Okay, to start, I'm not a fan of studio Gonzo. With the exception of their work on Peacemaker Kurogane and Real Bout High School, they've failed to keep my interest with lackadasical stories, sub-par animation, and boring, architypical character traits. For me, most of Gonzo's production didn't start to get on my nerves until Last Exile and Gankutsuo, a poor take on the novel The Count of Monte Cristo. Before those came to ruin my life, I endured another smattering of Gonzo-based mediocrity; Melty Lancer the Animation.
Now this isn't a really bad OVA series, in fact it's a bit enjoyable as a smash 'n dash action show that doesn't have to take itself too seriously. One of the problems being is Melty Lancer is probably one the most generic anime titles you could ever watch. Almost every scene is virtually ripped and pasted from other realms of sci-fi action anime in a slightly run down fashion. Nothing is even vaguely original. I'll start with the cast. Every character in this show is comprised of every anime cliche from 1989 to 2000. These are bio quotes of the six female leads from the Bandai licensed disc jackets:
Silvia: The gung ho girl who fights for justice
Nany: The sorceress from another dimension
Angela: The beast girl born for battle
Jun: Powerful girl in a power suit
Melvina: The Super Commander
Sakuya: A saintly, soft-spoken girl
Now, I'll translate these for your convenience
Silvia: The main girl with the gun
Nany: Kawaii moe magical girl with transformation
Angela: It's a cat-girl in an anime....What a shock.
Jun: Typical loudmouth, battling, tomboy girl
Melvina: These girls would be dead without her
Sakuya: A C-level Belldandy clone
That might seem a bit harsh, but the very second a line of dialouge emits from these girls, it's hard to take them seriously as personalities that will develop. I let this slide, thinking in the back of my mind that this is a parody of an action show, so if you put aside the lack of substance in any of the Melty Lancer team (maybe Melvina being the one with the most depth), they're a pretty fun group and play their run-of-the-mill traits decently enough to be entertaining. Heck, these girls are more entertaining than the cardboard cut-outs in Burst Angel.
Outside of the six girls, the plot and remaining pretty much a starter set of action anime cast cliches leftover from a failed Dirty Pair series that never got off the ground, although, I did get a kick out of the sub-villianess, Vanessa and the Vanessars. She and crew put me in the mind of Team Rocket.
Character designs and backgrounds look nicely detailed and some of the animation is pretty smooth, but some of the pre-year 2000 era computer animation is kind of bad and visually distracting. I have horrible eyes, but there are certain points where there's so many effects going on at once, it could give you a headache. Characters pass out and wake up out of conscience with a bizarre fading effect that almost gives me vertigo. The english dub isn't bad, in fact, it's a pretty good Ocean Group offering. Soundtrack is a bit dated with techno J-rock tunes, but gets the job done.
IN CLOSING: Melty Lancer is an above average offering from a studio that doesn't impress me. There isn't enough promise in it to get really mad at anything it didn't do or try to do. The goofy CG animation is probably the only thing that really bugged me about this anime. If you are in the mood for a nonsense, mildly absurd action title, or is getting someone else started in anime, Melty Lancer is a nice straight down the middle title that does nothing you haven't already seen.
OVERALL SCORE: 6 out of 10
PROS: Nice English dub, decent action scenes, the Vanessars
CONS: Unoriginal in every aspect, crappy CGI effects, core story means nothing