Rescue Me Mave-chan Anime Review
Sentou Yousei Shoujo Tasukete! Meiv-chan
Battle Fairy Girl Save Me! Mave-chan
US Release By
Shy, generic anime fan Rei (he "coincidentally" has the same name as the protagonist of the top-gun sci-fi anime Yukikaze) wins a ticket to a Yukikaze con (?!). It takes every ounce of drive he can muster to even get there, but once he arrives he steps through a random portal to a world where anime fans' feelings cause mecha-fanservice to become physically embodied in girl-fanservice. The plane-girls there will do their best to get him home, but first they're going to have to get past the creature that eats said embodiments when fans stop caring about a series... and even if Rei makes it out, the girls' fate is sealed.
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What possible redeeming qualities could there be to anime that recasts the sexy jets in the dead-serious Yukikaze as less-sexy flying plane-girls in short skirts, and pits them against the evil manifestation of fans getting bored? Answer: None. Read the plot summary, look at the box art, and you've gotten everything there is to get out of it other than a lot of pain. Sure, it has passable visuals, attractive character designs, and a veteran cast, but it's still like an in-joke the marketing department got ahold of and decided they could sell to girl-starved Yukikaze fans.
No, Rescue Me Mave-chan holds zero surprises and all the desperate fanservice, cringeworthy drama, and unadulterated stupidity you'd expect, and it's not even funny. In fact, it's too bland to even be worth heckling. The only good thing about it is that it is, mercifully, over after 20 minutes.
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Rescue Me Mave-chan is one of those things you just know is going to be awful. After all, what possible redeeming qualities could there be to anime that recasts the sexy jets in the dead-serious Yukikaze as less-sexy flying plane-girls in short skirts (who shoot missiles out of... nowhere apparent), and pits them against the embodiment of fans getting bored?
Answer: None. Seriously, I sat down with two other people and the only good thing we could come up with about Rescue Me Mave-chan is that it's over after 20 minutes, because that's about all anyone could stand.
Given how crazy the idea sounds, morbid curiosity got the better of me, but the only real question was whether Rescue Me Mave-chan would be an average sort of awful with some decent prods at the series it parodies, or really awful, a nugget of unadulterated stupidity and fanservice. Answer: really, really awful--there isn't even anything worth heckling, and the fanservice is limited to a couple of near-afterthought, screen-filling panty shots.
One has to wonder how this abomination even got made. My best guess is the marketing department got ahold of an in-joke from the production department and decided it was a good idea for an actual product targeted at girl-starved Yukikaze fans. It's not. At all.
I could go on for a while about just how abjectly stupid this short OAV is, but reading the plot synopsis is probably sufficient. That said, more insults: The plot makes even less sense in practice than on paper, Gainax would be proud of the pointlessly warped meta-ness of it all (note the Gunbuster nod in the villain), it's awkwardly overdramatic, said weepy "drama" is so bad it hurts, and I'm pretty sure the moral of the story is "Cute girls die when you get a life." Seriously. It's kinda like a cross between The Langoliers and that kitten meme for otaku.
Other than some "forgotten mecha" references making up the body of the giant villain, it doesn't even have any in-jokes. In fact, they seem to have missed the biggest in-joke of all, which is that the only romance of any significance in Yukikaze is between two very pretty guys. Well, unless you count that series' Yukikaze, which very pointedly had no gender other than "fighter jet" and little personality past "loyal and efficient." That this series' anthropomorphized Super Sylph is kind of a ditz is just adding insult to injury.
Although the animation is not by Gonzo, Studio Fantasia does a decent job with the visuals. Which, come to think of it, is a minus--that this concept got anything above bottom-tier webcomic art is an insult to dozens of good ideas with cheap animation. The girls are certainly varied and attractive, and they have fittingly flashy clothing to evoke the oh-so-pretty mechanical design of the planes they (loosely) represent. The coloring looks flat, but the animation is otherwise fluid and stuff does blow up (albeit stupid stuff). After the incongruently attractive intro sequence, the only backgrounds consist of sand, the green sky of not-actually-Fairy, and a bit of nondescript anime con. Given nothing but sand and sky to work with, it actually doesn't look too bad. The one thing I found interesting was the lower-rent depiction of Gonzo's "vibrating" JAM craft--interesting to see a more traditional studio try to mimic their fancy computer-aided techniques.
If there's background music, I didn't notice it, but there is the requisite vacuous, cheerful end theme performed by some of the cast. Speaking of whom, the Japanese cast is mostly composed of talented veterans who do as good a job as is possible given the tripe they're working with here. I hope they got paid well.
Summing up, don't even think about watching Rescue Me Mave-Chan. Read the plot summary, look at the box art, and you've gotten everything there is to get out of it other than twenty minutes of pain. It holds zero surprises and all the desperate fanservice, cringeworthy drama, and unadulterated stupidity you'd expect, and not even in the right proportions. Seriously, do something useful with that half hour of life. Really, do anything but watch this.
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I'm having difficulty thinking of anything dumb enough to parallel this; it would be like a dumber version of any relatively serious harem show, except that's sort of an oxymoron. Dual, being sort of a parody of Evangelion done as a harem show, is about the closest thing that comes to mind. Yukikaze, in case that wasn't obvious, has nothing at all to do with this, and fans of one should go nowhere near the other. (Also, if there are fans of Rescue Me! Mave-chan, I'd rather not know about it.) For an even crazier anthropomorphic object-girl concept with even higher production values and way more fanservice, try the gun-girl show Upotte.
Notes and Trivia
In case you weren't picking up on who was what, Super Sylph-chan (the green-haired, busty, pleasant one with "Yukikaze" written on her butt) is the plane-girl version of the original reconnaissance incarnation of Yukikaze, while Mave-chan (the ornery little black-haired one with the knives) is the plane-girl version of the "reborn" Yukikaze from the latter part of the series of the same name. The rest of the girls are based on various other FAF aircraft that got a lot less screen time.
When this was released on DVD in Japan, it came in both a "standard" ¥6000 (~US$60) version and a ¥7300 (~US$70) limited edition that included a 12cm plastic figure of Mave-chan. Unsurprisingly, the "limited" edition is still quite easy to find. And yes, apparently someone was wiling to pay ¥6000 for under a half hour of awful OAV.
If you're an occasional student of Japanese, you might think my phonetic romanization of Mave (メイヴ) as Meiv is a mistake, as there are no isolated consonants (nor, in fact, any "v" sound at all) in Japanese. True, but not--in relatively modern times adding a double-dash to a katakana "u" (ヴ) has been appropriated for a "v" sound, and without any following vowel it is, in fact, a standalone consonant.
Incidentally, this is the only example of actual plane-girls I'm aware of other than the webcomic Krakow (archive currently unavailable), in which it was a fever-dream example of the most unlikely [thing]-girl concept ever. Strike Witches is close, but not as literal.
US DVD Review
Bandai's DVD release is basic but functional. It features anamorphic widescreen video (mildly ironic given that even the blu-ray release of Yukikaze isn't widescreen), English and Japanese stereo audio, and a soft subtitle track. The video looks pretty clean, although it can't be that hard to do a proper job given that there's under 30 minutes of video on the disc, previews included. Extras consist of a creditless version of the outro and a very short Japanese promo spot (which contains nothing but some cool clips of the actual Yukikaze and a few plane-girl sketches--not sure if that's because it was made before the animation, or because putting this next to the real Yukikaze would have just been embarrassing).
Would be acceptable for most audiences if it weren't for a few bits of screen-filling underwear fanservice. As-is, 10-up or 13-up, depending on how strict you want to be.
Violence: 1 - The girls blow up phantom JAM craft, but the only "serious" material is more metaphoric death.
Nudity: 2 - A couple of screen-filling underwear shots, nothing else.
Sex/Mature Themes: 0 - Not even anything implied, really.
Language: 0 - Clean in the subtitles.