The teaser website for the release of Master of Martial Hearts should give you a good idea of what to expect before even placing the DVD in your player. Just let the site load and then let your mouse drift across the three characters. As it does so you’ll notice their clothes become ripped, exposing the underlying underwear.
In fact, the website is quite tame compared to what you’ll experience during the fight sequences in each episode. In other words, this is not an anime for younger children, and the 15 age rating should definitely be adhered to. We’ll explain why in a moment.
Split across five 30 minute OVA episodes, Master of Martial Hearts tells the story of Aya Iseshima who stumbles across a fight between two girls in the street and intervenes. That chance encounter changes her from a carefree student into a schoolgirl fighter.
It turns out that the girls are fighting for parts of a jewel known as the Martial Heart. By collecting all of these parts each girl has been promised that their wish will be fulfilled. The only way to collect all the pieces is to fight other girls and progress to the final where a wish can come true.
By intervening in the fight Aya inadvertently knocks one of the girls out of the competition, but at the same time she, and her best friend Natsume, fulfill that girl’s wish to make friends. Any normal schoolgirl would likely be out of their league in such a tournament, but Aya’s mother was a fighter, and Aya has a similar level of skill.
The revelation Aya has, and the one that makes her determined to fight rather then flee, is the discovery that defeated opponents disappear to what is thought to be another realm. Determined to find these women, some of whom she counts as friends, Aya decides getting them back should be her promise for the Martial Heart. Little does she know the real reasoning behind the tournament is about to catch up with her.
In reality, the plot in Master of Martial Hearts is just a thin veil over a series heavy on the fan service and exposure of breasts whenever it is deemed appropriate.
The overall look of the anime is a little washed out and lacking in detail. While there are plenty of fight scenes, the action is limited to close-up shots of punches and kicks, each of which shreds or completely removes pieces of clothing. In many of the early fights, fully exposed breasts are common and a sign that a girl is nearing defeat.
If girls fighting and progressively losing clothing sounds like your thing, then Master of Martial Hearts is for you. But even so, keep the fast forward button handy as the story can really start to drag in places.