Master of Martial Hearts
On the way home from school, Aya encounters two women fighting in the street. The fight breaks up, and she is introduced to one of the girls named Miko. Miko explains that she's fighting in a tournament called the Martial Hearts that will grant the overall victor one wish. Not long after, Miko disappears and Aya is determined to figure out what happened, and enters the tournament herself. Is this tournament for real? Will it really granted a wish?
As it starts, Master of Martial Hearts feels like fan service overload drowning in its own stupidity. By the end of the opening credits I got the impression the animation was trying hard, but not doing very well. Despite the plot written on 1st grader level, the characters go in depth explaining things which induces severe boredom. Think of a 30 minute lecture about tying your shoes. These scenes are supplemented by Aya lamenting over the tournament thing, and broken up by fight scenes. The fights are terribly rendered, horribly choreographed and often just dumb. Each of the combatants has a job, which is used to serve up uniform/outfit fetish material. As the punches and kicks land, clothing explodes. At the end, the losers boobs are exposed as a consequence. Caughing up blood is another cheesy factor in this one. It's shoots out of their mouth in one big hack, then they're no worse for wear. One of the dumbest scenes in anime involves a guy tied to a telephone pole strung with plastic explosives. Aya kicks the rope off of him and into the air before it explodes. Kicks off the rope!
Character relationships are weak in all aspects: friendships, unrequited love interest, the whole 9 yards (although this is explained in the last episode). Worse still, the music tries to force emotion and an atmosphere that simply isn't there. This is what you endure for 4 out of 5 episodes.
Now then, I'm going to take a breather here, and try to explain this as best I can. It's going to be tough though, because giving away a surprise ending would be like crushing a kid's Christmas morning. Master of Martial Hearts looks dumb enough to be based on one of those fighting games (although it's not), and I was dreading the end of the ordeal. It's like the animation studio also realized it was dumb, but only after animating 4 of the episodes. Their fix was to turn the script for the final episode over to the biggest conspiracy theory, tin foil hat wearing paranoid person in all of Japan. He is also a total freaking genius. In car terms, the story of Master of Martial Hearts goes from zero to awesome in under one episode. I have never seen so many plot twists in one episode of anything. And it's seriously messed up!
I won't say the last episode was great, but I liked it because it was crazy and totally unexpected. And it's probably the most EVIL final episode in all of anime, which is why the story scores weak instead of "bad" like the rest of this title deserves. For an OVA that sucked so bad, I give Master of Martial Hearts credit for at least trying. Unfortunately the rest of the show is so bad (and yes you would have to watch the rest) that I couldn't justify recommending watching this just to see a wacky ending. I'd recommend avoiding this one..
If you're seriously planning on watching this, don't look up any spoilers.
Maid1: Oh my goodness. She's wearing that?
Maid2: Yes... the legendary cat ears!
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reviewed by archen in 2011