Venus Wars: When Racers Go To War

Conventions and Yoshikazu Yasuhiko

This film. I wish that I realized that this film was on Hi-Dive a lot sooner so I could have written about this one way earlier. But no, I’m not that smart apparently. I watched this at Sakura Con 2022, as I mentioned in my post from when I visited. It was the last thing that I did before leaving to take the lightrail home. It was a day of seeing panels and voice actors who were a part of retro anime series, so it was a great capstone for my experience at the convention. Great time all around and writing this post makes me feel so happy that I went a while back.

But the context of this film. If you know who Yoshikazu Yasuhiko is, he was one of the people behind the original Gundam series before he was forced to go to a hospital. He was also able to create his own series and manga too like Giant Gorg, his take on the Original Gundam, and Venus Wars. Just like Miyazaki with Nausicaa or Otomo with Akira, Yasuhiko directed the adaptation of his own work by doing it himself in 1990. It feels just like the thing people did back then. People created their own adaptations and that’s pretty great. 

The Story of Venus Wars? Is There One?

Venus Wars’ backstory takes place in the close past of 2003 where a comet called Apollion hit Venus and created a breathable atmosphere there. In 2012, Venus started becoming colonized. Decades later in 2089, Venus is populated by millions of people in nations separated into the Northern Continent of Ishtar and the Southern Continent called Aphrodia. Two nations that are on the cusp of war with each other. Infact, the film starts with the Ishtar nation invading Aphrodia in the middle of one of Aphrodia’s races.

A reporter from Earth, Susan Sommers shows up at the Aphrodian Capital just in time for Ishtar to invade. Also, during the so-called sort of roller racing with the team called the Killer Commandos playing against some other team. The protagonist named Hiro is hot blooded and trying to run his motorcycle while trying to win. HIro’s very pure and hard working girlfriend Maggy shows up too. Suddenly, it all goes to hell when Ishtar attacks. NOt only is the stadium ruined, but the city is slowly destroyed and occupied by Ishtar itself.

The rest of the anime is fairly straightforward. It moves in a pretty predictable pattern from an occupied city that isn’t what it’s like it used to before to fighting on the streets. The Killer Commandos work hard to destroy a tank that is at what is left of the stadium to Hiro joining the Aphrodian Forces and facing down the Ishtar commander himself. The end is pretty happy over in some predictable patterns, but it works out in the end. Without talking about its execution, the story is complete and tells everything placed onto things there too. 

Venus Wars Knows What Its Draw Is

Miranda is way too powerful. I almost put a gif of her undressing on here and that would be one of the most scandalish things that I’ve done.

Everything about why people would want to watch Venus Wars is in the first minute after its prologue text. In a cut from one scene to another and back and forth. Susan Sommers is slowly and completely stripped and searched by Venus security. Nothing is shown at all, but a lot of things are implied. Then there is the cut betweens on the insanely well animated and detailed motorcycle racing that you can feel every inch of. Especially when it feels so realistic. In one moment, you get the intro character and the start of the story itself. 

Fanservice and mechanical animation. Yeah, I would just watch a film just for that. It’s not like it ever gets too bad on the fanservice front at all. Susan Sommer’s panties are used for a joke and Miranda, a literal motorcycle queen, are just shown what happens after changing into her motorcycle outfit. Then again, Hiro has a hilarious scene where he is trying to cover himself while in Maggie’s apartment and in a changing room before battle, so I guess it’s fair. The mechanical animation itself gets so much more crazy as more and more mechanical devices with fight and racing scenes across the city and different environments of Venus. It’s such a visually fantastic film that I would just watch to see what happens. 

The Weakness of Venus Wars

This film should have at least been a one-cour anime series. Or maybe two. I say this because the narrative is fast that its bare bones. It’s one of those films where the details that show up are so obvious. Characters who show up and make some sort of statement by showing up are either going to have something bad happen to them OR they become important for some reason later on. There are even moments that feel like they should have had an episode of their own to expand on so many great moments more.

What also happens is that Hiro, once again the main protagonist of the film, almost has zero agency or ever feels like a character. He is just the action man who has the story happen to him. From Hiro actually growing an attachment to his city because of Maggy to him fighting a tank because Miranda wanted him to to eventually him deciding to destroy a tank to him joining the Aprodhian Forces, Hiro never decides anything. He really is the point of view character for the entire war on all the aspects of it until Ishtar is defeated. Cool action man Hiro is here to do cool action things and that’s it. Emotions don’t work well when the story is so thin.

Susan Sommers has her own sort of arc too. It is one that comes from an interesting point of view, but it can also be considered pretty annoying just by the fact that its nuance is cut out. She shows up on Venus seeing the war as a game. Susan even gets caught up in it with the motorcycle racing gang because she lives with this for a while too. But the whole thing happens where she eventually does get some attachment to the war and tries to kill the leader of the Ishtar forces for killing her current boyfriend. Of course, that fails but she never faces any consequences for not taking anything seriously or trying to take on the war herself. 

Wrapping Up Venus Wars

I already mentioned some of the mechanical animation, but there are some stellar designs that look so practical in ways that I have never seen anywhere else. Especially the tanks that are able to move through tight corners in a city. There are also some stellar bits of experimental animation too. Some live action footage with a filter is used while having some of the best looking mechanical animation placed over it too. Amazing in great levels too. It really is worth seeing just for the crazy animation in the film too. 

The film itself is ok, but not in a bad way. But ok in a way that it’s for people who this film would appeal to. Do you like attractive character designs and fantastic animation? Do you want to see some things you haven’t seen before in anime at the cost of not having as much emotional attachment? What about if you are a fan of retro anime? Then you know what to do and what to watch. Venus Wars. That’s all I have to say about it. 

5 comments

  1. This was one of my first anime experiences back in the 90s… I’ve not seen it in ages, but I’m going to change that.

    I love it when a series shows you everything you need to know about whether you’ll like it or not in the first couple of minutes. Then you can just sit back and enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoyed ‘Venus Wars’ too – agree with the flaws you mentioned, it could have explored those aspects and done more with character dev in a season, for sure.

    Visually, it really does look so, so good too, yeah.

    Liked by 1 person

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