997 and as such from a time where all that may not have been all that overused, but for today's standards, there's nothing original about it!
The characters suffer from exactly the same problems as the story! They often enough act incredibly illogical and it at times is really hard to follow their thoughts. Not only that but every single one of them is extremely one-dimensional and have nothing to them but a single character trait! There's the typical Shounen Main Character that actually doesn't want to kill anyone, but occasionally does grow a backbone and ends up doing so, the typical clumsy moe love interest that in this specific case actually is able to fight and isn't all too moe...the antihero kind of character that seems to be evil at the beginning but in the end turns out to actually be the good guy and so on and so on, you get the idea! In general I really don't have a problem with Anime archetypes as long as they are used well, but in this case they just really aren't! The character interactions are painfully bad and there's not a single case of dialogue that is somewhat well written or interesting! This only gets worse through how out of character some of the characters act at times! They suddenly say something that doesn't fit the character at all only for the sake of advancing the plot and at times they don't even do it for that, but just to have that one certain moment that every Shounen needs to have! The character development feels the same way! It is incredibly rushed and there is nothing static but characters just take a 180 turn from one second to the other, making them feel like a plot device and impossible tofollow! This leads to them getting even more boring as they originally were already thanks to the stereotypes they all fulfill and don't step away from. I do give the show credit for at trying to develope the characters, which a lot of shows don't even attempt to do, but it just doesn't work having them be completely different this suddenly! Another point that makes this shows characters just absolutely awful is just how unsignificant they seem to be! Some of the characters literally don't seem to have any purpose and only exist for the purpose of showing their skin and crotch and bouncing their boobs!
The Sound for Gowcaizer may or may not be the only redeemable thing about the show! While both the Opening and Ending is a rather standard for the 90s the Soundtrack is surprisingly enough not all that bad! Some of the tracks even wouldn't sound all that bad if listened to outside of the show and often enough they fit the scenes really well! However often enough, kind of isn't enough! The show has places where it horribly misuses tracks in parts where they really shouldn't be used! One of the character entrances uses a harmonica right within one of the most intense fights of the show and completely destroys the mood of the scene! Often enough, the show doesn't use any track at all, when it clearly should! While the OST itself isn't even half bad, it's the placement that ruined it in total!
Gowcaizer Character Designs
Those character designs actually hurt my eyes....
The Animation for Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer was done by J.C. Staff and let's say it that way....it isn't all too glorious! The OVA was rather Low-Budget and for that and considering it is from the late 90s, it doesn't look all too bad, but it really isn't good either! There are a ton of scenes in the show where the animation itself isn't fluent at all and while the fight-scenes are actually animated somewhat decent, the rest is filled with still-screens and so on and it really doesn't contribute to the quality of the show overall! In fact if that actually were possible it'd make the show even worse! However something else takes that job over already! The character designs: OH GOD ARE THEY AWFUL! I have to be completely honest here and say I have rarely seen character designs that looks worse than this! They are often enough absolutely irritating and honestly probably were one of the worst parts of the show! Art style usually doesn't concern me too much...I mean I sat through the entirety of Aku no Hana and ended up enjoying that BUT THIS? NO THANKS! The chins are way too long, the eyes either incredibly huge or horribly misplaced, sometimes even both! The other part that made the show even worse was the fanservice! Looking at the Opening I already got to see what I was getting into, giving me more boob bounces, crotch, ass and panty shots than all of Highschool of the Dead. Throughout the whole OVA, women in skin tight clothes were walking around hitting people while sneaking in more panty, crotch, ass and boob shots. It's incredibly irritating to see all that fanservice shoved into your face like they didn't even try to make it an actual good thing, but just a silly excuse to get some quick money for giving some guys a good time and that's what it ended up being!
In the end Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer is a bad excuse for an OVA and has nothing going for it at all! The plot is nonsensical and generic at the same time, a combination of bad things that I didn't even know was possible but the amazingness of this show has apparently proven it is very much possible to do it! There is no connection between any of the plot points and the pacing is absolutely awful! The same is for the characters they fall completely flat (Altho the characters certainly aren't flat at all if you know what I mean) due to generic sterotypes and some of the most sudden and nonsensical development in all of Anime history! There is nothing good about this OVA series and as long as you are not a masochist that feels like experiencing 90 minutes of pure pain I definitely would not recommend this to anyone! It's an abomination and I really don't see anyone liking this....STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM IT!
Masami Obari. Every time I revisit one of your works, I'm reminded of the time I got a second degree burn on my ring finger from touching an overheated lawnmower. I could reach my hand blindfolded in a bucket full of used needles and come out with something more full of substance than Obari's OAV vehicles. He works primarily in hentai now (and those that I've seen aren't good either, like Viper GTS), but before that, Obari spent the 90's wrecking one of my favorite fighting games with Fatal Fury The Motion Picture, a movie that is brazen proof video-based anime are ultimately bad
ideas. And then there's Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer, a slightly below mediocre NEO*NEO fighting game so obscure and unaware of its own existence, it might mistake itself for World Heroes 2 Jet when questioned.
STORY: So it's bad enough this fighting game that not a lot of people out side of hardcore SNK/NEO*GEO are aware of, Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer premises it's story with the tone of "none of your business". This is 90's anime at its worst, at least until the Tekken Animated Movie years later. Fighting game stories seldom matter, so as long as the gameplay is intense and satisfying, so when transitioning this subject matter to a different medium, i.e. an anime, it's important to add an element that relatable to the viewer not familiar with said product. Fatal Fury 2 The New Battle added Tony, an original character whose sole purpose is to be a plot device to give Terry a reason to rematch Krauser. Tony's wild ambition, stubbornness, and will to never give up reminded Terry of himself at that age. VFG (as its fans have NEVER called it) gives you no reason to care about whose fighting or why. It's a horrible hodgepodge of inane dialogue with another fight crammed in between to break up the monotony, which it fails to do. Things happen with no rhyme or reason, barely makes any sense, and nothing is explained in a manner that would have you want to invest interest. SCORE: 3
ART: Typical Masami Obari character designs at full force here; pencil-thin men with -14% body fat, yet somehow ripped to shreds with muscle. The anorexic, hook-nosed women with round, protruding eyes that take up a third of their heads, topped off with Obari's subtle respect for the female form, the grotesque, gravity-defying bouncing breasts that juggle for weeks if the ladies did as much as take a sip of coffee! This man actually made me sterile to breasts before I was 18, I didn't even think that could happen!! In short, the characters are all hideous, you could swap hairstyles and outfits and barely tell them apart. The costumes look as if you redesigned Saint Seiya armor into S&M bondage gear, which isn't all that much of a stretch. The only thing that I can salvage is that the animation isn't all that bad and the production values seem pretty good for its time period. SCORE: 4
SOUND: The English dub (which I'm not sure if it was done by Ocean Group or Laughing Dog) is mediocre, if not completely forgettable. This is still that period before Pokémon, when the quality of English dubbing, unless it came from one of the more established studios with their own in-house flavor. ADV, Manga Entertainment, for example) was so laughably bad it became good, or downright terrible. U.S. Manga Corps (Man, I really miss them) turned this inconsistency into an art form! You'll watch Dominion Tank Police or Project A-ko, two phenomenally dubbed anime, then you turn on Cyber City 0808 (or E0E8, I could never tell from the box art) and go, "What the f**k am I listening to!? Did he just say, "You wouldn't know a ghoddam vampire if it jumped up and bit you on the end of your f***ing dick."!?. Gowcaizer falls in the middle........no dick biting...or depending on what floats your boat, I'm sorry there's no dick biting here for you. SCORE: 5
REWATCH VALUE: Because I'm like flies attracted to dog poop for 90's anime, this has enough silliness and its flee-flowing, don't care attitude makes it easy to watch if you happen to have an anime club or something. I miss OAVs like this because they don't require a lot of input on your end just to stay invested. With today's anime writing style, I feel I have to make a commitment to watch just a handful of episodes of something and really pay attention to it, otherwise, I'll be lost by episode 4. There are significantly better 90's OAVs I can recommend that make great background noise, like Cleopatra D.C., Elf Princess Rane, or Saber Marionette. At three episodes, running 90 minutes total, it feels like it goes on forever and the lack of substance will probably mean turning it off after one episode, unless by some miracle, a viewer leeched sympathy for these clods and WANTS to know what happens. SCORE 4
OVERALL: Dumb OAV. Dumb director. I will continue to despise his works. Go play Garou: The Mark of the Wolves. FINAL SCORE 3/10