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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 12 June 2011
`Masters of Martial Hearts' (also known as Zettai Shougeki ~Platonic Heart~) is a very fanservice heavy action series that sees high school schoolgirl who, after intervening in a fight between a miko and a stewardess, gets drawn into a secret all-girl tournament for a mysterious jewel that can grant any wish. There is a price though as with such a great prize up for grabs, the consequences for losing are equally high.

`Masters of Martial Hearts' is a reasonable series that does have its problems and I feel that it should receive three stars, three and a half if I am feeling generous). The series is somewhat basic in animation and voice acting for the English dub. The series is very heavy in fanservice, mostly in the form of clothing damage during the fight scenes, and outright nudity. The ending of the series is also something of a let-down that it could have been handled better. Before the final episode I was going to give the series around three and half to four stars as it was reasonably enjoyable but I feel that it was let down by being a bit too heavy on the infodump for the finale of an action series.

On the plus, while the basic plot is somewhat generic, there are some nice twists that were quite enjoyable and some of the fights are reasonably good here and there (the fight in the second episode in particular is quite nice). As well as this, the character of Aya is somewhat interesting and, while she could have used a little more development, the series did have some nice character moments for her (especially in the final fight of the tournament).

Overall this series was okay with some nice ideas but could have probably been a lot better had it been a full length series rather than this short OVA series.
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on 6 May 2015
Before I begin this review on 'Master of Martial Hearts' I just want to say that there will be people who disagree with the five-star rating I've given it. Over the years, there have been many anime fans and critics who've poured scorn over this OVA series, because of its violent and inappropriate content. Some would even go so far as to call it: "one of the most offensive, vile pieces of [garbage] to [ever] pass through [their] DVD player". But as for me, I choose to look past the violence and fan service, and instead focus on the story. Because beneath the surface of an anime that seems to be nothing more than an excuse to show off teenage girls and young women fighting each other in cosplay, I found a really unique plot, full of emotional development, shocking revelations, betrayals, dark secrets and a question of whether someone is truly good or evil. I remember being in such awe of this series when I first saw it that when the last episode ended I was literally frozen to my sofa, and couldn't even lift my arm to pick up the remote and turn off the TV - I knew I had just witnessed a masterpiece.
So what is it about this series everyone seems to hate so much that I love with all of my (martial) heart? Let's start with the story.
The story revolves around, Aya Iseshima, a high school student with suppressed anger and fighting skills. On her way home from school one day with her best friend Natsume, they come across a fight between a woman dressed as a stewardess and a girl dressed as a shrine maiden. Saving the shine maiden, who's name is Miko, she tells Aya and Natsume that she's part of a secret street fighting tournament for the Martial Heart, a magical gem that has the power to grant a girl any wish. Since Miko's wish is to make friends, Aya offers her to be their friend allowing Miko to withdraw from the tournament. However, due to her interference, Aya gets an anonymous text message saying she has officially replaced Miko and is forced to fight the stewardess from before. What's worse, Miko suddenly vanishes and nobody has any memory of her existence. Now Aya has to fight her way through the tournament, find out if Miko was really taken to "The Dark Realm" and learn who's really behind this twisted death game she's been forced to become a part of.
For a series that's only five episodes long, the overall plot does well to fit in everything it needs to. It has enough excitement and development to feel like a series that would normally be three times its length; Aya's opponents get stronger as the tournament progresses, her relationship with Natsume's brother gets more affectionate and she's forced to do increasingly more hurtful things to achieve her goals - including fighting against her own teacher. The only downside is that the narrative feels rushed at times and there's barely any chance for us to get to know some of the other characters better; many of Aya's opponents appear for a single episode before vanishing, Natsume is only there to support Aya and give her advice, and characters like Aya's mother, and Natsume's brother and mother aren't really given any sort of backstory until the last episode. Meanwhile, Aya gets more and more aggressive towards her opponents, to the point where she seems to enjoy the pain she inflicts on them. Everything culminates in the final episode, when she commits cold-blooded murder and is forced to reflect on all she's done during the tournament. Which is when she learns the horrible truth that she may've been the real monster all along.
There's not much else I can say about the series without spoiling the ending. But what I can say about the last episode, is that it has a plot twist which involves some history between the main characters' families, and it's so unexpected and mind-blowing that you'd never believe it was possible. Heck, I even read the plot to the fifth episode before watching it, and episodes 1-4 were so convincing/misleading I literally believed I'd read it wrong - there was no way Natsume could be what they said she was.
Overall, 'Master of Martial Hearts' is one of the best masterpieces of Japanese animation I've ever seen and I think it's a shame that only five episodes were ever made. I do understand why some people hate it: the ending leaves too many unanswered questions; the sexual content (e.g. full-body nudity) can seem a bit too inappropriate to some viewers; the very last scene is too open-ended; the opening credits are annoying; the end credits are just...unexplainable; even the lead voice actress didn't seem to want to be associated with this anime - Aya is credited as being voiced by Anita Neukar when in reality it's Trina Nishimura (the voice of Chao Lingsen and Motsu in 'Negima'). Still, I think it's unfortunate how much this series is underrated.
I'm starting to consider Cherami Leigh (who voices Natsume in the English Dub) as another one of my top favourite voice actors (behind Luci Christian and Monica Rial), because she's done this and some of my other all time favourite anime series like 'Negima' and 'Sword Art Online'.
If I had to recommend this series to anyone it would be people who like a good surprise, because the ending is really up that alley. Also, you have to either like violence/fan service, or not be too offended by it, in order to enjoy the story. I'd also recommend this series more to adults than teenagers, since I don't really agree with the '15' rating. Plus, to anyone who does watch this series, I'd recommend watching all five episodes together in a row, rather than separately, so the story can feel like an animated movie and you can appreciate just how great the story is as a whole.
I've said it in the title, but I'll say it again. 'Master of Martial Hearts' is truly a masterpiece that captured my heart.
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on 19 September 2011
Basically characters join an event where they fight each other, and when they lose they get taken away, never to be seen again, well until the final episode.

The show was obviously made to be longer, probably 12-24 episodes in length and starts off fairly well, but doesn't really explain anything and comes accross as rather disjointed.

Its the kind of show that advertises fanservice and there is some, it has the Ikkitousen clothes get shreded when you get hit effect, like the creators ripped off that idea from Ikkitousen, however even this can't save a terribly dull show.

It quite simply is boring, and really, really badly done, normally in a story you're meant to care about characters, or like them, but in this, there is simply nothing, nothing at all to like.

The ending is deus ex machina and makes little to no sense, and a certain event happens and the show just ends, no explainations, nothing, you get this vibe that the budget ran out, or that they were trying to be deep, but failing so ridiculusly bad its not even funny.

The dub is average at best, hardly worth buying the show for either.
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on 8 February 2012
In case you hadn't guessed from the other reviews this is a very fanservicy fighting anime along the lines of Battle Vixens and other things like that.
The animation is generally ok, although some movement looks a little off and parts of the english don't quite sync up as well as they could, voice acting was ok - but nothing to put me off.
Things I found slightly irritating were: the tone changes a lot, it swaps between serious fights to cheesy normal life situations almost instantly, and none of the characters seem phased by this. Another thing is the fights themselves are just too short, there are entire episode build ups for a fight thats over in 4 mins (for example the nurse who is featured so prominantly on the box art appears for 1 episode, has very little dialogue and is then defeated really easily within 5 minutes, rendering the build up pointless.
On the other hand i found the plot quite engaging and the ending i was not expecting at all to be honest, however this leads to the final problem - its just too short, another episode was needed to explain all the infomation thrown at us after 4 episodes of hints. and the bad guys themselves get a completely anti-climatic end, an epic battle would ahve been nice.
But the series is perfectly watchable if you want a short decent enough OVA about hots girls losing clothing in ridiculus fights.
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I'm sorry, but I absolutely love a mind-blowing ending, especially in this era of sequels and remakes run amuck. This five-part series actually delivers its biggest punches after all of the intense fighting is over with. It's unfortunate that it was presented in the guise of a fan service romp because the nudity and all the "pervert cam" shots take away from what I (if no one else) found to be a pretty good story. It's just stupid for all these girls' clothes to disintegrate and fall off with each punch or kick. The only impact it has on the story is the main character's need to fight with the handicap of trying to cover herself at the same time. On top of that, all of the combatants represent some type of fetish - stewardess, nurse, cop, etc. I also have to question all the criticism that there is hardly any plot to speak of here. If you ask me, there's possibly too much packed into this storyline, most of it crammed into the final, reality-flipping episode. You actually have to think about it a little bit in order to keep up, and that seems to be more than some people want to do. Certainly, it's too much for those who watch this solely for all the frontal nudity. It's really just as well that the ending is bound to go over the heads of twelve-year-old boys because parents really shouldn't be letting them watch this kind of program in the first place.

So here's the story. Schoolgirl best friends Aya and Natsume are walking home one day when they suddenly come across a brutal fight between a stewardess and a young lady in a priestess outfit. Said stewardess is pretty much kicking the girl's butt AND being a witch with a b in the process, thus provoking Aya to jump in and save the day with her hidden martial arts abilities. Afterwards, the little priestess, Miko, explains how she is competing in the Martial Hearts tournament in order to fulfill her wish to have friends. It's basically an underground fight club (despite the fact that all the fights take place in public places mysteriously devoid of other people) that promises the ultimate winner the granting of her greatest wish via the mysterious Platonic Heart. The losers, unfortunately, are said to disappear into the dark realms. That night, Aya learns that she has unwittingly become a contestant in the tournament, and she vows to continue fighting in order to find Miko, who has mysteriously disappeared by the next morning. Each episode pits her against one or more female opponents in clothes-shedding combat.

It sounds like a pretty simplistic storyline that will eventually reveal the fates of Miko and the other missing fighters, but the fifth and final episode has more twists than a giant bag of pretzels wrapped in barbed wire. Whatever you're expecting, you're all but certain to be surprised, quite possibly confused, and just maybe sent reeling. Yes, it's far more than anyone could have predicted based on the first four episodes; on the other hand, we're not talking about the writers dropping bombshells on viewers several seasons into a beloved series. It's just five episodes, people. Frankly, the fact that Master of Martial Hearts refuses to bow down to anyone's expectations makes me love it all the more.
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on 17 November 2011
This anime story of only 5 episodes revolves around a young schoolgirl called AYA who is golden hearted but has a fist of iron. In the first episode we see her intervene to stop a fight between 2 girls and befriends a young girl called MIKO. this girl tells her of a secret fight club called "PLATONIC HEART" which says that if a fighter wins through to the end tournament they can have ANY wish they desire fulfilled. Miko then vanished and no one knew anything about her when her new found friend tried looking for her.

AYA is then mysteriously invited to replace Miko as a fighter. There is the main Story, or so you would think. there is a lot of clothes torn off in the fights and a lot a pantie shots etc BUT I think this is indeed a very clever subtle device used for distraction purposes which is incredibly clever as it totally disguises the true story running through the whole 5 episodes.

The end episodes bring it all together very nicely and it truly is a total shocker as I really did not see this coming at all. I can't say much as it will spoil it for those who want to see this DVD for themselves.

For fans of Japanese film that have a number of stories hidden within a story and are multi-layered so they require a number of viewing to see the whole and not just the part then this Anime series will entertain you all the way. Well worth adding to your Library
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on 27 March 2014
one of the best dvd set i have seen this yr so far i have lot a group of M8s see it and they like it 2
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on 29 November 2011
Say true,I found the animation is in Japanese website,Whea I found it and I like it,Because CG so beautiful story a little sexy,But still is a good animation
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on 27 January 2012
don,t be put off by the fan service because behind it is a very good plot line whith a well written twist at the end
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