Reviewby Ken Hargon, Mar 29th 2004
Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer
The Belnar Institute of Tron City trains super-powered fighters, warriors who form an elite commando squad known as the Voltage Fighters. Isato Kaiza, the team's newest star, is destined to become the most powerful fighter in the world. When a new transfer student arrives with a thirst for vengeance against Isato, the whole world is plunged into chaos!
As the industry slowly switched over to the DVD, many anime fans found themselves waiting impatiently for their favorite catalog titles to make it to the new format. Some titles, like Wings of Honneamise or Project A-ko, are met with excitement. Others, like Masami Obari's exploitative train wreck Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer, are rightfully ignored, if not downright scorned. Directed by a man famous for producing sub-par video game-inspired jiggle-fests like Fatal Fury, Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer is one of those series best left rotting away on VHS. Thanks to CPM, however, the show is now preserved for all time on DVD, so future generations of otaku can shut it off in disgust after ten minutes.
The story is your average video game trash pile. We start with a squad of clichéd teenage kids who are training to become ‘voltage fighters’, a sort of elite fighting squad designed to keep the peace in Tron City (I kept hoping that the mayor of Tron City would turn out to be Bruce Boxleitner, but I was denied even that). Isato, the squad's golden boy, is training harder than the others, and is apparently destined to be the ‘most powerful fighter ever’. According to who and by what standards are never explained; he's just the strongest, okay? Someone shows up claiming that he's owed vengeance against Isato for something that happened with his old mentor, and then a whole bunch of stuff happens. Most of it involves fighting and breasts, which is really why the show exists in the first place. The story is a function of the breasts and fighting; if Obari could have gotten away with not having scripted a story and instead just putting giant, bouncing anime breasts on display for 93 minutes, I'm sure he would have.
Of course, the story doesn't really matter. One look at the cover of this DVD will tell you that, and if you're here for the breasts or the fighting (some, dare I say, come for both), you won't be disappointed. The animation on this thing is above average for a mid-90s OVA series, considering the source material. Obari's freakish character designs are brought to eerie, bouncing life, smacking away at each other's torpedo-sized breasts with nigh-admirable fluidity. If you put the show on mute (or perhaps 2x forward), you'll see the best that this show has to offer and spare yourself 93 minutes of totally insulting dialogue.
From a design standpoint, Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer is a misfire from frame one. The costumes these poor kids have to wear look as though they were lifted wholesale from early 90s porn films. The girls wear garish, fluorescent skin-tight vinyl one-piece bathing suit things, sometimes adorned with huge bejeweled shoulder pads and knee-high boots in clashing colors. Tron City is as generic and silly as you can probably get for a science fiction city, resembling the ‘Future’ of 1991's epic comedy adventure Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, minus Keanu Reeves. The result, after all these elements have been mashed together like a child with day-glo finger-paints, is an eyesore that remains unrivaled in its hideousness.
The dub is laughably terrible, but then, so is the dub for all of Obari's other projects, so what did we expect, really? The characters spew forth their awkward, ridiculous dialogue, and not a single line of it is believable or well-delivered. The dub for this series was mixed in a very awkward fashion, with the voice track being raised a little too high over the music and sound effects; the result sounds a lot like what you might get if you got a whole bunch of people with no clue how to act, mix sound or record properly and sat them in a room with a 24-hour deadline to finish the show. It's worth watching to laugh at, but after about five minutes, you'll give up. They all do.
Unless you're a rabid Obari fan and just can't get enough distended, grotesque mammary glands bobbing around in between combat sequences, Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer will turn you off like a foot massage from your sister. Fans of the non-existent, quickly forgotten video game already own this travesty on Laserdisc and probably didn't need a DVD release, so why did CPM see fit to unleash this thing on us again? Did we do something wrong? What are we being punished for? The answers to those questions are, sadly, not answered in the content on this disc.
Overall (dub) : D-
Overall (sub) : D-
Story : F
Animation : A
Art : D
Music : D
+ Decent animation.
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