What happens when you take Neon Genesis Evangelion, crack in several episodes of Geneshaft and add a liberal sprinkling of poorly created computerised graphics? Out of the bastardised mix pops a confused mess that calls itself Skelter+Heaven. Rearing its ugly sci-fi head, the series revels shamelessly in a clichéd and bewildering plot, before dying slowly and painfully with no-one to mourn its passing.
From a promising opening set in a gorgeous futuristic cityscape, the story takes a nosedive as the characters hustle onscreen. There is no introduction to the girls undergoing rigorous combative training or even why they are fighting - only a superficial half-minute newscast talking about the NGE style angel floating above Tokyo.
Setting a sketchy military scene, the odious dialogue between the feisty Rei and boyish Otsuya is soon buried in a comical commotion. Hilarity ensues as two busty young girls are strapped into undulating seats, moaning sensually as they are monitored by scientists. With no account for this erotic training technique, the squad is called to arms and mount their shoddy looking mech fighters to battle an unknown enemy. A sudden barrage of attempted back-story gives each kamikaze pilot a lacklustre personality, but detracts from Skelter+Heaven’s life-blood – the animated killing machines. With impetuous jumps and twists in the story, a trite script provides nothing but laughter in what was surely meant to be the epic and emotionally charged climax of the show.
Left with a look of confusion on my face, I am still not entirely sure how to explain the plot. As a disappointing theme throughout the brief show, valuable time is wasted with pointless fan-service, and too much is squeezed into too little time. The 18 minute OVA subsequently becomes a jumbled mess of incoherency for people who have not experienced the Playstation game – even then I’m not convinced the show will be more than mediocre.
Poorly proportioned characters and crudely blended CG give Skelter+Heaven an inadequate feel, especially considering comparable shows from 2004. The robotic vessels have more of a Lego look to them, rather than the appearance of an advanced mechanised vehicle. Fight scenes consist of awkwardly choreographed bar brawls and mech seem to stumble around, falling into battle rather than deftly dispatching a horrendously animated enemy.
One thing I hate in Japanese music is the use of English lyrics, and the opening track proudly blasts out Engrish translations that make little sense, even by the ususal bewildering standards of J-pop. With an entire soundtrack blatantly snatched from a computer game, the midi sounding harmony is barely tolerable. Unfortunately, the voice acting fares no better. A Z-list cast of seiyuu struggle their way through a terrible script and sound wooden even to an untrained ear.
With a lack of regard shown to the story, the characters also feel rushed and almost added as an afterthought. A hasty roll-call has too many forgettable names and faces crammed into a short amount of screen time, with no background and no explanation for their erratic behaviour. I’m still not sure which of the girls I could call the main protagonist, or who I should sympathise with, but I can honestly say I don’t care.
Summing up Skelter+Heaven in one word would be easy – amateurish. From the substandard computer graphics, to the impetuous and gabbled storyline, nothing impressed me. Maybe playing the game would have given me a better chance of understanding the bizzarity unfolding onscreen, but as it stands, this show was a disappointing hodgepodge of plagiarised ideas and feeble character that should never have found its way onto my watching list.
Hovering above the streets of a futuristic Tokyo, a mysterious object has appeared from outer space. Civilization’s only hope is the Altamira Agency – an organization comprised of genetically-altered female humanoids. Created in a laboratory, the girls are fully-trained and ready to pilot a vast array of mecha under the strict instructions of Funagai Otoya. However, unbeknownst to them, they were also designed to push back this enemy by any means – even if that means self destruction...
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As a not-so-closet perv, I love watching anything involving panty-shots, handfuls of cleavage and an innuendo fuelled plot. Although most of my reviews will err on the risque, I also love the obscure, the twisted and things that make you think - drop me a line if you want to discuss any of them!