Mars of Destruction is a 2005 OVA based on a Playstation 2 game. Both were brought to us by Idea Factory with the anime being directed by Satou Yoshiteru. The OVA has a really bad reputation, being cited by many as one of the worst anime ever made. But is it really as bad as everyone says? Let’s take a look.
We open in 2010 with a shuttle returning from a mission to Mars getting destroyed. I’m sure that you all remember that tragic event when our brave Mars explorers lost their lives. Because we totally landed people on Mars already. What, did you think that was something planned for the 2030s? Yeah, let’s talk, once again, about setting your near future for a specific date really close to when your work comes out, in this case five years. This has the unfortunate effect of instantly dating your work, especially when the technological capabilities have gone up leaps and bounds in your work. It’s just a bad idea, keep it strategically vague. After that event, we skip to a trio of uniformed girls fighting… the Golems from Zyuranger. That’s kind of random. Although, this anime would have been kind of amazing if Bandora had shown up to sacrifice their souls to Great Satan. Anyway, things don’t go well for the girls as they’re quite incompetent. Fortunately, some whiny kid in a mechanical suit comes to save the day. The group then prepares for a mission that’s sure to come under attack.
I will say, to the series credit, one of the last lines of dialogue does reveal an idea with some merit. Too bad it comes at the very end when no one cares any more. I will, however, also credit the OVA with being mostly harmless. While it’s stupid, rushed and the dialogue is either vapid nonsense or long-winded exposition, it’s not offensive or anything. So, a minuscule amount of credit for not failing as hard as it could have. It still fails pretty badly. The OVA is just boring. It tells its story via exposition dumps and then switches to really tedious action sequences that you have no reason to be invested in.
Calling the cast of this “characters” is pretty charitable. While most of them aren’t actively annoying, unlike the cast of Corpse Party, they also have nothing to them. No personalities, motivations or even real attempts at such. It’s like a six year old put up a bunch of cardboard standees and played with them for twenty minutes before getting bored and deciding to go watch cartoon ponies, or whatever it is small children do.
The art and animation in this are pretty lazy. They recycle scenes, in a twenty minute OVA, and they move at a deliberate low pace in action sequences seemingly to cut down on the frames of animation. Did Idea Factory fund this entirely with a month’s worth of coffee money? The character designs are pretty generic and the facial expressions are very dull. Although, there are some scenes where the bad art is actually kind of funny.
While they did get some talented actors for this, including Nazuka Kaori & Chihara Minori, you would never know to hear them in this. They deliver their lines very listlessly as though they’re talking in their sleep. Maybe they just looked at their scripts and decided that they didn’t need to try or maybe the director just hated emotion and kept having them redo lines with duller deliveries. The music is made up of classical pieces not because there’s a good reason for it, but because they’re public domain. I also have to take a moment to talk about the sound mixing. It can be pretty bad in this, with the music making it difficult to hear the dialogue at times. Although, given the dialogue, that’s probably for the best.
They don’t bother including any. Which is just as well since they’d almost certainly have done nothing good with it.
So, is this one of the worst anime ever? I would have to say no. While it’s certainly a really badly done OVA, it does have some aspects that could have worked if they’d taken some time to develop them and a lot of it is really more boring than egregious. I’ve seen some series where I couldn’t even give them that much credit. Plus, it’s mercifully short at just under twenty minutes long and I’ve seen series that were excessively obnoxious for over twenty episodes. As such, my rating for Mars of Destruction is going to be a 2.4/10. Next week we’ll finish out horror anime month with a look at Shinrei Tantei Yakumo.