I opened my eyes, soaking wet and staring at the clearest blue sky I had ever seen in my life. The sound of the sea all around me and sand creeping it’s way into my boxers. I couldn’t remember much about how I got there but decided to search for survivors. Instead I found some of the wreckage. Inside was a brand new HD TV, a DVD player and an adapter so I could plug them into coconuts for power. I remembered that I still have some DVD’s to review and scrambled around in my pockets to find two disks labeled Megaman Star Force. Oh well it’s better than nothing, at least I’d have something to do until I was rescued.
After hooking up the equipment to five or six coconuts I slid in the DVD remembering the Megaman video game series that I used to love when I was a kid. The games were challenging to say the least but still a lot of fun and I would have hoped the series would give a similar effect. Fast moving and action packed at the very least. In the end it’s a series adapted from a video game and it’s very rare when they are pulled off well so I wasn’t expecting much. Still, Gungrave managed to come up with something fantastic from a simple arcade style shoot em up game.
Similar to the games the year is 220X and humans have created a new technology to communicate with aliens. The protagonist Geo Stelar lost his father in some sort of space accident and spends his days mourning his father by not going to school. One night while looking at the sky he comes in contact with a being known as Omega-Sis from the Planet FM (which I’m sure is a radio station somewhere in Middlesbrough). The two join together and become Megaman and battle radio wave viruses and whatnot that want to destroy Earth. Why do they want to destroy the Earth? They just do. They seem to have about as much motivation as the aliens did in Independence Day and we all know how good that movie was.
The first episode came and went and it struck me that this is nothing like any of the games. Half an hour went and nothing much seemed to happen at all. Scenes literally repeated themselves several times though the episode and at one point I noticed the same extended quote repeated three times during it’s 19 minute or so run. There was no high paced action, in fact there was little movement at all and the setting or characters weren’t intriguing enough to feel like it could pull off a successful slow burning show like Haibane Renmei. Opening episodes need something about them, they need a hook, something to get you interested. Even the monkeys from the trees behind me got bored about halfway through and proceeded to throw their feces at the TV screen. I must admit I was feeling the same way. The night was coming so I decided to build a shelter for the night and try the series again tomorrow.
The morning sun woke me and the sound of those damn monkeys trying to switch on my TV got me up in a hurry. After shooing away the monkeys, cleaning the crap off of the TV and making myself a fresh cup of what I like to call Awesome Funky Island Coffee™ made out of sand, ground up shoelaces and seawater I decided it was time to watch few episodes of Megaman.
Starting off with a rather extended recap of the previous episode, the episode finally started. There’s so many recaps of what’s just happened and previews about what’s going to happen you get the feeling that you just want to skip forward because you already know what’s coming. To be fair it’s pretty obvious what is coming most of the time anyway. It’s very much a kids show and attempts to teach you morals about friendship and family wherever it can. The production values look about as low budget as you can get with an inordinate amount of reused footage and no shading on any of the characters making it look like the animators clocked off early every day so they could do something more worthwhile. When we finally get to see a battle it’s so clunky and poorly executed I felt cheated that this is what it was building up for two episodes.
The monkeys were obviously watching in the background because they were now crudely fashioning their own version of the Battle Cards in the show that give Megaman special abilities out of leaves, excrement and rocks. It seems with every Japanese kids show out there it’s somehow geared towards selling kids some sort of trading cards. Well onward with the next couple of episodes and it was more of the same. Poor animation, paper thin characterization and anticlimactic battles while Geo learns more of his Megaman powers and rampages around the city Spiderman style. If this was building up to something I did not care. Even in episodes four and five they were still reusing animation from episode one. My patience was wearing thin and so was the last slither of sunlight.
A storm was coming over the horizon so I ran for the shelter but before I could gather up the TV and DVD player those damn monkey’s ran off into the jungle with them. Just as I thought I lost them I found they’d set up the TV and were watching more episodes of Megaman without me. I decided to keep my distance and watch from afar. As expected it was even more of the same mind numbing childish rubbish as before. Even looking at it as a kids show it was a poor excuse for television and finally seven episodes into the series I couldn’t take it anymore. I charged up to the monkey’s and fought back for my TV and DVD player. They got hold of the Megaman DVD and headed for the mountains but they could keep it. Cleaning their shit off of the screen seemed like a better source of entertainment compared to watching anymore of that.
I still had the second disk from the set but the best use for that would be using the shiny side to reflect the sun and use as a distress signal for passing ships. I tried looking for a football to draw a face on to become my new best friend while I waited for help but couldn’t find one so just drew a pair of boobs in the sand. Finally after several hours a fishing ship passed by and took me aboard. I told them of the horrible show I had to watch while I was stranded and they let me watch an episode of Cowboy Bebop one of the sailors had saved onto his iPod to console me.
If you made it through that then you’ll be wondering what the hell my point is. My point is I’d rather be stuck on a desert island with both Keith Chegwin and Ant & Dec than have nothing to watch but Megaman Star Force.
To be absolutely fair to the series, younger children might enjoy it but I’d say that anyone over the age of 9 would find it too childish, pointless and slow moving. The problem is that the 12 age certificate might rule out parents buying into the series for those younger viewers. The fact that it even has a 12 rating is a baffling mystery as it is. There is nothing here for the older viewer and fans of the old NES games should avoid it even if you see the complete collection in a bargain bin in some Little Chef at the side of the motorway. It’s another one of those series in the vein of Pokemon, Digimon and Yu-Gi-Oh. Cheaply made in order to promote their crappy merchandise and dupe kids into buying it and because of that I’m giving it the lowest score I can. Parents, there’s no need for your kids to put you through this. This rating is for you!