Mikura is a mercenary for hire just trying to make a dishonest living with her partners. They’ve been on a losing streak lately and can really use a cash influx. Thankfully they have a new client with a high price job. It just so happens to be a kidnapping; unfortunately for them their target is a baseball team owner with a penchant for evil. As if his legion of guards weren’t enough they’ll also have to deal with his deranged daughter Momomi. Hopefully they’ll stick around long enough to enjoy being paid.
summary by Mugs
Highs: Well animated; some comedic value
Lows: Cartoony feel; unrealistic given the subject matter; predictable
As the sister project to Kite, I was expecting something along the same lines: a nicely planned story with no reservations about graphic violence or explicit sexual content. Well, unfortunately, in this case two out of three is bad. The redeeming value of Kite was its story along with a great stylized universe, and for some inexplicable reason that is the one element that was decided not to be brought over to Mezzo Forte. The result is a mass of action and some comedy that is without direction, and therefore ultimately a letdown.
Mezzo Forte‘s biggest drawback, aside from the lack of plot, is its amount of content that seems irrelevant. For example, in an early scene we see Kite‘s Sawa walk by very blatantly and for no purpose; if they would have hid this better it would have been a nice bonus, but as it is it seems forced. Also there are two extremely graphic sexual encounters in this anime that serve no purpose other than to show sex. Be warned when I say “graphic”; I mean Cool Devices levels, and with no redeeming value to the plot. These scenes just seem to intrude on the show’s pacing. This anime, unfortunately, is too unbelievable to truly be enjoyed as a serious piece. Everyone has superhuman power; when Mikura kicks someone they go flying through a brick wall. When unnamed people punch the street they put holes in the pavement. They should have gone for a more realistic Noir-like approach.
These OVAs aren’t all bad though; they are nicely drawn and animated. Some people will see the blatant sex as a big plus. Also there are some funny parts interlaced throughout, usually when the mercenary team interacts with each other. If you go for the unrealistic action, it is nicely done and has some inventive parts. All in all, not a bad way to waste an hour, but there are far better things that you could be watching, as well.
Highs: Umetsu’s gritty character designs
Lows: Blatant, unnecessary sex scenes; quasi-plot; tired “buddy cop” formula
I don’t know what the purpose of this anime is. Perhaps it’s a comedy, even though the “jokes” (and I use that term lightly) are so weak that nary a chuckle escaped my lips. Maybe it’s a hentai anime because the two sex sequences are perhaps among the most graphic and explicit in all of anime… but they only make up just a few minutes of the entire two OVAs. It has quite a few action scenes, but the inconsequential story makes Appleseed and Blood: The Last Vampire look like deep, riveting dramas. Hmm…
Umetsu Yasuomi’s art style has always been defined by its weary, pockmarked, angular character designs. His male characters, in particular, are fittingly ugly and each unique in profile. One gets the feeling just by looking at them that they have been through Hell and back and just want to sit down to a cold beer and a smoke. They match perfectly with Umetsu’s dark, alternative future-present.
Those familiar with Kite will instantly feel at home with the general feel of this anime, but everything about it just pales in comparison to its predecessor. And while the story does make sense, it feels like it was lifted straight from the middle of a larger, better one. The aforementioned hardcore sex placed randomly through the course of events destroyed the little respect I had for this anime in the first place.
Even after breaking this OVA down to its components, I still can’t tell why it was created. Some things will forever remain a mystery, I suppose… except for one thing: this show isn’t worth your time.
Highs: Slick animation; terrific character designs; non-stop action
Lows: Plot that tries to do everything and succeeds at nothing; missing background info
Director Umetsu Yasuomi, also known for the less-than-stellar production Kite, strives to achieve a balance between action, comedy, drama and even hentai with this short and high-spirited anime, but its clichéd plot, predictability and blatant lack of background information make it utterly forgettable. Umetsu-san may have bitten off more than he could chew with this project.
Still, this anime is by no means a complete miss. There is plenty of style to, at times, distract the viewer from the severe lack of substance. From beginning to end, Mezzo Forte is very well animated. The action scenes come alive on screen, and the art style, while admittedly not everyone’s cup of tea, helps to bring personality to the characters. And believe me, these characters need about all the personality they can get. I like Momomi, and Mikura certainly has her moments, but in the end I didn’t know anything more about the characters than when they were first introduced. Because this anime is so short, making good use of screen time is crucial, but all of the wrong things are missing from the show. Character development or some general background information on the story would have been nice. Instead are random sex scenes and pointless characters that in no way contribute to the story. This is where Mezzo Forte really falls short.
The best compliment I can give this anime is that there was never a time when I was bored. So if you prefer your anime with mindless action, no story, gratuitous sex and second-rate in every other conceivable way, all wrapped up in an eye-catching package, then by all means watch Mezz… Oh forget it. Just watch something else.
Mezzo Forte (non-hentai edit) can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.
Mezzo Forte (uncut hentai edit) can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.