Saturday, December 15, 2012

Birth: A War of Two Worlds! Anime Review

Birth: A War of Two Worlds!
Planet Busters or The World of the Talisman
ADV Films
Movie - 85 mins. - 1 disc
$24.98 (2004)
ISBN 9781578132959
Japanese/English Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Shinya Sadamitsu
Studio - Idol/Kaname Production

Synopsis: The planet Aqualoid was once a prosperous planet, but now it's a post-apocalyptic wasteland due to the arrival of the Inorganics.  They have one mission - to destroy organic life in the universe, starting with the higher life forms.  The Inorganics are not unopposed and a powerful weapon is forged - the SHADE!  This weapon takes the shape of a sword and falls to the surface of Aqualoid.
Rasa and her little yellow friend Monga
Living amid the ruined wasteland of their once proud home are Nam and Rasa.  The pair scrounge a living as scavengers, mercenaries, or bounty hunters.  Rasa is a beautiful, but clumsy girl who always manages to get into yet miraculously escape trouble.  Nam is a hot-headed scrapper who discovers the SHADE in a meteor crater.  He briefly meets the astral projection of a beautiful woman named Arlia.  The arrival of the mystical sword attracts the attention of every Inorganic on the planet and soon Nam is fighting for his life.
Our hapless group (from left) - Bao, Rasa, Monga (on Rasa's shoulder),
Arlia (top), Nam, and Kim
Rasa meets up with him and they are joined by two of their mercenary friends - Captain Bao and his ship's mate Kim.  Bao is hopelessly in love with the shapely Rasa and quickly commits to defending her against the Inorganic threat.  The SHADE represents a counter-balance to the Inorganics and they will throw every resource after gaining possession of it.  This effort includes massive Inorganics the size of city blocks and even small moons.
Nam attempts to get the SHADE to work properly
The odds are quickly stacked against our small band of plucky fighters and hope seems lost when Bao remembers a doomsday device stashed on Aqualoid which could save the day.  Will our group risk destroying the entire planet as a last ditch effort to save themselves from the relentless Inorganics?  Can Nam figure out how to use the SHADE's power in time?
Nam does some deep thinking with the SHADE in his hand
Pros: High-flying action scenes with crazy camera angles - pretty impressive for animation from 1984, Rasa is shapely and shows off her butt through most of the show, Rasa's little critter friend Monga is kinda cute

Cons: Animation is rough (this was made in 1984 after all) and very inconsistent, characters are pretty annoying - especially Bao who seems like a randomly idiotic moron, dub is terrible, mecha designs for the Inorganics are pathetic - they look vaguely like shapeless Zakus (from Mobile Suit Gundam), Inorganic bikers are ridiculous - the little kid one is supremely lame, ending is totally nebulous and unsatisfying
An immature little Inorganic biker causes some major trouble
Mike Tells It Straight: Birth has a pretty good sci-fi premise, but never really capitalizes on its potential.  I love a good post-apocalyptic story versus a group of blood-thirsty machines and can dig the old-school animation style, but this show was pretty pathetic.  The characters are one-dimensional with zero development, mecha designs for the Inorganics are horrible, and the plot goes absolutely nowhere with a lame ending.  Rasa and her shapely butt seem to be the only draw for this show and be warned - it's not worth it.  I was grossly disappointed with Birth - don't waste your money.
Rasa rides on her saucer skiff while Monga holds on tight
Birth was obviously a high-concept experiment back in 1984 with some great chase scenes (the camera movement is ambitious even for today).  A lot of sketchy and interesting animation, but the story seems to be of secondary interest (or ability) to the creative team.  The plot is simple, but not well-portrayed and story resolution is fuzzy at best.  I understand the nostalgia factor for this show which was released by Harmony Gold as The World of the Talisman and later as Planet Busters.  The story, dialogue, and music were changed in the previous releases, but ADV's version is more faithful to the original.  Well, the original apparently sucked and fans of the previous releases will be disappointed.

TO BUY and Recommendations: