Battle Arena Toshinden
Fighters from all around the globe gather for a tournament (ever hear that before?). Currently it's been a year since the Toshinden tournament was held. Now a crime organization is building a new fighting force of cyborgs capable of learning moves just by watching them - and they don't even need to look at the directions on the side of the arcade machine. As the former tournament members are hunted down, a few decide to take matters into their own hands before the fight comes to them.
Battle Arena Toshinden is everything that is wrong with anime based off fighting video games. Such games always have a stupid story, but it's not like anyone who plays cares about that anyway. You play fighting video games to fight, and choose characters that have cool moves, their back story doesn't matter. With a basis like that, how could you expect much? But the anime doesn't cover whatever would qualify as a back story, instead it tells a side story assuming you played the game AND even bothered to know what the story was.
In order to stay true to bad fighting game anime, Battle Arena Toshinden feels obligated to insert every character from the game, no matter how badly they fit in. But enough about the crap "story". Mostly this anime is about the characters fighting each other because... that's what they do. There's no real logic behind most fights, but that lack of conflict made it impossible for me to give a damn about it. The fights are nothing amazing. I've never played Battle Arena Toshinden, but I'm assuming you become invincible if you spin a lot since that's how it goes in the anime. But if there were a market for animated characters spinning, you'd see far more ballet anime.
I really didn't like the art style at all, although it's well animated for what it is. The soundtrack is horribly cheesy, to the point where I felt embarrassed watching it, complimented by extremely cheesy dialog typical for such shows. Surprisingly the dub isn't completely terrible. It's not great, but honestly I don't think there was much they could do with such a script.
As an anime made just to be made, Battle Arena Toshinden has no point, nor does it accomplish anything. Play the damn game if you want a story, or even better; invent your own stupid story with a drunk friend, and come up with the most ridiculous dialog possible. You'll have more fun and it will be far better than this garbage.
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reviewed by archen in 1998