Oct 19, 2008
StarfleetCpt (All reviews)
Wow, I'm honestly surprised that this is the first review for M.D. Geist on MAL.

Particularly surprised considering how old, "well-known" and (in)famous this particular one-episode OVA is. M.D. Geist is really not any better or worse than most of the subpar anime series that was released to the U.S. from the early 80's to the early 90's. In some circles, it's particularly infamous but not so much for what it actually is or how bad the story is, but more on that later.

Story: 5 (Medicore)

The story begins in the far future, where humanity has colonized space. One of the planets, Jerra, lost contact with Earth and civil war broke out between a grassroots rebellion and the ruling planetary government. To counteract the rebels, the government created the M.D.S., or Most Dangerous Soldier (yeah, seriously) program, which would create bio-engineered soldiers capable of taking on any mission. The first fully capable soldier from the program, M.D. Geist, was so unstable he was locked away on an orbiting satellite until it crashed into the planet's surface, unleashing Geist upon a divided and war-torn world.

Of course it's easy to make any work sound cliche through a basic, boiled-down premise, but with M.D. Geist, that's all you get. A "twist" thrown in is that Geist is more interested in chaos than actually helping either side establish order, but as any M. Night Shaymalan fan can tell you simple twists wear thin real quick. A legitimate twist does come at the very end, way too late to salvage anything. The story is certainly not going to carry this OVA at best and at worst, is just downright bizarre and disturbing.

Art: 5 (Medicore

And neither is the art style, which as far as I can tell is completely unremarkable compared to contemporary works. There's not much to say about this category, so we're moving on.

Sound: 2 (Dreadful)

The sound or music quality isn't really all that spectacular, but neither is it really all that bad. What really brings it down, however, is the voice acting, which is a nice segue into....

Character: 3 (poor)

Actually, the characterization of Geist isn't all that bad. His voice actor (who is otherwise most notable for providing the voice for background or minor support characters, and sadly passed away a number of years ago) remarkably carries off a tone not unlike Vin Diesel's performance in Pitch Black, perhaps all the more appropriate given just who Geist is. Geist is a very one-dimensional character, but when all you crave is wanton chaos and destruction, it's easy to let that one slip by. However, this all at best makes him a rather average if not interesting character, and the rest of the cast and voice acting is simply dreadful. At the top of the list is Freya, whose character model is actually pretty damn sexy for what we're dealing with, but is a completely flat, unmotivated character whose actions are performed solely to remind the audience that she's not a zombie, and worst of all, her voice actor is just atrocious. Seriously - I had to listen to someone drag their fingernails across a chalkboard as therapy after listening to her grating work. Though at least she probably still had a lot of employment in the past eight years or so - going to places like Abu Grahib and Guantanamo Bay where her voice no doubt provided valuable interrogation work. Geist and Freya are the only two characters the OVA wants you to care about (but not the audience) which probably is the reason why all the other characters to appear are either mind numbingly bland or have bizarre character designs whose only purpose is to remind us of how stupid 80's fashion accessories were. Oh yeah, they also have another purpose - to die horribly.

Enjoyment: 5 (Medicore)

Really, the massive amounts of gore being splattered against everything is probably actually the most enjoyable aspect, and perhaps the only reason why this OVA is worth watching. Otherwise, this work just comes off as bland as everything else in it.

Which gives M.D. Geist an overall score of:

4: Decent

Yup, it's...decent. Just...decent. Come for the blood and guts (you'll probably find it so over the top you just can't help but enjoy it) and admittedly pretty good action scenes, stay for the...well there's nothing to stay for.

Fun facts: This was, bizarrely enough, the favorite anime of John O'Donnell, who happened to be none other than the CEO of Central Park Media, one of the largest distributors of anime in the English speaking world during the 80s and into the early 90s. So enthralled was he with M.D. Geist that he made Geist a part of the logo of CPM at the beginning of every anime intro that was licensed by them and even bought a rare vinyl record of the OST. And in the ultimate show of love for a particular anime, he and CPM funded and commissioned entirely on their own a sequel, M.D. Geist II: Death Force, of which you can read about in my review of that work. More information on both the sequel and John O'Donnell's bizarre love affair can be found at Justin Sakis' "Buried Garbage" column at Anime News Network.