In the 21st century mankind was on the brink of destruction. Through genetic engineering however they eradicated such feelings as love and the desire for power. Since women are naturally less agressive than men, women to man ratio was set to 9:1. Now people are engineered to have skills that others view as being necessary. There is a giant ring that now orbits the earth, that sits there and relays information back to an alien race that sent it. Now a team of five women will try to eradicate the alien threat.
Alright, so I just watched Geneshaft for the first time since TechTV's existed and now I'm going to vouch for two things:
a. This show is good. Not mind-blowing, but good.
b. No one on MAL who's reviewed this series has actually watched it, or their reviews were written from memory months or years after half-watching the original run on TV.
Geneshaft is a character story about a bunch of people raised in a dystopian future where genetics play a huge role, human lives are cheap and the species is more important than the individual. It's a series that identified what it wanted to do exactly, and executed
those concepts accordingly and didn't try to do much else, which I found to be a good thing. I can't even count the number of anime I've seen where the story/setting/characters are built up only to end in cop-outs where nothing relevant is answered or even explored.
Geneshaft takes place entirely in space aboard the space ship Bilkis, in the 23rd century. You only see or hear about Earth through small glimpses or what the characters have to say about it. Each character has a different perspective on the rest of the cast, and differing opinions on their "perfect" society. Pacing-wise, the story is quick and keeps you interested, while keeping out extraneous details and filler.
The first half is spent introducing the characters and their surface personalities. The entire main cast, save for Crispin Freeman's character and the protagonist, are very cold and logical, accepting the society they live in in different ways, and in that way help flesh out Geneshaft's setting without ever needing to directly tell us about it through exposition. The second half of the series then shows how their personas slowly break down or heel-turn as more and more uncertainties and problems arise around them. The show raises questions like "which society is superior, theirs or ours in the 21st century?," " Do people really need to exist at all?" and "Can we start over?" It's not Earth-shattering philosophical writing, but the show identified what it wanted to do and did it well, and that's one of the main things I look for in a story.
There's also a giant robot; a big creepy looking thing called the Shaft. There's also a story about huge golden rings appearing in space to destroy mankind. However, this is not a mecha battle anime. The Shaft is ripe with viruses and operating system errors for a majority of the show, and the idea of man's impending destruction is only a device to keep the story going.
The cast is made up of about 6 or so major characters and a dozen or so minor ones.
First, you have Mika Seido, the protagonist. She's the first person we see have problems with how the world works, even if she can't properly explain why.
And then we have Captain Amigiwa, a man who's been genetically programmed to be extremely calculating to the point where mankind's fate rests on his shoulders.
Sofia is Mika's best friend, who finds Mika's eccentricities weird, and she very much accepts the world as it is.
Mir Lotus is the "perfect" human and with all the best genetics. She believes she can't be any better.
Remmy staunchly defends Mir as being perfect while denouncing Mika's questionable genes.
Mario Musicanova is the ship's back-up captain, and is the most "human" of the cast, being very personable and believing is pre-23rd century ideals.
Beatrice is the Bilkis' "Register", an assistant to the captain who has her emotions and memories suppressed and assists in operating the ship.
Sergei is the story's villain, who was made to be a perfect being for mankind's preservation.
As the story goes on, all of these characters change dynamically and believably, and contribute to the ongoing story. And then there's Tiki, who's really just there to round out the numbers and be a supporting character. Each character handles their particular cliches and archetypes in great stride, especially Beatrice. Everyone was also privileged with a brief, but relevant backstory at different points that felt rewarding each time. I think this series played up the concept of "Brevity is the soul of wit" very well in general.
And now let's talk about the atmosphere and style of this anime. Geneshaft was made back in an age where many shows tried to be profound and mature to either market off of Eva's success or, you know, have artistic integrity and get a message across. It's also an anime though, which means women, mecha and silly things like that are at the forefront. Geneshaft fell into a happy medium of those and I honestly don't think it could exist in 2011. In the story, it's said that the male to female population ratio is 1:9, and every girl in this series is dressed in spandex or a short skirt. HOWEVER, there is no real fanservice in Geneshaft to speak of. No jiggling tits, nipples, ridiculous cleavage, cameras panning over or obscured by ass, nada. Not even a hotsprings episode or shower scene. It's ridiculous. If this anime were made today, you can guarantee that it would be absolutely unwatchable and drowned in fanservice while the narrative took a back seat. Geneshaft is also pretty violent, but without being gratuitously bloody or "grimdark". Character deaths are handled well each and every time, and can be very jarring with how cold and casual they are. You see women get shot a lot in this show. Perhaps, back in 2001 this show would deserve the scores it gets, but in the context of modern anime it's a decently mature and unique product.
In terms of production values, this is pretty good. I think anime CGI hit a peak around this time, where it reached a level of detail that was impressive and complimented the animation rather than distracting from it. Cowboy Bebop, Zoids Zero and this series all used their CGI very well and they remain visually impressive to this day, whereas series like Blue Sub No.6 (1998) and Aquarion (2005) had CGI that stuck out too much compared to everything else, either because the technology wasn't good enough or the team focused on it too much. The animation itself is pretty nice and smooth and the style is decent enough, not being too huge-eyed or super-real.
The soundtrack is made up almost entirely of guitar riffs, which give the series a unique feel to say the least. The dub voices are all pretty great and fit their characters well. The main character's voice was really grating at first, but she normalized after an episode or two.
In conclusion, this show is NOT:
-Gundam Seed Destiny
As opposed to literally every other review, especially zoddtheimmortal's, this show doesn't really rip off any one thing, the main character isn't spineless at all, Amigiwa isn't supposed to be "that cool guy" and isn't incredibly cliche in his backstory either, the breasts are irrelevant since they're never focused on or drawn provocatively, the story's moral isn't anything about "love conquering all", nothing that's set up in the beginning is ignored and the series doesn't appeal to the drooling otaku of today at all. It's a decent short science fiction story that knew what it was doing, and has actually grown better with age when put into context with this decade's anime. I'm not going to say you should break your neck to find the vastly superior dub and watch it, but I do want people to know that it was well worth the $10 I paid for the DVDs and is barely anything like the garbage people in this site are making it out to be.
A short-length sci-fi that stays loyal to the cliché themes associated with the genre, but makes for a decent watch.
The plot, while not completely unenjoyable, is extremely drab. There are literally hundreds of animes out there that share similar themes:
- Gene manipulation (too many to list)
- Government population/sex control (Appleseed, Crest of the Stars)
- Protagonists are all children/teenagers (too many to list)
- Humanity deserves to be destroyed (Evangelion, Blue Gender, etc.)
- Mecha (too many to list)
- Ships used by ancient beings (Infinite Ryvius,
Gurren Lagann, etc.)
The animation is well done. The characters adhere to a fairly common artwork style that’s easy on the eyes. In addition to this the show also uses some CG. This is generally restricted to scenes with the Shaft (the ship’s mech), spaceships and planets. While the CG scenes aren’t overly detailed, the framerate is solid and the graphics are fairly good considering this show was made in 2001.
Sound: 7 (Japanese)
The sound is pretty hit and miss. The music is almost entirely made up of cheesy electric guitar riffs usually consisting of a few power chords coupled with heavy distortion and someone who just couldn’t lay off the whammy bar. While it can be very annoying, especially for the first few episodes, it does give the show a unique feel. The voice acting is decent (with the exception of one over-eccentric brat), and the sound effects are pretty generic to anime involving spaceships.
The show doesn’t have memorable characters, but it at least provides some variety. Everyone in the show has a very different personality and you are given a look into the background of most of the characters. It’s enough to keep you interested but not much else.
While the show may not be the best out there, it is pretty easy to watch. There is a decent enough mix of philosophy and action to keep you entertained for the duration of the series. Had this been a 26 episode series I probably would have avoided it, but the 13-episode length makes for some nice light viewing in between whatever other shows you plan to watch.
As long as you go into it knowing it’s not going to be the bee’s knees, Geneshaft is a decent show in its own right. If you were looking for a more involving series with a similar (albeit much better) plot, Infinite Ryvius is the show for you. As it stands though, Geneshaft makes for an acceptable short length sci-fi.
This is the single worst anime I have ever seen, it sucks, there is not one single redeeming feature in it other than the art work, I mean seriously this is a terrible freaking anime.
All of the characters look like they belong in an anime , you know huge desu desu eyes and with the Girl characters it doesn't matter if they are 10 or 85, they have Double D Breasts; and by the way all these 80 pound knocker vapid brain creatures are obssesed over the shit weak willed main character that sucks ass and whines like a panzy every time
anything requiring any level of backbone comes up until eventually by the power of stupid , the anime twists and turns any level of consistency until these stupid characters end up at the top of the world.
The story rips off neon genesis evangelion, and rather than just trying to pull off a tribute, its full of bullshit, new development , WOW shit side plots and the tribute ends up being a parody that isn't funny or interesting.
To reemphasize , this is probably one of the most terrible animes I have ever seen, I felt like stabbing myself in the eye with a fork after episode one, but by the end of it I realized that the anime itself had rendered me nearly completely catatonic, considering that I was stuttering in a pile of my own drool waiving my hands about wildly in search of sharp objects.
Set some time in the distant future, "Geneshaft" takes place in a world where genetic engineering is widespread. One of the things it is used for is to ensure the women:men ratio in the world is at an "optimum" 9:1... for no good reasons that I can fathom. Of course, not only are the women genetically modified to be clever, but also good looking. Now, from this setting, you can probably guess the kind of anime this is gonna be. Yep, premises wise, this puts Geneshaft squarely in the middle of "Vandread" territory. But whilst "Vandread" is mildly enjoyable in a generic way, "Geneshaft" falls
flat on its face.
So why is "Geneshaft" worse than "Vandread"? The difference is that Geneshaft tried too hard to be some thing that it's not. Given its ludicrous settings, let's not pretend it can be much more than a shallow show aimed at satisfying the fantasies of male otakus. But this didn't stop Geneshaft from trying. From the pretentious heavy guitar music to the pitiful attempt at constructing an intelligent sci-fi storyline and convey across some deep and meaningful message about love, it fails on pretty much all counts. On the music front, it tries to do something similar to what was done in "Trigun"... and it failed. "Trigun" just about got away with it because it oozed style. "Geneshaft" is severely lacking in the style department. The attempt at a laid back and cool sounding ending theme is even worse - the awful song sounds like it's sung by someone half asleep. Trying to be cool and up failing is worse than not trying at all.
Then there's the sci-fi story they tried to build up. They set up the whole thing well enough, giving the viewer enough questions to chew on (though I wasn't too interested in chewing on it since the anime failed to pique my interest in the first place). Problem is that they seem to have forgotten all about it half way through, because by the time "Geneshaft" ended you suddenly realise that the story is shockingly incomplete, answering hardly any of the questions posed in the first half. This is probably because towards the end it's too busy trying to force some generic "love conquers all" message down the viewer's throat, and... you guessed it - it failed. From my personal viewing experience, emotional messages generally works out only after the anime has already won over the viewer with its characters or story. Geneshaft's emotional messages were founded on hot air - it might have worked had I cared for any of the characters... but I didn't. The main protagonist is forgettable; the girl who is supposed to be genetically engineered to be perfect is such an idiot that it's laughable she managed to convince anyone in the cast to believe that she's perfect at all. The male captain is one of those emotionless people. It was obviously intended to make him "cool" and "mysteriously interesting". It failed. On both counts. He is so boringly cliched that I couldn't give a rats ass about his story. Ok I'll stop ranting on about the characters now... but only because I can't even remember any of the rest of the cast :P
The animation is just about the only thing about "Geneshaft" that I liked. I can't really say it looked amazingly polished, so I guess it's more to do with the style of the animation that I liked it. The computer graphics used for the giant robots are quite impressive, though the circular jets of fire that shot out from them when they get propelled forward is a little odd.
"Geneshaft" is quite a distance from being good. But then again, I can't honest say that it's incredibly bad either. It simply falls into that worst area of mediocrity that makes an anime not good enough to be taken seriously, but not bad enough to be funny. It's the kind of forgettable anime that makes you wish it was worse, cos then it would have been more entertaining than the yawn-inducing series it ended up as. "Vandread" flaunted its appeal to its targeted audience, and doesn't really try to be much other than the shallow fanservicey harem that it is, and as a result it succeeded in getting some things. In contrast, it's difficult to imagine "Geneshaft" appealing to any audience, as it flounders hopelessly against the limitations that it shackled itself to with its hilariously bad background. It ends up failing to the extent that I am reminded of a motto on one of those demotivational posters:"Incompetence - when you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there's no end to what you can't do".