Fight!! Spirit of the Sword Review

Fight Spirit of the Sword DVD
AKA: Fight!!
Genre: Action/Supernatural/Modern Fantasy
Year Released: 1993

Distributor: Unlicensed (DVD formally available from Anime Works)

Origin: Japan

Running Time: OVA, 30 minutes

Rating/Recommended Audience: 13+

Related Films/Series: N/A
For Fans Of: Yu Yu Hakusho, Flame of Recca, Ninku, Inu-Yasha, Dagger of Kamui, Naruto, Shaman King, Legend of the Last Labyrinth, X series, Tokyo Babylon, Buso Renkin, Bleach, Devil Hunter Yohko
Notes:

-The Japanese language track was used for this review.
Fun Facts:

-Fight!! Spirit of the Sword is based on a manga called Fight!! by Pink Aomata. It ran for three volumes and was serialized in Wings.

-Co-director Masanori Nishii did animation work for three different Gundam series: ZZ Gundam, Gundam Seed Destiny, and Gundam 00 (Both seasons and the movie).

-Main character Yonosuke was voiced by Takeshi Kusao. His voice acting work was also in anime such as DNAngel, Black Clover, but his most famous role is playing Trunks in Dragon Ball Z.

-Hilarious in Hindsight: So let me get this straight, the talisman turns into a basic sword that can emit supernatural energy as a blade? Looks like somebody’s been watching Yu Yu Hakusho and wanted to do something like Kuwabara’s Spirit Sword.


See, anibloggers?! I haven’t abandoned anime at all! Looks like I’m back to my old habits of covering random obscure OVAs. There have been some that are amazing watches such as Voices of a Distant Star or Shinesman. The good thing about reviewing most OVAs is that I can devote not so much time to them and crank out an opinion on what I watched as soon as I can. It’s certainly far easier than reviewing anime TV series, and I’m sure other reviewers can agree with that. It’s a shame that the OVA format is a dying art of sorts because I do like being able to watch and collect an entire series when I can. Leave it up to Anime Works’s former catalog to see if there’s anything worthy watching when it comes to random Japanese animated projects.

Will this anime make the cut or will it be dull?

Fight!! Spirit of the Sword deals with a sword called Chitentai. This weapon is a gateway to Heaven and Earth and it has the ability to slaughter demons on site. The next in line to have ownership of this sword is the sixteen-year-old Yonosuke Hikura who is from a long family tree of demon slayers. However, he’s always late for school and is spoiled by many members of the Hikura family (he’s even addressed by his servants as Yo-dono). His associate is Tsukinojo “Tsuki” Inbe who is able to use supernatural powers, but is often shrunk into a chibi-like state and is in his heirloom talisman. One day, Yonosuke drops the talisman and it gets taken. He has to find it, but there are shadowy organizations and demons that want to burst through the portal from Hell unto Earth to wreak havoc on society. It’s time for Yonosuke to take on the family business and to wield Chitentai to stop this demonic infestation.

This certainly gave me a tiny bit of nostalgia for some 90s shonen action. I certainly watched many a show like that when I was introduced to anime even going back to seeing Teknoman/Tekkaman Blade before I knew what anime was. The supernatural aspect didn’t become too cliche from a historical standpoint, so there’s some aspects that felt familiar to both new and experienced anime fans alike. The dynamic between Yonosuke and Tsuki did have a nice amount of symbiosis going on starting with one of the opening scenes where they spar in a kendo match. Sure, I thought the whole shrinking chibi moments was bizarre, but I liked how Tsuki wasn’t a damsel in distress and is a competent ally to the main hero. Yonosuke couldn’t been a shonen Marty Stu, but I did think that his tardiness was a decent flaw for him. Funny enough, it does end up with him being punished at school at the end even though he was busy trying to save the city. It’s certainly not going to alienate any viewers because there’s a familiar aspect going on.

Fight!! Spirit of the Sword didn’t make a cut above for everything else though. For starters, the animation screams early 90s and it really shows. JC Staff did so much better later that decade such as Revolutionary Girl Utena from an animation standpoint which is so disappointing. The voice acting was very generic and mediocre. When I saw the credits, my jaw dropped with how many big names were in it. You had the aforementioned Takeshi Kusao, but you also had Noriko Hidaka (Hikaru from Magic Knight Rayearth and Shalnark from the 2011 Hunter X Hunter remake), Takehito Koyasu (Ryosuke Takahashi from Initial D and Shinsuke from Gintama), Yasunori Matsumoto (Alejandro from Gundam 00 and Gourry from Slayers), and Tsuki herself is voiced by MEGUMI FREAKING HAYASHIBARA! She totally phoned it in playing Tsuki which is a shame because I know she’s normally better than this as a voice actress. Don’t believe me, watch Paprika if you want to see Megumi at her best as a voice actress, in my opinion. Heck, you can watch other anime she’s been in like Evangelion, Slayers, or Saber Marionette J to name a few and I guarantee you she actually tries (Slayers pun not intended) in those series. Tsuki could’ve been played by any random ham-and-egger and I barely would’ve noticed which is just sad. Also, Fight!! is totally un-creative. Tsuki looks like Botan from Yu Yu Hakusho (ironic, since Hayashibara played the younger version of Genkai in that same anime) if she dyed her hair pink, the whole demon portal thing is totally unoriginal, and the plot never deviated from the typical shonen fare. There were also way too many characters that I didn’t know enough or care about in less than the half-hour run time of this OVA. It felt like a glorified pilot episode for a much larger series, but you’re not going to know what happens next unless you read the manga if I were to paraphrase a certain Cromartie High School character. There was some potential, but the directors and writers didn’t even try.

This early 90s OVA is something you can easily skip. Fight!! Spirit of the Sword is as generic as it’s name. It’s typical shonen fare but without the charm or flavor as many other series that have been around for decades. The animation hasn’t aged well even though it’s from a big studio and the story felt rushed and flat. The voice acting even in it’s original Japanese was just bland and even someone like me who’s actually good at identifying voice actors couldn’t tell who was in it (you know it’s bad when I can’t recognize Takehito Koyasu’s very distinctive baritone voice or even Megumi Hayashibara’s variable voice patterns). Everything was so uninspired and it just felt like a bone thrown to fans of the manga who may have wanted to see it animated and nothing more. What a shame. I wished the creators would’ve put more effort into it.


Adjustable Rating System:

Add 1-2 points if you like supernatural anime.
Add 1 point if you like shonen anime.
Subtract 1 point if you want a complete or original story.

Pros:
-Interesting dynamics with Yonosuke and Tsuki
-Decent level of danger involved
-Very short run time

Cons:
-Incomplete story
-Phoned in voice acting
-Extreme levels of generic anime elements

Final Score: 2/10 points

Content Warning: Fight!! Spirit of the Sword is a safe 13 and up anime. the fighting does get intense, but nothing worse than a lot of Shonen Jump series that are similar. There’s some language that gets surprisingly strong. For more conservative viewers, some of the supernatural elements gets borderline occult-ish, so that could turn off some viewers. The dynamic of the twins who work for Yonosuke can be a bit on the Yaoi side if people want to enter in their own subtext.

-Curtis Monroe

All photos property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws. Fight !! Spirit of the Sword is property of J. C. Staff. The DVD cover is from Amazon and is property of Anime Works.

8 comments

  1. Hmmm…as much as I’m a fan of retro anime, I have to say that I don’t think I’m missing out on much when I skip out on this one. Shame, as after reading your post, this one certainly had potential it would seem 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • It really was especially given how many big name voice actors were in the Japanese version. It’s easily the worst thing I’ve heard Megumi Hayashibara and Takehito Koyasu in since they totally phoned in their performances and I know they’re both better than this. Fight!! can stay unlicensed and I kind of regret renting the DVD from Netflix.

      Like

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