At first glance, Mao Ran is a normal cute girl, but she is a master of a martial arts handed down by Mao family. One day, she is tricked by her grandfather, and forced to take part in the fighting match, "Prime Mat". First, she is reluctant to fight, but fighting against the rivals, she is gradually fascinated by the "fighting".
I've found that finishing an anime that I really REALLY like can cause me to behave in one of several ways. One of the more bizarre behaviours is that I find myself spending the next few days deliberately watching brainless action oriented series whilst yearning for the more of the series that I'd just finished. This is then possibly followed by a period where I stop watching anime completely. "Fighting Beauty Wulong" is one series that's associated with this type of reaction - not as the cause but as the effect. Finishing "Hikaru no Go" is what triggered this kind of reaction... which led me
to pick up "Fighting Beauty Wulong" due to my subsequent urge to watch a crap action series whilst I try to come to terms with the "Hikaru no Go"-shaped void in my life.
"Fighting Beauty Wulong" (which shall be abbreviated to "FBW" from here on) did not disappoint, and in fact exceeded my expectations by being even crappier than what I'd anticipated. It's essentially tells the story of the main character Mao Lan's participation in an all-women fighting tournament and the "complexities" that went on behind the scenes. I use the term "complexities" loosely because though it did have a good go at telling a complex story, it ended up as a load of tosh that doesn't really make much sense. The only thing that made it complex is the poor story telling that often made it difficult to see what's going on sometimes (though this could be due to the hilariously bad sub I was watching). It's an example where a fighting anime actually tried (quite hard) and failed to make a good story. I guess anime like "Tenjou Tenge" (an example of a fighting anime with a kick ass story) doesn't come along every day...
Considering the premises, the fanservice side of FBW is actually surprisingly tame... it doesn't even qualify as ecchi, which can only be a good thing in my book. Another thing I found interesting are the character designs. Considering the title of this anime, you would think all the fights would involve scantily clad beauties duking it out in the ring. But in reality, although there are a few characters designs that can be considered attractive (predictably Mao Lan herself is one), there are at least a couple of fighters who are not. And before you ask, no, it is not due to the shoddy artwork that they ended up with some unattractive characters. Though FBW does indeed look like a low budget series, it's also clear that they made the surprising choice of having some fairly realistically designed female fighters - one of them even look rather masculine. For me, this is a good choice to make, and it's something I applaud FBW for.
The fighting aspect of the anime is bit of a mixed bag. There are a few good fights... well actually "good" might be over estimating the quality a bit... and in fact "a few" is probably over estimating the quantity a bit as well. So let me rephrase: there're one or two fights that aren't bad, and the pick of the lot doesn't even involve the main character Mao Lan. This is probably because Lan's special move is this ultra powerful punch that simply annihilates opponents with one hit, which is good for her, but dull for the viewer. I can only think of one significant fight where she doesn't use it (at least, not for a while), and this is during an ultra hyped up fight in the middle of the series between Mao Lan and Megumi, a friend of hers. This fight deserves special mention. First, they spent about 5 episodes setting up this friendly rivalry, raising expectations sky high. When it came, it turned out to be what is probably the most memorable fight in the entire series... but for all the wrong reasons: it's memorable for being one of the most dull, most dragged out fight ever! Megumi was constantly talking throughout the fight, and unlike a lot of fighting talk that you get in well made shounens, her chit chat diminished the tension instead of raising it, to the point that by the end I was grinding my teeth in extreme annoyance merely at hearing the sound of her voice (which was already annoying to begin with), and would have preferred it if Mao Lan just finished her off with the super move. As for the ultimate "boss fight" at the end... it's not really that great. A bit of an anti-climax, really. It's a running theme throughout the anime that the anticipation for the bouts always ended up getting let down by the actual match themselves.
It says a lot that my personal highlight of the series is probably the second ending theme, "Tango". In fact most of the music from the series are quite pleasant, but "Tango" distinguished itself by being a great theme with a Latin flair to it instead of the usual jpop. In a weird way, it matched really well with the animation for the second ending credits, where Mao Lan goes through a series of martial arts stances in a traditional Chinese costume. Considering the obvious low budget involved in the making of this anime, I'm impressed by the daring creativity at picking such a theme (as I am with the decision they made with the surprisingly realistic character designs). A pity this unexpected display of panache is not reflected in the contents of the anime.
Their is a lot of hate for this anime. So far I have seen 12 episodes and i think it's pretty good. It may not be the Best or my favorite but It's a good show if you like fighting and martail arts. I don't watch this for the story but the fights. It has very good graphics and sound. The characters may not be very deep Outside the aspect of the love of their fighting but they're not so bad. I enjoyed this. If you like fighting chicks like ikki tousen, tenjou tenge, you may like this. My impression may change but even if
it does im glad i watched it so far. It's hard to find decent anime any anymore, you should'nt be narrow minded.
Well, if you’ve been following some related reviews, then you know I’m a huge mixed martial arts fanatic, so this anime really interested me and see it would play out. I thought the pacing and characters were standard, but the execution just progressively got worse and the only way I could describe how this anime was played out was irresponsible. The only other time I could apply how bad an anime was executed in that fashion, is Gundam SEED Destiny. The characters were really nothing special, though they are likable at some capacity. Maybe you could connect to them and relate to them, I can’t
discount that possibility, but you couldn’t help but feel this is stupid the more you watched this. I thought it had some good qualities at first, but as they finally got into the Prime Mat fights, it just went to hell in a hand basket.
I feel one of the good qualities it maintained was that it did cover that there is some corruption within the political structure of the prime mat such as Da Han and Chun Yan fixed fights so it covered some motivation to why Fu Shen wants to re-purify his martial art, etc. But other than that, I’ll get into the heart and soul of this anime.
The character design to me looked like a mix of some of Fujisawa Tooru’s, the creator of GTO’s as well as the character design of Hammer Nao from the Hajime no Ippo manga with how he draws noses and mouths sometimes. The uniform that Lan wears kind of reminded me of how the GTO school uniforms look (I got nothing against taking influence from other manga artists). If I made this a bad point, I’d be a hypocrite. But in terms of the coloring and resolution, it came across as more stream line and flat.
For the fights, I thought the build up and the training and sparring sessions were a whole lot better, and most of the actual fights are anti-climatic and flat out stupid and insulting to those who know mixed martial arts. The fights rely on throwing one big power shot after another and there’s no rhythm to the fights. And remember how I said the execution of the fights were irresponsible? Well, if you ever give this series a chance, you’ll know what I mean when they get to the semi-final of the tournament. Plus, what made this totally bull shit is the introduction of dim mak techniques called Hakken or as they call in Bloodsport, “American Shit Head who does trick with brick.”
Well, the only voice actor I could recognize at the top of my head throughout watching this anime was the voice of Ishizuka Unshou, the voice of Miyata-san in Hajime no Ippo, Jet in Cowboy Bebop, and Bunta in Initial D as the voice of Da Hen. I thought he brought a unique charisma to the character where he’s of course suspicious and corrupt. The acting on the other hand was pretty much standard, but not to a point where it really helped make you over look the other bad qualities I mentioned. If you watch this anime, you’ll notice that some of the characters have a rougher accent since it’s kansai dialect they are speaking and the setting is Osaka. I’m not sure if I should give the anime merit for the obvious, but it is some what rare to have an anime take place in Osaka most of the tim,e and usually in other animes, Osaka characters are Token Characters. The only other anime I know of that takes place in Osaka is Tough.
But as for the music, it’s something nice to listen to. It’s feminine and energetic so it suits the atmosphere appropriately. I just felt if the music sucked, I would have had a better indication this anime was going to.
Well, some people have disagreed with what I considered bad, and some have disagreed with what I considered good. I understand that not all of those who view this review or this anime are probably not MMA fans, so they might be able to get past that I flat out think this anime sucks. I really have nothing left to say except that yeah, you can watch this. I’m not stopping you, but there’s way better martial arts anime than this like Grappler Baki, Histroy's Strongest Disciple Kenichi, and Tough/Shootfighter Tekken.