Its been a long time since humanity unlocked the barrier between us and the infinite cosmos truly becoming a member of the interstellar community Hell you know its been a long time when aliens have even become commonplace in a racially exclusive country like Japan And theyve become such a normal part of our everyday lives that nobody questions the slug monster sitting in the seat in the back by the window just waiting to star in his own anime. But this story isnt about that slug its about the far more human looking aliens from the planet Valhalla. There are eight princesses on Valhalla each more beautiful than the last But none of them are more fair or more elegant than the blonde bombshell Valkyrie. And thus none of them are more suitable for political marriage. With her long loving link to one loser of a lothario looming in the immediate future Valkyrie jumps ship and then crashes that ship into the planet of Earth Whereupon her reckless flying has cost the life of one Japanese youth with a bathhouse to run and what should have been a long happy life to run it. Feeling guilty for her actions Valkyrie gives the young man half of her soul resurrecting him as good as new although due to her own sacrifice shes reverted back to a loudmouthed brat of a toddler With the two of them now bound together by a promise much stronger than the red thread of fate will their newfound romance survive in the face of Wait romance? How the hell did they get a romance out of that? Screw this plot summary over. UFO Ultramaiden Valkyire was produced by Media Factory Inc. from 2002 to 2004 around the same time that they did such great looking gems as Ikki Tousen and Green Green. Yes this was indeed a dark time for them. This company HAS produced some great looking shows in both its earlier and later years but the early 2000s saw Media Factory release some of the cheapest ugliest looking anime Ive ever seen and while Valkyries not even the worst one it was produced by a company that at the time was pumping out consistent crap a load from which it was no exception. To be fair there are a few impressive looking scenes in this show. Theres an early scene that features Valkyrie in both child and adult forms dancing in the rain thats actually kind of beautiful in its simplicity. The transformation scenes while kind of creepy are also well done. But shots like these are few and far between as the rest of the show just looks awful. Ive complained about characters being frozen in the background before but most shows have the brains to put those frozen characters in positions where theyre standing still looking at either each other or the main characters. In Valkyrie extras are frozen all over the place sometimes in situations where it would be physically impossible to stand perfectly still like in the pool. Action on screen in minimal and what action we do get is often repeated shot for shot as recycled stock footage and Im not just talking about the transformations. For the most part the art is just as bad with characters constantly offmodel moving in unnatural ways through even less natural spurts of activity. Their designs are generic and bland looking at least in terms of the human characters. The aliens actually do look quite inspired and creative especially with the awesome designs of the princesses of Valhalla despite obvious resemblances to Ah My Goddess. Yes I noticed.. There is some creativity here though This is a world where giant bananas walk around with legs and quite frankly Space Dandy would have a field day here. The music on the other hand is fine. Its not great but its also makes for a pretty pleasant listen out of context. The variety of beautiful harp and rockorchestral background tracks work really well with what little material the show gave them and it was even pretty damn clever how many different versions of the tune Ride of the Valkyries you can spot. The one they used as the theme for Child Valkyrie is on its own a lot funnier than the character it was assigned to. The opening and closing unfortunately are nowhere near as impressive. I dont hate either of them theres really nothing substantial about them to justify more than a couple of watches before just skipping them outright. I think the biggest problem either one has despite the catchiness of Itoshi Kakera and the decent groove of Save is the metallic sound quality applied to both vocalists which just gave me headaches every time I listened to them. The English dub was a decent enough effort by ADV Films and god bless these actors they were really trying to make their characters work. well most of them were I have no idea what Cynthia Martinez was doing other than overacting and trying to project as much emotion as she possibly could. Greg Ayres was surprisingly boring in the lead male role of Kazuto especially considering what hes been proven to be capable of in other shows. I honestly blame bad direction for that one. Monica rial varies up her delivery a little bit but its still a cookiecutter performance from her. I used to be a huge fan of Kira Vincent Davis back in the early 2000s back when she was still active and did more roles than just Strike Witches reprisals. She plays dual roles in this show both the adult and Ahem child form of her title character but her performance falls far short of what she was able to pull off in Elfen Lied. She plays the roles as theyre written Boring in her adult form and nightmarishly obnoxious in child form which is pretty much on par with the standard the legendary Megumi Ogata set in the Japanese track. I can SAY that a better actor could have made the character in both forms sound more interesting but if somebody like Ogata couldnt do it then I guess Davis did a serviceable enough job. On the other hand there were a few performances I genuinely did enjoy. Ive made fun of Nancy Novotny in the past And after Elfen Lied she deserves it in endless portions But she is awesome in the role of the cantankerous Princess Hydra and the best part is that she even manages to make her characters child form sound a lot more tolerable than Valkyries. Some of the only laughs I got from this series were from Christine Autens overthetop turn as Miss Sanada an obsessive singleminded maid who has devoted her entire life to serving Valkyrie especially now that she finds her highnesss child form so damn cute. Im honestly not sure how I feel about that since shes kind of a terrible character but well get to that later. Chris Patton is also on point and very funny as Valkyries louse of a fiance Prince Triam. Id say whats most impressive about this dub are the inuniverse songs all of which were translated into English. Its no Beck by any means but whoever was in charge of writing these deserves to be commended for their effort. The director involved also did a great job on these as they got one hell of an awesomely bad recording of Cynthia Martinez rocking out like there was nobody in the room but her bathroom mirror which Believe it or not Was the original intention. The catgirl songs led by Miss Sanada were also really funny despite the troubling implications behind them. There werent a lot of huge changes to the script The company was still a few years off from Ghost Stories starting that unfortunate trend But its still pretty impressive. I would personally recommend the Japanese but if youre a fervent dub fan this one is pretty good. Now having read my thoughts on the English dub you may have come to the conclusion that I dont like the two main characters of this series very much. well you wouldnt be wrong. There are just over a dozen regular or prominent characters in this particular season and I like a grand total of four of them One of which surprise surprise is actually in the main cast. But getting back to Kazuto and Valkyrie well they dont have a single interesting quality between them. Adult Valkyrie does get some explanation of her personality insofar as the fact that she bottles up her emotions and pretends to be strong but that really only comes through in the first episode. We barely get to see her as an adult and as a child shes just an insufferable whiny little brat who abuses her alien dog throws tantrums breaks things and says creepy things about her relationship with Kazuto that seem specifically designed to be taken the wrong way. And as for her knight in yawning armor Kazuto falls into a very special category for me. A seriouis pet peeve of mine is when the main character of a story has only one goal: to preserve the status quo. I want my protagonists to want something whether it be love status or something they dont yet realize they dont need. Kazuto owns his bath house and he wants to serve his community with it and Nothing. The only conflict he ever faces is the possibility of change which thanks to constant coincidences never truly occurs in ways he cant handle. New characters appear shit gets wrecked and weird things happen to his friends but as long as his own personal routine isnt changed hes a fairly inactive character. Their relationship too is extremely troubling in the message that I sincerely hope Im misreading Kazuto and Valkyrie are in love despite having nothing in common no chemistry and him showing no affection whatsoever towards her and in order to turn her into a much more mature and voluptuous adult all they have to do is share a magical kiss. So if Im reading between the lines properly This series is trying to tell us that all it takes to turn a little girl into an adult woman is some intimate contact. sounds kind of pedophilic to me. All things considered I should be rooting for the underdog Kazutos childhood friend Akina Because lets just be honest the childhood friend is always the underdog in these shows But Akinas only personality trait IS her unrequited love for Kazuto. As much as I loved Christine Autens acting and as funny as Miss Sanadas obsession over Valkyries wellbeing may be I just cant over the fact that she is a literal slave driver. The first thing she does after landing on Earth is take out a transform an entire legion of unassuming teenage girls into cat girl complete with ears a tail and a complete brainwash to go with them. She turns them into slaves whose only purpose in life is to serve their extraterrestrial leader without question and likely without payment. I cant laugh at this without wondering how their families are being affected by it. Also I like the fact that Kazutos sister is an overachiever who tries to manage money to make up for her brothers sinking of their finances into the bathhouse and there was some potential for depth with her attempt at having a modicum of a social life but the series did absolutely nothing with it So who were the four characters I liked? Well the most important one was Princess Hydra the bluehaired fireball who came after Valkyrie when the marriage duty was shifted onto her shoulders instead. She was turned into a child herself and from there she became one of the only characters in the show who had the audacity to call little Valkyrie on her behavior And since shes the only one whos not in love with Kazuto shes the only one whos able to antagonize her without an ulterior motive. Shes a lot more entertaining than Valkyrie in the same way that Donald Duck is more entertaining than Mickey Mouse Yes the latter may be the star and icon of the series but the former actually faces consequences and does amusing things. Even on a less comedic note while Valkyrie may say that she was tired of facing the stress and expectations of royal life its a lot more subtle in Hydras case as soon after being turned into a kid she calms down and accepts it developing a lovehate sort of sisterly relationship with Akina. As for the other three? Im talking about Marduke Spottenheim and Mur the three little white aliens that Ive taken to calling The Three Marshkateers. As soon as I heard that they had a backstory that extended back to some intergalactic war that the three of them were notoriously a part of I instantly wished I could have seen a spinoff OVA series about them instead of the piece of shit they were introduced in. In any case lets get back to my problems with Kazuto and Valkyrie. Because really the setting and concept arent horrible The characters really do comprise at least 80 percent of my beef with this show. If the pedophilic relationship between them and Kazutos refusal to accept change werent bad enough both of these elements are cranked up to the extreme as this season builds up to its climax. I dont want to spoil the ending for you but No you know what? I dont care if I spoil it. Ill spoil at least the penultimate episode. Not how it ends but how that ending is set up. If thats still too much for you skip the next paragraph. While Miss Sanada is making some purchases online Valkyrie screws around with her laptop and accidentally orders an asteroid. In their attempts to return it they find out that theres a hot spring inside so they open a hot spring on the asteroid drumming up brand new business But heres the problem The bath water has unexpected healing properties that are giving her her soul back And while the rest of the cast struggle to accept this as the good thing that it is they cant lie to themselves. If Valkyrie turns back into an adult permanently their relationship will stop being a pedophilic passionless chemistryfree romance based entirely on guilt over a manslaughter and theyll have to carry on as actual adults without supernatural obligations to each other. This is about the part when my bemusement at how stupid the series was turned into raw anger. Yes I know harem shows like to be as chaste and asexual as possible while shoving fanservice in our faces but this is a depth I wasnt expecting them to stoop to. I wont tell you how this conflict is resolved but it does in fact involve random convenient coincidences. Because of course it does. Now hopefully Ive already turned a good amount of you off from ever watching this show but theres still one group that I know I havent reached yet The booby hunters. Yes fanservice is abound in the anime medium but explicit fanservice AKA nudity with actual female nipples Isnt that easy to find outside of hentai. Well anybody who came into this show through ADVs advertisements know they were promised lots of naked girls and if thats really enough to make a series worthwhile to you then yes youll find that here. You can find it in bucket loads Provided that you dont mind naked little kids badly drawn characters and constantly recycled animation of random bathing girls with horns on their heads. Oh also? I know the nipples are going to be a big draw for this group of viewers so let me clarify something else There is never any variation in skin tone between areola and breast making the actual detail you were looking for extremely hard to make out in several scenes. In the time that Ive been reviewing anime Ive often heard people telling me that Im too hard on the medium and that I take it too seriously. When I bring up problems Im told that Im nitpicking and that of course I wont enjoy a show while Im taking a negative attitude into it. When I watch a harem show like this or Haganai or Girls Bravo Im not supposed to focus on the fact that a creepy woman is filming kids in the changing room or that shes basically producing child porn or that the manager readily accepts her offering of a bribe. Im supposed to laugh at how silly the situation is. In regards to Kazuto and Valkyries relationship Im not supposed to pay any attention to the fact that she fled one forced marriage just to fall head over heels for her own reckless driving victim or that shes traded one forced loveless romance for another or that anybody she landed on could have reasonably taken the brunt of her affections Im just supposed to root for them because theyre the main couple. Well Im sorry it looks like I take my anime seriously But I do. I have standards and even if you dont agree with them I enjoy picking apart a show and experiencing it on a deeper level than most will be willing to reach for. I like writing down my thoughts and if Im proud of how they turn out I like to post them online for people to possibly read. Thats why I stick to my guns through a show no matter how much I might hate it. To be fair if Im enjoying a show enough I may overlook or even forgive its flaws. I saw Yuki Yuna is a Hero a few weeks ago and I liked the characters animation and tone so much that I was ultimately able to forgive it for being dumber than a box of hammers and a complete ripoff of a superior series. I like to pick apart a series without being disgusted by what I find and Im sorry but this series just makes me sick. Maybe if Kazuto had started the series resenting Valkyrie for barging into his life and forcing the burden of her soul and child self on her but then learned to love her over time well it would still be creepy but at least it wouldnt feel so forced But hey if seeing Ah My Goddess retooled and aimed at the pedophile market appeals to you then please by all means Dont come near me. UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie is available stateside in way too many formats. It was originally released in individual four episode sets each of which ran for about thirty bucks apiece. The series was rescued by Funimation for some ungodly reason They probably knew that they could make a mint off of the booby hunters in their audience And can be found in thinpack sets as well as two SAVE sets that cover its third and fourth seasons as well as its one terrible OVA episode. The manga is not available stateside. I havent seen the third or fourth seasons but I have seen the second and from what I remember it was a slight improvement over the first. I might review it at some point Hell I should since I bought both seasons. In truth I saw this series ten years ago at which point I considered it the worst anime Id ever seen. It no longer holds that title a decade later but its remained very faithfully in the bottom ten ever since. In the years since I saw it Ive been happy to see it lost in eternal obscurity and hell one of the few people Ive spoken to whove seen it was even aware enough of its flaws to call it The Pedophile anime. Others have defended it calling it funny which I dont get. Maybe these jokes are new to you if youve never seen them before but I have and they all fell flat for me. Its a dreary uncomfortable series that I knew Id eventually have to revisit and yet I still cant call it completely awful as it does have a pretty good soundtrack some much appreciated creativity and if Im being completely honest good pacing too. But those few good points just dont save it. I give UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie a 2/10.
20 /100
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