Master of Martial Hearts

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Master of Martial Hearts
絶対衝激〜プラトニックハート〜
Genre Action, Martial arts
Original video animation
Directed by Yoshitaka Fujimoto
Studio Arms Corporation
Licensed by
Released October 29, 2008February 25, 2009
Runtime 30 minutes
Episodes 5
Manga
Written by Atsushi Kuragami
Published by Futabasha
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Comic High!
Original run September 2008January 2010
Volumes 3

Master of Martial Hearts, originally titled Zettai Shougeki: Platonic Heart (絶対衝激〜プラトニックハート〜 Zettai Shōgeki: Puratonikku Hāto?), is a 2008–2009 Japanese original video animation series created by ARMS and Shochiku. It concerns a high school girl who gets involved in a series of fights against other young women with the Martial Heart (Platonic Heart in English subtitled and the Japanese version)[1] as the prize; a jewel that can grant any wish.[2] On January 7, 2010, Funimation Entertainment announced that they have licensed the OVA series in English. The series was released in North America on August 10, 2010.[3]

Development[edit]

The series is based on the video game Zettai Shōgeki - Platonic Heart.[3] The characters are designed by Jin Happobi who has illustrated adult games such as Boin.[2] ARMS has produced fan service titles such as Queen's Blade and they made the characters distinct and more realistically proportioned.[1] The musical score was done by Masaru Kuba.[1] The series was directed by Yoshitaka Fujimoto, who had worked on the comedy Girl's High.[3]

A website was launched for the series on July 2008.[2]

Characters[edit]

An image of the contestants in Zettai Shougeki II: All but one are in the original Zettai Shougeki and in the OVA Master of Martial Hearts - From left to right: Izumi, Saki, Yu, Rin, Miko, Aya, Aoi (exclusive to ZSII), Natsume, Azusa, Emi, Rei, Yueli

Main[edit]

  • Aya Iseshima (伊勢島 綾 Iseshima Aya?) is in her second year in high school. In the OVA, she is a generally cheerful and pleasant girl who has a crush on her best friend's brother, but has angsty moods where she mopes and whines.[4] She is pulled into the tournament when Miko drops out and mysteriously disappears. She is a capable fighter, having learned fighting techniques from her mother. When Aya fights, she can turn into a maddening rage, resulting in devastating damage. She is voiced by Kaori Nazuka in the Japanese version, and by Trina Nishimura in the English dub.
  • Natsume Honma (本間 棗 Honma Natsume?) is Aya's best friend. Natsume's supportiveness for Aya is an act—in the final episode, she betrays Aya and reveals that she, her brother, and Miko have all conspired to exact revenge on Aya and her family. Natsume's mother is Kumi, the sister of Yumi Kazuki, Miko's mother. Natsume is voiced by Satomi Akesaka in the Japanese version, and by Cherami Leigh in the English dub.
  • Miko Kazuki (香月 美子 Kazuki Miko?) is a shrine maiden. She initially appears in a fight against Rei, a young woman dressed as a flight attendant. After Aya defeats Rei, Miko explains that she is participating in a tournament that grants any wish upon victory. Seeing that her wish of making friends was fulfilled by Aya and Natsume, she tries to withdraw from the tournament. However, Miko mysteriously disappears later on. Miko later appears at the end of the series as a vengeance-filled enemy of Aya as her mother, Yumi Kazuki, and her aunt, Kumi, were involved in a previous tournament with Aya's mother (Suzuko) ruining their lives. Miko reveals that her father was Shigeyuki Iseshima, who is Aya's father. Even though Aya believed Shigeyuki died in a car accident, in actuality, he stabbed Yumi Kazuki on Miko's fourth birthday and was killed by Kumi the same day. Miko had been looking for Suzuko and her daughter her entire life—she finally achieved her goal upon meeting her cousins, Haruki (Natsume's brother) and Natsume. Their vengeful plan was formed after Miko met Natsume. Miko is voiced by Ai Nonaka in the Japanese version, and by Alexis Tipton in the English dub.

Supporting[edit]

  • Haruki Honma (本間 治基 Honma Haruki?)
    • Natsume's brother, whom Aya has a crush on. It is revealed in the final episode that Haruki is in a relationship with Miko all along. Tatsuhisa Suzuki voices him in the Japanese version and Ian Sinclair voices him in the English dub.
  • Suzuko Iseshima (伊勢島 涼子 Iseshima Suzuko?)
    • Aya's mother. She won the previous tournament, dooming Kumi and Yumi Kazuki to sexual slavery. In the final episode, she infiltrates the hideout of Miko, Haruki, and Natsume. Suzuko sets the area on fire and confronts the three perpetrators to save Aya's life. After informing the trio of what their grandfathers did she snaps the necks of Haruki, Miko, and Natsume when they tried to attack her. Suzuko then bandages Aya's wounds, apologizes to her, and helps her flee the building. Afterwards, Suzuko stays behind in the burning building and checks Aya's phone—she finds out that the pieces of the Martial Heart have not been completed. The burning building then collapses, with Suzuko's fate unknown. Naoko Matsui voices her in the Japanese version and Shelley Calene-Black voices her in the English dub.

Competitors[edit]

For the Zettai Shougeki: Platonic Heart video game, the following women were listed in the lineup on the official site as competitors along with the main three girls.[5]

  • Azusa Suma (須磨 梓 Suma Azusa?) is Aya's chemistry teacher. Azusa attacks by calling out a chemical formula and then uses a combination of punches and kicks based on it.[6] Although Azusa criticizes Aya for not studying, she has reservations for fighting her. Azusa's motivation for fighting in the tournament is to find her missing father.Azusa is enslaved by Miko after losing to Aya. She is voiced by Luci Christian in the English dub.
  • Rei Kakizaki (柿崎 怜 Kakizaki Rei?) is a flight attendant. In the OVA she had worked since high school to care for her brother, since her parents were no longer alive. Her brother fell ill with an incurable disease and she wanted to get money through the tournament to give her ill brother medical treatment. By the end of the series, Rei's brother had died. Now tortured to insanity, Miko points out that it is impossible for Rei to know that her brother is dead. Rei's weapons are a handbag with blades and a spiked scarf.[7] Voiced by: Colleen Clinkenbeard (English)
  • The Daimonji Sisters are part of the alliance. They attempted to scout Aya within their ranks. Sharing Azusa and Rei's fate, all of them are enslaved by Miko after losing.
  • Rin Hiroishi (広石 倫 Hiroishi Rin?) is a Japanese idol singer dressed as a maid. Kristi Kang voices her in the English dub.
  • Getsurei Ryu (Yueli Liu) (劉 月麗 Ryū Getsurei?, also "Geturei" , Pinyin: Liú Yuèlì)
    • Yueli is a Chinese-Japanese psychic. Yueli managed to advance to the final round along with Aya, who is her opponent. Yueli attempts to inform Aya about Miko's true nature, only to provoke Aya, leading to her death. Monica Rial provides her English voice.
  • Izumi Hayakawa (早川 泉 Hayakawa Izumi?)
    • Dressed in a white suit, Izumi works for Miko and her group. In the final episode she betrays her masters and tries to strangle Miko, only to be shot dead by Haruki. Wendy Powell provides her English voice.

Other contestants include:

  • Megumi Shimoyama (下山 恵 Shimoyama Megumi?)
    • Megumi is a mechanic that is very quickly defeated by Aya. Jamie Marchi provides her English voice.
  • Aoi Ishikawa (石河 葵 Ishikawa Aoi?)
    • Aoi is a delinquent that appears in Zettai Shougeki: Platonic Heart II.[8]

Others[edit]

  • Takumi Yoshida (吉田 琢磨 Yoshida Takumi?)
    • Takumi is Aya's perverted physical education teacher. He tried to force Aya to run around the track field with revealing gym clothes for being late, only to have his perverted fantasies foiled by Azusa. Sonny Strait provides his English voice.
  • Fake Haruki
    • The fake Haruki is in cahoots with Izumi, working for Miko's group. He has a tendency to alter his physical appearance with plastic surgery to flirt with any girl he sees fit. He meets his demise along with Izumi under the real Haruki, who shoots them dead. Joel McDonald provides his English voice.
  • Kumi Honma (née Kazuki)
    • Kumi and her sister Yumi Kazuki had been sold into sexual slavery to a man overseas after she lost the Martial Heart tournament to Suzuko Iseshima. Her vocal cords were destroyed to prevent her from screaming, and she has a noticeable scar on her neck. She escaped from her overseas master and used sign language and writing to tell her children what happened. She conditioned them to seek revenge. Suzuko reveals that Kumi had killed Shigeyuki Iseshima after he killed her sister Yumi. Kumi also has a habit of stabbing pictures with Aya in it with a razor blade. In the final episode, she answers the door and is frightened at the sight of the outsider. Kumi's fate left for open interpretation.

Media[edit]

OVA[edit]

Previews were presented in "blog parts" (miniature applets for blogs) that showcased the bodies of the various characters.[2] Shochiku released the first volume of the series in Japan on October 25, 2008.[2] Subsequent episodes have been released monthly.

The opening theme of the series is "Tatsumaki Wave" (タツマキWAVE?) by Little Non. The closing theme for episode 5 is "Zero Gravity" also by Little Non. The OVAs were released in Japan between October 29, 2008 and February 25, 2009.

No. Title Release date
1 "Destiny Sprints Into Motion"   October 29, 2008
Aya Iseshima is walking home with her best friend Natsume Honma from their high school, when they walk right into the middle of a fight between a teenage girl dressed as a shrine maiden and a young woman dressed as a flight attendant. The priestess looks like she is in trouble, so Aya beats up Rei Kakizaki, the flight attendant. The priestess is thankful and introduces herself as Miko Kazuki. She has been fighting in a tournament in which the prize is a gem called the Martial Heart (Platonic Heart) which can grant a wish. Aya, Natsume, and Miko become friends, and since Miko's wish of making friends is now granted, she withdraws from the tournament. However, later that night, Aya discovers Miko's apartment has been ransacked with Miko nowhere to be found; she realizes that the Martial Heart not only grants the wish of the winner, but also banishes the losers. 
2 "A Reason to Fight"   November 27, 2008
Aya's new friend Miko disappears without of trace and it seems she never existed. Aya now has to compete so she wish her friend back but her next opponent is her favorite teacher, Azusa Suma. 
3 "Three Sisters, Sworn Enemies"   December 20, 2008
Aya tries to find her new friend but no luck. So she decided to go to a local pool to calm her down. Just then she faces off against another opponent, Yu Daimonji, a lady cop in a bikini. Aya has to face Yu's sisters, Saki the geisha and Emi the nurse. 
4 "Silently, Like Secrets"   January 28, 2009
Aya is in a sea of turmoil as she wonders whether it was really Haruki Honma, Natsume's brother, she saw as the leader of the martial heart and her semifinal match is in a maid cafe. Her opponent is Rin Hiroishi. 
5 "Flames"   February 25, 2009
Aya faces her final opponent, Ryu Getsurei, a lady in red who says she is a clairvoyant who can see her heart. Getsurei tells Aya that the tournament is nothing more than a game, a trick by Miko. Angered, Aya defeats Getsurei, but not before the woman claims that Aya's heart has become "a sheet of darkness". Aya seems to snap and beats the woman to death, still hitting her after she has died. Miko appears and tells her that since Aya won she got her wish and Miko has returned. Miko takes Aya into a warehouse where all of her past opponents are being held. All of Aya's past opponents have gone insane and Miko says they are now "perfect women" that people would pay a lot for. While Miko is to explain why, a man who was pretending to be Haruki, who had used plastic surgery to disguise himself, and Izumi Hayakawa appear and finish explaining the reason. They worked for Miko and decided to betray her by choking her. She is saved by Natsume and the real Haruki: both are also in on the plan. They tell her that they were the ones who organized the entire Martial Hearts tournament as a way to take revenge on Aya's family. Before Aya was born her father, Shigeyuki Iseshima, and her mother, Suzuko Iseshima, set up the original Martial Hearts tournament and sold all the women who lost into slavery. Two of those women were sisters, one being Miko's mother Yumi Kazuki and the other being Natsume's mother Kumi. Yumi was given to Aya's father as a mistress and on her fourth birthday she witnessed him kill Yumi. Kumi had her throat slashed, effectively muting her, and was sold to a man overseas. Years later she was able to escape and tell her children her story. When Natsume and Miko met they realized that all their suffering came from Aya's family and chose to hold another tournament so they could destroy Aya. They shoot Aya twice but before they can further mutilate or kill her explosives go off throughout the building and it catches on fire. Suzuko appears, having set off the explosives, and tells everyone they are all caught in a web of vengeance. Aya's parents started the Martial Hearts tournament to seek revenge on Natsume and Miko's mothers, since their fathers were the evil men who killed their families, and now their daughters are caught in the web of revenge as well. Haruki and the girls attack her. Suzuko kills the three. She bandages up Aya and tells her she will atone for Aya's sins, staying in the burning building as a wounded Aya makes her escape. Later the audience sees Natsume's mother Kumi at home, carving up pictures of Aya, when the doorbell rings. When she answers it her eyes go wide in terror and she lets out a silent scream before the scene immediately cuts to black. 

Other media[edit]

Atsushi Kuragami, who did Debiru Naebiru, has serialized a manga version for Futabasha's Comic High! magazine with its debut on August 22, 2008.[2]

Slotter Mania V: Zettai Shougeki Platonic Heart II, a pachinko-style game featuring characters from the series, was released for the PS Vita.

Ten companies have planned to expand the franchise into mobile devices, music CD and other merchandise.[2]

Reception[edit]

The OVA series received negative reviews from critics. Theron Martin of Anime News Network likens the series to Ikki Tousen where women fight each other with "clothes-shredding attacks" but wrote that Master of Martial Hearts has more extreme fan service such as exposed breasts. The plot "exists almost entirely to give excuses for staging cosplay-like battles."[1] Stig Høgset of THEM Anime Reviews found the show "a pretty simple and terrible story with a really awkward and dumb plot twist at the end, it's just impossible to recommend this show for anyone." He instead recommended other titles for those who are "up for the whole 'sexy girls chopsocky' thing." [9] Mike Ferreira of the Anime Herald wrote that it is "without a doubt, one of the most offensive, vile pieces of crap to pass through my DVD player. It makes Ikki Tousen look like The Gentleman’s Guide in comparison. There are absolutely no redeeming qualities to speak of, and everything just seems to go to extremes to repulse the viewer."[4] Bamboo Dong of Anime News Network praised Funimation for "cutting one of the funniest and most attention-grabbing trailers in recent anime history. Their coinage of 'Boobs, butts, and burgers' is genius," however, "Considering the terrible storyline, the complete lack of characterization, the lackluster animation, and the ear-splitting music, and the complete disregard for science, there is no redeeming feature of this show. Unless, of course, you want something to whack off to."[10] Chris Beveridge of Mania.com found the story to be formulaic with awkward pacing, and leading to a spectacular train wreck of the final episode.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Martin, Theron (August 6, 2010). "Master of Martial Hearts DVD". Anime News Network. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Zettai Shougeki ~Platonic Heart~ Video Anime Green-Lit". Anime News Network. 2008-07-07. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  3. ^ a b c "Funimation Entertainment Acquires Master of Martial Hearts From Shochiku". Anime News Network. 2010-01-07. 
  4. ^ a b Ferreira, Mike (July 2, 2011). "Review: Master of Martial Hearts". Anime Herald. 
  5. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20081228045742/http://zettai.jp/#/index/character
  6. ^ http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/shelf-life/2010-08-02
  7. ^ http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/review/master-of-martial-hearts/dvd
  8. ^ "c7.png." Zettai Shougeki: Platonic Heart II. Retrieved on October 9, 2013.
  9. ^ Hogset, Stig (2008). "Master of Martial Hearts". THEM anime reviews. 
  10. ^ Dong, Bamboo (August 2, 2010). "Shelf Life - Mixed Martial Hearts". Anime News Network. 
  11. ^ Beveridge, Chris (August 10, 2010). "Master of Martial Hearts Complete Set". Mania.com. 

External links[edit]