What Is It?

Behold, the doombringer.

Behold, the doombringer.

Knights of Ramune is a six-episode OVA series that was produced by Ashi Productions Co. The series was directed by Yoshitaka Fujimoto (Cyberteam in Akihabara, Master of Martial Hearts) and features character designs by Osamu Horiuchi (Burst Angel, Full Metal Panic!). Central Park Media first released the title under their Software Sculptors label in 1999, followed by a DVD release in 2007.

The series revolves around Cacao and Parfait, a pair of holy virgins tasked with finding the prophesied holy warrior that will save their universe from certain destruction. Unfortunately for them, though, the two girls find that the great warrior is a power-mad tyrant, hell-bent on conquering every corner of the universe.

…Oops.

Anyway, to save the universe from its greatest hero, Parfait and Cacao must enlist the help with a courageous orphan who, with the aid of a giant robot, should be able to pull it off. Maybe.

No, really. What the hell is it?

Knights of Ramune, also known as Vs. Lamune & 40 Fresh is actually a sequel to the 1994 TV series NG Knight Lamune & 40, which was a fun, if by-the-numbers shonen show that revolves around a lad named Lamune that’s pulled into the magical world of Hara-hara via a video game. There, he gains the ability to transform into the great warrior Lamunes to battles the forces of evil. It wasn’t a bad show by any stretch, though it wasn’t remarkable either.

Of course, given some of the stuff Central Park Media released in its day, “not remarkable” may as well have been freaking manna from heaven.

Anyway, the show proved popular enough to spawn several spin-offs, including two OVAs and a TV series titled Knights of Ramune & 40 Fire, in which Lamune’s son is brought to the world of Dokidoki space via, you guessed it, a magical video game. In this world, he’s joined by his trusty advisor robot PQ, as well as holy maidens Parfait and Cacao, as they fight against the Don Genosai. To do so, they must pilot the mighty Kaizer Fire mecha, and prevent the great evil Abraham from being resurrected.

Yep. Knights of Ramune is actually the sequel to a sequel, that revolves around the side characters of Knights of Ramune & 40 Fire. Much of the background information for the series is utterly lost, since the OVA assumes that viewers have at least seen one of the previous Lamune titles. For the average person, the result is a jumbled mess, where nothing is properly explained, and concepts just seem to appear from the aether.

For fans of the franchise, it’s not much better.

Even with the added context, Knights of Ramune is a hot mess of a series. The plot is a cynical attempt to mash the formulas of Slayers and Gundam into one coherent package, though it fails spectacularly. The humor and globe-trotting atmosphere of Lina Inverse’s adventure are nowhere to be found. The same could be said about Gundam and its strong plots and intense mech battles. The result is a half-baked experience, which highlights every single flaw in the two formulas, which the show tries to pass off as a passable experience. To make matters worse, the characters are flat and lifeless, and the humor is the furthest thing from “funny”, as it relies on tired, safe jokes and poorly timed slapstick.

To top the turd sundae off, the show itself is fairly ugly, even for a mid-90s OVA. The character designs are uninspired, and seem to be stacked with tropey figures, like “Generic Old Man”, “Busty Female Lead”, and “Random Glaring Villain.” The animation is average at best, and the voice acting rarely rises out of the depths of mediocrity.

One can only wonder why Central Park would choose this, of all things, to release given the fact that they had an entire franchise to choose from.

Oh, right. Sexy time.

Knights of Ramune is a series that’s gained a reputation for its shamelessly over-the-top levels of fanservice. The show’s ability to pack nearly every single cut with some form of T&A has been a source of notoriety for the series. And, to be fair, it certainly delivers. Any chance to get a woman into a her birthday suit is taken, and every attempt is made to show the female cast with as little clothing as possible for as long as possible. They hammer this home with a truly impressive array of crotch shots, chest shots, panty shots, low angles, high angles, and, well, any possible mechanism that can be used to get a set of tits in front of the camera.

Seriously. This is a show whose first episode had more nudity than the average episode of Girls. It’s really quite impressive at how far they will go for this, though it also clearly illustrates where the animators’ attention was through the production process.

And you want me to watch this WHY?

I won’t mince words: Knights of Ramune is crap. It’s a series whose only real use is to inspire misery in others… or to appeal to people who somehow like poorly drawn T&A.

That said, it’s a wonderful show for getting a reaction from a crowd. The show’s over-abundance of fan-service will inspire a combination of snark and revulsion from the crowd, while the poor writing and characters will have viewers screaming to send the feature back to the depths of the abyss.

When and how long should I screen this for?

Knights of Ramune is a great bridge show, that is best shown before a palette cleanser or intermission. The poor writing and over-emphasis on fanservice creates a truly unique sense of unease, that will have some viewers looking for an out by the time they reach Cacao’s “purification ritual”.

It’s a series that should not, under any circumstances, be shown in its entirely. Most audiences will be begging to change titles by the time the first eyecatch rolls around.

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