Satomi KoorogiTomoko KawakamiEmi MotoiMiho Yamada
Words Worth
Medium: OVA, series
Year: 1999
Director: Kan Fukumoto, Hisashi Tomii
Writer: Yosei Morino
Actor: Emi Motoi, Midori Nakazawa, Miho Yamada, Satomi Koorogi, Tomoko Kawakami
Keywords: anime, hentai, boobs, fantasy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 8 episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=1176
Website category: Anime 1990s
Review date: 26 March 2024
words worth
It's a relatively famous hentai, adapted from a Japanese adult-orientated computer RPG. The plot's surprisingly strong (in the main series) and is capable of surprises, but its sex scenes are problematic.
This review will contain spoilers, incidentally, although I don't imagine many people would worry about that regarding 25-year-old pornography.
The episodes are:
1-5 = Main series, 1999-2000
6-7 = "Outer Story", 2002
8 = "Sharon's Home Cooking vs. Mew's Cosplay vs. Nina's Established Fact: Three-Cornered Battle" = silly bonus episode that I hated, only five minutes long, 2009
It's set in a fantasy realm of two tribes: Light and Shadow. Both sides are looking for the shattered remains of the Words Worth, a stone tablet created by this world's God as per the Old Testament. Don't worry about that, though. It's a MacGuffin. The Tribes of Light and Shadow have been at war for a hundred years (150 in the game) and they're not messing around. Heads will be severed, limbs will fly and not everyone will survive to the end credits.
Bumbling his way through all this (at first) is our lecherous hero, Astral. He's a nice guy apart from the rape.
I'll got to talk about that now, don't I?
Most of this screen time is normal, proper storytelling, driven by characters and plot... but there are still plenty of uncensored sex scenes. The majority are consensual, but not all. These people think that rape is normal in wartime, with the most extreme example being Fabris wanting to rape and kill Sharon. What makes this twice as worse is the show's relatively light tone. It has silly characters and is often amusing, so its rape scenes are trying to be in line with this. The victim will always enjoy it, no matter how much she protests. The nice guy hero, Astral, rapes a prisoner and doesn't even think he's done anything wrong:
ASTRAL = "But it seemed like you were having fun at the time!"
MARIA = "Be quiet you beast! You raped me! I had no control over my own body!"
ASTRAL = "But that's ridiculous!"
MARIA = "What, do you think I enjoyed it!?!"
Incidentally (SPOILERS), Astral and Maria might be siblings. They were brought up by warrior kings to whom they're not biologically related, the backstory fits and they both have blue hair. Since Mew is Maria's daughter in the second half of the series, this would make her Astral's niece and possibly also his daughter... and, yes, he shags her too. Keep this up and in a few generations they'll have three eyes and twelve fingers. Mew's even still in Astral's harem in the 2009 episode.
Anyway, there's also a romantic rape in ep.4, in which King Wortoshika takes an unconventional approach to wooing. (It even seems to work. Rita is an active participant from an early stage and they're both pretty serious about the relationship.) Then, finally, the "Outer story" plays a rape for comedy, with Persia worrying about the foul tortures Sabrina must be undergoing while in fact she's having her nipple tickled with a feather. When Sabrina's eventually returned to her cell, Persia notes that she looks highly satisfied.
But what else is here? If you watch this, you'll probably fast-forward through the sex scenes anyway.
EPISODES 1-2
These are perfectly decent semi-epic fantasy. King Wortoshika has forbidden Astral from the swordsmanship proficiency test and so Astral's fiancee (Sharon) assumes he's an insignificant wimp. (She's not being a bitch, though. She's probably the Shadow Tribe's strongest warrior after Wortoshika himself.) My main impression of these episodes was that Wortoshika was an idiot. Why put that pointless obstacle in Astral's way? (Especially since it's so easily circumvented.) Why wait until an inconvenient moment to realise that there's some all-important information he should have told Astral years ago?
At the climax, Maria blasts Astral with her most powerful spell, Mystral Window. Next thing he knows, he's amnesiac and in another country. He probably doesn't even know the difference between Light and Shadow. Also, shockingly, Fabris appeared to recognise Astral as a legendary Light hero, Pollux, who hasn't been seen in years. Naturally, I was anticipating a time travel plot twist, which would have fitted Maria's magic.
There's also some memorable character design. The undead soldier who keeps falling to bits is a laugh, especially when complaining that someone scared him. I disliked the horse-man whose voice actor keeps neighing, though.
EPISODES 3-5
Astral's in the Land of Light, answering to the name of Pollux and sometimes killing Shadow soldiers who should have been his allies. I was fascinated and didn't know what was happening. Has he travelled into the past? Was he in the future but due for another timeskip at the end of ep.5? The narrator says that twenty years have passed, but is this a young Astral who's time-travelled or has he been wandering in the Land of Light for all that time? Then there's the puzzle of the next generation. Maria and Nina both have daughters who might be Astral's, but Maria's daughter is about twenty years old while Nina's daughter looks eight at most. Do cat-girls age more slowly than humans? Finally, there's the prophecy of the One Who Mixes Light and Shadow, which might theoretically apply to half the cast.
Again, this is a pretty good fantasy narrative. I liked the way the show kept crossing the Light-Shadow divide and asking whether the conflict ever had a point. Mind you, that succubus in ep.3 is an idiot. (Sneak away carefully and quietly. Don't drop rocks and give away your... whoops, too late.) Also, that lost fragment from Astral and Mew changes shape, being rectangular in ep.3 but a long, sharp diamond in ep.5.
EPISODES 6-7 ("Outer Story")
I disliked this. It's set during ep.2 and is again rapey, while trying to be lighter and more comedic. Not a great combination. (The English subtitles are full of puns with no counterpart in the original Japanese.) Again, the victim enjoys being raped. The plot's silly and has a girl being molested by a frog and a horse-man. A proud, strong swordswoman slips on nothing, falls on her back and doesn't even try to stand up again and keep fighting.
Even the art's jarring. Its computer colouring looks cheap and gaudy after the hand-painted original.
Some of the jokes are funny. I quite like the conclusion with Astral and Persia. Basically, though, it's rubbish. You can't even intersperse it with the original for a grand overall story, since it contains spoilers about the final baddies.
EPISODE 8 ("Sharon's Home Cooking vs. Mew's Cosplay vs. Nina's Established Fact: Three-Cornered Battle")
Loud, annoying harem nonsense. The characterisation is joke-based and the bickering among Astral's girls is an anime cliche that's passed its sell-by date. It's meant to be a bit of fun, but to me it it's unpleasant.
RANDOM OBSERVATION
The English dub apparently cast two real porn actresses: Jenna Jameson and Nikki Dial.
OVERALL
In some respects, it's beyond the pale. I hope you'd get crucified if you made this today.
In other ways, though, it's ambitious and quite good. It's also often silly or stupid, but it genuinely made me laugh while having a serious fantasy plot. I was impressed.