Tuesday, 12 December 2006 20:23

Akane Maniax (OVA, 2005)

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Overview

After the end of Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien, Akane is left in a rather bad mental funk she can't seem to shake. This is confused further by the arrival of Gouda Jouji, who professes his love for her, and it is through his unique perspective much of how he tries to bring her out of her pain and win her that this story is told.

Review

So, can someone tell me this: Where the hell are all the people who know how to deliver a good story?

Let me explain. You know, in anime, I'm getting a little...numb. The stories are often great, but so few have remembered one simple thing: The ending can fuck everything all to shit. It's like having the best mental sex of your life, but then your partner gets up right at just before you get your rocks off...and never comes back, leaving you spiritually blue balled, going, "The FUCK was that?!" The cop out ending (of which there has been and extrordinarily large amount of recently), the crack smoking ending, or just NO ending...all are examples of this.

Akane Maniax is just such an example of this sort of story telling.

Akane Maniax was made for the character of Akane Suzumiya, who was a side character in Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien (which translates to "The Forever You Would Wish For," or something like that).

Let me make one thing clear before I go further. I'm not going to spoil Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien, in fact, I'm going to avoid making any blatant references to that series...and I will never, ever review it. It was based on an H game, and then turned into an anime I'd give 5 stars and a SAMI to, but that's the extent of what I can tell you about it. Those of you who've seen the anime know why I'm not saying anything, and are probably nodding your head in agreement. To those of you who have not seen Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien, I must ask you to not look anything up about it, to not ask your friends who have seen it about it, to not spoil yourselves in any way concerning it. To get the full effect of this anime, you must walk into it pure, and unspoiled.

However, this anime...this anime needs a warning. This anime needs a review. This anime needs its director and/or writer beaten with Excaliborg 'til he dies, which oddly enough, sort of happened.

This anime was really supposed to be about one thing, getting Akane to come to terms with what happened at the end of Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien. It's why it was made...it was the big hug for a beloved character, the shoulder to cry on, the person to laugh with...this anime was made for her; and the person they chose for this mission was Gouda Jouji.

Which is an obvious play on name of the character Daigouji Gai, the mech pilot in "Nadesico" who was so cool, they had to kill him off early in the series. Not only does Gouda share that with Daijouji, he also shares a character design, and the same voice actor. Put bluntly, this over the top, completely insane mech pilot from "Nadesico," has just waltzed into Akane Maniax.

On his first day of school, Gouda comes into his new school, being a transfer student and all, sees Akane for the first time, and quite literally proposes to her straight out.

You gotta love a man like that in anime. He's totally insane, but he sees something worthwhile, like Akane, recognizes her for what she is, and goes to get her. A breath of fresh air in anime, where you have far too many roll-your-eyes putz' who don't know a good thing when they got it...don't even get me started on Harem anime protagonists in this context (or any context, heh). Now, as cool as that is, this is not the way to woo a girl, and she reacts as any sane, rational girl would...with a violent refusal. This does not deter him.

This guy then goes off and tries everything he can to win the girl. The biggest highlight of this anime is watching his internal musings; which are translated into giant space battles with an enemy who is remarkably familiar for those who have seen Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien, and accompanied by two girls who are also familiar. Not to mention, when you see this guy for the first time, there are a couple hundred anime references in that scene alone, and I doubt anyone would be able to count them all.

Thing is, if you look beyond the blatant giant robot anime overtones, and scratch the surface of the battles and dialogs they represent, you'll see a very perceptive person that is Gouda Jouji. He himself doesn't even realize just how perceptive he really is. And it's this unique perception, which allows him to perform the task of pulling Akane out of where she found herself left at the end of Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien. The anime is about Akane, but the main character is Gouda, to be honest.

Honestly, if it had ended at the second OVA episode...I'd have been happy, but they couldn't leave well enough alone. No, there was one question they had to answer, and I can respect that, but then they did something totally insane that...well, you'd only do something like that if you hated the fans, hated the story, hated both, or was suffering complete and total lunacy resulting from any number of factors.

And it wasn't even that entire episode. Maybe the last seven minutes or so. Even the beginning wasn't all that out there, though when you see the end, you realize that the beginning was supposed to be some sort of precursor to this end. The only way this makes any real sense, is if they were trying to tie it back to what the H game was supposed to be like, or if they were going to make this into a harem anime. Either of which is complete and total bullshit when taken in the context of the anime that came before. I mean, what they did might make some sort of weird sense in the context of the game, but in the anime, the character has never shown any inkling of this, the story has never show any inkling of this...and then all of the sudden they drop this on us?

What Akane told Gouda at the end has all the statistical probability of Unicron and Galactus spontaneously appearing between Akane and Gouda and them thumbwrestling to see who gets to suck Darth Vader's dick.

You see, I knew in my heart that Gouda was about to get the shaft from Akane, just as it seemed he'd gotten what he wanted. Ironic, considering what happened to Gai in Nadesico. Anyway, I knew...just KNEW he'd crossed a line he hadn't meant to cross in the second episode. He'd become her brother or her best friend, and I knew he was headed for that speech. Every nice guy now reading this knows what I'm talking about. You find a girl you like, you endear yourself to her, and then she gives you, "I do love you, but you're so much like my best friend and/or little/big brother!" And heaven forbid she gives you the kiss of death by saying, "You're so sweet." After that, every day around said girl is torture the likes of which Cthulhu would flinch from.

I do apologize for bringing up those memories, but that's where Gouda was heading...I could FEEL it in my bones, having been the recipient of similar on occasion.

Let me segue off track for a moment. As a bit of advice to girls who do this, fuck that shit. That's not nice, that's not sweet, and you have no idea how it hurts a guy to hear that when he doesn't like you in that manner. A clean, simple break is what is needed unless you hate the boy that much to put him through hell every time he comes near you from then on. It's the difference between a moment of agony...or an eternity of ache. Understand this, and don't do that shit ever again.

Where was I...ah yes, the Gouda you're so sweet speech. Yeah I figured he was heading toward a train wreck of those proportions, and honestly, it would have angered me, but I could have accepted it. It would have been REAL then. But no, that's not what we get. Instead we get...Akane who tells Gouda...

She can't go with him, because she cannot distinguish her love of Gouda with her love of Takayuki.

This, my readers, is blatantly impossible. There was nothing, absolutely nothing in Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien to hint at this. And after what happened with Takayuki in Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien...for her to harbor such feelings for him would be the height of impossibility and lunacy. It just blatantly cannot happen this way. With this one act, they destroy the entirety of Akane Maniax. Characterisation and consistency just got tossed right in the shitter. After Gouda deals with this loss by becoming a broken man, he winds up falling in love with not one, but two other girls within six hours after this happens...the two other girls within seconds of each other; thus flushing said shitter, and the anime going all the way down the toilet.

Stop at Ep 2. Don't watch ep 3. Ep 3 was the results of someone sniffing too much toner; or perhaps someone's test on his way to becoming a Sith Lord...to instill that much hatred of a story into the story itself...there could be so few reasons for this. That someone approved it is rather hard to imagine. That the voice actors didn't kick up a fuss makes me wonder.

Oddly, the omake at the end with Ayu and Mayu mirrored the anger I felt and what I wished to do with the characters of Akane Maniax and the director as well. I'll let you watch that one, if you wish, but again...it felt good to see after the 'ending' of Akane Maniax.

I'm sorry, this one gets a MISA (Note: an old rating system from "Where No Anime Goes Unpunished). That ending was that destructive of this series. I hope the Japanese fans gave the director and/or writer the whatfor and whynot, cause man...I'd certainly love to.

Character Japanese Actor/Actress
Akane Suzumiya Kaori Mizuhashi
Jouji Gouda Tomokazu Seki
Marimo Jinguuji Ayaka Minami
Chizuru Sakaki Kaho Takayanagi
Yuuko Kouzuki Takako Inaba
Mitsuki Hayase Chiaki Takahashi
Takayuki Narumi / King Iresoryuta Kishô Taniyama
Ayu Daikuuji Kiyomi Asai
Mayu Tamano Kozue Yoshizumi
Haruka Suzumiya Minami Kuribayashi

Additional Info

  • Title: Akane Maniax 〜Nagareboshi Densetsu Gouda〜, アカネマニアックス〜流れ星伝説剛田〜
  • Genre: Drama, Comedy, Epic Fail
  • Director: Tetsuya Watanabe
  • Studio: Silver
  • Format: OVA/ODA
  • Episodes: 3
  • Animation: TOASTY! (+4)
  • Writing: Nuke it from Orbit!! (-5)
  • Pacing: Very Good (+3)
  • Voice Acting: TOASTY! (+4)
  • Soundtrack: TOASTY! (+4)
Last modified on Tuesday, 20 March 2012 23:22

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