At the peak of MyAnimeList‘s top anime rankings there are classics of the medium like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Attack on Titan, but at the very bottom of the list lies Skelter+Heaven. This anime is a short OVA from 2004 that may seem like a typical Evangelion ripoff at first glance. But those who force themselves to watch through the entire thing will know that Skelter+Heaven is no typical soulless imitation. It is far worse.
Before dissecting what makes Skelter+Heaven so special, it is important to discuss what makes its predecessor Neon Genesis Evangelion so great. Evangelion focuses on three young mecha pilots, Shinji, Asuka, and Rei as they fight the mysterious Angels that threaten to invade the Earth. Evangelion was revolutionary for its deconstruction of the mecha genre, but its more artistic touches also can make the series quite confusing. Skelter+Heaven is also rather confusing, although that’s less a product of creative intent.
Skelter+Heaven Earns Its Spot at the Bottom of MyAnimeList’s Rankings
Skelter+Heaven (which is currently available on YouTube thanks to user Scrimgore) shows the adventure of an elite crew of mech pilots protecting the earth from a gigantic alien squid, which is rendered in some truly horrifying CGI. Luckily the mechs are made of similarly terrible CGI and so the girls are able to defeat the monster and save the day. In the process, viewers learn more about their elite unit, which is actually made of artificial beings in a plot twist similar to Rei’s true nature in Evangelion. Despite apparently not being clones of someone’s mother, all of these beings are “cute” anime girls because otherwise the OVA wouldn’t be able to include as much tasteless fanservice. It also wouldn’t be able to shoehorn in an awkward romance between one of the girls and the squad supervisor, neither of which has the emotions or full range of facial expressions to make this have any impact.
Surprisingly, despite how bad the plot is, the worst part of the OVA is actually its technical failures. It is incredibly poorly edited, with sudden jump cuts causing tonal whiplash and never giving the viewer a chance to get invested in any one scene. It can also be incredibly slow paced such as in its opening shots where it spends minutes zooming in on the Earth and repeating clips of a news report. The animation is also awful on the whole with terrible 3D and 2D animation combining in an overall attack on the eyes worse than the 2017 Berserk adaptation. These technical issues almost keep the show from falling in the “so bad it’s good” category, but the overall absurdity of the piece luckily saves it from this fate.
The OVA ends on a cliffhanger with more alien squid invading but given how terrible the first installment of Skelter+Heaven was, it never got a follow-up. However, people looking for an anime in its same class can check out Hametsu no Mars, another anime from the bottom of MyAnimeList’s rankings that shares a similar subject and tone. Those who do watch these anime need to be careful though as Skelter+Heaven and the shows like it have truly earned their place at the bottom of MyAnimeList‘s rankings and aren’t easy watches.
Skelter+Heaven is available to watch on YouTube.