Thursday, February 16, 2012

Master of Martial Hearts Anime Review

Master of Martial Hearts
Funimation
Complete Collection - 1 disc
150 mins. - 5 episodes
$34.98 (2010)
$24.98 (2011)
ISBN 704400088469
Japanese/English Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Yoshitaka Fujimoto
Studio - ARMS

Synopsis: Aya Iseshima is just a regular high school girl until she and a friend stumble into a brutal match between two girls in the Martial Heart tournament.  She ends up helping one of the combatants named Miko fight off the crazed attacks of her sadistic oppenent who is dressed as a flight attendant.  Aya is secretly a highly trained martial artist (she takes after her mother who is also a skilled fighter, but retired) and manages to stop the match.  Aya and her friend Natsume befriend Miko and learn about the tournament - a magical jewel exists called the Platonic Heart which grants a wish to the winner of the tournament.  Only women can participate and each girl has a special wish they fight dearly to see fulfilled. 

Miko mysteriously disappears and Aya joins the deadly tournament in order to find her missing friend.  The losers of each match are not only beaten physically, but are never heard from again.  Can Aya survive each successive match against progressively stronger opponents, will she ever see Miko again, and what horrible secret related to her family's past is buried at the heart of the tournament?

The lovely ladies of the Martial Heart tournament
Aya in the center framed by Miko and Natsume
Pros: Lots of fan-service and nudity - literally every battle has the beautiful combatants getting their clothing blown off by body hits, good opening and ending (episode 5) theme songs by Little Non, unexpected shock twist ending was a surprise

Cons: Ending theme song for episodes 1-4 was lame, character designs were generic and/or ridiculous (fighting outfit for teacher was particularly horrible), story was rushed (too short) with no character development
"You punched my shirt off - prepare to die!"
Mike Tells It Straight: You will believe a girl can be undressed by an uppercut!  This show is a generic knockoff of Ikki Tousen with a schoolgirl participating in a battle tournament, but it fails in several key areas.  The character designs and fighter gimmicks were weak (science teacher using molecule elements as fighting move combos was the worst).  Fight scenes were completely unrealistic and bland.  Aya gets her butt kicked across the floor and then manages to pull out a finishing move for the win?  Not bloody likely.

"What!?  Not again!"
The only redeeming qualities were a consistent level of fan-service, naked boobs during every fight, extendedly naked shower scene, and the sadistically evil shock ending.  It came out of nowhere and was highly amusing, especially the final scene. 
Overall a stunningly mediocre series with a few high points and many, many flaws.  It's a brief watch and the ending might be the redeeming factor, but I wouldn't recommend this show very much (especially at the MSRP).  Watch it if you're hard up for fan-service and brief nudity, but many other current shows deliver far better.

TO BUY and Recommendations: