Anime: Master of Martial Hearts
Zettai Shougeki ~Platonic Heart~
(絶対衝激〜プラトニックハート〜), now licensed by FUNimation
and retitled Master of Martial Hearts
, is a five-episode OVA.
Aya Iseshima is a schoolgirl who ends up walking into a brutal battle between a Miko
and a flight attendant. After saving the Miko with her kung fu skills that her mother taught her, Aya learns from both her friend and the Miko (coincidentally named Miko
) the story of the "Platonic Heart", a mythical jewel that can supposedly grant any wish to a girl who acquires it. Miko further says that she found herself entered into a tournament to acquire the Platonic Heart with a cell phone text message from an unknown source.
After saying goodbye, Aya then receives a similar text message saying that she has been entered into the tournament in place of Miko, and so begins her reluctant quest to defeat a handful of cosplay-themed Action Girls
including the aforementioned flight attendant, a nurse, a policewoman and more. With clothes-destroying physics and kung fu skills at her disposal, can she overcome her opponents or will she fall into an inescapable world of darkness?
In short, think of this as a streamlined Ikki Tousen
without the thin veil of a Romance of the Three Kingdoms
plot behind it.
This work displays examples of:
- Action Girl: All the girls in the tournament, though Miko is arguably a Faux Action Girl.
- And That's Terrible: You know Female Fighting Tournament Anime is a terrible idea because the loser is always made a sex slave...for syndicate regulations, apparently.
- Apologetic Attacker: Aya's teacher practically telegraphs all her moves while she begs Aya to either block or stay down. If only Aya studied her chemistry textbook...
- Bait-and-Switch Credits: That opening is so charged with upbeat optimism, and the closing mellow and dreamy. You just know this tournament is going to end in a proud victory!
- Berserk Button: Messing with Haruki or talking bad about him in Aya's presence will get you beaten like a rug in no time. Also, never try to dissect what makes Aya tick; it's not very conducive to living.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: And boy, do they enjoy rubbing it in Aya's face during The Reveal.
- Bolivian Army Ending: The series ends as Aya prepares to end the cycle of revenge by summarily executing Natsume's mother.
- Broken Aesop: Really, just read the rest of the page.
- Calling Your Attacks: Suma-sensei calls out the formula of common chemicals; whether or not this is to add power to her attack, she also does it to purposely communicate them to Aya.
- The Call Knows Where You Live: Apparently if there's an open spot in the tournament, any girl who has made a wish and can fight gets a text message inviting them. Subverted with Aya, as she was the true target all along.
- Cat Girl: Aya out-Moes the Meido with a costume that adds cat ears and tail.
- Chekhov's Classroom: Suma's insistence that Aya study her assigned chemistry lesson. Subverted; though it would've provided clues for the battle, Aya failed to study, and her confusion at trying to recognize the called attacks distracts her from simply reading body language.
- Complexity Addiction: The entire tournament done for revenge by Miko, Natsume and Haruki against Aya's mother, is so complex, long and, in many ways holding itself in inane future predictions; it probably works in fairy dust and Bellisario's Maxim to its atomic level.
- Clothing Damage: All women's clothes in this world must be made out of tissue paper when they fight.
- At one point a girl gets punched in the shoulder and her skirt explodes.
- At another point, Aya actually punches a girl's in the gut. Her butt actually rips through her pants as a result.
- This might actually be a function of the tournament — before Aya was a contestant, her clothes seemed a lot more durable.
- Cute Mute: Natsume's mother
- Cycle of Revenge: The sole reason why the Martial Hearts Tournament was born and still exists.
- Darker and Edgier: What less charitable viewers may see. While the work could be seen as a deconstruction of Panty Fighter series like Ikki Tousen, the fact that they use sex slaves as punishment, handwave registration, law and money, Take That after Take That at the fanbase and the rather heavy handed Downer Ending, it can come off as an immature "Deconstruction" of it. It doesn't help that this all comes at the last minute.
- Death Equals Redemption: Aya's mother.
- Deconstruction: Tries to be one towards the Panty Fighter genre. Keyword being "tries".
- Distressed Dude: Haruki held hostage.
- Downer Ending: There's nary a character who is not dead, insane, in some kind of slavery, or worse.
- Empty Shell: The losers of the tournament are transformed into mindless sex slaves and are sent into slavery. Every. Single. ONE!
- Evil All Along: Aya's "friends" and love interest
- Fair Cop
- A Friend in Need: How Aya gets herself mixed up in the tournament.
- Gainax Ending: Did anyone really see that ending coming?
- Gambit Pileup: Infodumped in the last episode: A trio of sisters who helped organize the tournament wanted Aya to join them, but they were being manipulated by a man who looked like Haruki, a boy Aya liked. Except that boy turned out to be a body double for the real Haruki who was working with Natsume and Miko who were secretly acting as Aya's friends. And they were trying to get revenge in the name of Natsume's mother, who lost her vocal chords when she lost the last tournament to Aya's mother, who in turn entered because Natsume's grandfather had started the whole damn thing.
- Hand or Object Underwear: Aya covers herself while fighting at the pool after one punch takes off her bikini top.
- Heroic Resolve
- Hypocrite: Miko blaiming Aya for destroying the other contestants' lives and minds after defeating them...when she and the others were the ones who literally Mind Raped them to idiocy after they were too weak to defend themselves. And also reconstructed said tournament for vengeance in the first place.
- Hot Teacher
- Idiot Ball: Well done Haruki, go in a fist fight with the near unstoppable Fighter...when you have guns.
- Not that the guns helped Miko or Natsume who actually tried to use them and died for their trouble.
- Idol Singer: Rin-chan invokes Meido and Magical Girl in her act.
- Indecisive Deconstruction: When you're going to go after the Panty Fighter genre, don't include more fanservice and nudity than the series you're trying to lambast. It makes you look like a gang of hypocrites.
- Info Dump: The last episode is literally just explaining the plot twist.
- Insane Troll Logic: The explanation of Miko, Haruki and Natsume for the Tournament is so mind-bogglingly stupid it would leave the viewer in the same capacity as the former contestants.
- Killed Off for Real: Everyone that appears in Fight 5, except Aya. Heavily believed to be the case for Natsume's mother, given her role in the series.
- Kill 'em All: Woah boy, does it ever.
- Kimono Fanservice
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Really, you can't help but to cheer at Aya's mother dishing the oh-so-very deserved brutal beatdown in Chapter Five.
- Kubrick Stare / Slasher Smile
- Love Triangle: A particularly cruel Type 4 involving Aya (a), Haruki (b) and Miko (c).
- Made A Sex Slave: This is what happens to everyone who loses a Martial Hearts tournament.
- Mama Bear: Aya's Mother, Retired Monster Suzuko Ichisima
- Male Gaze: Yes. The shower scene in episode two, where the camera spends a full minute crawling up Aya's naked body so that she can say one word is possibly the best example.
- Meido: At a theme cafe, no less.
- Miko: Miko. No one comments on the unoriginal, Meaningful Name.
- Misplaced Retribution: The ending.
- Mood Whiplash: Back and forth and back and forth!
- Naughty Nurse Outfit
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Carried to its logical conclusion by Aya versus the lady in red in the finals.
- Not Just a Tournament: A big time (and convoluted as hell) case of this. Every girl who loses the tournament is Mind Raped into an Empty Shell state before being conditioned into sexual slavery and sold. The entire thing is being conducted as a Cycle of Revenge by the daughters of two sisters who wound up on the losing end of a similar tournament organized by Aya's father, which Aya's mother won. The two cousins want the same thing their mothers got put through to happen to Aya as revenge against both of her parents, and they don't care about what happens to the other contestants.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Aya's mother for certain, as she remains just as lethal and unforgiving as stated, despite it being years since she had to fight.
- Off Model: Seriously Studio Arms, pick a breast size and stick with it.
- Panty Fighter
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Battle 5 is basically made up of this, from the lady in red who brutally strips Aya psyche bare which inadvertently flips Aya into "pure evil" and impossible for the psychic to read. Cue the most brutal unforgiving beatdown in the whole contest. After Aya wins, she basically lives in this trope at the hands of Miko, Natsume and Haruki as they reveal the Martial Heart was a massive plot for revenge against Aya for her parents' sins against their mothers. Just as Aya is about to be killed by her "friends", Aya's own mother shows up to deliver a speech of her own, revealing the true circumstances of the Martial Hearts while casually killing Haruki, Miko and Natsume with one hand.
- Retired Monster: Suzuko Ichisima.
- Revenge by Proxy: The whole point of the series, e.g. having the main character beaten, mindraped and possibly sold into sexual slavery as a final Screw You! to her still-living mother and her currently dead father, responsible for having dealt this very same fate to the still-living mother of one of the villains.
- Selective Obliviousness: When the villains appear, they reveal that the whole Martial Hearts tournament was a plot to get revenge on the main character because her parents hurt their parents by holding the original Martial Hearts tournament. They recreated the same event that permanently scarred their parents, including the part where losers are sold into slavery, in a plot to get revenge on someone who had no knowledge of the original event.
- Sempai/Kohai: Aya and Natsume, with some Girls Love implication, though the latter turns out to be a huge ruse.
- Sexy Stewardess
- Stepford Smiler
- Surveillance as the Plot Demands: While Aya's is explained by being done by Miko and the rest, it never makes sense how they recruit the rest of the girls, except for the Handwave explanation below. The requisites for entry are, after all, kind of limited for most of the population.
- Talking Is a Free Action: Plenty of time for Trash Talk.
- Un-Person: After Miko withdraws from the tournament, the only people who seem to remember her existence are Aya and Natsume.
- Villains Never Lie
- Was It All a Lie?: Yes, yes it was.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Aya summarily executing Natsume's mother puts her into this territory, since she wants to make sure the cycle of revenge that has driven this series is finally put to an end.
- Wham Episode: Battle 5.
- Wrench Wench
- You Bastard: Begins subtle, with the depiction of an Otaku audience at a Moe Idol show, watching the Panty Fight.
- Near the end it almost feels like the Ecchi/Panty Fighter genre's version of Funny Games. "Oh, what's that? You like girls fighting each other with lots of Fanservice? Well how about now, you sicko!?" And much like Funny Games, both people in and out of its target group just shook their heads while performing a Face Palm.
- World of Action Girls