Saber Marionette J Again
As things settle down immediately following the events depicted in the Saber Marionette J TV series, a new Marionette awakens from the depths of the sea. Her awakening coincides with an increase in earthquakes and energy fluctuations across the planet of TerraTwo. Of course, being a Marionette, she ends up in the happy household of Mamiya Otaru, as do the Saber Dolls. Taking the name Marine, she quickly develops emotions at a rate far surpassing that of the other Marionettes (especially the almost infantile Lime). However, her mysterious origins and powers soon thrust her into situations far beyond her comprehension ... and the fate of TerraTwo soon rests in her unsteady hands.
It's no secret I love Saber Marionette J. The original television series is one of the best there is, and I was looking forward to the OAVs ... right until I watched them. Now, this series isn't a total failure by any means, but it deviated way too far off the mark, and some of the characters were almost unrecognizable, especially Lime.
Lime must've had a lobotomy between the television series and the OAVs. She acts even *more* like a child than ever, and she seems to act more and more infantile with each episode. Rather than progressing in her emotions, she regresses - one moment, she befriends Marine and loves Otaru, only to reject both Otaru and Marine once it's revealed Marine's afraid of men. (Wha?) She then immediately starts liking them again after Marine hits her on the back. (Double wha?) Not to mention all the other Marionettes AND Hanagata just seemed plain off. They become obsessed with who can bed Otaru first, all in the name of growing up. (And about this time the viewer's about giving up.) The only faithfully acted Marionette is Tiger, who proves her worth despite having been out of action through the first four OAVs. And when the most genuinely emotional of the Marionettes are Tamasaburo and Baiko, you know there's a serious problem. (Wait, they don't *have* Virgin Circuits, right?)
Then there's Marine herself. Why? The reasons for her being are rather contrived, as is the explanation for her having three Virgin Circuits. It's as if she exists to be a plot point and nothing else - she's given this power to channel plasmatic energy, and she awakens just as TerraTwo's about to be destroyed by - yes- plasmatic energy. Gee, ain't that convenient. To make it even worse, the country that created her, New Texas (yes, my home state has suddenly grown evil ^_^) wants to destroy her *because* she can channel energy and save the world. Go figure. Not to mention the liquid-metal Terminator clones - c'mon!
You could easily take away the character of Marine and this entire OAV series and not miss a beat going into Saber Marionette J to X. Though Marine herself was a well-acted character, she wasn't given enough time to develop - or a valid enough explanation for her existence. All her presence does is make the IQs of the other Marionettes drop to -10 ... and it's ultimately rather pointless. Which is a complete shame, as Marine would have been a wonderful addition to the cast, but she's wasted and doomed from the start. (There's a reason you don't see her even mentioned in J to X ... she was just not deemed important enough to merit even life in the long run.)
This entire series is nothing more than a footnote to the SMJ universe. Of all the things they could have done to follow up to the Saber Marionette J TV series, why this?
Good animation doesn't redeem the fact that the characters all act like sex-starved, blithering idiots. Shame! — Christi
Recommended Audience: Teens and up. This one's much more sexually charged than the original, and it doesn't do a bit of good. Non-graphic violence, though there's a *lot* of stupidity. It's really best for diehard SMJ fans, though a lot of them may be disappointed by this filler and would be best off waiting for J to X instead. Not a way to start out newbies, to say the least.
Version(s) Viewed: digital source; R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (6/6)
Saber Marionette J Again © 1998 Akahori Satoru / Negishi Hiroshi / Kotobuki Tsukasa / Kadokawa Shoten / Bandai Visual / Sotsu Agencydigital source; R1 DVD
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