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Anime / Genma Wars

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The cover to the DVD box set

Genma Wars (幻魔大戦 Genma Taisen) is a science fiction manga and novel franchise that began in 1967. It was a collaboration in Shonen Sunday by science fiction writer Kazumasa Hirai (of 8th Man fame) and Shotaro Ishinomori. However, this article only covers Genma Wars: Eve of Mythology Chapter (幻魔大戦 神話前夜の章 Genma Taisen: Shinwa Zen'ya no Shō) which has been released in the US under the name "Genma Wars" by Media Blasters on DVD.

It is the second anime entry in the franchise; the first being the 1983 movie dubbed as 'Harmagedon' in English directed by Rintaro and animated by Madhouse; unlike the Harmagedon movie, which adapted the original manga, the series adapts the Genma Wars: Eve of Mythology Chapter manga by Ishinomori published in Tokuma Shoten from May 1979 to November 1981. It ran for four volumes and was Ishinomori's last work in the franchise.

Genma Wars is set in a post-apocalyptic world, where mankind has been subjugated by a demonical tribe known as Genma. The humans are reduced to little more than slaves for the Genma, who employ mutant armies of cyclopses, vampires, werewolves, highly intelligent simian soldiers, and other mythological beings, to keep the humans at bay. The authoritarian Genma leader, The Maoh King, desires to have an heir with immense, extraordinary power. He orders his men around the kingdom to abduct Hito women, who possess latent powers. The Maoh King is convinced that if he conceives a child with a Hito woman the child will possess amazing powers.

In one case, in exchange for the safety of her village, a Hito girl called Non submits to the Maoh King, and gives birth to male twins, Loof and Gin. Loof is taken to grow up among the Genma, while Gin grows up under his mother's care; however, she is labelled as a whore by her fellow kinsmen. Eventually, Loof and Gin encounter each other and plan revenge against their hated father. However, their father reveals he only created them, and the whole hybrid Human-Genma, to bring the war across the Earth, out of boredom. He throws his sons in a time portal, back to the present time, when the war was initiated, in order to stop their dystopic world.

This series provides examples of:

  • After the End: It's revealed that the show takes place in a distant future where the coming of the Genma tribe brought down human civilization.
  • Anyone Can Die: This show has a very bleak tendency to kill off characters around Loof and Gin with extreme prejudice. By the end, Loof, Gin, Namie and Pogo are the only named characters to live at the end, surviving the Genma downfall and mankind's destruction in the distant past.
  • Apocalypse How - Class 2: Human society as a whole fell in the distant past, and the demons had completely taken over civilization. There are next to none pockets of resistance or remnants of the past still guarded by humanity. It's shown with more detail in the finale: the apocalypse was engineered by a Genma cabal who had infiltrated the government and various positions of power, they built a space station armed with nuclear warheads and created genetically-enginereed apes to serves as theirmooks. First they deployed the apes and then nuked the whole planet to kingdom come, leaving their own homebase intact from where they would rebuild society in their image.
  • Big Bad: The Maoh King and Parome, as the despotic rulers of Earth and on the top of Genma's command, they are responsible for the lead characters' woes and suffering. Up until they are killed in Episode 9 and it's revealed they are merely puppets to a higher power - the Great Genma King, who has reincarnated into Ran's baby Dar.
  • Bittersweet Ending: To put it mildly. The heroes fail to prevent mankind's downfall after being sent back in time - millions are killed, civilization is destroyed, and their original timeline still exists (meaning Non, Nuu, Mina, and Ran are still dead). However, the Great Genma's plan to turn either twin into a new Maoh King fails, the Genma in the future are still destroyed, the sun rises again over the land, and the ending narration states that humanity will rebuild themselves with Loof and Gin watching over them, not as their tyrants, but as their guardians.
  • Crapsack World: Imagine a world where normal humans are reduced to slaves and cattle to demons and their mutant henchmen. And on the top of the food chain, there is a Evil Overlord whose favorite pastime is finding females to forcibly mate with in a effort to produce a powerful heir. He has sired many children, but they always fail to live up to his expectations and end up being executed or banished. There are a few resistance groups, but it's made clear they are out for themselves rather than to protect mankind.
  • Damsel in Distress: Nearly every female in the series.
  • Death of a Child: In Episode 10, a little girl gets run over and killed by a reckless couple from the Special District. Her death triggers Gin's wrath, who proceeds to deliver personal justice on her killers.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The very first scene shows a young human named Katsu fighting against Genma in a test overseen by the Maoh King. He manages to defeat his rival and tearfully celebrate his victory, just before the Maoh King casually kills him. The fact he is not featured in the opening should clue you in that he is not the actual hero.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: In the final episode, modern-day Earth is devastated by nuclear warfare.
  • Enfante Terrible: Dar, Ran and Dan's son, turns out to be a vile Genma who is exceedingly powerful and vicious. He is also the true Big Bad.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • The Maoh King gets his in the very first scene in the show, where he murders his son after passing a test to join the Mah tribe. Then he transforms the son's mentor into a wolf for calling him out.
    • The Ninjas try to present themselves as freedom fighters who oppose the Genma, but they don't fool anyone when their first scene has then robbing peasants of their destined tribute to their masters. They are bandits pretending to be rebels.
  • Genre Shift: While the dark tone is consistent throughout, the series goes from a post-apocalyptic Dark Fantasy dealing with demons and magic, and towards the end it turns into an Urban Fantasy where the twins are investigating the hidden Genma conspiring to bring about the end of the world.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Whenever the Genma use their powers, their eyes glow white.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Played with. Children are just as susceptible to the Genma's cruelty as adults, though we don't get to see them actually killed onscreen, it's mentioned they taste delicious, and in one instance, Loof saves a couple of kids from being devoured by Genma. Averted in Episode 10.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Despite being sent back in time to stop their future from coming to pass, Loof and Gin are whisked back to their original timeline to find it virtually unchanged.
  • La Résistance: The Ninjas consider themselves as such, since they oppose the demon's regime and claim to fight for humans' freedom. In practice, however, they are little more than bandits that only target humans, robbing their crops and tithes destined as tribute to their Genma overlords. They don't do anything to relieve humans from their oppression and in fact make things even worse for them.
    • Loof and Gin form a proper one with some of their half-siblings, uniting to take down the Genma tribe. It's sadly short-lived, however, as their assault on the Genma's castle ends with all their brothers and sisters dead, though they succeed in destroying their hated father.
  • Limited Wardrobe: The only ones who get one new outfit were Meena, Loof, and Gin.
  • Meaningful Name: Katsu's name means "Victorious", which describes him well since he managed to defeat several genmas by himself.
  • Mooks: The Apes make up the bulk of the Genma's armies.
  • Nice Girl: Non and Meena had a loving and caring personality and were very empathetic when their loved ones were hurt or unhappy.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The Genma in present-day Japan are controlled by a mysterious group that controls the media, the government, and the military. They are ultimately responsible for triggering the apocalypse which results in humanity being enslaved by them.
  • Only the Pure of Heart: Non and Meena are pure of heart and the only humans with force powers. This may be the reason why the Maoh King was attracted to Non as she was beautiful and was pure of heart.
  • Our Demons Are Different: The Genma. They come in several varied forms (some resembling humans with exotic eyes and skin color, others resembling animal-human hybrids) and they are said to come from another dimension in the distant past, where they had lay waste to Earth, established domain over mankind. They are almost Always Chaotic Evil, literally treating humans like cattle (no really, their markets sell human organs as dishes and human children are considered delicious dessert) with only a handful Genma being considered remotely decent people (Loof and Nuu) and it's quite clear they are exception to the rule, rather than the norm. They are capable of interbreeding with humans, creating very powerful hybrids (such as the main protagonists), and it's implied they can even elevate humans into Genmas (as Ran tries to plead Parome turn her into a Genma). They are also capable of taking human disguises in modern times to blend with society and install themselves in position of power.
  • Parental Substitute: Parome reluctantly becomes this for Loof, while Nuu is to Gin.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Meena and Loof. She is clad in a short pink dress in her introduction, while he is dressed in a blue outfit.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Loof forcing himself on Meena. Given how the narrative treats the villains as scum for their proclivity towards rape, it's jarring to see one of the heroes raping his own love interest and completely getting away with it.
  • Rape as Drama: It happens with female characters depressingly often.
  • Rape Discretion Shot: Zig-Zaged. Due to his "force powers", we don't see Moah King raping the girls, although we do see the girls floating around the room moaning except for Non, who is allowed to remain on the floor and move freely while she is writhing in agony as this is happening to her. The girls are completely naked with their arms, legs, shadows and light beams covering their private areas.
    • Averted in episodes 3 and 11.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning
  • Meena is the blue to Loof's red.
  • Reluctant Fanservice Girl: Non in the first episode as she is forced to strip before the Maoh King and his army.
  • Serial Rapist: Maoh King. Could qualify as mass rapist too when he is shown violating several girls at once.
  • Separated at Birth: As soon as they are born, Loof is taken in by the Genmas while Gin is allowed to remain with Non after Nuu convinces the Maoh King that Gin is more human than Genma.
  • Sex Equals Love / Villainous Crush: One-sided. Maoh King takes an interest in Non ever since the first time he sets his eyes on her and is (or at least tries to be) gentle with her when he rapes her.
  • Sibling Team: Loof and Gin when they are reunited.
  • Son of a Whore: Loof and Gin are seen as this by the Hito clan because their mother willingly offered herself to the Maoh King so they could spare her village.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The series finale plot. They fail..
  • Sympathetic Murderer: Parome would qualify as this since her husband doesn't pay her any attention, cheats on her, and ends up being forced to raise one of her much hated step-sons.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Almost every adult in the series.
    • Parome has no problem using her powers to physically abuse an infant Loof.
    • It's frequently said human children are considered a delicacy in Genma culinary.
  • You Have Failed Me: The Maoh King turns one of his minions into a doll after he brings Maoh King a rather vain and pretentious girl.

Alternative Title(s): Harmagedon