Entry updated 3 May 2021. Tagged: TV.
Japanese Original Video Animation (OVA) (1986; 1996; vt M.D. Geist I: Most Dangerous Soldier). Original title Sokihei M.D. Geist. Studio Wave, Zero G-Room. Directed by Hayato Ikeda (in name only) and Koichi Ohata. Written by Riku Sanjo. Voice cast includes Unshō Ishizuka, Kazuhiro Nakata, Akio Nojima, Kaneto Shiozawa, and Noriaki Wakamoto. 40 minutes in 1986; 45 minutes in 1996. Colour.
The colony planet Jerra's civilization has collapsed (see Colonization of Other Worlds; Disaster) due to the War between the Regular Army and the Nexrum rebels. The former had used Genetically Engineered Most Dangerous Soldiers (MDS) in the past, but these had been discontinued, deemed to be uncontrollable. But one, Geist (Wakamoto 1986; Nakata 1996), held in Suspended Animation, is now free. After taking over a biker gang in a ruined City he joins his former commander Colonel Kurtz's (Nojima 1986; Ishizuka 1996) assault on the Brain Palace to prevent the running of the "Final Programme – Death Force", which will kill all life on Jerra. They reach the Palace's control centre and Kurtz, after betraying Geist (whom he considers a dangerous Monster), turns the Programme off – but then Geist kills him and turns it back on. On this twist the OVA ends. This was Ohata's first Anime, and his inexperience showed; though Ikeda was credited as Director, he was there mainly to provide respectability. In 1996 a Director's Cut was issued, in which Ohata corrected some of the flaws and added new material.
The Director's Cut was followed by M.D. Geist II: Death Force (1996; original title Sokihei M.D. Geist 2), a 45-minute OVA, again with Ohata directing and Sanjo writing. The Final Programme's release of the Death Force's face-eating Robots has wiped out most humans, save for a few protected by another MDS, Krauser (Shiozawa), who intends to destroy the Death Force. Geist – who up to this point has been fighting these large insect-like machines – foils the plan and eventually battles Krauser; it is implied, but not confirmed, that both are dead by the close.
Both films are poor examples of Military SF, mainly consisting of fights involving tanks, Mecha, men in Powered Armour and Robots – though all these prove remarkably ineffective against Geist's attacks, even when he is only armed with a knife. Much is left unexplained – Geist's motivations are vague, aggression being his main drive; his absurd machismo could be interpreted as Satire, if that were so clearly not the intention. The animation quality of both films is poor and there is no narrative urgency; though they are action-packed, full of violence, explosions and gore, there is a shortage of real thrills.
The first OVA was not a success in Japan, but subsequently became an anime bestseller in the US, partially due to Geist being the logo of a major US Anime licensor (who commissioned the sequel). Sometimes argued to be "so bad it's good", the production is actually too dull to be so described. There were two Manga spinoffs, one an expansion of the first OVA, the other a prequel to it. [SP]
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