Mars of Destruction is a must-watch sci-fi OVA. Not because it can stand proudly amidst the giants of the genre, but because it’s so horrifically bad in every way that any fan of anime owes it to themselves to experience it. This is not an anime; it’s a parody of animation.
There is literally not a shred of competence to be found in this anime, barring the public domain music they pilfered for the soundtrack. Even then, the poor sound-mixing and mumbling voice-acting spit all over these classic works of music. Truly, I am at a loss for where to even start.
What passes for a story is a barebones plot about teenagers being the lone defenders of humanity. A cast of generic high school girls with candy-colored hair are held up as elite soldiers, each with unique skills and training. In practice, these characters are barren templates with no backstory or development. During action scenes they all behave the same and I don’t even think most of them were named.
These girls are backed up by Takeru, the story’s male protagonist who is extra special and extra badass. He even gets a special power armor, but I believe they jut put him in there so they don’t have to listen to his whiny angst.
There’s no reason at all to care about any of these characters. Mars of Destruction makes no effort to endear them whatsoever, with only Takeru receiving something resembling a character arc. It’s short and completely uninteresting, which left me wondering what in the world the writer even wanted out of this project.
The entire OVA barely clocks in at 20 minutes, so the main story about the alien invasion is also left unexplored. The only plot development happens at the very end, when 2 never-before-seen characters retroactively explain the plot in an exposition sequence. Everything before that is just action scenes and wasted time.
Speaking of action scenes… don’t get your hopes up.
The directing work behind Mars of Destruction is bafflingly poor. There is so little choreography that most battle scenes are just characters standing still until they are shot. Literally the first action scene of the anime has girls and aliens aggressively standing still at each other, until somebody gets instantly gored about a minute into the standoff.
When it’s not just people standing still, action scenes rely on the cheapest animations imaginable. Everything is stiff and low on detail, with some animations being obviously reused or looped. It never once manages to be even slightly exciting.
An attempt is made to mask the poor animation and directing by tossing in lots of gore, but this ends up being unintentionally goofy. Characters being decapitated and showers of blood look incredibly off next to the poor animation and character design. These aliens are meant to be vicious monsters that’ll rip your entrails out, but they move around like threatened red pandas and look like generic mooks.
Of course, the shitty animation for the gore doesn’t help in this regard either. Please remember that Elfen Lied had come out just a year earlier.
No self-respecting team would’ve released this trash to the public in 2005. Its horrible story aside, Mars of Destruction simply doesn’t feel like a professional product worth publishing. Police Girl Yayoi was tinkered together by literal amateurs 8 years prior, yet looks many times more refined in spite of being printed on vastly inferior storage media. Mars of Destruction is worth watching just to laugh at it, but that Idea Factory actually had the audacity to sell it is nothing short of tragic.