Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Crapheap of the Month: UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie

I've watched some godawful anime in my life, but the show that sticks out most vividly in my mind as being one of the worst examples of animation I've ever seen is UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie. My main reason for actually picking up this godawful franchise was that the entries on Anime-Planet for series 2, 3 and 4 required synopses and screenshots. After seeing a quick description of the show, I figured that it couldn't be THAT horrific and might even be so bad it's funny. Sadly, I was deluding myself and suffered through thirty three episodes spanning two seasons, a couple of OVAs and a special.

The basic premise of this franchise is that a beautiful female alien princess named Valkyrie crash lands her spaceship into a bathhouse. Unfortunately(?), she kills it's young owner, Kazuto, outright and, feeling a sense of guilt, Valkyrie gives him half of her soul in order to revive him. This has the unintended side-effect of reverting her back to a small (and obnoxious) child who now lives in the bathhouse with Kazuto. Oh, and then her catgirl maid turns up to wreak havoc, closely followed by her various sisters.

Vapid, flat and completely lacking in the balls department, I'm pretty sure Kazuto's personality oozed out of his brain when the spaceship crushed him.

I have many issues with this series, but one of my biggest gripes is with the abysmal male lead.

Now it's known that most male leads in a harem show are going to be pretty pants. They tend to be bland individuals with no particular redeeming qualities; but hey, it's a harem and is naturally about the girls, what do you expect? The problem here is that Kazuto would make even the most beige harem males ashamed. The guy has ZERO personality. All he does is stand around gawking, and grinning while all kinds of stupid shit occurs around him. At least the likes of Love Hina's Keitaro bumble around a bit or get called perverts. No such luck here. If just once he'd have been caught in some compromising position, I may have had a little more interest in him. I mean, he works in a BATHHOUSE for God's sake, would it have killed him to grow a pair and have a peek?

Ignoring the cardboard cutout of a male lead (not too hard really), the rest of the series doesn't have much to offer. While the show does have a certain amount of plot to it, most of it is pointless filler, and crap pointless filler at that. The first season in particular decides that an episode dedicated to creating a cat girl army make a much better addition to the show than actually addressing the ongoing plotline. As a result they then decide to rush through the central narrative in an insipid episode and a half. Yes folks, this is the sort of quality storytelling you can expect here

The animation in the first season is apalling with recycled footage galore and enough clunky movement to make a lego man jealous. Luckily, the visuals do improve gradually across the seasons, but still fail to knock your socks off.

Do you think it's too late to say that we don't want to be a part of this?

Only two good things came from me watching UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie. It spawned my first ranty review on Anime-Planet and - like someone who has just walked into the sunlight after being trapped in a stinking portaloo for six months and realised how awesome fresh air is - I now have a much greater appreciation for GOOD anime.

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