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Mezzo Forte
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 12/31/1999

Synopsis:
Mikura is a cute and deadly young woman who works for a small underground mercenary group. With a gun or with her bare hands, Mikura can take on any opponent or target. But when Mikura and company take on the job of kidnapping a wealthy baseball team owner, things don't go as smoothly as planned. Their hostage's ruthless teen daughter Momomi goes on a rampage, and she's not going to let Mikura get away with the kidnapping. Momomi is just as beautiful and skilled as Mikura... so it's anyone's guess who will emerge victorious in the end.

Review:
Mezzo Forte is the latest offering from writer / director / animator Yasuomi Umetsu, the same man behind the controversial "Kite" and the Cool Devices episode "Yellow Star". Like Kite, two versions have been released in the US -- the sanitized "Mezzo Forte", and the supposedly uncut and uncensored "Mezzo Forte: Director's Cut". Of course, I picked up the latter to view and review... much as I abhor butchered anime.

Mezzo Forte is mainly about two girls who come from very different backgrounds, but who are also somehow connected. There's the mercenary for hire Mikura, who's deceptively cute as a button. Mikura works with two others -- the ex-detective "Pops", and the explosives / mechanical genius Harada. Mikura's origins are unclear however, all we know is that she gets dreams and visions of a girl who resembles her from time to time... who turns out to be Momomi. Momomi is the only legitimate child of the baseball tycoon Momokichi. She's beautiful, sexy, and she's used to getting what she wants. Momomi is a cold-blooded and merciless soul who kills not just for neccessity but for fun. Momomi gets dreams and visions of a girl who resembles her from time to time too... and yes, it turns out that the girl she sees is Mikura.

Mikura and Momomi's paths cross when someone hires Mikura's group to kidnap Momomi's father. Things don't go as planned and a bloody first meeting ensues for the two girls. Mikura is determined to finish the job, and Momomi is just as determined not to let Mikura and company get away with it. This is the main point of the film, and it is portrayed with sex, violence, and gore galore. The story could actually work without any of the sex. In the first episode, Mikura dreams of having sex with her two accomplices... which has totally nothing to do with the story. In the second episode, Mikura is captured by Momomi and part of her "torture" entails being repeatedly raped by two big, ugly men who hold a grudge against her.

The art and animation are of good quality. I particularly enjoyed watching Mikura and Momomi fight. Their moves are swift, smooth, and very cool. Character designs are typical Yasuomi Umetsu -- you get: a. lovely, extremely well-endowed teen girls; b. ugly, pig-like, sex-starved thugs; and c. bizarre-looking supporting characters and villains. Sex is depicted very graphically, as you can see in some screenshots below. Absolutely nothing is hidden or blocked from view, and everything is shown in great detail. It was like watching a really hardcore porn flick, except that it's animated. Violence is portrayed just as explicitly as the sex. Aside from the usual splattering blood you get to see forks driven through palms, fingernails forcibly removed using tools, etc. Ouch.

My main problem with Mezzo Forte is how things are resolved. It's implied throughout the series that Mikura and Momomi are related but absolutely no light is shed on this matter. It would have been more interesting and satisfying had this plot point been fully exploited, instead of being presented and then subsequently ignored. There's lots of bang for your buck nonetheless, and this is definitely one of the better hentai buys.

Miscellanies:
Mezzo Forte: Director's Cut is comprised of two half-hour episodes. There's a non-hentai anime TV series entitled Mezzo starring Mikura available.

Screenshots
Mezzo Forte
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Review Title:
Mezzo Forte
Type:
OVA
Episodes:
2
Duration:
60 Minutes
Aired:
2000-2001
Suitable For:
Adults Only
General Rating:
4 out of 5 stars
Hentai Rating:
4 out of 5 stars
Genres:
Action, Comedy, Gangbang
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