Munto 2

What were they thinking? Munto, an OVA from 2003, introduced us to Yumemi, a young girl who's the only person able to keep another realm from bursting into our world, destroying both in the process. There was a lot of mindless (but oh-so-pretty) violence in the first one as Munto, a red-haired wonderkind, led the charge to save his magical kingdom from its foes. However, the human story in Munto worked well; we got to see Yumemi pulled not just between two worlds but between her two friends who were going through problems of their own. So what did they do for the sequel, Munto 2? They ramped up the admittedly insanely cool battle sequences and ignored the best stuff from the human story that made the original compelling in spite of plotline overkill. It's still cool to watch for about 20 minutes, but the very side of the show that was so good in the first one nearly put me to sleep here.

In Munto 2, the energy force that Yumemi restored to the magical world is helping Munto and his followers, but only so much. There are too many enemies to take them all on, and it's draining them of the magical power they have. Munto knows that he's going to have to pull back Yumemi again sometime, but that's a threat in and of itself. The other players in this war, having seen Yumemi when they were defeated a year ago, are trying to figure out how to pull her out of her world and use her for their own purposes.

Meanwhile, Yumemi is haunted by the visions she had of Munto. Her friends worry about her and her "blackouts," partially because they think she's too obsessed with this other world and partially because they know it really exists, despite what the news reports say. As Suzume and Ichiko try everything they can to lighten her mood, Yumemi knows that her connection with Munto has just begun.

As with the first video, Munto 2 is absolutely stunning in its animation. The first twenty minutes, which feature 95% of the fighting between the otherworldly factions, is nothing short of awesome. With the relative dearth of film quality animation in recent months, Munto 2 does nothing short but delight the eyes with a visual feast. Exploding warships, gigantic cities, characters with revolving tattoos on their, does it look good.

But woe is me if I should tell you to watch a show just because the visuals are stunning. Unfortunately, Munto 2 suffers from several of its predecessor's problems and adds a few to it. If the plotline before was muddled, this one is like trying to look through pea soup. There is only the tiniest bit of backstory on Munto's world given to us, and it still tells us nothing of importance. Granted, it's been a while since I watched the first show, but I did watch the 8-minute refresher on the first OVA (included in the extras section of this DVD) to remind myself. I admit that when watching crap blow up on a grand scale, I wasn't too worried that I couldn't understand what the heck they were talking about. Nevertheless, I had to shrug at the woeful lack of an understandable plot.

Meanwhile, there is no compelling reason to watch this show. We're not getting any character development this time around at all, and ultimately (except for a bit of a cliffhanger ending) this story is virtually identical to the first. Only here, there's not even the subplot in the Tokyo world to keep us interested. No one new of any interest is introduced. And their biggest mistake was placing all the combat up front. I was hooked for 20 minutes. After that point, however, not a whole lot happens. Had they found a better way to integrate the two sections, it likely would have been much more interesting. But as Munto 2 is orchestrated, it's almost two separate, dramatically different stories slammed together.

Like the first Munto, I can safely say that those who get their kicks from massive destruction will be impressed enough to rent this one. My grade is only as high as it is because the animation is just amazingly good in the first third. If you watched the original and liked it enough to remember it well, perhaps you'll enjoy this one as well. But the first one didn't stick with me, and the second one is far more empty still.

Munto 2 -- violence, profanity -- C+