For one year, Master Swordsman Eiji Shinjo has been haunted by the memory of his battle with the renegade champion, Gaia - a battle that was cut short by the forces of the malevolent syndicate known as "the organization."
Denied victory, Eiji left the tournament followed by his opponents mocking laughter. Worse still, Eiji walked away no closer to finding his long lost brother, Sho. But now, a mysterious warrior is hunting down the champions of the previous tournament and using their own moves against them - and it looks like that person may be Sho. Who is this powerful new foe and who is his next target?
Eiji and Kayin, his closest friend and greatest rival, struggle to unravel the mystery before they, too, join the ranks of the defeated. The answer lies at the heart of the Organization and its plans for world domination. At last, the ultimate battle between the greatest fighters in the world will be decided. But if Eiji loses, his friends - Ellis - may Die...
Battle Arena Toshinden (like its video game brother) isn’t a very well know title, which is really a shame since the anime itself is pretty descent!
The plot at times can be a bite confusing, basically ever few years or so a tournament is held to decide the best fighter in the world......or at least until the next one anyway. The main villain (Uranus) is creating man machine clones to take over the world, and its up the Toshinden fighters to stop her........yeah basically that’s it. Now while the story isn’t going to win any viewers to actually play the video game, it does do an
okay job of keeping you into the story just long enough before this 2 episode OVA ends. (any longer and it would definitely grow stale) This series does succeed in the action sequences though, while fighting isn’t anything on par with what you would see in the Street Fighter series, the characters themselves move with good fluidity and style. The combat and story walk hand in hand, so you don’t have to worry about one overpowering the other.
The character’s personalities are captured quite nice, its just a shame that we never really get to know about anyone other than Eji, Chaos and Kayin. Most of the other Toshinden warriors are shown well enough, (though some only for a few seconds) but its pretty minimal compared to those three. If you have never played the game, (which is the case with most people) there will be times where you will be wondering just who means what to who, this can be bad since this anime doesn’t do that great of a job describing the relationships between the characters.....other than what the main plot needs you to know. Overall this is something that is unavoidable for a 2 episode series that has many fighters in it.
If your like me and watched a lot of anime in the 80’s and 90’s you will instantly be brought back to that era with its music. While there is sadly no opening theme, the ending one is pretty catchy, though some may argue that its out of place with an action title such as this, as it can be a bit on the happy-go-lucky side. The background music is where I feel this title succeed at, it contains those cool kinda techno beats that were so popular in that era, and it hits good notes at the proper time. The atmosphere the show brings can be pretty in grossing at times, as well as creepy. The music definitely isn’t for everyone, but it does the job and was appropriate for its time.
The artwork I must say is just great, while it does show its age today, back then this was quite a well detailed and stylized title. You’ll most likely find the art different from today’s anime. For example, the eyes drawn on the characters are more slim and don’t contain highlights that we’re all use to seeing. The clothing on the fighters can range from unique to default, but fit the characters well. Though I guess that credit is more deserving to the video game.....and not the anime.
Back in 1996 when I first saw this, I loved it! But I was 14 and never played the game before. Even though everytime I see it now, it goes a tad down for me in what I feel a good action title should be, it still has an over all charm to it...back when anime like this was the cream of the action crop!
Overall Battle Arena Toshinden is an entertaining series! If you are a die-hard fan of the game or action anime in general, then you will probably be disappointed by this title and should bump my overall score down two numbers, as there just won’t be enough back story, combat or appearance from several of the characters to satisfy you. But if you are a casual action fan like myself, I think you will find it descent enough to add to your list, so long as you keep in mind that it was appropriate for its time.
Ah, fighting games. They make such awful anime adaptations, no matter how much potential the content of the game has to offer. Some fighting games deserve the right to have some of the most bad-ass movies, OVAs, and specials ever made! This is not one of them.
For anyone who carefully perserved their button-mashing brains in Tekken, Virtua Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat back in 1995, you were fortunate enough to pass up Battle Arena Toshinden, an early psuedo 3-D fighting game that's so bad, it makes Rise of the Robots look like Guilty Gear. This sorry excuse of a game not only
managed to get 3 sequels and countless spin-offs for the Sega Saturn (remember that dinosaur?), but a really crappy two episode OVA that does everything possible to ensure that nobody will want to ever play the games ever, brought to us by the Uwe Boll of anime, Masami Obari.
STORY: (2) Um, let's see, Eiji is haunted by nightmares of losing and Sophia has boobs. An organization has put a hit lists to battle the most generic fighting game characters ever, and Sophia has boobs. Sophia has a shower scene.......This story blows. You're not really told anything and the plot assumes you already know who these people are and what's going on. It's like watching TNA Impact!
ART: (3) Obari's art style is probably the worst I've ever seen back in the early and mid 90's. All male characters are tall, lithe, and are somehow rippling with muscle. The females are thin-faced, tiny-waisted, and buggy-eyed with enormous, unsexy breasts. The backgrounds are uninteresting, but not really bad. There's really nothing impressive to look at and the only visually impressive-looking character is Sho, but that's about it. The art sucks.
SOUND: (4) The music is bland and overdone, the English dub is impressively bad. The only highlight is probably Duke's seven seconds of overblown victorian dialouge near the end of the show, but it's not worth it. Everyone else, especially Ellie, just sounds grating and forced.
CHARACTER: Nobody has any personality. As I said eariler, this is about as stale as you can get in terms of cookie-cutter fighting game characters. Eiji and Kayen are Ken and Ryu, Sophia's the busty, scantily clad sex symbol, Ellie is the pre-teen little munchkin that you want to step on, Fo is old, Sho is mysterious, etc, complete with some of the lamest special attacks you might ever see. These people are pretty much unlikable, underdeveloped and I never found reason to root for anyone of them.
ENJOYMENT: (1) This is about as enjoyable as having your teeth smashed in with a hammer. I'd rather walk through a dark room barefoot and blindfolded with the floor covered in rusty tacks and sharp objects jutting out of every wall. Or you can watch it and keep a notepad and a pen nearby to write down all the other things you can do that would be a better waste of time then watching Battle Arena Toshinden!!!
OVERALL: (2) Toshinden is pound for pound one of the worst titles I've ever seen. It's easier to choke down than the Tekken animated movie, but that's like saying I'd rather eat a handful of glass shards instead of drinking scalding hot frying medium. It's boring, annoying, and based off of a franchise that nobody could care less about, but frankly, the world is a better place not acknowledging this one. Out.