Medabots Anime Review
メダロット / メダロット魂
Medarotto / Medarotto Tamashi
Medarot / Medarot Spirit
US Release By
One of the worst anime known to mankind
91 25-minute episodes
1999-07-02 - 2001-03-30
What's In It
- Violence: 0 (none)
- Nudity: 0 (none)
- Sex: 0 (none)
- Language: 0 (none)
Stop me if you've heard this before: Ikki Tenryou is a kid who fights with mini robots called "Medabots" in competitive battles. Well, in the first episode he's some wannabe loser who doesn't have one, but he gets one called "Metabee" for a discount price from the shop because it's an old model. Of course, it turns out Metabee is the greatest most powerful medabot and can use the "Medaforce," which basically just looks like a steroid beam in Steroid Brawl Z (Dragon Ball Z). Well, of course there's a villain who treats his medabot like a tool and a medabot rival and a medabot mentor.
What? You should have stopped me! Anyway, Medabots is possibly the worst Pokemon ripoff known to mankind, although it's perhaps on an equal level with Beyblade. It did do a few things right, but definitely not enough to make up for what it did wrong.
Let's go into the story first. It actually does have an ending, and a story, but the story is idiotically preposterous (it's not funny like FLCL). It starts out like "Fight the next evil medabot with their next evil ability", but about halfway through they decided to make it that many years ago, there was an evil giganterous disaster involving medabots! Wow wee! There's also a professor guy who everyone thought was dead and the "Phantom Renegade" aka "Space Medafighter X", who is very blatantly the guy in the shop that sells Ikki Metabee. A lot of crap is thrown in about aliens and ghosts and ancient lost civilizations, and it's all totally unconnected. Also, the bad guys are the stupidest ever seen. They are the "Rubberobo Gang," an obvious ripoff of Team Rocket except even more inept, but as the show goes on they become actual bad guys for no explainable reason. The story has no continuity, no organization, and they seemed to forget whatever they made up in the next episode. It's also stupid, idiotic, lame, and all-round bad.
The characterization comes next. There actually is no characterization. Just as the story has no continuity, the characterization changes on an episodic basis. What the word "characterization" actually means is "character development," but since the characters reset in every episode they don't develop at all. Ikki, for the most part, is another Ash, Genki, Tyson, but he's also whiny and insufferable in some episodes, sarcastic and biting in others, and a bad ass in more. In one episode, Ikki is obsessed with octopus balls, but not in any other.They also couldn't seem to make up their minds over whether he was bad at fighting (like Ash) or unbelievably powerful. Metabee is the only medabot with any personality at all, and they tried to cash in on every current trend (probably partially the dub). He's voiced by some rapper-voiced guy, says "Dude. I rock." all the time, and is supposed to be a bad-tempered hothead like Inu-Yasha in Inuyasha.There's a lot of other characters to complain about, but the other one that stuck out to me as horrible (aside from the "Medabots are just a tool!" villain, Victor) was the would-be kawaii girl, Karen. She was the "too nice, too kind, too peaceful" archetype. But there's something about this archetype, something very subtle, that edges it between lovable and nauseating. Belldandy in Oh My Goddess is a good example of the lovable (or at least likable) usage of this archetype, but Karen is a good example of nauseating. I think it has to do with how vapid she was; she came across like one of those actresses that's faking being that nice because she was so underdeveloped and badly done. Belldandy, on the other hand, actually got worried or angry some of the time.
The absolute worst part of Medabots, even with everything else how it is, is the animation. It looks like crap, to put it bluntly. If you've ever seen the American cartoon Ed, Edd, and Eddy, it looks like a deformed cross between that and Lupin the 3rd. While watching it for the first time, I was seriously questioning whether it was, in fact, an anime. The thing that made me decide it was (aside from the credits) was the medabots. They look like miniature, brightly-colored gundams (Metabee is bright yellow, hence the "bee"), and unlike the people, they actually have outlines that aren't crooked and every corner possible isn't cut on their details. The people all have ball-shaped hands with no fingers (except when they need them) and a totally flat face with no nose when viewed from the front and a little raised mound when viewed from the side. A vast majority of them also have this hideous hair that looks like Prince Valiant, sometimes with little cowlicks sticking off to make them look different. Only Ikki (who has a sick ponytail thing) and Karen (who has the ugliest pigtails I've ever seen) don't have hair based off this style. Oh yeah, and Victor was bald (he's from Kenya). Which reminds me of the fact that they tried to do stereotypes like in G Gundam, but failed miserably. If you've ever heard that French people are good at disguising, people from the Caribbean are pirates, or people from Sweden are idol stars, email me and tell me. Oh yeah, and if you've ever heard that Kenyans treat things like a tool when they ought to be friends.
The only good thing about Medabots is the medabots themselves. A lot of them are unbelievably stupid, but some of them were well-designed, and unlike most monster shows they actually use guns and missiles as weapons (in the dub, they changed gun to laser, though, but it's obviously supposed to be a machine gun). They're also unoriginal, though, because as I said, they look like miniature gundams. Also, the battles don't carry this goodness. They only have about three different animations each; one of Metabee shooting his "laser cannons," one of the bad guy's mega power, and one of Metabee shooting his seeker missiles. Later on they added an animation of Metabee using the Medaforce. They also play the same, very crappy music in every one of them
I forgot to mention this before, in all the huff over the animation: the dub is horrible. The voices aren't that bad, but the writing is probably the worst I've ever seen in any translation of any language. They (probably) added a lot of incredibly stupid words like "robattle" (a medabot battle), "medafighter" (a medabot battler), and "medaforce." There's also the other unbelievably idiotic words like "Rubberobo", "Metabee," "Space Medafighter X." Then there's the episode titles, like "The Spy Who Robattled Me." The worst one, which turned my stomach over when I heard it, was when something amazing happened and Ikki cried "Holy Medarolly!!!"
No one should have to suffer through Medabots, not even three-year-olds. After all, I have a pretty low opinion of children's intelligence, but I doubt even they would enjoy this. Being worthless doesn't automatically make it for kids, although I guess some kids did like it because they had toy commercials on for a while. But Medabots is so bad it makes Gatekeepers Full Throttle look good. It's like eating baked potatoes for a year, every day, then asking for something different and getting rotten spinach. Suddenly the baked potatoes don't look so bad.
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Notes and Trivia
For some reason, "medabot" and all the other "meda" words are spelled with a "D", but "Metabee" is spelled with a "T". There are of course card game and video game tie-in products.
Note that the first four and final three seasons in Japan, although they aired back-to-back without break (the first year ended June of 2000), were originally named slightly differently; the first year was just "Medarot" (yes, "rot," not "bot"), and the other three-quarters of a year was "Medarot Spirit."
US DVD Review
The series is making its way out on dub-only DVD from ADV; the discs correspond to the VHS volumes at 4 or 5 episodes each, and include profiles and a "Medabots A to Z" special feature.
Anyone can watch.
Violence: 0 - The shots never seem to actually do anything to the medabots but knock out their medals.
Nudity: 0 - Not a thing.
Sex/Mature Themes: 0 - There's nothing in it.
Language: 0 - "Holy Medarolly" ought to warrant a five, but it doesn't.