Anime Review - "Holy Knight" (2015)
Typically, my reviews are long and pretty in depth, at least, I like think they are. This will be a little different. This is more of a tirade, and I apologize for that, but I had to get this out here. CrunchyRoll and Media Blasters did a bit of a promotional blitz to promote this insipid, wretched garbage heap of a show, so you might be suckered into watching it. And now, it's on DVD. Please, for the love of all that is good and "Holy" (I know, I'm a comedy genius,) don't. Just don't. I've been watching anime for well over a decade, and I can firmly say that "Holy Knight" is at the very, very bottom of the barrel of the wide gamut of stuff I've seen.
Oh yeah. It's that bad.
Let's start with the story... wait, hold up, that's right, there is no story. I mean, there's sort of one, I guess, if you're really reaching. There's this girl, and her parents are dead, and now she has to sleep with an average Japanese high school boy for an ancient ritual or something. There are also evil, sinister men in black suits trying to kill her. And there's a childhood friend thrown into the mix, and a sultry school nurse with a huge bosom. Wait, you know, scratch that. Everyone (except for the token underaged character) has a massive, heaving bosom in this sleazy garbage disposal refuse masquerading as an anime.
This is apparently a fantasy/action show, but there's no action. There's barely any fantasy. What is here, then? Fan service. Lots and lots of fan service. No straight sex or anything, despite this being based on a porn manga. Nope, just heaping helpings of objectification. And keep in mind, I'm not opposed to fan service. "Dance in the Vampire Bund" is one of my all-time favorite manga. I love the heck out of "Kill La Kill" and "Heaven's Lost Property." But those shows have something that "Holy Knight" lacks (well, okay, maybe a lot of things it lacks): substance. "Vampire Bund" has a fantastic, nuanced plot, "Kill La Kill" has likable characters and is packed with stylish, great great action, and "Heaven's Lost Property" is just a gut-buster. But this? This has zilch. Zip. Nada. Instead, we get to see panty and tit shot after panty and tit shot with not even the slightest trace of plot to make it feel less exploitative. As a consequence, the women all feel like their sole purpose is to be objectified, not to further whatever little plot there is in any significant way. Oh, yeah, and there's a little bit of "almost but not quite sexual assault" humor thrown in for good measure. Because that's always fun!
Aside from being walking embodiments of the stuff that makes anime, as a medium, look bad, the women aren't good characters. Ah, wait, no, no one is. Everybody's a cliche. Everybody's backstory, motivations, and character traits have been done before and done better. I liked "strong-willed childhood friend" better in "Love Hina." I liked "perverted shapeshifter" better in "Ranma 1/2." I liked "clueless school boy thrust in the middle of a conflict" better the last 1,000,000 times I've seen it. Here, though, I hate it all. Not because they're tropes, because tropes can be used effectively. No, because these are tropes with no justification or reason for why we should care about them.
You know why else we shouldn't care about them? Because of the horrendous dub. See, CR only has the dub uploaded, and that's what I watched, and lord almighty, is it one of the worst I've heard. I daresay infamous bad dub champions "The Humanoid" and "Harmageddon" have been given a run for their money with this trash. Everybody here knows nothing about lip syncs, annunciation, natural speech, forceful delivery, or literally anything else required to be an effective voice actor. They all sound like a bunch of early 20-something's who got paid twenty bucks for an afternoon's worth of work. What makes this sting even more is that Anime News Network has been heavily promoting the casting of this show (probably getting a little bit of money from Media Blasters, I dare say,) and I was actually looking forward to seeing if it was worth the hype of several, several separate news stories about the casting process for this trainwreck. Spoiler Alert: it wasn't, and I'd rather listen to every Creed album back-to-back than ever hear this apathetic and pathetic dub again in my entire life.
I would be remiss to not mention the animation. The amateurish, abhorrent, abominable animation... if it can even be called that. Characters go off model constantly. Hands look like mangled blobs. Anatomy fails spectacularly. Things barely move. Foreshortening makes people either look like little people or people with limb deformities. I thought "Sailor Moon Crystal" was as low as modern animation could sink. I was wrong, and the result is something that should be shown to every aspiring animator. Why? So they can know to never make something this visually atrocious and foist it upon the unsuspecting masses ever again. Lord.
"Holy Knight" is only good if you're going to watch it with friends and laugh at it, enjoying it ironically. Even then, I'd recommend being heavily intoxicated, for extra laughs. As far as ironic comedy goes, this is actually quite good. As far as a good show? "Good," "bad," "awful," or ever "wretched" doesn't come close to describing this miserable cesspool of a sad little show made by and for sad little people. It's a sex comedy without sex or comedy. It's a fantasy/action without fantasy or action. I mean, it's an anime without animation. "Holy Knight" is easily one of the worst anime I've ever watched, and a great way to scare anyone away from watching the stuff ever again.