It is the dawn of the 21st century. Mankind has terraformed and colonized Mars. But we are not alone in the universe. An ancient race of alien beings, known only as "The Gods," has been watching mankind's progress ...and waiting. Now, these mysterious aliens have returned to halt mankind's expansion into space ...by force.
Now, the planet named after the God of War will become our final battlefield, as mankind fights a desperate battle with the latest in high-tech, military hardware: hyper-advanced aircraft, orbital fighters, and gigantic, desert battleships brimming with the most advanced weaponry.
But will it be enough? The aliens have awesome, incredibly destructive weapons at their disposal—including "Hell"—an unstoppable stealth carrier. But the alien's primary weapon is insidiously quiet and invisible—a mind control plaque. Incurable. Inevitable. Contagious. Humans are powerless to resist its effects, which transforms even the most loyal soldiers into dangerous subversives.
Our last hope lies with Captain Akuh and the crew of the Battleship Aoba. If his top-secret mission is successful, mankind will deal a decisive blow to the alien armada. But Akuh's girlfriend is showing signs of nymphomania—the first symptom of alien subversion!
~Mr. Panda's VCR of Doom: #1~
(See My Profile/Blog for Future Editions of "Mr. Panda's VCR of DOOM!"
Big Wars comes out of the period of anime history when Sci-Fi was the clear and present King of the medium. This stage in the development of the industry suffered a myriad of triumphs and epic failures. Big Wars is one of those obscure movies that falls somewhere in-between.
The basic storyline is familiar enough. Humanity has colonized Mars and, following the opening of transforming operations, is attacked by an alien race known as "The Gods". A massive, technologically advanced war ensues over the next several decades in which (it
is implied) there has been no real significant progress.
Big Wars lives up to its name in principle (though it is limited slightly in its presentation). We are greeted by massive clouds of fighters, reports of whole cities being wiped out as if it’s nothing, sand Battleships (that's right: BATTLESHIPS! MANLY!), and a stealth carrier named "Hell". Without spoiling anything, essentially a cruiser/battleship captain is assigned a covert task-force (how they expect to keep a battleship covert is beyond me, but I didn't write this) and is eventually assigned to take-out the Hell.
The majority of the movie is taken up by references to the actual battlefield action and focuses more on cloak & dagger intrigue. The Gods have the ability to spread a sort of "mind control" virus enabling them to recruit spies and terrorists from within the human ranks. Really most of the story deals with this issue and the Post-Vietnam era "concept-of-war" dialogue. Likely, this movie would have fared better by sticking to the battlefield action.
If I wanted to be crude about it, I could sum it up thus:
I've seen much better work in the art department, even from this period. None the less, the sand battleships are rather well-drawn and fun to watch. The characters are well-designed as well (artistically speaking anyway). The battlefield art varies, though should be given on the basis that it is mostly the standard issue of having massive amounts of units impacting presentation.
The dub did not make me cringe. It may just be me, but CPM's old dubs don't seem as bad as one usually expects. Though possibly this is just my primary exposure bias, or getting used to English versions. Battle sound effects are nothing unique, and often seem repetitive. I've yet to track down a Japanese language version, so I have nothing to compare it to. The sex scenes may be seen as overplayed (though this is common; note, however, that upon learning the actual story, the overplay actually fits).
This movie fails pretty hard on the issue of characterization. It's hard to sympathize with anyone, and I came out of it not even sure which side I wanted to win the war. To me Big Wars couldn't make up its mind as to whether the Gods of the Humans were the morally upright ones. This would actually be an interesting aspect, except I'm fairly certain it wasn't done on purpose, merely as poor writing. No individual is given nearly enough time (even with screen-hogging most of the movie Captain) for anyone to get a sense of the people. The best we get are vague references to past events and lack of real character development.
Summing everything up, I am surprised to say I enjoyed watching the movie to a certain extent. I have a fondness for large-scale war anime (they are a rarity these days), plus as an 80s movies I just had to see it. For those of you wondering if you should give this one a try: I'd say "yes". I am not one to shy away from the mediocre; if I did that I could hardly appreciate the good. Big Wars has a certain charm of its own in its massive battle scales and plot-deprived sex scenes; giving a rather decent feel for what entertainment really meant back in the early 80s: sex and explosions, with a token dash of espionage.
It's certainly not for everyone, and I'd recommend it even less than I would Space Adventure Cobra the movie. It's a movie for war fans, or for those of you that have a particularly boring day and want to entertain yourselves MTS3K style.
The title of this movie, ‘Big Wars’, did not leave one with the impression that it would be a film with any intellectual substance or emotive storytelling. In fact, the effect of such a ridiculous title is to whet the male appetite for explosions and guns and blood, guts and gore. It creates an expectation that the following hour will be spent ogling over sense of intense cruelty and wave after wave of laser cannon induced bloodshed. That ‘Big Wars’ failed to deliver in this regard is as much a shock to me as it probably will be to you.
Rather than use this opportunity to
create an entertaining, unintelligent exploitation piece that will appease bottom feeders such as myself, the creators of this turgid anime have developed a taste for luxuries, and have attempted to give the film a plot that lies out with the abilities of the writing staff. And it quickly turns what seemed like a promising happy hour of hack n’ slash into one of the largest battle to maintain consciousness this reviewer has ever faced.
Our story begins as so many of its contemporaries do; with a lightning fast multiple paragraph explanation of the setting and basic premise of the story. This is seldom used in quality productions and for good reason- it leaves the audience with the impression that the film itself will either be incomplete or inadequate. Both of these hold true in the case of ‘Big Wars’. To summarise, in the somewhat distant future humanity has colonised Mars, and in doing so have awoken the wrath of the ‘Gods’ who may or may not be the creators of the Universe. They begin a long war with the humans residing on both Earth and Mars.
The opening passage does not however prevent the writers from stumbling through irritatingly obvious exposition and awkward dialogue for the first ten minutes of the film. For example, in the opening scene the protagonist arrives at a Martian airport, complete with security so overzealous they make real life airport security seem haphazard: no less than three announcements warning the public of the imminent threat of terror attacks and ‘subversion’ by the Gods. Needless to say this kills any chance of suspense when a terror attack occurs only seconds later. Despite a sizable explosion, the insurgents are quickly dispatched and life returns to normal at the airport. Making his way down an escalator, our protagonist bumps into an old flame, and they promptly make arrangements for the first of many a sexual liaison. These occur several times throughout the film, typically whenever things start to lose direction or things get boring. Meanwhile, the audience is given several hints that our protagonist’s old flame is under the God’s ‘subversion’, in case they were unable to figure it out in the opening sequence. With any possibility for intrigue killed stone dead by the blitzkrieg foreshadowing, the rest of the first half of the film becomes tedious. Eventually the story progresses towards the titular ‘big war’ and the prospect of penance for its quasi-religious meandering in the first half.
Unfortunately, despite the warnings that the attack will be a suicide mission, the level of carnage is a more than a tad disappointing. There are a few gorey deaths in store for the less important members of the crew as well as some extra-terrestrial deicide, but not in levels which can account for the forty tiresome minutes spent building up to it. Instead of the mass slaughter we have been led to anticipate, we instead g et several hallucination scenes featuring our protagonist’s old flame, which are gratuitous without exception- appearing nude in every one and doing all manner of bizarre things.
The greatest strength ‘Big Wars’ has is its animation, which is of fair quality. Similar productions are often wrought with elementary animation errors and cheap production but ‘Big Wars’ maintains an acceptable standard throughout, although this can be accounted more to the lack of high-paced action sequences and the simple character designs. Camera use is fairly standard, but thankfully free from poor panning shots. The biggest problem with the film’s art is that the vast majority of scenes are very dark, resulting in poor picture definition. This is a common problem among science fiction anime from this era but this doesn’t stop it from becoming irritating.
The soundtrack on the other hand is eclectic but completely unfit for purpose; it simply never gets it right. It’s primarily composed of Bossa Nova influenced 80s synth music, which gives off a jungle vibe completely unsuitable for a story set in space or the desert surface of the red planet. It was presumably chosen to emphasise the ‘hallucination’ sequences but even then fails to pull it off. Finally there is the voice acting. A subtitled Japanese version of the film is available but when you’re watching something like this, the English dub is the preferred choice, for comedic value. Though it features the same dry acting you would anticipate, unfortunately the lines are seldom ridiculous enough to be amusing.
On the whole, “Big Wars” felt more like a “Big Waste of Time” and I wouldn’t recommend that you bother, even if you are normally fond of the ‘so bad it’s good’ variety of eighties/nineties OVAs. You could do a lot better watching another series like Angel Cop, Black Lion or Mad Bull 34. On the other hand if you have exhausted these possibilities and you’re desperate this one may be worth your while. However, if you are looking for something genuinely good to watch, this is definitely not worthy of your consideration.
If you looking for a good sci-fi anime movie, this isn't it. Everything about this 1993 anime movie is average to bad. From the story about the future of Mars and the war there with the mysterious aliens to the uncharismatic characters to the bad music. This anime movie is one of the ones you don't want to see. If they hadn't tried to make it so big of a movie it might have been better. The creators of the anime movie should had made it into a OVA or a short series. I think it would have been
much better had they done that.
I usually put quite some work into writing these, but I don't feel like that it's necessary for this production. Like seriously, that fucking sucked. And I will spoiler the shit out of this movie because you shouldn't watch it anyway.
The basic concept of the storyline is the following: Fighterjet/Spaceship battlescene > boring talking where you don't understand jackshit > Sexscene of mainprotagonist and his female acquaintance > boring talking > Another sec scene > more boring talking > some explosions > Maincharacter kills female acquaintance because she's a spy, then kills another spy in a ridiculous action scene > Maincharacter takes off with his
ship (Literally ship, not spaceship. There are spaceships, but appearently it makes more sense to fight ufos and shit with actual cruisers that can somehow magically and completely unexplained sail through sand.) > Maincharacter has some weird hallucinations > WAAAGH> more weird hallucinations > they somehow manage to get close to the enemy alien floating "ship"? (It looks like a shell) > They send a small squad in there to plant a bomb > they succeed in planting the bomb > gigantic explosion > they made it out alive > Credits.
Sorry for that kind of summary but I can't put that stupidly retarded stoyline into a complete text. I would honor that movie too much by doing so.
As a sidenote, for a movie called "Big Wars" there are surprisingly less wars than boring talking.
Well, I'll be fair, it looks fairly decent for it#s time. It's pretty dated today, though.
The voice acting is alright, nothing too special but nothing horrible either, well, as long as you're watching the japanese version. I watched the english one for two minutes and it was horrible.
The music on the other hand has nothing good about it. There are mainly orchestral pieces that sound like they were created in under 20 minutes. Plus, they never actually fit with what is happening on screen. Never.
You know nothing about any characters whatsoever and you don't care about them anyway, not even the maincharacter. Those are the most boring ass, blatant characters ever. You can literally watch this movie without subs and you would know who's bad and who's good from the first second they are on screen.
This is one of those movies you need to watch with a friend or two and a couple of beers and it becomes quite fun to watch because it's oo ridiculously stupid, but if you watch it alone it's simply dreadful. there is absolutely nothing to like about it and it shouldn't be watched by anyone.