You’d think I’d have learned my lesson by now that anything Chii recommends that is followed by “bwahaha” is a *bad* idea. Firing up Apocalypse Zero on a whim after an indirect recommendation, I knew it was going to be bad; the first scene opens with a bespectacled guy wearing nothing but his glasses and a loin cloth whilst battling a deformed bear in the midst of a snowstorm. What makes things worse is that the show only goes downhill from here.
Set in a future world one may call apocalyptic (hey, maybe that’s where the title is from!), humankind struggles to survive against an onslaught of deformed beasts and monsters. Luckily, panty/beast-slaying/geek man is on hand to protect the virtue of a selection of poor, downtrodden students that struggle to attend school on a daily basis. Why kids need to brave the ferociously wild plains to attend a reasonably pointless class is beyond me, but I digress. What is more important is that our mostly naked hero Kakugo, aided by his super armour formed from the spirits of previous warriors, battles against various creatures that come in various forms of “so unsexy it’s sexy”. Using various protrusions and inventive excuses to molest their victims, these monsters are unforgettable if nothing else.
When I say unforgettable, what I actually mean is that images will be burned onto the back of your retinas for a long time to come. Take for example a large lady with enormous breasts, a spiked thong and a protruding “panty beard” that crushes young women whilst playfully seducing young boys by eating their faces. If that doesn’t float your boat, then maybe a wrinkly old man in a loincloth, whose penis turns into a giant snake will. Twinned with these over the top monstrosities is a fair amount of gore; skin is graphically flayed from flesh, blood pours from every orifice as a body is brutally crushed and special moves cause various necessary organs to exit via the mouth. Elfen Lied has nothing on this puppy.
Take a moment to overlook the onscreen grotesquery, and there is actually a tale of betrayal, ambition and family ties. Sadly, the writers are far more concerned with making Apocalypse Zero as sickening as possible to devise anything cohesive, and thus the two-episode OVA resigns itself to the realms of laughably trite.
It is not often I feel that I could do better than a trained artist, especially in anime. An exception to this rule is Apocalypse Zero: a show that makes anything with Go Nagai’s name attached to it look like a Rembrandt creation. Facial proportions vary from frame to frame as most time and attention seems to have been focussed on either saggy boobs, vagina dentata or a tribute to Scanners with numerous exploding heads. The graphic bloodshed becomes a yawn-fest, as severely mutilated corpses drag themselves along with the vague hope of salvation or shards of ice penetrate the bodies of unsuspecting guards.
For the age of this OVA, the backdrops are surprisingly detailed and use an appropriately drab palette to emphasise the abused landscapes. However, my main visual concern is for that of Harara’s gender; addressed as a male, the enormous breasts and svelte body made me think a transgender operation could well have been involved in the intensive ass-kicking training...
Apparently, there were opening and closing tracks – I can’t say I noticed. With the frequency and intensity of the onscreen antics, something as inconsequential as background music is easy to overlook. Surprisingly, there are some big names amongst the seiyuu, including Cowboy Bebop’s Kouichi Yamadera. Subtly sexy and always commanding, Kakugo’s voice actor is certainly able; however a terrible and cliché script makes for awkward delivery, even from a seasoned expert. With a wailing banshee voicing the lead female, each cast member turns out as unintentionally amusing as the next.
Taking the centre stage, Kakugo is an exceptionally unlikely hero. Looking more akin to a basement dwelling geek than a traditional hero, the guy sent to save the day is blessed with a rushed history that leaves the viewer feeling somewhat distant from the main character. There is no full explanation as to the whys or wherefores of the siblings chosen to save humankind, and as such their aloof attitudes make them difficult to sympathise with. Wearing the pants of “overall bad guy”, Harara is the dark half of the Hagakure brothers. Large breasted and featuring feminine, manicured nails, the evil freak doesn’t so much strike fear into the heart as make you wonder why on earth you bothered to even start watching.
What pushes Apocalypse Zero into the category of “so bad, it’s good” are the numerous villains. Although they have no real motivation, development or realistic killer moves, the protagonists serve as the highly flammable fuel that makes the show burn brightly as god-awful entertainment. For example, a busty demon nurse seduces three young penis-tongued youths, only to dispose of them as they begin to think with the wrong heads. Crazy? Yes. Funny? You betcha!
The following is as ridiculous as it sounds, which is why I had to scrawl what I thought about it.
Man with seemingly impenetrable bio-armour fights to protect the innocent from a host of villains, which includes his brother, errr sister, errr brother. Not to be missed: the dragon-headed pork sword, massively oblong fun bubbles, and perfectly sculpted moobs. Need I say more?
With artistic stylings reminiscent of some of the best animation that Japan has to offer, Apocalypse Zero actually manages to create a vivid experience for the viewer. Sure, the lines aren’t crisp, and the colours are a bit muddy, but the character designs and post-apocalyptic scenery more than make up for it. The Zero armour also received extra attention, the small, accented details in its muscular structure and the fluidity of its movement making the blood splattering punishment it dishes out all that much more entertaining. In any sensible review, the animation is likely to one of two remotely redeeming factors; there is simply no other place to find such outlandishly conceived villains.
Not surprisingly, the acoustic accompaniment is usually either absent or indistinct. Seriously lacking in emotion, any background noise simply serves to detract from the voice acting. The ED follows suit, sounding exactly like you’d expect to hear from one of thousands of direct-to-dvd animations: drab, unoriginal and irrelevant with respect to the tone of the previous hour of animation. In addition to the animation, it’s safe to say that the voice acting could also receive a passing grade. The villains sound just as twisted as their contorted bodies look and Kakugo’s voice is filled with the determination of a man seeking vigilante justice.
When it comes to villains, everyone can find something to love in Apocalypse Zero; from a pink sliver of a man not unlike a well-crafted bobble-head doll with his twig and two berries swaying freely in the wind to a gargantuan, heifer of a woman whose love entails devouring her young, male prey to a seemingly helpless nurse turned torpedo-tit toting villain, it does make one wonder if this was originally intended to be a fetish hentai. This notion is even further reinforced by background character designs, most notably the nurse’s first victims: a trio of cock-tongued, mohawk-sporting punks. Unfortunately this is where the creativity runs dry. Each and every character has a personality rivalled only by the most charismatic paper bag, and that is how they stay, as the only development you’ll find is the inexplicable change from male to, uhhh, shemale that Harara undergoes. It must be said that the method with which Harara and Kakugo must control the Zero armour is also unique.
Terrible doesn’t even begin to describe just how awful Apocalypse Zero really is, but it’s in this floundering mess that I was able to find enjoyment. Does the story contain any semblance of depth? Does the soundtrack parallel the dynamics of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony? Will you ever find out why Harara grew an ample bosom as a result of becoming a stronger fighter? The answer to all of these questions is a resounding NO. Instead, drug-induced character designs and audio production quality fitting of animation retrieved from the shallow grave it was laid to rest in back in the 80’s makes for a memorable, albeit disturbingly lacklustre, experience. And that’s why I LIKE IT.
Warning: This review will contain spoilers of some of the complete mind fuckery that goes on in this shit. Mental scarring should be accompanied by screams of agony and pain as the images assault your feeble mind. The screenshots on the site are censored for your viewing displeasure. You have been warned.
Story: Mental scarring in a bit, the plot is really quite simple: This guy, badass on his own with his pimp uniform, gets this totally kickass armour that allows him to kick even more ass: The Zero armour, because things and people called Zero are so righteously badass. So this badass probably swears to fight for justice and shit, to use his powers to kick righteous ass in the name of good and all it stands for.
So we get to the world-building, where he protects and fights shit in a post-apocalyptic world. How did it get this way? How did humanity so righteously fuck up? Do you even give two shits of a giant ass cockroach as to why? Fuck no! Hell, they still have school! But this ain't no ordinary school, it's a school where Tokyo got jacked up most heinously and everything is ruined and shit. Logic got thrown out the window at a 6 breasted mutant bear... thing, and that was the first five minutes or so.
Where was I? Man, I don't know. Kaguko or something, he fights shit. Freaky shit. Freaky ass fucking mind-scarring shit that has abso-fucking-lutely no fucking ass reason to exist. I mean, the bear was fucked up, but that's just the tip of a ludicrously fucked in the head mind trip of complete balls out mindfuckery.
Ok, ok, seriously, fuck plot. You're here because:
A) It's shit.
B) It's badass shit.
3) To see the Big Titty Bomber.
IV) All the mind-scarring gore-filled imagery made by some of the most sadistic and twisted minds humanity has to offer in media.
You never feel that he's in danger because he's so righteously badass and I can't use that term enough. Aside from him, the Zero Armour? Powered by dead souls. Now that's fucking awesome.
Animation: I really don't know what to score here. On one hand, you have an old man with a bandaged dick, balls hanging out who spits lethal loogies and later morphs into something out of your nightmares. On the other hand, you have a girl getting her guts squeezed out. Literally. She fucking pukes up her intestines and blood onto this poor bastard. Who the fuck decides to animate that shit? And do you even know how much blood was spilled?! How much fucking gore was on the screen?! DO YOU FUCKING KNOW HOW MUCH OF THE TIME WAS FUCKING DEVOTED TO FUCKING MIND SCARRING IMAGERY.
Sorry. But the imagery not only makes no sense but no one should have to see a old guy's wrinkly nutsack hanging loose or any other imagery involving someone's junk doing impossible things. The more I think about it, the more I decrease the animation score. Aside from some nice backgrounds and some off-putting character models, ugly ass students, teachers, mostly everybody, it's glaring obvious at times that the backgrounds are separate from the crap that happens in the foreground, as if the animators stopped giving a shit about the non-horrifying imagery.
The animation is generally shit but high marks for the mind-rape factor and creativity, and fanservice. Hot nurse and Demonic Chick, and like everything else, it gets weird.
Sound: 6? But... why? And I can answer that coherently with as little swearing as possible.
I divided Sound here into two: half for voices, half for the fuckballs awesome music. Usually I hardly give a shit about sound for shitty anime but here, it's different. The music is full of kickass tunes, ranging from boner inducing badass riffs, some truly kickass battle music that sets the theme of your eyes being soiled and the ending theme, holy fucking shit that was so fucking amazing. I should have given sound a 10 based on that awesome theme right there but... there's the VA.
VA I'll divide it into two: One side has the Narrator, who was awesome as fuck and the father, his name isn't important. The other side has everybody else, who ranged from OK to complete and utter shit. It's really quite amazing in how diverse the quality of the VA is, and I of course mean the English dub. Nobody watches subs unless it's the only stuff available for crappy anime.
Sound effects? Shit happened. Guess I should factor that in too.
Characters: Narrator was fucking awesome. He may not be a character persay, but he was fucking awesome at his job of narrating.
Kakugo was fucking badass. Guy's cool as a cucumber most of the time and does some real badass shit. Most of his screen time is devoted to being cool and aloof or being so fucking badass that it's like the world couldn't handle the sheer badassitude of him or his badass Zero armor. Shit, I ought to rate this on badassery and have him run with the score but there's... other stuff to judge.
OK, look, this isn't high on characters. Most villains do things for shits and giggles and kill for kicks. I think Demonic Chick's ultimate goal was to fuck humanity over and while her backstory and Kakugo's were reasonable, she made whatever she wore look good while kicking demonic ass. And she did... questionable things. Very questionable things. I don't say that lightly as I generally approve of actions of hot demon chicks but one of the things she did I can never approve of. I can't say as I'd be instantly compelled to spoil a large part of a big battle, if you know what I mean, but you'll know it when you see it if you decide to watch this shit.
Hold on, there's Hot Nurse! Now that was some good times! Flirtatous to a fault, her motives for flirting the bones off men? Fuck that, she does it for shits and giggles. And it's good, until it's righteously subverted. And I mean subverted in a most disturbing way, as per the norm for everything else in this shit.
It's almost like I threw in a number for Characters.
Overall: Shit was fucking awesome. It was terrible and had sheer amounts of badassery. It was cool and horrendous, it was senseless, wasted potentional and completely unadulterated mindfuck images on a parade through your now soiled eyeballs. The fights are fast and brutal, a healthy dosage of mammaries and an unhealthy dosage of what came with them, high on action and heroes being badass ass kicking machines and damn it all if I didn't have fun while it had it's way with my mind. This is one terrible anime you have to watch!
As if it was running for some Insanity award, Apocalypse Zero delivers an ample amount, and maybe even more than you could handle. All the charm of this anime comes from its bizarre nature and comedic storytelling, which is not all that bad I suppose. I kind of enjoyed it because of that, but because of that alone. To be fair, beside dick dragons, dick lamps, saliva blades and all other forms of deviant humor, this show offers nothing else to offer.
Characters are not even characters; parody freaks would be the most accurate description. They are just here, doing stuff, and looking cool. There’s no development or any form of progression, and even the backstories appear dumb because of lack of coherence in motives, mostly because of very lazy characterization. Plot works the same way. It’s liner and simplistic as it gets. Writers just decided to put all their effort into making it feel amazing, while not actually making it amazing.
Animation and music works very well, though. Design of humans is quite unusual, and monster design is bizarre to the point of being atrocious, but since it’s very unique I’ll give them some credit. Also, background art is just amazing. Music is well fitting with the overall feeling of the series and some tracks work quite lovely. Nothing too special, though.
All in all; you’ll watch it for the sheer amount of insanity it has. It’s entirely shippable unless you really want to test your tolerance for over-the-top nonsense. I had fun, but I can’t call it good in any way, just entertaining.
Best girl: /