Ice is a yuri OVA from 2007. It was brought to us by the studio, PPM. There was also a fairly short novel that was published shortly before the anime was released. I don’t know much about the OVA or the studio behind it. All I can tell you is that the creator, Akimoto Yasushi, is also the producer of the idol group AKB48 and some members of that group do act in this. This OVA also has a bit of a negative reputation. So let’s take a look and see if that’s well-deserved.
In the not too distant future, probably next Sunday AD, all men have been wiped out. Some of the women who remain, the Kisaragis have taken up a hedonistic lifestyle, while waiting for humanity’s extinction. Meanwhile, another group called the Guardians seeks a piece of technology called “Ice” to try to save humanity from extinction. The narrative covers a major clash between these two groups and their ideals.
Right from the beginning, the premise fails. Because the human race could continue just fine without us men. Yeah, there’s a way to use one woman’s ovum to fertilise another’s. There’s also current research into a way to artificially create sperm from bone marrow, which they have done in laboratory conditions, but it’s still in the developmental stages (even moreso when this was written) so we can excuse them for not using that one. We see that this futuristic world has advanced technology and records from the former era, so why exactly aren’t they just going to use the ovum method? Sure, it would take infrastructure that we don’t currently have, but we see that the Guardians are expending resources in their search for ice, so wouldn’t it be easier and more certain to just develop the infrastructure for the sensible, proven method? No, instead they spend their time looking for this substance that works in a completely nonsensical fashion. Incidentally, we’re supposed to start development of this stuff in 2019, if the date written on the papers they have for it is any indication. I would talk about the issues that arise from setting opening events for your post-apocalyptic future too close to the present, but this series was hopelessly dated when it was written just based on the flawed premise so it doesn’t matter.
There are other issues with the story too. It includes pointless skips to other time periods that offer nothing of value to the plot. Seriously, these scenes just waste time that could have been better spent developing the scenario. The romance is also pretty bad in this. Our leads, Hitomi and Yuki, meet by coincidence, Yuki instantly falls for Hitomi but gets shot down. Their relationship is never actually developed from there. Hitomi just starts warming up to Yuki for no real reason and it’s really stilted. It’s almost like they should have spent more time naturally developing things between them rather than showing other time periods for stupid reasons. The events also don’t flow well and the ending is rubbish.
In a well-written work, you can have a group of characters who aren’t sympathetic and still have it be compelling. In Ice, you have no investment. First off, there’s no one to root for. The Kisaragis are a group of idiots who think that science is evil. The Guardians are idiots who come up with convoluted plans but haven’t bothered to think about them, or to think in general really. We’re supposed to side with Hitomi and Yuki, who, theoretically,stand as emissaries between these two inane viewpoints, but it doesn’t really work because Yuki is a vapid twit and Hitomi is a bland prude who has a problem with women having sex with each other, in an all female society. She really needs to just get laid and get that cliched chip off her shoulder. The second reason is just that these characters range from dull and one-dimensional to bombastic and one-dimensional. There’s no complexity present.
The art can be lazy at times. With both the Guardians and Kisaragis having a legion of silver-haired clones. Except that the Kisaragis put theirs in silly hats. That being said, some of the future tech looks interesting and the action sequences are pretty decent. Clones aside, the character design is okay.
The performances in this vary a lot. Some people, like Minagawa Junko & Mamiya Kurumi are pretty good. There are also weak performances from people like Kasai Tomomi and Ono Erena. On one hand, they were pretty young when they did this and they’re singers, not actors. On the other hand, Studio Ghibli frequently uses young actors to great effect. Furthermore, there are plenty of fantastic actors who can also sing really well. As such, those factors really aren’t much of an excuse. They don’t emote well in this nor does their dialogue ever sound natural. Ishida Akira is also dreadfully miss-cast in this. He gives an over the top performance as Julia, the leader of the Guardians and she doesn’t sound remotely like a woman. I kept expecting them to reveal that she was actually a guy but no, she’s not. She just sounds like she is. Ishida Akira is a great actor and has a good amount of range but he can’t pull off a ciswoman and this is definitely the worst performance I’ve ever ever heard from him. The music is pretty strong, though.
For a yuri anime, Ice really shies away from yuri content. You have statements about girls sleeping together and there’s a scene where you see Julia surrounded by naked girls, although you won’t see her touch any of them. Seriously, they’re just awkwardly posed around her. The most we get from our heroines is an awkward hug at one point. So, there you have it. You can see a hug and hear some yuri statements. It probably won’t do much for you if you were seeking out a yuri series.
Ice was going to be damaged by its premise regardless of execution. However, really good story-telling and characters could have still mostly salvaged it. Unfortunately, we don’t get either of those things. We get a mess of a plot with a trite group of characters. It doesn’t help that the art is lazy and the acting ranges from okay to horrendous. It is a really bad piece. My final rating is going to be a 2/10. I would not suggest watching it. Next week, I’ll look at Uchuu Kyoudai.