M.D. Geist II Anime Review
装鬼兵M.D.ガイスト - デスフォース
Soukihei M.D. Gaisuto - Death Force
Demon-garbed Soldier M.D. Geist
US Release By
Sci-Fi Splaterfest Action
What's In It
- Man-eating Robot Worms
- Blood n' Guts
- Flying Super-soldier Fights
- Big Robots/Mecha
- Chases and Races
- Violence: 4 (heavy)
- Nudity: 2 (moderate)
- Sex: 1 (mild)
- Language: 1 (mild)
The Death Force, released by supersoldier M.D. Geist, are an army of unfeeling war robots that have covered the planet Jerra, hunting down all human life and destroying it. There is only one hope left for mankind: a mechanical island in the desert that is the home of most remaining humans, lead by M.D. Krauser and protected by his elite fighting force. Geist still lives, and is traveling the land killing Death Force robots as well as anything else in his way. Vaiya, meanwhile, has lost her memory and is wandering with a small band of humans foraging for survival. When she is taken in by Krauser, her only fear is that the phantom haunting her, Geist, will return, which is exactly what may happen when the last two Most Dangerous soldiers find out about each other.
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M.D. Geist II: Death Force is a modest improvement on its predecessor; instead of a cheesy '80s gory action flick it is a cheesy '90s gory action flick. As such, it's better looking, involves more involved (and generally more unstable) characters, the story is convoluted and confusing, and it's a little more fun. Regardless of style changes an improvements, it's still at best a mediocre gory action flick. The story stands on its own well enough that seeing the prequel isn't required, though since they're sold as a set now that's not generally an issue.
The stylistic change from older to newer cheesy gore flick may put off some fans of the original and gain a few others, but basically if you can't get enough bloody chunks and/or you liked the first one, go for it.
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Well, I must admit, there is a bright side to the first M.D. Geist movie: There's actually a follow-up to its seemingly pointless and inconclusive ending. This sequel takes up a short while after the first movie ends, and actually does a fair job of continuing the story. Unfortunately, it's also a faithful continuation in that it's just not very good. If you haven't seen the first one, don't worry--it'd help, but Death Force makes sense on its own.
In essence, where M.D. Geist was a standard '80s gory action flick, M.D. Geist II is a standard '90s gory action flick. That basically means that it looks better, focuses more on convoluted (and in this case rather random) plot twists, and has more traumatized and/or insane characters. (Seriously, now that I think about it it's amazing how many mentally unstable people show up in newer gory anime.) Whether these things are changes for the better or the worse depends a lot on your personal taste, but in general I thought it was a slight improvement over the first one.
The original M.D. Geist's plot was simple and illogical, and, while the sequel has a lot more going on, it makes even less sense. There seems to be a lot of intrigue and double-crossing, but the execution is so muddled it's confusing more than anything. The characters are, thankfully, a bit more sympathetic this time (particularly Vaiya, although due to her amnesia she's essentially a different character), and they're certainly a more interesting bunch (they actually have personality, a big improvement).
Sadly, the improvements are compensated for by the fact that new characters keep popping up without nearly enough explanation, betraying somebody at random, and doing their darnedest to compound the confusion. Topping it all off, the end makes almost no sense. At least it's conclusive--that's better than the first movie, which also made no sense but was inconclusive on top of it.
There is, however, one subtle change from the first movie that I thought made all the difference: The gore and violence are... well, more fun. The extremely detailed and graphic carnage in this one is more over-the-top (the robots eat people!) and just seems to be more good-natured (despite the fact that the general mood is a little more serious). The implicit admission that the movie is fundamentally an action-splatterfest romp makes it more enjoyable on the whole. The best example (which may not have been intentional) was probably my favorite scene in the movie: A nameless bystander watching an evil robot feed on a corpse proclaims "How horribly gross!", and then is abruptly decapitated and dismembered himself.
The improved art deserves most of the credit for the better gore--more detail equals more detailed chunks. The art in general is cleaner, somewhat more detailed, and it generally looks higher budget. The character designs also look much better (especially Vaiya), which helps a lot in creating some modicum of empathy for the characters. Unfortunately, the mechanical designs that were the sole bright point of the visuals in the first movie aren't as good this time, and since they would have been drawn better, more's the pity. The animation is somewhat better, improving the sufficiently plentiful action.
The acting in the English dub is a bit better than the first movie, which is to say not great, but not glaringly bad either. Unfortunately, the dialogue is not an improvement--badly written and so awkward at times that it barely makes sense. There seemed to be less music in this sequel, or maybe it was so inconspicuous that I just didn't notice it. The moody end theme isn't bad, though.
In all, I'd say that M.D. Geist II: Death Force is a modest improvement on its predecessor--it's better looking and a little more fun, though the story is more confusing. Even so, at best it's a mediocre gory action flick. The stylistic change from older to newer cheesy gore flick may put off some fans of the original and gain a few others, and since the story can comfortably stand on it's own, if you can't get enough bloody chunks and/or you liked the first one, go for it.
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There's of course the more classically-styled M.D. Geist original, but the later parts of Genocyber are an even better match.
Notes and Trivia
The sequel to the original M.D. Geist, produced 10 years later and released alongside the original's Director's Cut.
US DVD Review
The "Collector's Series" DVD includes both this movie and the prequel M.D. Geist Director's Cut, plus a bonus disc of extras. In addition to hybrid stereo audio and of course an English subtitle track, the set claims a heap of special features. Among them: An "alternate angle graphic novel", commentary tracks, interviews, storyboards, galleries, trailers, conceptual art of all sorts, and more.
Plenty of extreme violence and some nudity easily qualify it for a 16-up.
Violence: 4 - Chunks galore.
Nudity: 2 - A scene or two.
Sex/Mature Themes: 1 - Mostly implied.
Language: 1 - Not noteworthy.
Staff & Cast
English Dub Cast
MD Geist: Jason Beck
MD Krauser: John Hollywood
Vaiya: Joan Baker
Breston: Greg Stuhr
Eagle: David Fuhrer
Major: Vincent Bagnall
Non-Comm.: Howard Glassroth
With: Matt Black, Richard Nagel, Michael Goldwasser, Rory Max Kaplan
Executive Producer: Masaharu Takayama
Producers: Masato Takami (Nippon Columbia), Masao Nakamura (Zero G-Room)
Director: Koichi Ohata
Original Story/Mechanical Design: Koichi Ohata
Script: Riku Sanjyo
Character Design: Shunji Murata
Co-Design: Yoshio Harada, Kimitoshi Yamane
Animation Director: Chuhichi Iguchi
Art Director: Yukihiro Shibuya
Photography Director: Hisao Shirai
Music: Yoshiaki Ohuchi
"The Moon is Crying" and "The End of Desire"
Writer, Composer, Performer: Yoshiaki Ohuchi
"Violence of the Flame"
Lyrics: Machiko Ryuh
Music: Masayuki Kishi
Arrangement and Performer: Yoshiaki Ohuchi
Production: Zero G-Room
Formerly available in North America from US Manga Corps prior to their bankruptcy, combined with the prequel on a hybrid Collector's Edition DVD. The same disc was re-released after a while at a budget price of about $10, and also available in a cheap box set along with Genocyber, Cybernetics Guardian, and soundtracks of both MD Geist and Genocyber. Was originally available on subtitled and dubbed VHS.
The DVD was still relatively easy to find at last check, for example used from Amazon: M.D. Geist 1 and 2 (Collector's Edition) .