The story centers on the Platonic Heart, a jewel that—according to an old urban legend—can grant any wish when collected. Only a chosen few are allowed to compete in the Platonic Heart hunt, and high school junior Aya Iseshima is one of 11 girls and women who are taking part.
Okay, so having completed this anime I can say I almost enjoyed it... until it got to the end. It has the rather standard ecchi anime vibe and typical OVA problems. Every fight you are guaranteed to see a boob shot with the occasional unnecessary fan service shots... it definitely feels like a wannabe Ikkitousen in that regard.
The story had a rather plain and unoriginal plot revolving around a gem that would grant the user any wish she chooses, however, it comes at the price of requiring them to fight for the gem and if they lose the fight, they would go into the
"dark realm." The dark realm is never really explained and once you get to the end of the series you understand why. Now, as I was saying, I started off semi-enjoying this anime until it got halfway through the last episode. Out of nowhere it had more twists than an M. Night Shyamalan movie and like the new M. Night Shyamalan movies, the twists sucked and made no sense.
As another reviewer said, the main character's sole drive of continuing on this battle for the Platonic Heart is to save a "friend" that she only met a day prior. I don't know about you but I wouldn't put my life on the line for someone I just met and have no attachment to. Now, the other characters that you meet are plain and you have no interest or feeling towards them what-so-ever. Everything about this anime screams mediocre, from the art style to the characters and most importantly the story. It seemed like whoever penned the story liked the idea behind Sekirei and wanted their own version of it, yet they failed horribly.
I cannot express my frustration with how this anime ended anymore without giving it away. So I recommend anyone that is interested in this anime and feels the need to watch it, to possibly stop halfway through the last episode. You'll certainly be saving yourself a headache in the end. Overall: 3/10
***Caution advised, lots of cursing and overall bad mood.***
So, anime as a whole has the reputation of not only being really, REALLY overblown and stupid but also to not be the greatest example in media when it comes to portraying female characters. Even though the days are long gone when people considered anime nothing but "oversexed teenage girls and tentacle porn", its ugly reputation as being sexist, stupid and overly violent still resonates. Especially whenever something like... well, THIS hits the shelves.
I don't even wanna type in the name of the anime because it's such a disgusting piece of crap. Let'S just call it "Schlocky
Ikki Tousen Fanfic", or SITF for short. It's not possible for me to accept the fact that really awesome, thought-provoking and just downright beautifully crafted anime like "Now and Then, Here and There", "Infinite Ryvius" or even just fun, sexy ("sexy" will be a keyword later on, so bear with me on this one) titles like "New Cutie Honey" don't get a proper Bluray-release here in the west, while Funimation - as it seems - has nothing better to do than to license this... this wretched piece of baboon doo-doo!
Anywho, plot: Aya and Natsume (the subtle Tenjou Tenghe-reference here is the only thing in this OVA that can be described as borderline clever) are totally, like, BFFs and stuff. One fine day they stumble across a sexy stewardess fighting a sexy priest-chick. Aya - herself a sexy schoolgirl - helps sexy priest-chick out and by doing that, she "accidentally" joins the Martial Hearts-tournament. In this tournament, only women with sexy trademarks are allowed to participate and THE PRIZE (tm) is that any wish you have will be granted. And from there on out, bitches be fightin'. Bitches be fightin' in a garage. Bitches be fightin' in a maid café. Bitches be fightin' on a busy street. Bitches be fightin' everywhere. And then an awful, awful twist happens and this thing turns from a shitty anime into something way more sinister and vile.
Let's get the obvious thing out of the way first: Titties. SITF has lots of titties. Really poorly animated, poorly drawn titties that are shown off in the most unattractive way possible. It's marketed as "Ikki Tousen without censor bars and with a little more gore", but they (= Funimation) left out the "... with way less budget"-part.
Resident animu-schlockmeisters and occasional porn producers ARMS - who, I might add, once were pretty damn good in the animation department when it came to sleazy-ass schlocky action-series (see: "Kite", "Mezzoforte", "Elfen Lied") - churn out their worst effort to date. The animation and art quality is complete horseshit all around. Everything looks unappealing and artificial, and despite being an OVA (for which, generally speaking, studios have more budget on their hands to do stuff with) this could easily be mistaken as a shitty generic shonen-panty fighter-series from the 90s.
Don't even get me started on the soundtrack that might just feature the most awful opening song I've heard in anything ever. Imagine Avril Lavigne being really frigging high and just babbling words in a foreign language into a headset-microphone, while some crappy garage band shreds "Smoke on the Water - The Punkrock Edition" in the background - there's your opening.
The Japanese cast doesn't even care, everybody just phones their performance in and collects their paycheck - and can you really blame them? The English dub is kinda decent, but the talents of the dub actors are wasted on this dull piece of crap, and you cannot make dialogue like this...
"I WILL CALL THIS DAY 'BEST FRIENDS DAY' FROM NOW ON! YAY!"
... sound appealing even if you tried.
To talk about the characters would mean spoiling SITF. And it's against the guidelines to spoil stuff, so let me put it like this: SITF tries really hard to sell one of the unnecessarily darkest plot twists I've seen in quite some time. Emphasis on "tries", because the anime needs AN ENTIRE FLIPPING EPISODE to explain the twist. The fact this twist exists is not my problem though - I dig the idea, sort of.
But the execution is incredibly baffling to watch. All of a sudden, everything just seems cold and meaningless and doesn't even start to make a lick of sense. Characters who were carbon copies of crappy character archetypes become even worse archetypes, people die, people try to explain what the heck they're doing and then SITF just pulls the plug at the end of episode 5 without even bothering to fill the plotholes it left behind, after (clumsily) deconstructing itself and the entire genre it belongs to. And, by proxy, it kinda accidentally shows us what kind of people work at Studio ARMS. And in the industry in general.
Here's what SITF wants to tell us: Basically, everything is a scam and we're dickheads for buying into said scam. SITF takes burning itself down into account to drill this into our heads: we're bad because we watch boobs. Bad us. Bad viewers. Bad Aya for participating in a tournament that fulfills some vage wish. Everything is shit. You're shit. How dare you?
Too bad it comes from the same goddamn studio responsible - as said above - FOR EXPLOITATION. ARMS animated stuff like...:
- Queen's Blade
- Sekai de Ichiban Tsuyoku Naritai!
- Elfen Lied
- Kite & Mezzo Forte
- Word's Worth
... but now WE, the viewers, are the bad guys because we buy into their crap. Well, congratulations, everyone - we watched crappy fighting anime after crappy fighting anime as kids, just HOPING for that one shot of the female characters' titties - but in the end it doesn't really matter, because we're horrible people and everybody's miserable at the end. Woop-dee-friggin'-doo.
And the fact that this message - this ugly, ugly message that harkens back to the "uberviolent underage- and tentacle-porn"-archetype I mentioned above - is basically carried to the west by one of the biggest anime distributors in North America is nothing short of alarming, cruel and a disgrace to the fanbase.
I love anime. I love exploitation. I love sleazy-ass Ralph Bakshi-cartoons. I love Yasoumi "the dude who made Kite" Umetsu, he's one of my favorite animators and character designers of all time. But I don't like being scammed. I don't like being painted as an idiot because I watch animated girls fight each other and getting a kick out of that. I don't like being painted as such an idiot by the same idiots who churn out "Ikki Tousen"-season after increasingly shitty (but at least fun-shitty) "Ikki Tousen"-season, and seem to judge their viewership OPENLY as such idiots. And I don't like it when something this stupid thinks it's smarter than me or anyone who likes exploitation'esque cartoons, by implementing a plot twist this jarring and nonsensical.
Words cannot describe how terrible this OVA is. In fact, you know how you see lots of bad reviews on MAL and think to yourself "oh maybe I shouldn't watch this?" Go with that thought. This is one of the many terrible Ecchi shows ever made. You can seriously skip this show, there are so many things wrong with it that I'm sure have already been explained. The story is terrible, the Opening intro sounds like they just grabbed some random non talented girl off the streets and paid her to sing. The art, is really bad for it's time. It has more of a
2001-2004 feeling to it. I found it rather difficult to continue watching, however I made it... mostly because boobs. I would NOT! recommend this to anyone, especially if you're like me and want to watch bad shows for laughs and giggles.
When it comes to anime that's commonly called the "worst", many people will generally answer with shows from one of 2 groups of thought - new school anime fans will say something like School Days, Mars of Destruction, or Pupa; old school anime fans will generally say something like Genocyber, Violence Jack, or MD Geist. I'm here to present the case that THIS is the worst anime of all time, hands down.
Story - 1/10
The short version: Take Ikkitoisen, make it as edgy as the anime adaptation of Akame ga Kill!. Then, condense the end result into a 5 episode OVA, and give
said OVA an ending as shocking as School Days - without the satisfaction of said ending. You now have the plot to Master of Martial Hearts.
The long version: A girl gets forced into a fighting tournament, with the prize being a gem called the Martial Heart, which supposedly grants the wish of the winner; the girl in question, Aya, wants to win her friend back - a friend that she just met, and has no reason to save. The plot gets darker and darker as the episodes progress, but it's not dark in the good sort of way, like the 2011 reboot of Hunter x Hunter. The ending, however, is absolutely shocking - but because it's the type that only works if you have seen the entire series, I'm not going to discuss it.
Essentially, this show is acting as a deconstruction of the "Panty Fighter" genre (examples of the genre include Rosario+Vampire, Ikkitousen, Kill La Kill). While I was able to understand the story better than, oh say, Mars of Destruction...what I understood of the story was terrible.
Art - 1/10
This wasn't the worst I've seen...but for 2008 standards, it's pretty bad. However, considering the fact that this is by Studio Arms, who have literally made only one anime I like (Maoyuu Maoyu Yuusha), it's pretty understandable as to why the animation quality sucks.
Sound - 1/10
The reason it gets such a low score is because the sound is just...forgettable. The only sound I remember is clothes ripping.
Character - 1/10
There is literally no character development (I guess there is character change, but it's "character destruction" instead of character development - the character that undergoes change is Aya Iseshima, and she devolves from "I'm fighting for my friends" to "I'm going to murder you for no reason"), and the characters there are just uninteresting. I could not name a single interesting thing about the characters if I tried. The characters are all unlikable - even the main character, Aya Iseshima, had no redeemable qualities (and for the most part, that's usually something that most anime get right - the only other case that I can think of that screws this up just as much as Master of Martial Hearts is School Days!).
Enjoyment - 1/10
This was the only area where my expectations were met - and that's not a good thing. I was expecting this to be terrible, and I was right.
Overall - 1/10
This anime makes me wish I could give a score of -1/10 - since this DESERVES that score. This is the worst anime of all time - it's not enjoyable as a show, and if you look at it as a deconstruction, it absolutely fails on that regard - heck, even School Days is a better deconstruction than this show, since at least with School Days, they actually manage to avoid most of the flaws that they are trying to make fun of, and the ending is awesome.
Alternative recommendations: Sekirei, Freezing, Kill la Kill, Highschool DxD