Note: I re-reviewed this anime in 2018. Please disregard this original review.
Disclaimer: This post is contains images that are NSFW, because what it is a review of, is also NSFW. Why? Because the show does not care, and why should I?
Now, I don’t know where this show came from, I just heard about it back when I was big into That Guy With The Glasses last summer, and watched through this thing after hearing that it was noisome. And there is no way to say this other than, yep, it is pretty much the worst show I have ever seen. If not the worst product of entertainment I’ve ever seen for sale, let alone get localized. But, explaining why it is bad will require a deeper deconstruction, meaning this review will be long. So enjoy your Christmas with this repugnant gift that keeps on giving!
Master of Martial Hearts Review
Studio: Arms Corporation and Funimation
Length: 5 30 minute episodes
Availability: Just find an “illegal” stream, it is not worth owning
Before I begin, I must address that I can not bring up the surface level of everything that is wrong with this show. But to do that I’ll need to talk about nearly everything that happens just so I can simulate just how bad it gets. But first, I want to talk about the whole translation business, and Funimation’s role in this show.
Now, I have no clue where this show even came from in Japan, but apparently Funimation picked it up, where they got talented people to work on it. From the fact that the head writer of this translated version was Eric Vale, the guy who head wrote the English Version of Baccano!. A show that captured my adoration for the 1930s aesthetic, and had such a solid writing job done that I forgot it was a non-american production.
To the fact that Trina Nishimura, although she used the alias of Anita Neukar. Lucci Christian, Cherami Leigh, Shelley Calene, Sonny Strait, Brittney Karbowski, Alexis Tipton, Lindsay Seidel, Anthony Bowling, and Paul Slavens. All lended their voice talents to this. And, yeah, they all did a good amount of stuff, and they were good in most of what little of their work I’d seen.
Now, I will not address the voice work in here. Why? Because I doubt Eric Vale gave two shakes, seeing as how there are lines like, “For the rest of my life, today will be known as Making Friends Day!”, “Isn’t the obvious? I am the law, and you’re my catch.”, “I’m leaving your breakfast in the refrigerator next time, it’s getting cold.”, “Because they’re the enemy.”, and, my favorite “That maid has cat ears and a tail. I’m a slave to her beauty… I believe I can make this cute cat eared miad pur only for me.” No, this isn’t a comedy, it wants to be a tragic drama. And no voice actor could deliver these lines well in anything that wasn’t a comedy.
Beyond that, most of the dialog is stiffly delivered and poorly worded. Almost like they did the bare minimum to make it presentable. Resulting in a show where I could retort back to every line that is not exposition or just something very simple, like “Hey, Haruki.” Yet, this still goes beyond into things that just look incompetent.
With terms like, “Finals” and “Semifinals” not being said properly. Along with one obvious scene where the main character forgets one of her friend’s names after saying it about 20 times before. Hello, second cut? Oh wait, they probably Ed Wood this entire process, and any take was a good take. Also, “In half hour” is not a phrase that can ever be used in the English language without another word being interjected between the two.
And I know I normally shove the visuals to the end, but I must explain just how stilted and lifeless this show looks. From some of the most generic designs I can imagine, representing a sheer lack of creativity. Especially when, based on another review I read, the character designer is normally pretty good. I mean, the most interesting design description I can come up with are things like, “stern-looking Mother figure with glasses and tilted brown hair”. Being generous, that is ten words, and I’d be stumped to give more. And they don’t have any real purpose, the only reason why the first antagonist introduced is wearing a flight attendant uniform, is because it was the most creative idea they had. “Long haired psychic in red dress, holding a crystal ball” and “Maid with a magical girl vibe” being close seconds.
While the actual animation looks like something made in some free anime-maker program, or by a team of three guys who were trying to get the bare minimum product out before lunch. Probably a mix of two. Seeing as how the only things I like about the animations are how, sometimes the expressions are so baffling as to telling what the characters are feeling, that I find it to be pretty darn funny if it wasn’t attached like a second hand to an arm. And I liked the scene where a character ate a burger in one bite, because it was before the series decided that cuteness is stupid.
Oh sure, the backgrounds are pretty well done, but they are a bit too detailed for the characters, and really look misplaced after a while. But that gets no points, because they just took a photo and drew over it, as is the norm for anime. Or the backgrounds could be some of the worst fire effects I’ve ever seen after being relatively featureless. Oh, and the show just loves, and I mean adores, the notion of women getting their clothes punched off, while their bodies still remain the same flawless shape. Making me think the entire show is just “Soft-hentai”. Which, considering the plot’s eventual progression, is downright vile. Especially when you consider it happens to a high school girl at least once every episode
Oh, and the music. I actually do not think it is all that bad, but the only tracks that I recall were happy. Which fits like the Egg song playing during the climax of an action film, while being no fun. After the first episode attempts humor, and succeeds in one visual gag, everything else is an absolutely woeful downturn into the utmost levels of the purest disgust that I have ever felt for the mere act of viewing something. All amplified by the beginning theme being some utterly obnoxious J-Pop, because the singer sounds so bored through the song. Here is a sample of the intro, if you’re curious. Not that bad, but after 5 listenings, it just made everything worse. That, and the panties they show with the glee of a horny fourteen year old with brain damage fapping while on the Tele.
Oh right, the fact that this show adores nudity. Now, I will avoid mentioning how during every battle, the main character punches the clothes off the people, leaving them naked. But only after she gets hit down to her pantied and bra, which are completley untouched. And, not giving away much, it is some of the most un-erotic stuff I have ever seen. Owing from minor things like the light pink pea-sized nipples, to how the bodies still find ways to glissen after being brutalized. Oh, and naturally healing right up, because the audience wouldn’t remember things like that. Just like they won’t notice how the breasts keep changing sizes, ranging from EE to HH, because they’re trying to 1-up Eiken? .
But, even forgiving that, the very structure of this storyline is intolerable levels of baffling. But, I’ll try to explain it. So, if something sounds just wrong, I’m actually not doing an overly bad job at summarizing everything that happens. I’m just going to be really in depth for the beginning and end, because the middle just maintains the constant flow of being rank, and because this review is already, what? Seven pages long?
The show kicks off with a battle between a woman who, for no reason other than a lack of creativity, is in a flight attendant uniform, fighting a stereotypical Shrine Girl, who is named Miko, which literally translates to Shrine Girl. Wow, do I even need to make a comment? However, after the stewardess throws Miko into a car, which barely grazes her, and nearly crushed her skull with a handbag that somehow hides four foot long spikes. Our school-girl protagonist, Aya, “I’m an insecure idiot” What’s-her-face comes in and wrecks the flight attendant up, somehow punching off her blouse. Oh, and she has a friend named Natsume, she does nothing other than act like what the brain defaults as “teenage friendly girl”. And does utterly nothing until the end other than, “Supporting” Aya by existing.
Uh-huh… Do I even need to say anything? Other than I believe it was a face hit that destroyed the blouse, and the woman was, as far as I could tell, not wearing a bra. According to Miko, she and the other woman were battling for something known as the Martial Heart. Which is just a Macguffin that symbolizes one wish, and is only important because it is half the title, and sounds like Martial Arts. Even though the actual combat in the show is short, slow, boring, and very choppily animated, making me wonder why they’d advertise it as such, probably for bad reasons. I mean, I only think about 15 or so minutes of this show is actual fighting, and that’s being generous. Not that it is taboo to do something like that, but when there are nine fighters, I would expect there to be some remotely decent combat.
Also, the tournament does not follow any actual rules as far as I can tell. Just Knock Out the other woman after you punch her top off. You can use syringes, blades, wrenches, metal gloves, and even cars to take out your opponents. Oh, and forming teams to have a 3-on-1? Totally okay! Although, Aya does manage to take everyone out in, what, four hits max? Either way, the show then throws a hammer into the suspension of disbelief. Not the notion that these girls would not report a crazy armed woman with blades throwing a Shrine Maiden into a car. Or the whole poorly explained Martial Hearts nonsense. But the fact they then go to their normal hang-out, McMoes… McMoes… Someone actually wrote, “The newly formed trio then go to McDonalds, except it is called McMoes. Where Miko(Name TBD) eats an entire burger in one bite.”
I don’t even think I need to explain this! You might say it is a cultural difference, but I say that is a load! And I don’t even know what exactly Moe means, but I doubt anyone would eat at a place like this. Or is this just a world that is trying to be an absurdist reality? Because it is presented to be fully normal. Either way, it continues with Miko talking about how, during her 19 years, she was always an outcast, and up until recently, Aya was one as well. And because of that, “For the rest of my life, today will be known as Making Friends Day!” But why did Miko have no friends? She was weird… What, you wanted more? Well, it isn’t much worse than Aya’s excuse of punching everyone who got near her friends back in Junior High… All that I am saying is fully accurate…
However, the act of making friends was apparently a wish that Miko desired enough to risk her life. And because she got it, and decided to drop out of the tournament, she was abducted, and seemingly removed from all reality. All while Aya received an invitation to the Martial Heart, decided to be a complete moron by going alone, at night, to a dark area, where she would try and get her friend back, who she has no obligation to, and does this out of the goodness of her heart. Which, yes, makes her dumb, but she’s doing the right thing. And, despite being given tons of money to buy supplies for the tournament, that is never mentioned again, she fights with her bare hands and knocks out opponents. Instead of going to a black market and buying a pistol, which would be okay as far as the “rules” are concerned.
Keep all of that in mind, because the original writers sure didn’t. She is invited into the tournament, and is doing this to get back someone she barely knows from ones who assault her right from the get-go, often calling her a slut. Why? I haven’t the slightest idea? She mostly is in her school uniform and is in relatively modest clothing otherwise. Perhaps owing to the fact that she is after her best friend’s brother, Haruki. Who was tied up as a hostage by Ms. Flight Attendant, which, you guessed it, is never referred to again.
But after a few half-assed punches, the antagonist falls after saying how Miko is in the Underworld, I mean the Otherverse, I mean the Shadow Realm, I mean the Dark Realm, I mean- wait, it was Dark Realm? Seriously? We can have nudity, but not something akin to hell? I mean, they refer to tits as “chests”, and the language never gets more harsh than bitch. Which is uttered after one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen animated, but I’ll get to that.
For the sake of preventing this from going on as long as the 12 pages of notes I took about this show, I’ll just coast through the next three episodes. From one of the most shameless pedophiles I have ever seen. And the provider of the most horrendous image I could ever use to describe the medium intersecting with one and other. A lot of horrible panty shots that show the vagina-line, even the basic school skirt barely hides them, as if the intro wasn’t a good enough indication. Leaps and contradictions in minor rules. For example, the school suspending students for a week for being late three times in a month. While taking a day off to play hookey? That’s not good, but okay in small doses!
A fight scene being outside of a dock, where guards should be able to see everyone. In a pool where there is no security, and noone helps, just tries to call Aya a slut, because of reasons. And in a public area at about seventeen hours(5 PM), where no one is even seen in the background. Also, the police apparently being a non-entity, unless the original writer thought that they should bring it up.
But it still continues with things like, a trio of sisters who are, a slutty police woman, a slutty nurse, and some chick rocking the Geisha garb with no bra, acting as an alliance. Which is never explained, at all. Trying to recruit Aya, which is contradicted by, well, everything happening in this entire show to be futile within itself. A battle that is based on a character yelling out chemical compounds, and Aya needing to remember her chemistry to know what she’d need to dodge, but she just punches her instead. A truly pointless battle with a mechanic that takes up two minutes, and only shows that everyone gets massive girl-wood from calling Aya a slut, before she is removed from all of the show.
A pool scene where Aya is worried about looking like the girlfriend of someone who she wants to have as her boyfriend, while pressing her boobs together. The aforementioned Geisha character changes clothing mid-fight with no transition, from a black floral garb to a plain beige one. Right before her and her unrelated “sisters” all die, except not really, because symbolizing their death as drowning clearly means that they lived.
Oh, and their little “critique” of Otaku culture in Japan? A Magical Girl who is also a maid, who people pay to see beat up other women while singing in a voice that makes me wish someone would punch a tooth out of the VA. Is apparently something that is the second most attractive thing to them, while a high schooler who is trying to keep her clothes from falling off, is gross. That is, until she puts on her Neko-Maid costume, in a scene that would be hilarious, except for how mean spirited it is. And in case you forgot, “That maid has cat ears and a tail. I’m a slave to her beauty… I believe I can make this cute cat eared miad pur only for me.”
Let’s not forget how the Mother of Natsume and Haruki, is mute, which is introduced in a scene that does not utilize any noticeable audio cues to signify how, after a good 15 years, she still has a massive neck would that is red, and she does not use anything like, I dunno sign language? Oh, they mention it, but never bothered to show it. Because using a mute character and developing her story would be dumb. Oh, and mutes can’t scream, right? Course they don’t. What, are you dense, you retarded or something?
But, all of that, and everything in this show, is metaphorically pooped on by the final episode. During with final horribly themed battles, a psychic reads into Ayas mind, where she learns that Aya was never doing this for her friend’s sake, and just wanted her own self-satisfaction, and always had. In fact, she has been living a lie for her entire life. And because of this, in her obvious “hypocrisy” of acting to help another human, while not doing it just so they feel good, but so she can feel some satisfaction as well. She “proves” how humans are rubbish, which sounds utterly moronic coming from the mouth of another human.
Now, I’d like to grant you a scenario where a man desires to be a king in order to be remembered through history. If, once he becomes a king, he rules with a stern fairness that helps lead to several treaties, an expanded landmass, better trade routes, economic stability, and an overall higher status of living. Does that still mean he is a bad person because his intentions were not right? No! Just because one person doesn’t do the right thing for the right reasons does not make them some inherently awful person! Let alone one who hides their true intentions. Using that to manipulate people is pretty dirt, but Aya never does that, nor does she imply that she was going to. And all of this said with some semblance of being philosophical and deep about the human condition, when you are promoting something that does not make any goddamn sense!
Seriously, doing something out of the goodness of one’s heart is an illogical idea that nobody actually follows. They do it so they can get joy from spreading it to others. Yet, they are apparently “hypocrites” for doing that? However, Aya, being an idiot, and cementing that fact for me, now and forever! Decides that she is right, and that she is indeed a being of pure evil, and one that should go kill, and despite no foreshadowing to speak of, is clearly “evil”. Yeah, she’s so “evil” for desiring to have “evil” intentions and being “evil” doing so, and for “evilly” attacking the saints that were the opponents, who justly attempted to prevent her from going after her clearly evil desire to bring back a friend she “evilly” obtained. And after she “evilly” tried to survive, she “evilly” fought back, being so “evil”! Why? because she is just “evil”, she showed it before by all the “evil” stuff she did, like being “evil”! And “evil”, “evil”, “evil”, “evil”, “evil”, “evil”! Because “evil”!
That is what watching the final episode felt like anyhow. But it becomes all the more amazing how Aya buys all of this and views herself as evil, even though human being do not, and are pretty much unable to, view themselves as “Evil”. But, the entire notion almost becomes insulting after we get the reason for the lack of reasoning, other than some horrendous story writers. It turns out that the team of Miko, who was never dead, or in the Dark Realm by the way, she just lied and managed to hide all her info because she can. And that she teamed up with Natsume and Haruki so they could get revenge on Aya for… Nothing…
It turns out that this entire plot of the Martial Heart was just to get Aya to defend herself in situations she was too stupid to not participate in, in order to awaken her inner evil that, aside from about five minutes, is never mentioned again. Making me presume that the Psychic actually made her think that she was evi, right before she punched the psychic until blood came around her body. But what broke me when I first saw this show was when they showed what happened to people who lost this tournament. Namely how they become Retarded Sex Slaves whom they intend to sell to businessmen who desire the best women, namely martial artists who, even while retarded could still kick their asses.
Sorry, did I make this clear? For losing in the tournament, you lose all your sense of self and mind, with only a pathetic husk of a person left behind. While the head of the tournament see nothing wrong with this because they were “losers”. Now, according to Natsume, Miko, and Haruki, every individual in the tournament had a good reason to fight, namely a shoehorned in family explanation that they don’t even bother giving to most of them. While Aya tried to go after her valid reason to enter, despite being invited to participate.
Aya is being told that she awful for indirectly turning these women into sex slaves. By the people who turned them into sex slaves. The ones who drugged their minds until they lost any semblance of intelligent thought, and killed themselves, while keeping their bodies alive as things that are not human. No, writers, you need to have the biggest brass balls in the world to think that you can present these people as ones who are on equal ground as Aya! Also, the most moronic brains that I have ever seen to write a story. By the very levels of fan-fiction, I have never seen a plot stoop this low!
Well, I don’t know for sure, because of a subplot involving an organization, and the final taking place in a giant building for said organization, and there being two Harukis. And maybe the other one did that, and he also wanted to turn Aya into one by putting her through all this, because nearly dying make a girl horny. Yeah, if you can’t follow this, I can’t either! Especially when the reasoning for one side of this is given.
Why is Aya really “evil”? Her parents arranged a tournament called the Martial Heart 15 years ago, and Natsume’s and Haruki’s parents were involved, along with their aunt, and Miko is Aya’s half sister, and it does not matter, since it has been going on for an infinite amount of time! All amounting to an absolutely depressing mean-spirited mess that could not end sooner or more fittingly by fading to black as a mute mother stabs pictures of someone who is “evil” based on her genes, is confronted by that “evil” one. Who wants revenge after she lost literally everything she ever valued in life, seeing as every other character introduced was caught in a blazing inferno. And I can only hope that every character in this show was dead. The story was over, but I just want everyone involved in this to burn! The mere idea of them living makes me feel like coughing up a cup’s worth of sick.
Not only is the plot over its head, gives up, and then tries to end by being artsy without bothering for any audio cues. But the entire story build up for it is so poorly contrived that the mere act of listing it made me want to just abandon this project, so I would not need to think about it any more. Hell, calling this a story is almost like an insult to the very idea. Nothing is gained, nothing is learned, and no emotions other than disgust are felt.
On top of being one of the most poorly crafted shows in terms of an overall narrative focus, let alone one that follows any real reasoning half the time. I can not recall a time when I witnessed such blatant and disgusting teasing to an audience that, quite frankly, is being insulted by something like this. Sure, I liked a few expressions, while the backgrounds and some music are okay on their own. But as a singular entity, I can, without a doubt in my mind, declare that, “Master of Martial Hearts is the worst piece of media that I have ever seen labeled as entertainment. And if there is something worse, I never want to hear so much as a peep about it.” Whoever was in charge of this product, I hope you lead a life of hardship where you amount to nothing, and are remembered by none, not even your own family. I hope the ones who had faith in this product, or even defended it lead bad lives. I hate this show that goddamn much! I know that is stupid, but this is my exception to my rule of note hating things that are entertainment.
Merry Christmas. I’ll have something better for you tomorrow
(0/7) Utter Rubbish
All bad, all the time, often getting comically so, except you are left sad by the end. Not even worth looking into, but probably will be looked into because it gets attention for being so tripe.