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Mr. Freeze Reviews Venus Versus Virus

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Mr. Freeze Reviews Venus Versus Virus

Post by Mr. Freeze on Fri May 24, 2013 6:58 pm

Mr. Freeze Reviews:

Venus Versus Virus


Following the astounding success of the hit manga in 2005, it was clear to everyone around the world that an anime adaptation was not only necessary, it was paramount. Fans everywhere clenched their teeth in anticipation; producers everywhere clenched theirs in anxiety. If this project were to be a success, it could very well be the next Titanic, they realized. And so it was up to the ingenious writer to put together the ultimate team for the job. Money came flooding from various organizations, various animators were considered and denied and ultimately it was decided that Studio Hibari would be the chosen studio to animate the long anticipated wonder of-

Alright alright I’ll stop joking around now. Venus Versus Virus is far from a masterpiece (and I’ll bet half of you have never even heard of it) and it rises from obscurity…back into obscurity without saying much. It was never terribly popular, especially not overseas (even with the manga’s localization in 2007). However, perhaps time has been too harsh on the series; could there be some depth to this apparently average anime?

I got a lot to say about this one….

The Concept in a Nutshell
Average everyday normal girl Sumire runs into a girl named Lucia who hunts demonic creatures called “Virus(es?)” and her life is turned upside down. She learns that she is a living “antivirus” that has the ability to gain superhuman strength and kill viruses when shot with antivirus rounds from Lucia’s gun. She ends up forced to cooperate and live with Lucia as they run a service called the Venus Vanguard, an investigation team whose headquarters is disguised as an antique shop. Struggling to control this power, Sumire fears not only for her own safety but that of the people around her…

My score is broken up into 4 categories that add up to a potential score of 40. Letter grade is based on percentages akin to standard grading (i.e. 36 out of 40 is the lowest score for an A grade, 32 out of 40 for B, etc).

The Story
While it may deceive in the first few episodes, displaying qualities of a Monster-of-the-Week show, an actual plot begins to establish itself less than halfway through the twelve episodes. The show combines various elements of fantasy, action and yuri-

Wait

This is a yuri anime?

Now you've got my hopes up

Alas, the romantic subtext is romantic subtext at best, and Sumire has more romantic tension and kissing with men than anything with the icy demeanor that is Lucia. Whether one enjoys yuri or not, it feels like the package has the wrong label and the UPS deliveryman is running off with a giddy little smile glued to his face.

That minor point aside, Sumire and Lucia feel incompetent and the importance of Sumire is forced with much choking and strangling from the script writers. Despite being informed that Lucia is good at her job, every new virus or enemy (whether they are actually new/dangerous doesn’t matter; the reaction is the same) leads her to expressing her confusion about how “this virus was unique.” Sumire is a clutz and would have died a long time ago if not for her inherent power of being in Ubers tier when shot. A few over-the-top moments of sheer contrived stupidity make the audience groan as well; poor communication is never the right answer when you have the information and can give it directly to the person you’re speaking to. There were also issues with dialogue (see Voice Acting for further details).

Viewers will be very sad to learn that the story itself is really only about three or four characters; all important characters are really extensions of a few select characters, the manner of which would be spoiled should I describe more. Non-important characters are delegated to random acts of generic clichés fitting for an anime as clunky as this.

Central themes…central themes… If there are any clear themes and conceits, they may very well be lost on me. Besides the usual villain name of Lucif(ER) and the concept of soul “fragments” the focus is largely on creating a “new world”, but it is so vague and described so poorly I struggle to find the whole point of it. Other shows do it better, simple as that. The story gets a clunky 4/10 for at least not descending into utter drivel.

Also: Souls don’t work that way. They just don’t.

The Visuals
Oh, look. How generic. For an anime that came out in 2007, other shows like Code Geass and Gurren Lagann look like blockbusters in comparison. Designs are generic, animation is somewhat subpar and many scenes lack the livelihood of a show like [C] – Control. Sumire’s transformation between her normal self and her “Berserk” mode is only noted by a change in eye color, crosses in her pupils like that of a Virus. Lucia is full of generic anime design and the magical heterochromia she sports somehow does not add memorability due to it constantly being hidden under an eyepatch.
Thankfully, the show does not focus on fanservice, nor are there large breasted women for the sake of large breasted women.

That said…while pausing on occasions, many still shots began to slowly slide toward hentai with the help of tentacle monsters; the villains and their way of holding/interacting with the main characters did not help this. Sumire’s rage while out of control begins to lean toward this as well, particularly in episode one.

All things considered, the generic animation and the strangely threatening still shots lead me to give the visuals a 5/10. Thank God for no fanservice characters.

The Voice Acting
Subs only this time around. Those who are fluent in Japanese will be happy to ignore the fan translations and simply enjoy the dialogue for what it is (as much as you can enjoy the dialogue of this show). For non-fluent fans, however…the fan subs may have issues. The particular one I came across was a jumbled mess that at times hurt to read. The inconsistent plural of the term “Virus” was stupid enough when it was first introduced as “Virus,” but then to later on correct the plural as “Viruses” proves the translators are inept and lazy. Virus or Viruses? Or is it viruses? Caps or no caps? Consistency, what’s that? We also get this little beauty early on:

(talking in future tense on what she WOULD do, signifying future tense with past tense “will be” as a frame of reference)

“If it’s me, I’ll be scared and ran away.”

What should have read as “If it was me, I’d be scared and run away” becomes a jumbled mess that not only is grammatically incorrect but makes no sense as well. I don’t prefer to be a grammar Nazi but these errors are frequent, terrible and pull the viewer out of any sense of suspended disbelief. I don’t expect the translation to be perfect, but come on.

For sub fans (which make a large portion of the non-Japanese audience) this is a serious issue that ruins any fun the story could have had. Voice Acting gets a 4/10 as a result.

The Soundtrack
Soundtrack by Masumi Ito (under the pseudonym Hikaru Nanase). A couple of tracks in the first episode stand out in their own strange way, one of them being too heavily scored orchestral-wise for a pilot episode. This heavy scoring never returns in full force. Ito has apparently done a number of anime over the years; it shows. Music is generic in most cases with a cute C major piano theme accompanying episode titles, various smaller pieces akin to all anime ever (especially the sound effects for “scary mysterious mystery of mysteriousness” as I call every scene in a show where something mysterious or scary is discussed). Nothing truly stands out. This is severely disappointing, given that everything about the show has been vaguely generic thus far.

The soundtrack receives a 5/10 for not contributing anything new or of interest (also, final episode receives some unwelcome soundtrack dissonance).

Final Notes before the verdict: SERIOUSLY. I’m no expert on souls or anything but Souls. Don’t. Work. That. Way.

The Verdict
Venus Versus Virus receives an 18/40, or an F in my book. The show does very little to impress and only leaves the viewer unhappy and confused by the time the hastily written ending comes around. Other shows have done this and they have done it so much better. I’d have recommended it to yuri fans but not even that has been spared. I’d avoid this one unless the concept absolutely enthralls you.
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Re: Mr. Freeze Reviews Venus Versus Virus

Post by Trollestia on Fri May 24, 2013 7:31 pm

The manga was better.
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Re: Mr. Freeze Reviews Venus Versus Virus

Post by The Candyman on Fri May 24, 2013 8:24 pm

Very nice, makes me want to read the manga. A 4/10 story is above average in manga terms (There's so much shit out there you don't even.)
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Re: Mr. Freeze Reviews Venus Versus Virus

Post by Mr. Freeze on Fri May 24, 2013 8:53 pm

Oh, don't worry, I know. I leave that shit for my sister to deal with.
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