Geobreeders Breakthrough

September 4, 2004 on 3:23 pm | In Geobreeders | Comments Off on Geobreeders Breakthrough

After the original action packed Geobreeders comes its sequel, Geobreeders Breakthrough (real name Geobreeders 2). Director Moriyama Yuji, perhaps one of Japan’s greatest producers of “hits and misses” (being responsible for both the genius Project A-ko and its lacklustre sequels), said that because he had four episodes this time he wanted to make a more complex story. How he thought he had done this is beyond me – because he patently hasn’t.

Geobreeders Breakthrough begins with the folks of Kagura Total Security moving into their new offices. Umezaki, the Crimson Shooting Star, is targeted for assassination and the office is almost instantly destroyed. After this, the now homeless company goes off to find the person who has hired them for their latest job.
Unfortunately their car is destroyed at the end of the first episode, and they spend the following three wandering in the jungles of Japan looking for civilisation. Meanwhile the Phantom Cats have some sort of evil agenda and the government agency Hound tries to destroy them. This leads to some action scenes but not a whole lot of sense as there is no sense of character and the main characters are just wandering around.

Moriyama Yuji has created an almost entirely directionless four episode OVA. This was designed to be set after the Geobreeders manga, so it has to make a little bit of sense. It doesn’t have the shield of being based on a preexisting story to fill in the gaps. The main part with the phantom cats seemed like nothing more than a flimsy backdrop for having a few action scenes which, while well executed, would be much more enjoyable with some context behind them. The wandering lent itself to some good comedy, but no story. And three episodes’ worth of it wore. It wore thin quite quickly, and some of the characters got fewer than a couple of lines and didn’t get to do anything.
The villain, as far as I know, didn’t have a name and government agent Irie was as infuriatingly smug and cryptic as he was in the first OVA.

The fan service is a little lacking; there’s two brief onsen scenes and a seemingly inserted shot of Himehagi’s seatbelt. It’s just put in rather than thought out, and there’s not a lot of it. This was animated towards the start of the digital revolution and as a result bears a lot of the soft focus look that anime produced around that time had. It can appear a bit painful to the eyes because of this, but the character designs are slightly better than that of the original production. The best example of what this series looks like is Excel Saga, which was produced by Victor at the same time and promoted in tandem. The animation is by no means bad, it’s just fuzzy. There’s some noticeable CG that isn’t ugly but isn’t particularly useful, the OP is the same as the first OVA (which, for some reason, seems unforgiveable), and the ED doesn’t make much sense but refers to a great Japanese comedy act of days long past.

Geobreeders Breakthrough makes one wonder what the point was at the end; what, exactly, happened. It’s not offensive to watch and it’s not bland to the point of nothingness; it’s simply a directionless adventure with a few moments. Not exactly recommended, but not consigned to the bonfire.


June 27, 2004 on 11:48 am | In Geobreeders | Comments Off on Geobreeders

Expect nothing! Get everything! Geobreeders is something that is, in my collection at least, very rare. It’s a comedy that masquerades as a plot of drama and mystery. So don’t go into it expecting high comedy, and don’t go into it expecting high drama. Expect nothing and when you come out of it after three episodes you still won’t quite know what you got, but you’ll have the feeling that you enjoyed it.

Kagura Total Security is a company that hunts phantom cats. Not just any phantom cats, mind – these ones are made out of computer data and can control electronic devices! Kagura’s rival is apparently a company called Hound, which also want to wipe out this phantom cat menace.
When these phantoms hijack a ship containing a nuclear missile, everyone’s in trouble and it’s Kagura’s job to save the world and produce an invoice. Also somewhere along the way the phantom cat that works for Kagura is kidnapped (I still don’t know by whom) and tortured by being dipped in a tub of (potentially boiled) water.

The first five minutes are completely serious and someone expecting raucousness might be confused. Then a tank comes bursting out of a nuclear facility, and it’s being driven by twenty cats. Along the way there’s a bit of fan service, but not quite enough for my liking (a lot of the time I feel like I’m suffering fan service deprivation, so when there is at least some I like there to be a lot). The way it plays itself straight without making too big a deal of the beleaguered male lead (constantly stifled by his all female workplace) makes it something unique.
Just a warning, so that people don’t think the phantom cats are always in cat form: they have human manifestations as well. The first one is a woman who can’t seem to keep her clothes on, but the rest are mostly men who are mercifully dressed for sea life.

Generally it’s a nice looking series with good animation, but it’s a disappointment that at the start of the third episode the character dialogue animation is replaced with cels of elaborate desserts. Sure, they’re elaborate, but they’re not the characters talking.
Finally, as always, Hisakawa Aya turns in a magnificent performance as “Crimson Shooting Star” (“Hell is my office”).

Geobreeders explains nothing, but it’s a base enjoyment. The mambo ED alone is worth the price of admission.

Hot dog night time mambo
Blue sky high flying jumbo …

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