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Anime / Master of Martial Hearts

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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?

You can either think of it as a streamlined version of Ikki Tousen, without the thin veil of a Romance of the Three Kingdoms plot behind it. Or, as a really bad imitation of Variable Geo.

This work displays examples of:

  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: That opening is so charged with upbeat optimism, and the closing mellow and dreamy. Even in the final episode, where things go straight to hell.
  • Big Bad: The Leader of Platonic Heart who is organizing the tournament, in which women are forced to fight each other to be able to Make a Wish on the Platonic Heart. It seemingly is the fake Haruki, but is actually his boss, Kumi Honma, who has been turning the losers into mindless Sex Slaves and wants Revenge by Proxy on Aya's mother for turning her into one, and pressued her children (Nastume and Haruki) and Miko Kazuki into becoming her Co-Dragons to manipulate Aya.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The series ends as Aya prepares to end the cycle of revenge by summarily executing Natsume's mother.
  • The Cake Is a Lie: Some of the contestants are revealed as having wishes that are physically impossible to fulfill in episode 5.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Clothing Damage: All women's clothes in this world must be made out of tissue paper when they fight:
    • A girl gets punched in the shoulder and her skirt explodes.
    • 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.
  • Cycle of Revenge: The sole reason why the Martial Hearts Tournament was born and still exists. Natsume's grandfather killed Suzuko Iseshima's parents; in return, she and her husband sought revenge on them and created the Platonic Heart tournament to turn Natsume's mother and aunt into Sex Slaves, which led Natsume and Haruki to team up with Miko to recreate the tournament and turn Aya into a slave as Revenge by Proxy.
  • 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.
  • Everybody Did It: Every character except Aya, and possibly her parents (who were already victims of the Cycle of Revenge prior to their own actions), is an opponent and/or antagonist.
  • "Everybody Dies" Ending: Everyone ends up dead or worse by the end of the series.
  • Evil All Along: Aya's "friends" and love interest.
  • Fanservice: Every flavor represented. Lampshaded at a fast food McDonalds Bland-Name Product named "Moe".
  • 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 cords 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.
  • Info Dump: The last episode is explaining the plot twist.
  • Love Triangle: A particularly cruel Type 4 involving Aya (a), Haruki (b) and Miko (c).
  • Made a Slave: Everyone who loses a Martial Hearts tournament gets made a Sex Slave.
  • Male Gaze: 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: A maid cafe serves as the location of Battle 4.
  • Miko: Miko. Lampshaded by Miko herself, who claims it is a coincidence that she happened to be named after her future profession.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Aya was targeted simply for being the daughter of the man who started the original tournament and the woman who defeated Miko and Natsume's mothers, ignoring she wasn't even born when it happened, much less involved.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Carried to its logical conclusion by Aya in the finals, as she beats down Getsurei until she bleeds to death.
  • Not Just a Tournament: A big time 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.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Battle 5 is basically made up of this, from the lady in red who brutally strips Aya's 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.
  • 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.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: The true purpose of the tournament is to exact revenge on Aya because her father created the first incarnation of the tournament and drove the villains' mothers insane and her mother won said tournament.
  • Surprisingly Creepy Moment: The anime seems to just be a typical Panty Fighter tournament series for the first four episodes, but there are hints that the Platonic Heart tournament is Not Just a Tournament. The final episode comes with the grisly reveal that all the losers are kidnapped and drugged to become Sex Slaves, and the losers of this tournament are shown in full detail having been drugged so thoroughly that they are laughing like crazy, completely brain dead as their handers treat them like pets, and Aya is aghast at what has been done to them (especially since one of them is her chemistry teacher), all while creepy music plays in the background.
  • 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.
  • Uncertain Doom: The end has several major characters in situations where they're either Killed Offscreen, or Just Hiding somewhere. Aya's mother is in a building that's exploding in the same room as Aya, and Aya herself, limping along, clearly got out alive, while her mother is able-bodied, and never seen again. Natsume's mother is last seen tearing up Aya's pictures in a rage, stabbing them with scissors, until her front door opens, and she reacts with sheer terror, unable to scream, with several other exits in her home. Aya herself is last seen, limping along and pondering hiding in a dark alley...
  • Un-person: After Miko withdraws from the tournament, the only people who seem to remember her existence are Aya and Natsume.
  • Wham Line: At the very end of episode 5.
    Suzuko: I see. The crystal is not completed yet.