M.D. Geist was a gory action OAV series animated by Studio Wave and Zero G-Room in 1986. Production on the OAV was a mess with much of the direction for the anime done by a then young and inexperienced director named Koichi Ohata and a disorganized animation team, which led to the anime’s producers to have to recruit the more experienced Hayato Ikeda for occasional consulting.
The anime was picked up for North American VHS distribution in the early 1990s by Central Park Media who used the main character of Geist as the logo for their anime label, U.S. Manga Corps. M.D. Geist winded up being one of the distributor’s best-selling titles at the time and decided to collaborate with Ikeda to release a Director’s Cut edition of the OAV which extended the anime by five minutes and cleaned up many of the animation and transition errors from the original release. Manga Corps also helped provide support for Ikeda in creating the title’s anime sequel, Death Forces, and a comic book adaptation called Ground Zero.
Manga Corps would later distribute a DVD release of both OAVs to M.D. Geist in 2002 up to when Central Park Media declared bankruptcy in early 2009. ADV Films winded up license rescuing both OAVs later in the year and releasing them to DVD on the same disc. Manga Entertainment has streaming rights to the anime as it can be viewed legally online via Hulu.
If you want a fun read about M.D. Geist, check out this Buried Garbage article from Anime News Network several years back from the site’s media director, Justin Sevakis, as he recalls his painful experience putting up with the huge love that his former boss, CPM founder John O’Donnell, had for the anime during his work for the distributor.
Geist was part of a group of superhuman soldiers called Most Dangerous Soldiers (MDS) created by the Regular Army to fight against the Nexrum Army in a bloody war on
the planet Jerra. Unfortunately, the MDS units had no regard for whom they fought as they would attack both ally and foe. This led to the Regular Army to make countermeasures against the MDS units as they forced Geist into cryogenic sleep and launched him into space by satellite. Years later, the satellite crashes back onto the surface of Jerra and Geist is awakened from his sleep. After encountering a group of bandits, Geist is reunited with the Regular Army as he becomes tasked with trying to save the planet from a doomsday weapon called Death Force set to annihilate all life on Jerra.
-Geist- The main protagonist of the series. A member of the MDS units with a strong love of battling who has no regard for whomever gets in his way.
-Vaiya- A female member of the group of bandits that encounter Geist after he awakens from his cryogenic sleep. Greedy for money and admiring Geist for his strength, Vaiya makes several attempts at trying to bring the MDS to her side throughout the OAV to no avail.
-Colonel Krutes- Leader of the Regular Army soldiers and
Geist’s former superior whom Geist assists in the mission to stop Death Force.
With the messy background on M.D. Geist’s production that I brought up above, it’s no wonder that it is well-known as one of anime’s infamous duds. The title has a nice number of sloppy transitions where changes between camera shots and scenes look badly edited. The animation quality isn’t much better as it has not aged too well and is noticeably low quality compared to other anime titles released in the mid-80s having a decent number of animation errors and resorting to enough animation shortcuts as the liberal use of speed stripes and still frames of characters meshed together are fairly common in the title.
The plot to M.D. Geist is very barebones, mostly just being an excuse for Geist’s gory fights against anything that comes his way. The series attempts a twist ending for its finale, but this lacks any kind of impact due to the lack of depth on elements of the title’s plot.
The characters in the series are not much better off either as they are quite one-dimensional in depth and have very little diversity in their personality. For the lead character of the series, Geist comes across as a stereotypical action movie hero, only having much less personality and too consumed with the desire of wanting to engage in battles for one to even care for the guy.