Rarely do I get review requests for Ogiue Maniax, but when I was told to review MD Geist, I knew I had to take on the challenge.
MD Geist is somewhat of an anomaly in anime. Largely ignored in Japan, this OVA found success in the United States in the 80s and 90s and helped to define “anime” as something more adult (or at least indicative of hormonal teenagers). With the titular character eventually becoming the “face” of anime through his role as mascot and “spokesmecha” for the anime company Central Park Media, you will find that a certain generation of anime fans feels a close connection to the title. Years later Central Park Media would fund a sequel.
But wait, this isn’t actually a review of the MD Geist OVAs, but of the American-produced comic adaptation by artist and VOTOMS expert Tim Eldred. And through the lens of Mr. Eldred, interesting things happen.
Before I get into the comic though, I have to state what is a commonly-held truth in anime, restated time and again over the past few decades: MD Geist is bad. Its designs are unsuited for animation, its story is paper-thin, its action scenes are only really enjoyable on a surface level, and its characters are poorly realized. At the same time however, it is an enjoyable sort of bad. In many ways it represents a generation of mediocre straight-to-VHS anime.
But it’s difficult to recapture that sort of accidental magic. Tim Eldred understood this well, I assume, as he doesn’t try to bottle magic. Instead, he takes the patches strewn across the floor in disarray and attempts to sew them together into a complete quilt. He adds a back story, he adds character motives, he turns MD Geist into a “real” story rather than an incongruous facsimile of one.
The MD Geist comic is divided into two parts: an origin story for MD Geist and a retelling of the first OVA, with the intent to flesh out Geist’s character. Not only was he a “Most Dangerous Soldier,” but you learn why exactly he was imprisoned and about the woman who first assisted/controlled him. Through this, you get the same impression as one would reading fanfiction. I do not mean that negatively. One of the great strengths of fanfiction is that fans of a series can take the odds and ends of their favorite series and then speculate until their brainstorming session has gone far beyond the original source.
On its own, the MD Geist comic is decent. The only issue with that is that it comes at the expense of the extreme amounts of ridiculousness which pervade the source material to the extent that the original creators cannot even remember why they made any of their creative decisions (check the director’s commentary track on the DVD). Reading the comic over seeing the anime will get you a better story, but it won’t necessarily get you MD Geist.