Tag Archives: ova

Review: Ah My Goddess! (1993) Anime | My Reviews 23 NOV 2013

ah my goddess anime posterMorisato Keiichi is a college student at the Nekomi Institute of Technology. Stuck on call-duty one day, he accidentally calls the Goddess Relief Office. Imagine his surprise when a beautiful girl steps through a mirror before him. She is the goddess Belldandy, tasked with granting his any one desire. Thinking it a joke, Keiichi asks that Belldandy stay by his side forever – a wish that comes true.

The two live together in an old abandoned temple, their relationship slowly developing. However not everything always goes their way. Keiichi has to deal with the likes of the impatient second-class goddess Urd, jealous little goddess Skuld, and even his own sister, Megumi, who wants to come stay with him.

Even more troublesome is Keiichi’s sempais, always on hand to make his life difficult. All in all, Belldandy and Keiichi will have to work very hard to ensure their promise to one another lasts forever.

Oh My Goddess! is a short little OVA chronicling the love between a college student and a Goddess. It’s the kind of story that is aimed directly at young girls, showing them the warmth of true love. But it has its comedic moments as well, and it is a show that will leave you with a nice warm feeling after you watch it.

The length of the OVA is too short for any real story to develop, but the writer does well enough with the limited time at his disposal. The story covers the nine months that Keiichi lives with Belldandy, Skuld and Urd. The first episode introduces the main characters of Belldandy and Keiichi to us, as well as the relationship that begins to develop between the two of them. The next two episodes are used to introduce two major supporting characters into the story. The final two episodes cover the last moments that Belldandy and Keiichi have to stay together. The story actually isn’t badly paced, considering nine months are meant to go by. Because of its length, the OVA doesn’t drag on, something that might have been a danger should it have been a bit longer.

The animation for Oh My Goddess! is pretty much standard anime animation, but mention must be made about the beauty of Belldandy. The depiction of this Goddess is spot on. The animation uses a lot of facial expressions to bring across the humour, something that works well in this title that is sometimes serious, sometimes silly.

The Japanese voice track isn’t bad, but the dubbed version isn’t very good at all. The voices come across a bit whiny, and Urd’s voice just comes across as just plain ridiculous. The musical score is very nice, backed by beautiful and uplifting title and closing tracks performed by the Goddess Family Club consisting of Inoue Kikuko, Tooma Yumi and Hisakawa Aya.

I would recommend you watch this anime with your partner if you are looking for a warm cuddly moment, but other than that, it isn’t really that worth it. It is a cute little series, but you may find more pleasure from watching the spin-off series, Adventures of a Mini-Goddess! Still young girls should really enjoy this one.

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(Historical Note: This was written way back in July 2003 – thankfully my writing has improved greatly since then.)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ah_My_Goddess

Review: You’re Under Arrest! (1994) Anime | My Reviews 07 NOV 2013

you're under arrest anime ovaIt’s her first day of work, and Tsujimoto Natsumi is already late – and sitting stuck behind a railway crossing is definitely not helping things. But taking that reckless shortcut on her little scooter might not have been the best idea either as Bokuto Precinct’s officer Kobayakawa Miyuki is soon hot on this miscreant’s tail.

But what these two don’t know is that they are about to become partners of the Bokuto Precinct Traffic Department. Ace driver Miyuki and daredevil biker Natsumi are Bokuto Precinct’s finest officers. No traffic offender escapes their grasp and together with their friends and colleagues Miyuki and Natsumi strive to make the streets of Tokyo a safer place for all.

Traffic offenders beware: You are under arrest!

You Are Under Arrest! focuses on the friendship that develops between two female partners serving in the Bokuto Precinct Traffic Department. The stories attempt to mix a little bit of drama, romance, action and a feel-good vibe to produce a fresh OVA. This it does. However, it certainly doesn’t produce an exciting OVA.

The four episodes making up the OVA are self-contained stories and don’t actually link up to make a storyline. It is more like a mini-series than one tale. Still, the stories are well told and carry a certain warmth to them. Although a little bit of action is present, the situations come across as really forced, so no real tension ever builds up. Instead, more attention is paid to the humour and characterisation of the characters, leading to a nice feeling of depth for all the story’s players. The OVA really does focus on the friendship that developes between Miyuki and Natsumi.

The animation for the OVA is not bad at all. Very clean lines and great attention to detail on the motor vehicles. The animation has a very strong resemblance to that used in “Ah My Goddess!”.

The dubbed version of the OVA is okay. The voices aren’t overly irritating, but as usual, the series is far superior in its native Japanese. The music for the title is nothing spectacular, and holds very little to get excited about.

All in all, people looking for action and adventure should probably stay clear of this one. This is a story for you and your girlfriend to sit down and watch together.

you're under arrest anime ova screenshot

(Historical Note: Wow. My writing was pretty horrible back then, wasn’t it – the above review was written way back in March 2004! And from the looks of it, I really wasn’t the target market for this particular OVA in the first place…)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You%27re_Under_Arrest!_(manga)

Review: Iria: Zeiram the Animation (1994) Anime | My Reviews 14 MAR 2013

Zeiram – the most dangerous life form in the universe. Evil. Ruthless. Invulnerable. Unstoppable.

The Tedan Tippedai Corporation secretly planned to import Zeiram to Myce as a secret bio-weapon. But things went wrong aboard the transport vessel, leading to the release of this monster.

Iria, a young apprentice hunter, formed part of the mission to try and rescue the crew of the ship. But their mission failed, and in the process, Zeiram butchered her brother. However, Iria did manage to uncover information that she shouldn’t have – information certain parties would rather have silenced.

Now Iria must expose this silent conspiracy before more innocent people are massacred by this monster. Together with her mysterious benefactor and sidekick Kei, the deadly Iria seeks to avenge her brother’s death.

But how do you stop the unstoppable?

1994 saw a six part OVA from director Amino Tetsuro and production house Bandai Visual, hit the retail shelves. Iria: Zeiram the Animation is a tight story revolving around the concept of revenge, conspiracy and vengeance. The main character is a reckless and dominant woman, acting tougher than the boys in a man’s world. However, Iria isn’t about man bashing and instead focuses solely on the plot of the story. The invulnerable beast known as Zeiram provides the perfect foil for Iria, forcing her to come back again and again to face her fears and try to stop the unstoppable, even after all the pain it has caused her.

The characters are well designed and pretty well rounded off. We have the tough as nails heroine, Iria, the calculating Bob, the cowardly and money-grabbing Fujikuro, the little spunky kid Kei and Komimasa, as well as the unstoppable evil, Zeiram. Actually, Iria and Zeiram are probably the best characters of the series, though this isn’t that surprising as the series pretty much focuses on these two.

The animation on Iria is very good, especially for its 1994 release tag. The characters are fluidly animated and packed with detail. The mecha, buildings and weaponry all carry a brilliant sense of design, kind of mixing an Arabic/Moroccan type of design with modern technology ideas. Just the numerous types of explosives are enough to show off the wonderful amount of detail put into the design of the show.

Although the music doesn’t really do much to add to the show’s enjoyability, it isn’t the worst out there. The voices are pretty good, especially Iria’s. Kei’s voice is particularly good, because the show tries not to reveal the fact that *spoiler* until the fifth episode.

Overall, Iria is a polished production. It has a tight storyline, a good cast of characters and great, detailed animation. However, it somehow fails to move one on an emotional basis. This could just be the view of a jaded anime watcher, but Iria failed to extract much emotional commitment from me. Still, it is an enjoyable watch and is a nice short OVA to begin with. Perfect for introducing people to the realm of anime.

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(Note: this review was originally written back in December 2003!)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iria:_Zeiram_the_Animation

Review: Air Gear: Break on the Sky (2010) Anime | My Reviews 29 NOV 2012

Ringo’s position in Sleeping Forest can no longer be ignored. As the time draws closer to the opening of Trophaeum Tower, Sleeping Forest begins targeting all major teams and riders capable of challenging them. Among the victims is Simca, who is attacked and temporarily crippled under Ringo’s orders. When Ikki discovers Ringo’s role in incapacitating Simca, he considers her a traitor and runs from her. Realizing she has no other method of showing Ikki her and Sleeping Forest’s true intentions, Ringo challenges Ikki to a one-on-one Dash-Type Battle.

The ever popular mangaka Oh Great!’s Air Gear was a fun little shonen battle action anime which featured over the top characters on rather over the top, powered up inline skates. However, despite the actually pretty cool concept, the series (both manga and anime) quickly lost sight of the really cool inline skate dynamic and instead got bogged down by stupid power and ability escalations, leading to a very overwrought and somewhat silly franchise.

Nevertheless, four years on from the end of the original anime run in 2006, someone decided that the fanservice-laden silliness needed some screen time again, and so the Break on the Sky OVA series was announced, this time animated by studio Satelight in place of Toei, with Shinji Ishihara as director and Jun Maekawa as script writer.

The result is thus far three 28 minute long episodes, the first of which I’m discussing here.

First off, the animation is really cool as per usual. High octane, high detail, very kinetic and loads of fun to watch. The character designs are pretty cool as always, and as expected, the girls are looking pretty hot, with loads of unnecessary fanservice thrown in to boot (well, this is a show courtesy of Oh Great! after all).

The voices all fit the tone and action perfectly, and the soundtrack and opening and closing musical tracks all work well.

However, then there is the story. Yeah, not particularly good. Plenty of action as to be expected, but very, very overwrought, very silly over the top antics, and in the end, serves to remind one just how difficult it was to watch the original anime series through it’s entirety. Unless of course you are a hardened Air Gear fan – in that case you’ll no doubt enjoy this outing (though be warned, it isn’t particularly high on the usual Air Gear comedy hijinks).

So in other words, don’t worry too much about missing out on this one.

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Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Gear#OVA

Review: Amazing Nurse Nanako (2000) Anime | My Reviews 18 OCT 2012

Meet Nanako. Nurse Nanako. She is currently assigned to the military base hospital, Ogami General Hospital, where she is in charge of cleaning, cooking and looking after the various doctors’ needs.

The medical staff of Ogami Hospital includes the likes of an old witch by the name of Dr Comaneci and a Chinese Acupuncture Expert, Dr Kuron. There’s also the local martial arts expert, Ueda Genki. Head of the Hospital, and Nanako’s guardian and trainer, the mysterious Dr Kyouji Ogami.

But just who or what exactly is Nanako? Although her mind appears child-like, her body doesn’t appear to be human at all. And all Ogami does is seem to put her through more and more physical testing and training. Just what secrets is she hiding?

All the while, Dr. Ogami is being closely watched over by powerful forces in the military and the Church, both with their own mysterious goals – after all, the mysterious General and the Archbishop Cross have their own sinister designs for the life of Nanako and Dr. Ogami.

In other words, just what is the secret behind the so-called Third Helix?

Amazing Nurse Nanako is a six part sci-fi action comedy anime OVA released back in 2000, directed by Hiroshi Negishi with production courtesy of Radix, Pioneer LDC and Genco.

This is one of those silly little short OVA series that delivers on a few laughs and just a little bit of a story, while also throwing in a fair amount of fanservice here and there as well. It isn’t badly written mind you, but Nurse Nanako never really becomes a serious watch. It tries to mix comedy with serious drama, but just never really seems able to take root.

The characters are quite fun though. The naive but voluptuous Nanako, the slave-master Ogami, the chinese wannabe Kuron, the stoic martial artist Genki, and the short little witch Comaneci are all delightfully designed and depicted. Every character is quite fun to watch and adopt their own personalities early on in the show.

The animation for the OVA is pretty stylized, but still pretty good. A lot of use of exaggerated expressions is made to pull off the humour of the series. Also, Nanako seems to bounce in just about everything she does, so in other words a lot of attention has been paid to her womanly curves – in other words a pretty girl indeed.

The voice acting is spot on, with even Nanako’s irritating voice winning you over eventually. The music doesn’t stand out, but it does complement the action perfectly.

Overall, this is a nice little bit of eye-candy and good for a few laughs, but just don’t expect to much of it in terms of seriousness or longevity. Still, at only six episodes long, it is an enjoyable little OVA to pick up on if you have a little bit of time on your hands.

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(Interesting historical note: This review was typed up back in January 2004!)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazing_Nurse_Nanako

Review: Dragon Half (1993) Anime | My Reviews 20 SEP 2012

The daughter of Ruth the Red Lightning, and the red dragon he was sent out to slay so long ago, Mink is what is known as a Dragon Half. Half human, half dragon and totally cute. Mink is strong, she can fly, and breathe out fire – but even after all of that, she’s still just a young, naive girl at heart.

The one thing she wants most from life is to be loved by the famous idol dragon slayer, Dick Saucer, but to get him to accept her, she will have to journey to find the magical potion in the hope of turning her into a full human.

However, trouble lies in wait for our young heroine in the form of an evil king who desires her mother for himself. Facing vile henchman after henchman, Mink is going to have to work hard to finally realise her dream in this fun-filled, mad-cap quest to become a human and capture the heart of the man of her dreams!

Dragon Half is a 2 part fantasy comedy anime OVA released back in 1993, directed by Shinya Sadamitsu, Masahiro Koyama, Takahiro Kishida and produced by Victor Entertainment.

This is a little comedy-charged romp through a fantasy world filled with dragons, swords and sorcery. The story revolves around the Dragon Half Mink and her quest to locate the magical potion that will enable her to become a human in order to woo the love of her life, the idol dragon slayer, Dick Saucer.

But she happens to fall in the sights of the evil King and his daughter Vina who move to eliminate her for good. The sets up the short two-part OVA perfectly for a few hilarious encounters that will leave you with tears in your eyes. The comedy is silly, the wit dry and the action absurd.

The characters for Dragon Half all fall straight out of any traditional swords-and-sorcery fantasy book, but what makes them stand out is the outrageous and cute character designs. The length of the series means that no real character development takes place, but then that really isn’t the goal of this little story.

The animation uses a very loose, deformed style that complements the comedy perfectly. The use of super-deformed characters, silly facial expressions and exaggerated animal designs are all well used throughout the OVA. The voice artists fit the tone of this OVA perfect, as does the soundtrack. Note: Dick Saucer’s attempts at singing are particularly funny to listen to.

There really isn’t much to say about this little OVA, except not to expect too much from it and just sit back and enjoy the fun. This title fits very much in the vein of Slayers, and fans from that series will really enjoy this little distraction.

(Historic Note of interest: This review was written back in 2004)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_Half

Review: Blue Submarine No. 6 (2000) Anime | My Reviews 26 JUL 2012

Blue Submarine No. 6 is a post-apocalyptic manga series written and illustrated by Satoru Ozawa, first published in 1967, which was then picked up on by animation studio Gonzo, who produced the stunning 2000 OVA entitled “Blue Submarine No. 6”, directed by Mahiro Maeda.

The story begins in the near future, when the Earth’s oceans have risen and flooded most of the sea-lying land on Earth. The rogue scientist Zorndyke caused the flooding, which killed countless individuals, and most of humanity’s remaining cities have been attacked or destroyed by Zorndyke’s army of half-animal “hybrids”. The remaining humans begin to wage war against Zorndyke’s seagoing creations for simple survival.

Humanity’s best hope for a resolution to the conflict lies with its submarine forces, among which is the focus of the story, Blue Submarine #6. It is revealed that Zorndyke is attempting to decisively end the conflict in the favor of his hybrid children by artificially inducing a polar switch using geothermal energy at the South Pole.

What makes this particular OVA stand out was its pioneering use of a hybrid mix of 3D computer graphics with traditional animation, resulting in an exquisite visual phenomenon which was pretty much cutting edge for that era.

Unfortunately though, the short nature of only four episodes hurts the storytelling of this beautifully rendered animation, and the plot ends up hurtling along at breakneck speed, losing a lot of the moments in between which could have been used to try and endear us to and flesh out the central characters that much more, and perhaps in the process manage to emotionally invest us deeper into the story being told.

All that said though, this isn’t any light piece of fluff and what is well delivered is a fairly emotional, heavy drama, with plenty of underwater action and of course, a very important environmental message to go along with it.

Accompanied by a fantastic score from the rock ‘n roll big band “The Thrill”, and featuring some great voice acting, Blue Submarine No. 6 still makes for a decent watch, especially if you are interested in witnessing one of the first and best attempts at the marrying together of traditional animation techniques with more modern CGI.

So in summary, if it is on hand watch it, otherwise don’t worry about making the effort of locating it.

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Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Submarine_No._6

Review: New Dominion Tank Police (1993) Anime | My Reviews 31 MAY 2012

Based on the two volume manga series by acclaimed author and illustrator Masamune Shirow, New Dominion Tank Police is set in the fictional city of Newport, Japan, in a future in which bacterial air pollution has become so severe that people must wear gas masks when outdoors. In a desperate attempt to stop the swelling tide of rampant crime and urban terrorism plaguing the city, the government forms a special task force – The Tank Police – with the firepower to combat the high-tech crime syndicates.

The main protagonist of the series is Leona Ozaki, a young female office in the Tank Police who is obsessively in love with her heavily modified, small tank, nicknamed Bonaparte, is not afraid of bending the rules, and more importantly, is VERY enthusiastic about her work!

New Dominion Tank Police is a six part OVA that first saw release in 1993, directed by Norubu Furuse and animated by J.C.Staff. It is a direct sequel to the original manga, this time pitting the tank police against the shadowy and powerful Dai Nippon Gaiken Corporation, which seeks to prevent the mayor from shutting down their weapons manufacturing industry with her newly proposed bill!

What follows is a roller-coaster of action and silliness, with a little bit of drama thrown on top for good measure. Over the top in every way possible, there is no way to describe this other than pure throwaway fun, featuring a lot of explosions, gunfire and chase scenes, and which just happens to be set against quite a rich and serious background.

This is a 90’s anime OVA through and through, meaning a very distinctive character design style, very detailed weapons and vehicles, a gorgeous mecha design, and fantastically detailed backgrounds. The color palette is muted and dark for the most part, and on the whole, the well animated episodes perfectly and seamlessly capture the necessary atmosphere of both the serious of the environment, as well as the silliness of the action.

On top of these quality visuals sits an enjoyable soundtrack which is again distinctly 90’s in nature, all topped off by some great performances from the varied voice actors employed to bring the diverse (and quite stereotyped) character set to life.

In summary, if you are looking for something dark and serious, or even a masterpiece for that matter, you would be best off looking elsewhere. However, if you are looking for some silly explosive fun, that just happens to feature the designs of the great Masamune Shirow which instantly raises its credibility, New Dominion Tank Police will most certainly deliver this in spades!

It won’t kill you if you’ve missed it thus far, but it remains an enjoyable watch for when you do have some extra time to kill!

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Dominion_Tank_Police

Anime Opinions: Plastic Little | Marvel Anime: Blade | Armageddon Anime | My Reviews 05 APR 2012

Plastic Little (1994)

Young Tita Mu Koshigaya is the female captain of the ship, the Cha-Cha Maru, whose business it is to capture exotic creatures in the ‘sea of clouds’ of the planet Ietta, apparently a gas giant of some kind, and selling these captured creatures to collectors and zoos.

By chance, she saves Elysse Aldo Mordish, a young woman of her own age, from a rogue faction of Ietta’s own military forces, led by the armored commander Guizel – who already killed Elysse’s scientist father. As the military conducts a vicious chase for Elysse, it becomes apparent that she holds the key to a secret that could determine the fate of the entire planet’s independence.

Plastic Little is a great example of a 90’s OVA in that it features some pretty slick and detailed animation combined with fantastic mecha and mechanical designs, shows off a fair bit of skin of the ladies for the requisite 90’s OVA fanservice quota, features great vocal and aural tracks, and makes for a short, compact and enjoyable watch.

Unfortunately though, we can’t really count it as one of the classics, in that its short length causes the story to hurtle along at such a pace that there isn’t time for any real character development or building up report with the audience, meaning that by the end of its run, you are left a little ambivalent towards what just happened, but at least you were entertained and the visuals were pretty hot.

Worth watching if you have it, but not necessary to hunt down if you don’t.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic_Little

Marvel Anime: Blade (2011)

Eric Brooks is probably better known as Blade, a “Daywalker” vampire hunter who was born with both human and vampire blood in his veins, following a vampire attack on his mother while she was still pregnant with him.

His ongoing mission to hunt down the four-fanged vampire Deacon Frost, the killer of his mother, takes him to Japan, where he encounters other vampire hunters, before being drawn into battle against “Existence”, a vampire organization seeking to rebel against their European counterparts through the machinations of their leader – Deacon Frost.

The ensuing hunt leads Blade across all of Asia, as he and his new partner Makoto tackle a host of different vampire types in their quest for Frost’s head!

The Marvel Anime project continues, with Blade being the fourth 12 episode installment, following Iron Man, Wolverine and X-Men. Written by Kenta Fukasaku, Blade probably slots in at number three on the enjoyment list, with X-Men leading the pack by miles, followed by Iron Man despite its very episodic nature. Unfortunately the Logan character design and simply too over the top action sequences banishes Wolverine to the last spot.

Anyway, Blade is a competently written action adventure, filled with enough drama to make it a serious show, and comes with the added bonus of varied locations which are used to introduce us to the various Asian vampire lore that exists, certainly something I haven’t previously been exposed to.

As will all the titles up until now, the Marvel hero gets teamed up with a Japanese counterpart, with Blade delivering to us a young precocious vampire hunter in the form of Makoto, who prefers to kill vampires up close and personally, with silver blades and a set of silver knuckledusters secreted around her body. Only thing is, she’s also after Blade’s head for killing her turned father.

The show is well paced despite the frequent location changes, and the story unfolds to deliver a decent mystery with resolution, leaving a satisfying tale in its wake as the final credits draw to a close.

The animation is top notch, with some fantastic character designs, particularly when it comes to the various types of vampires to be encountered. A lot of the action happens in the dark, something which Madhouse needs to be commended on for handling so well, particularly when you look at how detailed, fluid and choreographed the animation actually is.

Aurally, Blade is a polished production, featuring great music and voice acting, with Akio Ohtsuka providing an excellent voice for the protagonist.

All in all, Blade is a solid and entertaining television anime, suited particularly to those who enjoy action packed, vampire-fuelled stories, or those who are already followers of the Blade franchise.

Worth picking up if you come across it then!

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvel_Anime

Armageddon (1996)

Four billion years ago in the Andromeda Nebula, an ambitious project was launched. An ancient race of aliens, seeing that there was no other intelligent life in the universe, set their massive supercomputers the task of seeding more races that could grow to sentience. The project was known as the Omega program.

The human race was the result of the project. However humans were not the only races to grow from the Omega program and lurking in the future is the deadliest threat to the human race ever. In time, the products of this program are destined to clash in violent opposition. Hopelessly outnumbered by the technologically superior enemy, Earth has one last hope. The secret fail-safe of the Omega program – The Delta Boy, living avatar of the supercomputer that began life on Earth!

It’s no small secret that a large chunk of both Western and Japanese animation actually gets farmed out to Korea, and thus it is no surprise that eventually the Koreans started to produce films for themselves – unfortunately for us though, 1996’s Armageddon from director Hyunse Lee isn’t exactly a classic.

Pacing is completely thrown out of the window as the story hurtles towards its conclusion, with huge leaps in time made, not assisted by an almost nonsensical storyline that eventually becomes so silly that you can’t keep a serious face while trying to make head or tail out of it! There is almost no character develop of Delta Boy (or any other character for that matter) whatsoever, and the chopping around from one place to another is likely to leave you with a headache.

This train wreck of a story and storytelling is further hindered by some rather dreadful animation, in part thanks to the cheesy CG affects thrown in, but mostly because of the wildly vibrant, trippy color palette that gets used throughout, not to mention the quite frankly terrible character designs and stiff animation!

This is a difficult watch, and when the two supercomputer avatars finally finish the big end fight, you’ll be kind of happy to eject this silly disc out of your player and drop it at the back of some dusty old drawer somewhere.

Not worth pursuing, not worth watching, unless you want to experience something a little different from the normal American or Japanese fair – and even then you’re going to be disappointed, so best just leave this one completely alone!

Related Link: http://movies.tvguide.com/armageddon/review/132836