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An awkwardly paced and overlong film adapted from a long series of books by Wolf Guy's Kazumasa Hirai and filtered through their manga incarnation by Shotaro Ishinomori. Genma ("Phantom Demon"), the personification of entropy, has eaten half the universe and intends to destroy Earth. Its nemesis, good interdimensional being Floy, who has an intensely annoying voice, contacts Princess Luna of Transylvania and warns her of impending doom. Luna is already aware of it, since the plane carrying her on a diplomatic mission has just been struck by a meteor bearing Vega, a cyborg from a world destroyed by Genma in the distant past (compare to Andro in Tekkaman). Luna and Vega set about recruiting a multinational army of psionics (including Sonny Rinks, a black kid from the New York ghetto), specifically Japanese schoolboy Jo Azuma, who is the most powerful. As Genma's powers lay waste to Earth, his comic sidekicks, Zombi and Samedi, kill his friends and loved ones. They attack Jo's sister Michiko, who reveals her own psychic powers, only to die seconds before Jo can save her. A distraught Jo is saved from an earthquake by Tao, a Chinese psionic, who leads him to Genma's hideaway amid the boiling lava of a newly active Mount Fuji. Jo and several other psionic warriors, who arrive as an afterthought, then defeat Genma, who comes back in a predictable twist and is defeated again in a final battle. Vega dies in the final conflict but commends his friends on their victory as he prepares for rebirth, along with life on Earth itself.
This first anime film from Newtype publishers Kadokawa boasts a fatuous pseudo-religious message, a truly awful English-language song, a cameo appearance by director Rintaro as a flustered artist, and much-hyped character designs from Katsuhiro Otomo. It also features an interesting choice from the animators, who concentrate on drawing high-quality still images at the expense of actual animation and lip sync. Trying and failing, like Darkside Blues, to cram a complex text into the running time of a mere movie, it nevertheless contained the seeds of the anime business as we know it today. Designer Otomo was so disillusioned by his experience of working on Harmagedon that he resolved to do things differently five years later with Akira. Not to be confused with Lee Hyunse's Armageddon (1995), which was distributed by Manga Entertainment as "anime," but actually made in Korea. Genma Wars (2002) is a 13-part TV remake also released in America.