Fatal Fury OVA

Havoc's Rating: 3 Rampages

Episodes seen: 2 Mighty FIST!

The young Bogard brothers, Terry and Andy, are orphaned by the cruelty of a man named Geese Howard, who slays their father. Adopted by an old Japanese shihan, Terry and Andy are taught to protect themselves. Loving the boys like his they were his own sons does not keep the sage grandmaster from sending the boys out into the world to learn everything they can about martial arts. He tells them to come back in ten years. The one he deems most deserving shall learn the school’s ultimate fighting technique, which will allow them to gain revenge on Geese Howard.

Ten years have passed. Terry and Andy return to find their mentor and show them what they’ve learned. Terry, the elder brother, is a dour and taciturn man, a lone wolf. Younger brother Andy is brash and energetic. After ten years apart, they fight to prove their worthiness. The master picks his successor and the young men set out together to defeat the man who destroyed their lives.

I am mighty!

Havoc sez: Let me start out by saying that this is some of Masami Obari’s best work. Let me continue by pointing out that this still ain’t saying much. Exactly how hard is it to top Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer, after all?

Let me start with the good points of this show. First, for an anime based on a video game, it wasn’t a bad effort. It was no worse than Street Fighter and a helluva lot better than Obaka’s other video game offering, Toshinden. There is something of a coherent plot, it isn’t all blurring fists and gallons of blood pumping out of mangled bodies. What’s shonen coming to these days?

Next good point is that somebody seems to have convinced Obari that human beings are not made of rubber and that (gasp!) being skinny does not make you the strongest person around. The FF crew seem to conform to most anatomical conventions associated with homo sapien sapien. The men are muscular, yes, but not disproportionately so. Mai’s bosom might be considered exaggerated, but far be it from me to complain about this little detail^^.

The characters, for the most part, are likeable. Terry, the loner with the heart of gold. Beautiful, silver-haired Andy, who’s irritatingly shy around his girlfriend. For reasons that elude me, I like Andy a lot. Don’t ask, I have no answers. Joe Higashi, their bombastic, kick-ass Thai boxer buddy is exactly the kinda guy you’d want to trash a hotel room with. He’s even got fangs. If he and Tasuki traded places it would probably be a few eps before anyone noticed. Mai… ah, Mai… anime’s genkiest bosom, there’s no question. She is the show’s eye candy and she performs this job marvellously. Before she was a ninja she was obviously a cheerleader. She desperately loves Andy, which seems to confuse him no end.

Okay, the bad parts. This is still a Masami Obaka show based on a video game. The gravity-defying jumps and kathexis are all there for your mindless enjoyment. I’ve been a martial artist for over 20 years, folks. Some of this stuff makes my head hurt. Joe has a “Tiger Punch” attack and a “Screw Upper” finishing move. After seven years of muay thai training, I never learned anything like that. Terry’s unbeatable attack is something called a “Power Geyser”, where he spins like a whirlwind. The Japanese didn’t invent this attack, Warner Brothers studios did in the early fifties when they introduced the Tasmanian Devil. Yeah, that’s really what it looks like. In some versions you may rent, you can see the kana at the bottom of the screen when people shout out their attacks. This is the clue for you to start taking notes so you can remember all the cool names and yell them at your friends during lunch somewhere on the school grounds.

As shonen anime goes, this is some of the less dumb stuff. The characters don’t move like they’re filled with tapioca, there’s an honest-to-goodness plot and it isn’t grisly for the sake of being grisly. I don’t mind seeing it now and then. Recommended.

Available fansubbed.