They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Roots Search: Shokushin Buttai X, Nora, Hell Target, and more!
37: Roots Search: Shokushin Buttai X
English: Roots Search
Japanese: ルーツ サーチ 食心物体Ｘ
MAL Score: 4.18
When a research crew in deep space discovers the desolate ship “Green Planet” that warps into their area, they encounter Buzz, the commander and sole surivor of the ship. Being too incapacitated to make them aware of the situation of his ship, the research team will soon discover that they have found something far, far worse…
I watched a sub on Laserdisc. The best part was those sweet refraction effects that just don’t look the same outside of Laserdisc.
The story was awful. Quite cliche. It was a blend of Event Horizon, Alien, and Solaris (I’m aware that two of those movies came out after). That sounds awesome but in practice it was far from it. Note that this is about 45 minutes while those are all around 2 hours. Before the viewer has any real idea what’s going on, there is suddenly an alien on a table and everyone is just “huh, that’s weird” about it. I do appreciate hopping right into the action but this was a bit too rushed. Much of the early plot implied we knew more than quite literally nothing about the characters. Everyone gets existential for no reason out of the blue. With no prompting whatsoever, characters question life and the nature of existence. The female lead knows the male lead for, what, half an hour before before falling in love with him?
As for the animation/art, poor. Just plain poor. The lines are far from crisp and the characters have wonky proportions. The female lead is the only one who seems to have had any effort put into them. The alien just looks goofy. Environments are bland. The period was known for its painstaking detail and none of that can be found here. The editing is also atrocious. Midway through a scene the action will just stop.
The sound is mediocre at best. The voices were recorded at different qualities, making conversations distracting. Sometimes objects like guns do not make any sound. The music improves toward the end but is just overall ‘eh’.
I did not know this was a horror anime until I looked it up on MAL. With that, it was not scary. The thrills are boring. The zingers are bland. Nothing to see here. The ending will make you shrug. No satisfaction at all.
Despite the awfulness, I don’t regret watching it. I love the low budget OVAs and I believe they are an important feature in the history of anime. While on the whole Roots Search was trash, it had elements that can be found elsewhere. Will I watch it again? No.
The production costs are divided between the gore scenes (with some decent blood splashes because 90’s) and set designs. If there’s something to enjoy here is the biologicaly infected spaceships, the later is what made me watch this in the first place. On the other hand the characters look like a poor imitation of generic anime designs, there are barely any inbetweens and the general plot could not be there.
The main idea is an alien that dispenses justice on the guilty, but we only find out who is guilty and of what right before they die. There are espers, because it’s japanese scifi, and very basic metaphors to explain things that require more, for the same reason.
If this hadn’t been taken by Manga Corp no one would know about it, I’d risk to say that it was made as a cheap export as AIC used to do. In that way it serves as a way to understand that brief moment in the anime market and that’s more use than it deserves to have. It also has very cool promo art, the laser disc cover in particular. I’d heavily recommend checking those images out.
MAL Score: 4.40
Nora is on vacation in a “Holiday Inn” space station. When the artificial gravity fails, the whole space resort becomes chaotic but she helps solve the problem.
What you’ll immediately notice when watching this OVA is that it looks like it’s from a tv anime, despite being an 80s OVA. The art clearly hasn’t aged well and I don’t think there was a single shot of animation in the OVA that impressed me. Despite that, it managed to have one single element that was consistently nice to look at: the main character Nora. And as far as I’m concerned, she steals the show the entire way through.
The titular character Nora is an air-headed, happy go lucky girl, who, after seeing the professor who’s sitting next to her on the space ship on tv, decides to hang out with him for the rest of the day. She enjoys the little things in life with a sense of childlike joy and is described by the two professors as a mathematically perfect generator of randomness. She’s adorable and a ton of fun to watch. She’s the type of girl who would try to prevent a supercomputer from wiping out mankind, by talking to it about its feelings. Hypothetically speaking of course…
This OVA overall was a pleasant surprise and kept my attention all the way through with fun moment after fun moment. Nothing about it impressed me too highly, but it’s a fine watch if you just need something to fill 50 minutes worth of time. There is also a sequel to this anime, which seems to have a reputation for being an absolute train-wreck. I’ve never had any problems with trains, (except that one time as a kid I puked in one and my grandma had to clean me up. Oh, and that other time I threw up in one after eating too much and you could clearly see what I had eaten that evening), but I guess I’ll scrap myself for when I get to that OVA.
The star of the show is Nora. That is to say, her character is the best developed and she was drawn with the most precision. There are plenty of laughs to be had over the occasional bad voice acting (yay!), but the vast majority of the time even her voice acting was well done. Let’s be clear, you’re watching this show for Nora, not for anything else.
The storyline is rather bizarre when it comes to the ending, but for the bulk of the movie, it’s actually a rather believable plot, which I appreciated. Most of the accidents are caused by Nora herself as opposed to any other plot device and she seems to have a habit of making things worse. Actually, her ditz, although charming, seems to be out of place. She’s agile, she’s determined and at the same time, kind of an idiot. Even her clothing choice made me want to see her as a secret agent, but her lack of intelligence seemed to get in the way all the time. If it was meant to be an act on her part, which would explain why she does actually have some good ideas later on in the movie, it was never explicit. Actually, we don’t really know anything about Nora save the fact she met the professor on a flight to a Holiday Inn resort.
At the end of the day I would recommend Nora if you had an hour to spare, weren’t looking for anything too involved and found Nora to be an attractive anime character. Otherwise, you could skip this one and not fear that you were missing out.
35: Hell Target
English: Hell Target
Japanese: HELL TARGET [ヘルターゲット]
MAL Score: 4.65
A spaceship is lost near the forbidden planet of Inferno II. Some years later, a second ship with a crew of nine gets there and encounters a monster that rapidly makes mince meat of most of them. The sole survivor, Makurou Kitazato, must destroy the monster before it can surprise a third ship that is already en route.
Forgotten Horror, Chapter 1: Hell Target
Hell Target (HT) is a 50 minutes OVA that combines a few elements of the science fiction with the classic horror from the 80’s, where we had lots of melted heads by the action of acid, deaths everywhere (in the more bizarre ways), and at least one scene of softcore sex.
The story of HT shows us the crew of a spaceship arriving to the planet Hell II, with the intention of finding the survivors of a previous mission, performed a couple of years ago. Once in the planet surface, they discover that the whole trip was a waste of time: they found the ship, but no survivors. To justify the cost of the fuel, our heroes decided to discover what the hell happened to the poor bastards. And they find something historical: it looks like the responsible of the deaths is a virus (Fun fact: the science fiction of 1987 considered that viruses are living things) capable of producing telepathic waves that can disturb their victims, and ultimately, kill them. What follows is not difficult to imagine: this virus (and the creepy being that originates it) will begin a slaughter, killing one by one almost everybody (or everybody… if you wanna know the truth, watch the movie!).
But hey, before everyone dies (or not), a small comment about our heroes, the brave astronauts. They are a group of nine people, coming from different places of the world. Of course, we have Japanese, Chinese, German and Soviet people (all of them speaking perfect Japanese, so the communication is not a problem). And as for the design, they are as stereotypical as possible: Braun (German) is blonde; the Russian dude is a large man with a manly mustache (closest to a pornstache than to a FreddieMercurystache); the American is a happy-go-lucky guy with an American flag stamped in his suit, and say things like “Yes Sir!” and “Hi-Yo Silver” (you know, your typical American); and the Japanese are pretty average. BTW, the protagonist of this film is Kitasato one of the two Japanese members.
I have to admit that, for a film so old, the animation is quite good. This is not Akira, but definitely is above average. The animation is pretty fluid, and the character design, though generic, is more than acceptable. The scenarios, on the other hand, are far from satisfactory: everything is very hazy and red. The technological aspect is also quite simple. Although from the outside the ship looks good, inside is grey everywhere, and you could only tell the difference between a cryogenic chamber and a wall thanks to a couple of cheap lights. And about the deaths (a vital point in this kind of movie), well… they are varied. Some are rare and obscure, and others are flashy, full of screams and bones. But, in all the cases, there aren’t graphic dismemberment or an unrealistic amount of blood. Remember people, this is horror/science fiction, not a slasher film.
The sound is somewhat peculiar. On one hand, we have the voices. The intonation is good, but remember that most of this people is foreigner, and yet, no one have an accent. So, technically, they all sound good, yet the acting is bad (understood?). The sounds themselves are the typical ones in a sci-fi movie. That means, inside the ship, we hear biiiip-biiiiip and other computer sounds. Outside the ship, we hear screams. And finally to give the audio section a closure, I want to comment the ending. Quite unexpectedly is sung in Spanish! Saraba itoshiki hito yo ~ADIOS AMOR~ is performed by Rosa Bianca (person, band, or whatever), and it has an absurdly good pronunciation and coherent lyrics (two things people from Japan usually don’t achieve when singing in other languages). Here’s a (short) fragment:
Los días que te amaba
Tu pelo negro brillaba
Yo te quiero…
It’s a nice little ballad, and a good closure to a movie with tons of deaths (A billion thanks to Otrajenie, who found out who performed the song, a detail that eluded me for three damn years).
And now, the final lines. The verdict, if you like. Hell Target is not an outstanding movie nor technically or plotwise, that’s for sure (although both comply). It’s simply a horror movie (the science fiction elements are more for the atmosphere), a very typical one, with a predictable development and standard characters. But is watchable, moderately enjoyable and not boring (I know it’s a little sad that “not boring” is the best thing I can say, but it’s true). This is what I would call mediocre, however, in the noble horror genre, mediocre can be good. This is an excellent example of a film I would watch on TV a night if there’s nothing on it, or if I catch it during zapping.
I recommend this to people who like classic animation (well, not so classic, it’s only 24 years old… good god, I’m so old…) and nonsensical horror, product of that crazy decade known as the 80’s.
Terror olvidado, capitulo 1: Hell Target.
Hell Target (HT) es una OVA de 50 minutos que combina la ciencia ficción con el terror clásico de los años 80, en el que teníamos abundantes cabezas que se derretían por la acción del acido, muertes por todos lados, y al menos una escena de sexo softcore.
La historia de HT nos muestra a la tripulación de una nave espacial arribando al planeta Infierno II, con el objetivo de encontrar sobrevivientes de una misión anterior, realizada hace un par de años. Una vez en la superficie del planeta, descubren que el viaje fue una pérdida de tiempo: encuentran los restos de la nave, pero no queda nadie con vida. Para justificar el gasto de combustible, deciden, al menos, descubrir que fue lo que extermino a los pobres bastardos. Y su descubrimiento es histórico: parece ser que el responsable es un virus (como dato anecdótico, la ciencia ficción del 87 considera que los virus son seres vivos) capaz de producir ondas telepáticas capaces de turbar a sus víctimas, para finalmente llevarlas a la muerte. Lo que sigue no es difícil de imaginar: este virus (y el ser que lo origina) va a empezar a masacrar uno a uno a los recién llegados. Y como también podrán imaginar, dado que esto es una película de terror, lo hace con bastante éxito.
Pero bueno, antes de que estén casi todos muertos, un pequeño comentario acerca de nuestros protagonistas, los valientes astronautas. Son un grupo de nueve personas, de varios lugares del mundo, habiendo obviamente, japoneses, americanos, chinos, alemanes y soviéticos (por suerte, todos hablan perfecto japonés, por lo que el idioma no es un problema). Y en cuanto al diseño, todos son bastante estereotípicos: Braun (alemana) es rubia; el ruso es un hombre grande, con un bigote no gay; el americano tiene una bandera de Estados Unidos estampada en su traje, y tira frases como “Yes Sir!” y “Hi-Yo Silver!”; y los japoneses son normalitos. Ah, el protagonista de este film (o el más protagonista, al menos) es Kitasato, justamente uno de los miembros japoneses.
Tengo que admitir que para ser una película tan vieja, la animación es muy buena. No es Akira, pero decididamente cumple como OVA. La animación es muy fluida, y el diseño de personajes, aunque genérico, es más que correcto (a decir verdad, es más de lo que esperaba del proyecto). Lo que sí es cierto es que los escenarios dejan mucho que desear: todo muy nebuloso y rojo, sin mucha nitidez. El aspecto tecnológico también es bastante simple, aunque por fuera las naves se ven bien, por dentro son grises, y solo hay un par de lucecitas baratas para indicarnos la diferencia entre una cámara criogénica y una pared. Y en cuanto a cómo están dibujadas las muertes (aspecto vital en este tipo de películas)… bueno, hay de todo. Algunas son raras, oscuras e inentendibles, y otras son llamativas, llenas de gritos y huesos. Pero en ningún caso, desmembramiento y sangre en cantidades irreales. Recuerden, horror/ciencia ficción, no slasher film.
El sonido es un tanto peculiar. Por un lado, tenemos las voces. Todas las entonaciones son buenas, pero recordemos que se supone que esta gente es de varias partes del globo, y ninguno tiene si quiera un vestigio de acento. Así que, técnicamente, aunque todos suenan bien, la actuación no es buena (se entiende?). Los sonidos en si son los típicos de una película de ciencia ficción. O sea, dentro de la nave, escuchamos biiiip-biiip y otros sonidos computarizados. Fuera de la nave, escuchamos alaridos. Finalmente, para terminar con el audio, quería comentar el ending. De forma totalmente inesperada, está cantado en español! Saraba itoshiki hito yo ~ADIOS AMOR~ es interpretada por Rosa Bianca (que es una persona, banda, o algo intermedio), y tiene una increíblemente buena pronunciación, y letra coherente (dos cosas en las que los japoneses suelen fallar cuando cantan en otros idiomas). Acá les dejo un fragmento:
Los días que te amaba
Tu pelo negro brillaba
Yo te quiero…
Una balada muy bonita, como para apaciguar lo que acabamos de ver (un millón de gracias a Otrajenie, que fue la que me paso la info sobre el ending, datos que me eludieron por unos tres años).
Y ahora, el momento de la reflexión final. Hell Target no es una película sobresaliente, ni argumental ni técnicamente, eso es seguro. Simplemente, es una película de terror (los elementos de ciencia ficción son casi decorativos, dado que no están presentes esas explicaciones eternas típicas del genero), una muy típica, con un desarrollo predecible y personajes estándar. Pero es mirable, dentro de todo amena, y para nada aburrida. Es lo que yo calificaría como mediocre, sin embargo, en el noble género del terror, a veces, mediocre puede ser bueno. Este es un excelente ejemplo de una película que me quedaría viendo una noche en la tele, si no hay nada mejor.
Recomiendo esto a las personas que le atraiga la animación clásica (bueno, no tan clásica, solo 24 años… por dios, que viejo estoy) y el horror sin mucho sentido producto de esa loca década de los 80.
One complaint I do have is that the characters are not very well developed. Their deaths don’t have a whole lot of meaning so the horror aspect to their deaths was lacking in that area. Without giving any spoilers, there was only one death that I really felt had any meaning.
Overall though, I thought this was a pretty good anime. Especially if you’re just looking for a simple horror story set out in space.
34: Advancer Tina
English: Advancer Tina
Japanese: アドバンサー ティナ
MAL Score: 5.04
There is something very dangerous about planet Omega 13. Whatever it is, it’s been killing Advancers sent out, one by one, to investigate. The Domestic Union of Arms is perplexed, so top DUA officer Mugal decides to give the job to the most dangerous, most independent, and most expendable Advancer they could find.
They find such an Advancer in the renegade Tina Owens. Currently incarcerated with a 2,000 year sentence for blowing up a planet, she is given a tempting offer. Instead of rotting in her cell, if she’ll go to Omega 13, find and destroy any threats on the planet, and determine any exploitable resources for the Allied Earth Government, they’ll let her go.
Knowing how dangerous Omega 13 appears to be (and thinking about what has yet to be discovered), how would you decide? Tina takes the job, and she sets off for the planet.
Currently incarcerated with a 2,000 sentence for blowing up a planet, she is given a very tempting officer. If she goes to Omega 13, finds and destroys any threats on the planet, and determines if there are any exploitable resources for the Allied Earth Government, they’ll dismiss her sentence. Tina takes the job knowing fully how dangerous it is. She then sets off the planet, getting help from another Advancer and a kid with psychic abilities.
I’m going to say this up front, if you don’t like blood and violence mixed with your sex, you probably should avoid this one. And for the rest of you looking for something to beat your meat to, this one doesn’t have a whole lot of them, and they’re not the best. But that’s not to say that this anime isn’t worth watching for other reasons.
I enjoyed this a lot more than the first hentai in the “Best of Kitty” Collection, Orchid Emblem. The lead female character actually kicks ass right from the outset, and does so throughout the whole OVA, which is rare to see in a hentai. The animation might be about the same quality as Orchid Emblem, but the fact that this uses a bunch of sci-fi cliches, and even steals a bunch of stuff from Aliens, put’s a few steps up visually from Orchid Emblem.
The voice acting is still forgettable mediocre, but at least no one was quite as grating as the voice actors in Orchid Emblem. The soundtrack is cheesy generic rock that I’m pretty sure was take from some Casio keyboard that was left in some storage room since the 80s.
Even the plot is actually mildly interesting, in that things actually happen. Sure, it introduces stuff out of nowhere, but stuff is actually happening to actually hold my interest. I almost wanted it to be a bit longer. I say almost, because I know how small the budget for a hentai from the 90s was, and I doubt it could be stretched any thinner.
If you like old cheesy anime that’s a mix of sci-fi stereotypes and Direct-To-VHS schlock, you might get a kick out of this one. Sure it’s not quite cult classic status, but it sure is enjoyable to watch.
Genre:light horror, adventure
Every task has a price. Some times the price can be to great and the task does not get done. That is why when desperate times come we resort to desperate measures. Even it means a prisoner goes free. A good story idea that wonderfully explained by narrator. As for the conclusion i was expecting a bit more but it works. I was looking for an idea what the characters had in mind after their adventure. Where they stood. Was one going to marry the other? was one going to leave? what about the 1000 years remaining was that supposed to be covered in a second episode?
Overall: I tend to hate horror based films for they have a tendency of really getting to you emotionally. One of the most common ways they accomplish that task is over doing it in some regard like blood or creepy music. Here i felt almost at peace. I understand not everything was nice and pleasant and had a dark tone but it was nothing that i was going to have nightmares over. For that reason i was happy to watch the film. That is the ways films should have stayed. Light horrors can accomplish the same thrill without the need of seeking a therapist afterwords. Best watched if you don’t mind a hentai spin on a Riddick like movie.
A former special forces agent who is now serving a life long prison sentence gets offered a chance for freedom in exchange for a dangerous mission to a mysterious alien planet. Tentacles are of course involved.
The story is at least memorable, I last saw this anime over 6 years ago and remembered almost all the key plot points and the scenes, it is certainly more plot focused than other adult anime shows, even along the genre of Alien clones. The characters are all pretty decent and nobody feels out of place, the pacing between story and sex scenes also feels pretty good too. The sex scenes also grow in intensity steadily throughout the run time which is something I appreciate and wish could be used more often.
However the ending is pretty anticlimactic and feels quite rushed with the monster suddenly becoming sentient for no reason and then easily killed anyway.
Animation and design
Although dated the characters look pretty good, however the scenery and set pieces all look incredibly bland which is disappointing for a space based anime. In terms of the female characters they all kind of blur into one but serve their purpose nevertheless.
The sex scenes
As mentioned earlier they grow in intensity from start to finish, I would say that although the gore is not too intense, on moral grounds I do not appreciate any show which combines sex and violence, so it certainly loses points there. Additionally some of the scenes feel a bit rushed, however each one fits in well as part of the story and if you are into tentacles it may tickle your fancy.
Overall I have to say it is pretty good seeing as I can remember it so clearly after such a long time, that being said I probably would not watch it again as I am sure that everything it does well there are other shows which do it better.
33: Twinkle Heart: Gingakei made Todokanai
Japanese: トゥインクルハート 銀河系までとどかない
MAL Score: 5.25
Love, Heaven’s greatest treasure went missing and to get it back, the Great God decides to send his two daughters Lemon and Cherry, as well as their governess Berry to find it. However, their search doesn’t go so well, mainly because they decide they like it at planet Earth and prefer to work in a hamburger shop (Sic!).
In the one-episode OVA, the girls end up searching for the Love treasure on an exotic planet, however they find magical living plushies instead, having to fight their way through them to recover “Essence of Life,” which an evil organisation wants to use for nefarious purposes.
God has lost a so-called “Love Treasure”, which we will never know what it is. He sends his daughters to look for this treasure, but they go to earth to go to a school and sometimes they go looking for this treasure that he lost.
They go to look for this treasure on another planet, where an “Essence of Life” (which we don’t know what it is) is introduced, which can give life to anything.
On this other planet they meet a boy who calls himself “J.J.” who is also looking for a treasure, and they fight against an organization that is after the Essence of Life. We don’t know who he is, we only know that he studies in the same school as the girls.
It is quoted that not even a human could go to that planet. So who is this boy? Who is that old man who had the Essence of Life? They look human, J.J. studies in a school on earth.
The organization we don’t even know what their goals are. They only exist to have a villain.
In the end, this OVA gives you an adventure after the treasure “Love”, but totally ignores that, and concludes with nothing but a fight against a random villain who doesn’t even have a stated goal.
Oh… and the girls come back to Earth and now work/have a cafeteria… Ok…
The animation is good.
Soundtrack I didn’t even pay attention.
The characters are not bad. I even liked Lemon.
I don’t recommend watching this anime. It basically proposes something to you, but ignores everything and concludes nothing.
In short, this is more boring than anything, and it’s one of the hardest OAVs I’ve ever tried to sit through. Avoid.
All I’ll say is this: Anime OVAs are the best gift we have ever been given as a society, and we need to make better use of them in our daily lives. They are not often made anymore, but there is something truly magical about an entire feature-length film released direct-to-video by some random animation studio looking to animate whatever they feel like that particular year. Sometimes you get classics like 2001 Nights, sometimes you get weird junk like Villgust. Sometimes you get “Twinkle Heart: Let’s NOT Reach the Galaxy.”
If you wish to watch a 45-minute movie about space adventurers fighting stuffed animals, let Twinkle Heart grace your life.
32: Space Travelers The Animation
English: Space Travelers
Japanese: スペーストラベラーズ The Animation
MAL Score: 5.34
In the New Cosmic Century 038, humanity is suddenly attacked by an unknown alien civilization known as the Orbital Ring System. Soon, the entire Earth Civilization Sphere has been cut off from the space colonies, and is under the control of the ORS. Only Hayabusha Jetter, along with his band of misfit space pirates and smugglers, can break through ORS lines.
31: Uchuu Kyoudai: Apo’s Dream
English: Space Brothers: Apo’s Dream
Japanese: 宇宙兄弟 Apo’s Dream
MAL Score: 5.41
Included on a DVD within the limited edition of the manga’s volume 17.
Apo, the pet dog from the manga, will star in the anime.
30: Al Caral no Isan
English: Legacy of Aru Kararu
Japanese: アル カラルの遺産
MAL Score: 5.43
In the 26th century, humans discover a humanoid race living on the distant world GO/7498/2, a dark-skinned, golden-eyed people who seem to eke out a primitive, carefree existence. However, a scout team from Earth discovers that there is more to them than meets the eye–they live in symbiosis with vicious reptilian parasites, and the Terran scientists have upset the delicate natural balance.
(Source: The Anime Encyclopedia)
Yet, Al Caran no Isan chooses to overlook these questions in favor of relating Shana’s tale of self discovery… By following a linear path towards the curtain fall, Visual 80 ends to deliver an OAV falling short in all departments through a combination of lack of imagination, ineptitude, lack of budget and screen time.
The present adaptation is emulating a novel from Michihara Katsumi. Some hints suggest that success might have led to the creation of a series. A quick research indicates that it was the only one of her career, thus highlighting the failure of this eventuality if there was any. It is not difficult to understand why as the plotline evokes more a third rate role playing game than the science-fiction classic in the vein of Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”.
There are plot holes which are never addressed, as what makes the Hartz Bouken Corporation the official firm to unearth and utilize artefacts. The Volg Productions crew themselves practise clandestine excavations but aren’t worried in the least by the forces of law. In Planet Seralat, they are welcomed with open arms and left unmonitored! If the only limit is finances, what prevents philanthropic billionaires to oppose the Bougen group? It is not as if credentials are needed to become excavator, in this reality. The spectacular plot twists, far to be objects of a careful build up, come at the worst moment, such as the one casually blathered by a flustered professor Jason at the end of a communication. Even the conclusion echoes as a smite, letting patient watchers mundanely know with a elliptic card how pointless the unfolding events had been…
It is not as if the world building redeem the flimsy narrative. Instead of supporting it through the presentation visionary concepts, Visual 80 juggles with torches, burning themselves as they handle a genre they obviously do not master. It cruelly lacks garnishing. What you practically get is a superimposed eighties template, thereby emphasizing the hilarious squareness of the production! One would be damned if these punks seen racketting the heroine don’t shop in Space Hot Topic! Besides, in an intriguing uchronian scenario, Disco hasn’t died. If disregarding the sheer ridiculousness of this fact, it doesn’t help that nightclub goers dance with zero gravity. Would not that be unpractical as people keep bumping into one another? Also, it would not allow for a particularly subtle controlled range of moves, as the body mass are opposed little to no pull. To put the finishing touches in this feat of failure, the nightclub is located in the passage of a highly frequented artery. Anyone could barge in and stir some trouble, including the above-mentionned Hot Topic enthusiast rebels. Let us face it, the very concept behind a zero gravity city is moronic. After months of this regime, the citizens of this place would suffer dramatic muscular atrophy resulting from the scarce recourse to their limbs. Indeed, after returning from long missions, astronauts are treated like persons in need of physiotherapy. It would not be so ghastly if the concept was at least executed properly: to the regret of Michihara, it is simply not possible to sprinkle juice downwards with absence of gravity. The outcome would be bubbles wobbling around, possibly even drowning the idiot pressing it out! This is a basic rule of the mechanics of low density fluids, yet!
Very well, scriptwriting is down for the count, then. What about characterization? It is nothing to shoot love on top of a datcha roof under snow storm. Shana is your typical Mary Sue, the last representant of a long gone culture. For the plot convenience, she is also highly skilled in martial arts despite being only 17. Toryune, the very first encountered alien may be sumed up as a space Muslim Elf: just replace Allah in “there’s one god named Allah and we live to serve him” with Al Caral. He is so one dimensional that it is dubious you are going to buy the attachement the protagonists nourish for him. Talking about Harmer, the naive male co-protagonist, he shows more nuances in his behavior torn he is between his curiosity, his good hearted nature and his desire to steer clear from troubles. He would cut it better as the main focus of the OAV… Unfortunately, as banals have thick skin, everyone is forced to cope with a red vinyl clad strong female lead for the sake of sex appeal. On the other hand, the direct antagonist, the professor Jason, is a competent villain despite the questionable lack of security on the premises of his facility. The two other worthwhile characters are Zack Isedo (also known as Zack Iznable for the sassy ones) and professor Hinagi. The first one, a sort of long haired offshoot of Char Aznable, clearly demonstrates potential. He subverts expectations by trying to win over the trust of the humanely Hinagi through an alliance despite the initial backlash of their first interview; if given proper devolopment the interaction between these two could have laid the foundations in making amazing villains. Too bad it does not really matter as the OAV fizzles out in an anticlimatic fashion. Simply underwhelming.
Could art be the saving grace? Unfortunately, you are not going to be dazzled by the visuals as well. As stated above, the art direction lacks personality, right to the relics which look more like termite mounds than hieratic alien monuments inspiring awe. It is not surprising that Zack Iznable looks down on them!
All Visual 80 translates is a recycled template you would see in most animes of the era. The chara-design is above average in comparison of the rest. It is animated with egregious lack of budget though: no background character moves or cast is shown standing around in simplistic postures, the arms all along the body; their simple walking motion in empty looking areas only adds to the overall misery. The only positive thing that can be said to its credit is that it is not as incompetent as the all-time low Tsui no Sora. The sound design is fair, going for an ambient approach. It gets certainly dreary after a while but this monotony also bolsters the hypnotic, eerily tribalistic character of the synth and windpipes tracks…
A quick word about the voice acting: the OAV cashes in on the presence of Hisakawa Aya, particularly known for her role as Sailor Mercury. It is rather amusing to imagine Shana telling the Volg productions to study more to get better outcomes or yell for the bubble spray catchphrase as she assaults Jason’s guards!
All in all, Al Caral no Isan is a sad cover crop mixture… Of the kind used in low quality bread to feed the poor wretch. This entry is very difficult to recommend, unless you also happen to be interested about the intellectually stimulating task of breaking apart poorly put together obscurities. It has virtually zero replay value to speak of. Ô, careful readers who gently scoped through all of this, go watch “Please Save my Earth” instead. One of the sub-themes is the dilemma alien scientists face to either save themselves and enter in contact with our species or die of a horrible sickness, secluded in their moon base. It is infinitely more thrilling than anything ACnI would ever dream to become.
Let us have a last thought for Orphan Fansubs. In their commiseration for the forgotten contributors of the industry, they took patient dedication to cover this waste of reel. They are the more successful and sympathetic Hartz Bougen corporation, in a way. Therefore, the review is devoted to their drive to unearth hidden gems. Praise be unto Sacred Geometry~
..| Colophon |..
This section is dedicated to content indication in order to inform audience in a practical way. On the next paragraph, the buzzwords offer hints about the title’s strong suits and drawbacks.
Ketchup meter: ACnI is not devoid of violent moments. It is cathartic as most of the amoral scientists perish gruesomely, having their throat slit or being forced into suicide. Due to obvious lack of budget, these scenes aren’t depicted in a realistic enough fashion to be memorable… So don’t expect death scenes on-par with Akira’s.
xXx meter: You get to briefly peep on a naked Shana as she recovers in suspended animation. There is also the cleavage part, as Harmer fishes for the alien artifact Shana stuffed into her cup. Pretty tame as a whole.
Fishing scene(s): None.
+ An interesting premise insighted by the synopsis
+ An original setting (heroes as part of a documentary filmmaking crew)
+ Some promising characters that could use development
+ A pleasant psychotronic soundtrack
– A sore lack of creativity art-wise
– Blatant disinterest for theme exploration
– Dumb scifi concepts
– Bum poor production values
– An utterly revolting conclusion! What an effrontery!
29: Cosmic Fantasy: Ginga Mehyou no Wana
Japanese: コズミック ファンタジー 銀河女豹の罠
MAL Score: 5.46
Yuu and Saya are two of the top Cosmic Hunters in the galaxy, and Yuu is enjoying a bit of fame after his most recent adventure. The two are on a date when they are interrupted from a distress signal from their “ally”, the feline pervert Nyan. In the meantime, the space pirate Belga begins attacking space freighters in an attempt to lure out Yuu, so she can take him to bed with her. Of course, when he spurns her, she decides that if she can’t have him, then no one can.
Imagine a parody of anime involving ass-pulling power-ups, sexy alien villains, ridiculous, silly robot designs and an over-emotional, feminine female protagonist being absolutely head over heels for the strong, modest male protagonist. This film is that. Except, it’s not a parody. It takes these themes and more to such a cheesy and predictable extreme. It feels like the true embodiment of a joke that conveys how 90’s romance, sci-fi anime adventures were like. While some may find that dull and stupid, as someone who’s always seen modern anime mock the old ways and manipulative, basic tropes 80’s/90’s anime used to rely on, this was really quite a palette cleanser and a fun adventure.
Not to mention the music is great. The soundtrack truly is the highlight of the film. Every moment has the right tone and style of orchestrated tracks, and the main theme encapsulates all the emotions of adventure and action the movie tried to convey.
Again, take of this OVA as you will: a cheesy, trope-heavy sci-fi romance space adventure, with neat action scenes and a great soundtrack. If this sounds interesting, you could end up enjoying the hell out of this.
28: Busou Shoujotai: Blade Briders The Animation
Japanese: 武想少女隊ぶれいど☆ブライダーズ THE ANIMATION
MAL Score: 5.46
In the late 21st century, humankind came under a fierce attack from aliens who suddenly appeared via wormholes. They were helpless to fight against them and resigned themselves to imminent death. At that time, an ultimate weapon which could create items out of imagination was discovered in a expansive cave under Japan, along with its young master Ryuusei who was in cryostasis. The indiscriminate alien attacks awoke him and he led the humans to a decisive victory.
One year later, while the areas which had been destroyed by the aliens were still being rebuilt, Ryuusei was appointed as the commander of the newly-formed Defence Force of Earth, which was created to fight against space invaders. However, he was the only person who could use the ‘imagination embodiment device’. If something was to happen to him, then calamity would befall the world. So the Defence Force of Earth decided to recruit girls with potential to fight alongside him. Even though they hesitated at first, they each had their own reasons to join Ryuusei. Thus, the special force ‘Blade Briders’ was formed, to protect the Earth against the aliens who have returned.
(Source: Hau~ Omochikaeri!)
27: Guy: Youma Kakusei
English: Guy: Double Target
Japanese: ガイ 妖魔覚醒
MAL Score: 5.50
Guy is just one of those misunderstood, lovable fellows who just happens to be one of the nastiest soldiers of fortune you’ve ever seen… and his partner is worse! They could be, however, the only thing that can battle Dr. Vail and breathe afterwards!
In episode one, Guy and Reina head to a galactic prison to search for the formula for an eternal youth formula created by the infamous Dr. Vail. What they find instead is a planet that fights back and some nasty monsters to play with.
The second episode sees our heroes setting their eyes on a golden statue that is controlled by a powerful religious sect. When they infiltrate the holy sanctum they find out that there are strange powers at work and must fight with the heads of the religious order for their lives.
This title reminds me a lot of Daiakuji. Both have strong male leads that always seem to be in control of their situations and don’t take crap from anyone. From bending steel bars to crushing his enemies arms to a bloody pulp bare-handed, Guy shows he is a man of action and not someone to mess with. When he gains a strange new power he becomes an even bigger badass as well.
As for the hentai content, there is not much of it, and that content is pretty tame (but well done). This is all about the story and the H content is just thrown in to spice things up a little… in fact the story is good enough that they could have left that content out completely and it would not be missed. If anything, be warned that this series can get bloody, gory and violent, and may not be for the fainter hearted folks.
This series is from the late eighties and early nineties, and the artwork reflects that time period well. This is a quality cell animation series, and the production company did a great job of not cutting corners. The series is available in its original Japanese as well as having dub versions available. I personally liked the English dub.
So to sum up, if you are looking for a hentai title, go elsewhere since you won’t find much satisfaction here. If you are looking for a hard-core action anime that really delivers, then you do not want to miss this one. I give this one a hefty recommendation!
26: Bounty Dog: Getsumen no Ibu
MAL Score: 5.56
In the future, mankind has colonized the bleak expanses of the moon. Cities now stand proudly where there was once only desolation and emptiness. But there are alien forces that do not want mankind to succeed and only one man can stop them. He is a member of the Bounty Dog Investigation Unit, a high-tech cybernetic mercenary team.
Yoshiyuki Otomo is a member of a group of freelance spies committing industrial espionage against the Constans Corporation, on orders from a rival corporation (that we never learn the identify of this rival corporation is probably for the better considering the short running time of this two part OVA). The Constans Corporation is primarily in charge of running the day-to-day operations of the first lunar city (encased in a glass bubble). Yes this is a tale about the colonization of the moon. Yoshiyuki’s team includes his boss the very serious Shoko, and Kei. Yoshiyuki seems very preoccupied, his girlfriend died some time in the recent past and this still weighs heavily on him. I can’t tell you much more about these characters, because the anime simply didn’t tell me much about them either. I figure Kei is some type of mechanical export, but that’s just speculation. I just love the opening scene of this OVA and the song that plays afterwards. It sets up the story pretty well and just excited me. The three spies are on a spaceship to the moon (that looks much like an airplane) and Shoko is trying to blend in. She’s all perky, cheerful, bubbly, and teasing. If there’s one aspect of her character that is explored (I admit very lightly) it is the great acting ability she has, to pretend to be an obnoxious tourist so well. Yoshiyuki is way to preoccupied by his laptop, and Shoko warns him that he doesn’t look much like a tourist with his nose buried in his work there. Kei just seems to sit on the plane and not do much, just like he does for the rest of the anime. Anyway the three spies are on the moon investigating Constans Corporation, with the approval to commit sabotage if necessary. Their client believes the Constans Corporation is currently arming the moon (weaponizing space has been outlawed), and this could give Contstans a giant advantage if it is true. The spy trio’s client has detected an unusual amount of “electro magnetic electricity” (surely that’s a thing) coming from the moon. But as the plot unfolds we learn that the truth may be much stranger and involve ancient alien ruins discovered by the company and possibly a surviving alien or two (à la Total Recall). While investigating the cause of the high levels of ”electro magnetic electricity” and the Constans Corporation, our heros run into goons sent from the corporation. These mooks, and the company itself are not evil, and the show makes a very big point about this. In fact it does so so strongly that at times I feel like the spy trio are really the bad guys. The thugs sent from the company are ordered not to kill the spies, and try to capture them alive. Their multiple entanglements with the spies over the anime put this to the test, and they never resort to killing anyone, even when their own men are killed by the spies. While investigating the company the spies learn many secrets, all much larger then the industrial espionage they are committing. Personally I like how the mystery of the true explanation of where the moon came from, the source of the strange ”electro magnetic electricity”, the engrossing spy story, and the story of Yoshiyuki’s girlfriend all intersect. There isn’t one explanation but many things going on, all grander then the characters involved. In addition to all this there is a cute girl who keeps appearing to Yoshiyuki and then quickly disappearing, almost magically.
There’s plenty of cool tech to go around in this 90′s sci-fi OVA. A favorite of mine is the really cool laptop Yoshiyuki uses in the first scene, that puts out tablets to shame. There’s also plenty of cool spy gadgets, like secret tape recorders in pens, tiny hidden explosives, and really cool cars. Not to mention the really neat monorail system. The story being told is very 90′s, much of it reminiscent of the original Total Recall film staring Arnold Schwarzenegger (which is a film everyone needs to see). In fact I’d say significant parts of the plot are lifted straight from that movie and the original novel it is based on, with anime twists, and these are the very best aspects of the movie. I must say there’s something about 90′s sci-fi, even the less than stellar ones that resonates with me. The story is well written (mostly), as I mentioned the way all the plot elements intersect is quite satisfying. Toward the end of the anime however things start to fall apart on the writing side. Some of the mysteries are still unanswered and so are dealt with in a sloppy exposition by a character while on the move . Now exposition in between action scenes, when the characters are on the move is not impossible to do well (After all that’s pretty much how Terminator explained everything to us). But here it just seems lazy and well frankly poorly thought out. The characters, as I mentioned before don’t have much to them. They’re pretty shallow creatures. In fact I found myself being attached much more to the corporation then the spies, because they seem like a nicer group of people.
The main problem of this anime is none of that though. The major thing wrong with Bounty Dog is the color palette. What the hell happened here? Everything in this entire anime looks all washed out. It is all piss yellow or puke green shaded. It all looks ugly! The art designs look good, in fact I love the technology and the character designs are good. The animation is alright, although minimal at times. But the color of it all is garbage! Did they run out of other colors? Were they trying to save money? Are they trying to make the show look cool by coloring it all yellow? Whatever the reason for it, it looks horrible. I hate this piss yellow colored stuff. It doesn’t help that the video quality on Manga Entertainments DVD is terrible (and as I’m sure you all know I’m never one to complain about that). Even Manga Entertainment’s DVD menus are this ugly yellow. Eww keep it away from me!
The music of this anime is a huge strength. The soundtrack is quite good, it seems somewhat inspired by Total Recall and other early 90′s sci-fi, and I must say it is all very catchy and listenable. The dub for this anime is another Manga Video job done in London, England (with American accents) and directed by my favorite, Michael Bakewell. While this dub is not his very best work, it lives up the high standards I have for Mr. Bakewell’s dubs. While there are a few curses in this, they are used very rarely and are entirely fitting. Peter Marinker plays one of the important corporate big-shots, and once again does a magnificent job. Whenever he speaks it’s like a lesson to other actors as to how to act. He makes the corporate big shot seem likable, realistic, human, and understandable. Yet he still makes you get the feeling that this guy is working on some morally grey projects for the company. Stephen Grat plays Yoshiyuki and he seems a little bored at times. But he fits the character well enough. He’s great during the more subdued emotional scenes, but does overact a bit during the more in-your-face scenes. I liked his voice, and thought it matched the character well. Shoko is played by Toni Barry, who I’ll always remember as Leona Ozaki from Dominion Tank Police. Just like her performance in Dominion, she does a top notch job. Toni Barry is perky, cheerful, excitable, and fun when she’s pretending to be a tourist and does this wonderfully. It is all an act, and you figure this out quite fast however as the real Shoko is deadly serious, and firm. And Toni Barry captures this aspect of her personality perfectly as well. Teresa Gallagher (the President’s daughter Sayaka Rama,in Demon City Shinjuku) plays Ines, the girl who keeps mysteriously appearing and disappearing over the course of the OVA. Teresa Gallagher again gives a great performance, interpreting this mysterious girl as cute sounding, odd, adorable, shy, but knowledgable person. I really like how perky and playful she can be at times too. She’s even better in this then in Demon City as I liked the American accent she put on here as opposed to her real real British accent that she used in Demon City. I also recognized Bob Sherman’s voice as one of the executives at Constans Corporation, and again he does a terrific job. Some of the minor characters seem bored and this is a problem. Many small roles seem a little cheesy, but never enough to ruin the dub. I liked the small sci-fi touches they added like computer voices on the phone, in the backgrounds, futuristic news reporters and such. There’s also a few jokes early on, one involving an 87 year old women who is rather eager to let you know that she “remembers when Clinton was President” (which was probably a funnier joke in the 90′s). The dub also seems a little liberal, making references to very American things a few times (the Superbowl being one of them). I can’t confirm this though because for some reason there is neither a Japanese audio track or subtitles. I do not understand this. What the hell Manga Entertainment
No one else seems to even like this anime a little bit. And I understand why they hate it. But it’s not that bad is it? I’ve tried to sit through MD Geist but could not, I barely finished and totally regretting the train wreck that is Kai Doh Maru (how did an anime so bad even end up on US television multiple times?). I watched some of Night Shift Nurses at my friend’s house once and that was so bad from time to time I get vietnam vet-like flashbacks. Although I came home that day, a part of me is still fighting the battle in that forbidden hospital ward. There were eggs…Oh god why where there eggs?. Usually eggs don’t go there, but there they were, oh please tell me why did she have eggs!? ….uh…As I was saying…Garzey’s Wing is one of my favorite horrible anime series (a great DVD to pop on when you have people over and play in the background), and I saw Psychic Wars 3 times now, an OVA so bad I want a refund and I have’t even purchased the damn thing yet. I am convinced on each time I watched it I lost more neurons then if I had spent the time sniffing airplane glue and then following that up with a bit of binge drinking. So I think I know what I’m talking about when it comes to god awful anime. I know I’ve been pretty harsh on this at times, but I still think it’s central story is solid and really worth a watch. It has major problems that’s for sure, but there’s plenty here to like too. Some of the problems like no Japanese audio and the yellow color scheme just boggles the mind. Other problems like a rushed final act with cheap exposition, and undeveloped characters are easier to overlook. I think this anime is a good way to kill an hour. It never wanted to be more then that either. This is an anime that if it had more time to finish off the story in a proper way, and develop the characters could have been really good. They even could have added some more interesting themes. Instead it just sort of lies there. Well at least it is entertaining. Much like Total Recall you’re never sure how far the conspiracy goes, or if there is one at all. What is really going on on the moon, and how are aliens involved? This aspect is the part of the movie that works the best. One important thing to mention is that while most of this isn’t very violent or sexual, there is one or two brief scenes of nudity. Also the one scene that is violent is pretty horrible. At one point in the anime Yoshiyuki beats the living crap out of 2 girls with his bare hands. He ends up punching one of them to a bloody pulp, and then smashing her head into a wall until she slowly dies in agony. The other one gets beat up and then violently shot to death. This is a little tough to watch. I mean I’m all for violence but the way in which he beats the living daylights out of a girl seems abusive. The dvd for this is still easy and cheap to buy off Amazon. For the cheap price it’s worth it. Just don’t spend too much on it. Why did I end up writing so much about Bounty Dog?
(review originally posted: http://predederva.wordpress.com/2013/01/23/bounty-dog/ )
The setting is similar to what you’d see in Cowboy Bebop, mainly the movie Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door. In the future, we have colonies on the moon living in dome-glass structures with the ability to control weather, along with having many other technological advancements. While it’s the future, much of it carries a light modern vibe, much like Cowboy Bebop. It’s a future of advancement, yet it’s also an economic landscape where not everything is of top-notch quality.
This is all carried out in superb animation with even more superb detail. The work on design really paid off, creating a believable, futuristic environment. They carried this out to such a level that if the team behind Bounty Dog were to translate all of their technological designs to a live-action Hollywood movie, there wouldn’t need be much work to be done on building the universe, as a large portion is there in deep detail. However, this doesn’t continue into the functioning and lite history to these designs, as the OVA is still held back by its run-time.
Another thing to applaud is the sound design as a whole. The opening has a catchy low electronic tune with some vocals, yet does not carry an ending theme or an ending period for that matter. Time is valuable here, and they have to make use of every minute they have. To the music in the series, it’s also at least above average, but I would consider it good for its setting. This OVA was created after the 80’s, yet the soundtrack does feature some trumpet-sounding, electronic tunes. That isn’t all it has, however, as the OVA also carries some slower electronic tracks that carry slightly different vibes. The soundtrack might have not been able to carry over as well as the visual design, considering there’s not any orchestrations, but it’s very serviceable where it’s at here.
The story is another thing that should have been applauded, but can only be appreciated in reality. The story itself isn’t original, but it’s formed together from an interesting mash of parts of plots from different sci-fi hits. It may spoil if I were to directly name which ones are related, but there are several I could name right off the bat. The story has all of these elements to it, and had the potential to go into them with more depth and create more meaning. Instead, the time-limit of 50 minutes made them have to act differently. This is a real shame, as what we have here has some wonky pacing issues that skims over some moderately important details that one may have wished to be better explained, or that one was simply confused by the lack of explanation. In fact, it may even require more than one viewing to properly understand everything that occurred with this pacing. That was a part of my experience with Bounty Dog, but it should be noted I was working with the subbed version.
Briefly towards the voice-work, the dubbed version was a bit unsatisfactory in its execution. I usually work with dubs as I’m not a fan of reading, but I just felt the dubs weren’t treating everything in a way that made it as believable as the Japanese voices. Online there is mainly only the dubbed versions available, so if that’s what’s bugging you, I would recommend looking for the subtitled version even if it’s a tad difficult.
Bounty Dog features not only a believable world, but reasonable inhabitants. It should be appreciated that no-one in Bounty Dog lacks basic common sense. Even when a mass of citizens or side-characters are shown having reactions and discussing, they treat situations in a way that you would expect. Not only that, but the “heros” of this story are not overpowered in any sense. They’re just like anyone else and can be beaten by an unnamed individual on the side. They’re trained mercenaries which would make them skilled, but they are still beatable. This isn’t presented that much as the entirety is still only 50 minutes, but it’s noticeable.
A downside to the characters of this OVA is the lack of development. There is an attempt at some development in the main character, but the story speeding by makes that attempt lack any weight. The other characters suffer even worse from this, making those closest to the main feel only a tad more familiar than a no-named, one-liner character. This leads to more disappointment towards the length. However, when these characters interact in the OVA, they still do so reasonably.
Bounty Dog has the start of the creation of a potentially great universe to it, but that isn’t gone into detail in this OVA. Sadly, due to obscurity, this OVA never led to a further release of the same universe. What we have here is a visually-detailed short-film that briefly relates many aspects of other more famous science-fiction stories. It does rush the story, but simultaneously, it treats the viewers with respect that they’re intelligent enough to follow along with no crutches. It’s a refreshing feeling, but is still heavily accompanied by disappointment. Bounty Dog is definitely worth the watch for its moderately short length and its overwhelming amount of quality. The story is a bit generic, but is interesting in how it relates many different elements. I would appreciate any continuation of this world in even an unrelated side-story. I want to see more, but that will likely never happen. There may be some hope with searching other works by the staff, like how the character designer for Bounty Dog happens to have been also involved in every iteration of Ghost in the Shell. That would be the first place to start (possibly even being a spiritual successor to what we have here).
On a side note, Ines’ scruffy hair is off limits.
Then what exactly are you missing? I’m gonna be really vague and say I can’t really tell you. Just the general spookyness and mindfuckery, the reason why we’re all still watching Chinese cartoons as adults. There’s something about this anime, a kind of vibe created by the combination of the sci-fi setting and the possibility of supernatural elements that I don’t recall feeling in any earlier thing, but is present in later anime. Ergo Proxy comes to mind. I can’t really put my finger on it.
Also any naked boobs are small, which is basically a sign of the makers’ confidence in the story.
Come to think of it, this ova could’ve been either great or horrible. There’s a lot of potential in the story for awesomeness, but also for a cheap, pulpy boobs-and-gore anime.
Thankfully the boobs were small and the bloody stuff was presented the way it should be, in moderation and at the right moment so it hits you in the gut. I guess the gut feeling is why I consider this underrated.
8/10 might be a bit much. It could have been better written. I was confused in a few instances I think I shouldn’t have been confused. The animation was fairly cheap and bleak compared to other ova’s of the time, although there were some nice character designs and movements on the freaky girl character. Also, due to its short running time, the characters never really got fleshed out apart from the focus on the main character’s backstory. But it does deserve a hell of a lot more than the 5.whatever it’s getting now. Which is basically the same score as your average early 90’s hentai. Come on people, show some love.
Overall, it could’ve done with more action in the opening scenes and maybe some more episodes to spread out the action of the latter part and flesh out the characters, but I guess it’s fine the way it is.
Final judgement on Bounty Dog: Getsumen no Ibu: better than you’ll think it is.
MAL Score: 5.77
While looking for the ledgendary Mapman, the last surviving member of the Nomad Star tribe, Lipumira finds him in Tokyo. His name is Gen Tokishima and he is the only one able to get one part of the starmap hidden within the Earth. After retrieving the piece, Gen must make a decision to follow Lipumira in her foolhardy search to find the remaining pieces of the starmap or stay on Earth. He makes his decision, only to find his girlfriend has beaten him to the spaceship as she wants to come as well. Unfortunately, as Gen learns the secret of the starmap, Lipumira’s sisters have plans to stop her and will stop her at any cost.
24: Dai Yamato Zero-gou
English: Great Yamato No. 0
MAL Score: 5.78
In the galactic group there are more than 100,000,000,000 galaxies, and the Milky Way galaxy, the one which includes Earth’s solar system, is only one of these… one of many in the immensity of outer space.
This story starts in the year 3199, when a mighty enemy attacks the Milky Way from a neighbouring galaxy. The enemy engages the combined forces of the Milky Way, an Alliance of many stellar nations, and defeats them one after another.
The remaining Milky Way Alliance forces are reduced to just six fleets. After the Alliance headquarters is destroyed, and when the collapse of the central Milky Way Alliance is imminent, the Great Yamato “Zero” surprises everyone and embarks on a mission to assist the Milky Way Alliance in one last great battle.
23: Melty Lancer
MAL Score: 5.90
Meltylancer is a Galaxy Police Organization unit comprised by six girls, all of which who have their own special skills and talents. A year has passed since the unit’s disbandment, but a new threat leaves the GPO no choice but to recall all the members. With a new commander and a new aide, Meltylancer is deployed once again.
Now this isn’t a really bad OVA series, in fact it’s a bit enjoyable as a smash ‘n dash action show that doesn’t have to take itself too seriously. One of the problems being is Melty Lancer is probably one the most generic anime titles you could ever watch. Almost every scene is virtually ripped and pasted from other realms of sci-fi action anime in a slightly run down fashion. Nothing is even vaguely original. I’ll start with the cast. Every character in this show is comprised of every anime cliche from 1989 to 2000. These are bio quotes of the six female leads from the Bandai licensed disc jackets:
Silvia: The gung ho girl who fights for justice
Nany: The sorceress from another dimension
Angela: The beast girl born for battle
Jun: Powerful girl in a power suit
Melvina: The Super Commander
Sakuya: A saintly, soft-spoken girl
Now, I’ll translate these for your convenience
Silvia: The main girl with the gun
Nany: Kawaii moe magical girl with transformation
Angela: It’s a cat-girl in an anime….What a shock.
Jun: Typical loudmouth, battling, tomboy girl
Melvina: These girls would be dead without her
Sakuya: A C-level Belldandy clone
That might seem a bit harsh, but the very second a line of dialouge emits from these girls, it’s hard to take them seriously as personalities that will develop. I let this slide, thinking in the back of my mind that this is a parody of an action show, so if you put aside the lack of substance in any of the Melty Lancer team (maybe Melvina being the one with the most depth), they’re a pretty fun group and play their run-of-the-mill traits decently enough to be entertaining. Heck, these girls are more entertaining than the cardboard cut-outs in Burst Angel.
Outside of the six girls, the plot and remaining pretty much a starter set of action anime cast cliches leftover from a failed Dirty Pair series that never got off the ground, although, I did get a kick out of the sub-villianess, Vanessa and the Vanessars. She and crew put me in the mind of Team Rocket.
Character designs and backgrounds look nicely detailed and some of the animation is pretty smooth, but some of the pre-year 2000 era computer animation is kind of bad and visually distracting. I have horrible eyes, but there are certain points where there’s so many effects going on at once, it could give you a headache. Characters pass out and wake up out of conscience with a bizarre fading effect that almost gives me vertigo. The english dub isn’t bad, in fact, it’s a pretty good Ocean Group offering. Soundtrack is a bit dated with techno J-rock tunes, but gets the job done.
IN CLOSING: Melty Lancer is an above average offering from a studio that doesn’t impress me. There isn’t enough promise in it to get really mad at anything it didn’t do or try to do. The goofy CG animation is probably the only thing that really bugged me about this anime. If you are in the mood for a nonsense, mildly absurd action title, or is getting someone else started in anime, Melty Lancer is a nice straight down the middle title that does nothing you haven’t already seen.
OVERALL SCORE: 6 out of 10
PROS: Nice English dub, decent action scenes, the Vanessars
CONS: Unoriginal in every aspect, crappy CGI effects, core story means nothing
We open with a bunch of old, politician looking types approaching a prisoner. They offer him a deal. He leads a group they’re reuniting and they’ll give him his freedom. They don’t even care what happens with them. We cut to his aide travelling about to find the members of the titular Melty Lancer. Fortunately, they gather just in time to stop an attacking giant robot. Unfortunately, they seem to be pawns in some kind of political game, probably connected to the case Sylvie’s been working on. Will they be able to survive and conquer this perilous situation?
Honestly, the big issue is just that the comedy is so generic. We’re talking jokes that are super obvious and overdone like the old chestnut about men being a bunch of mindless apes who will lose it at the sight of a pretty girl. Because I know when I’m supposed to be guarding something I’ll just give a pretty girl access immediately. They also have the old jape about the powerful looking machine that has a really glaring weak point but it’s okay because they lampshade it. The series just never makes use of surprise or has anything uproariously funny. The best it can manage is being kind of, sort of funny. And that’s a big issue when you’re looking at a comedy. What’s supposed to make up for it? The strength of the plot? Because, I have to say, this isn’t a complex, compelling plot line.
That being said, there’s nothing in the series that’s bad. The comedy might be underwhelming but it’s not cringey or awful. The same is true for the script. It’s not particularly interesting, but it’s not bad either.
The cast is pretty standard. They’re bland comedic characters. And a comedy having characters who are kind of one-note can work. We saw that last week with Galaxy Angel 2. The difference betwixt that series and this one is that that series had characters who had strong comedic interactions. That series had characters who were enjoyable to watch get into shenanigans. Whereas this one has characters who are just dull.
The character designs aren’t bad. They aren’t the most visually interesting group out there but they’re fine. The backgrounds and action sequences are perfectly acceptable. Again, not the most interesting you’ll see but they work.
They did get some strong actors for this. Ogata Megumi, Tange Sakura, Yukana, Ikezawa Haruna & Iwao Junko are all good actresses. (No, this isn’t a Cardcaptor Sakura reunion.) And their performances in this are good, not their best but good. The biggest issue is with Iwata Mitsuo. He has two modes in this series, mumbling and shouting. Maybe the director thought that would be a good quirk for his character but it’s not. It’s kind of obnoxious. Amano Masamichi’s soundtrack is decent enough. I won’t be listening to it on its own or anything but it was fine.
There are some moments that come across as a bit les-yay, but those are very few and nothing comes of them.
Ultimately, Melty Lancer is a below average series. But hey, that still makes it better than a lot of Konami’s recent output. It’s not bad but it’s far from good. My final rating is a 4/10. Next week is my 400th anime review (obviously not counting the manga, cartoon, comic or live action ones) and you all know what that means. That’s right, time for some Star Power make up.
22: Lily C.A.T.
English: Lily C.A.T.
MAL Score: 5.90
The Deep Sleep Capsules, technology that has allowed man to reach out to the stars. These chambers slow the aging process by 95%. A 20-year trip passes, and the traveler has only aged 1 year. It definitely has its advantages, but after you’ve been on a few trips, it sure gets very lonely.
Right now, however, that’s not the big issue. The year is 2264. The Syncam Corporation has sent the Saldes and its crew of 13 (and 1 cat) out into deep space to explore the potential of a newfound planet 20 years away. Soon after they awaken from their stasis, however, things are happening one after another. First, the crew learns that two of the crew are not who they claim to be. Then, one by one, crewmembers die suddenly. Then, the ship begins to turn against them. And as if it couldn’t get any worse, they find another mess on their hands and it is ugly.
What was supposed to be a simple exploratory mission has become a struggle for survival in the depths of space. 20 years from home, they’re all alone and no one can hear them scream.
Granted, there are better offers in this genre in terms of quality and production value like Wicked City and Demon City Shinjuku, Lily CATs appeal is that it’s closer to a desperate struggle of survival from civilians as opposed to battling the supernatural on questionably equal grounds. It’s like an anime incarnation of John Carpenter’s The Thing right down to the monster’s method of stalking prey. All it was missing was Kurt Russell pooring beer into a computer game and calling it a “cheatin bitch”.
The set up for all of this makes it a hybrid of Alien and the aforementioned film; a select group of humans have been incubated for 20 years (with a halted metabolism) while the ships computer indicates a rouge bacteria has made it’s way in. This sets up for the slow build towards the monsters apperance.
The cast of characters is pretty darn good, even if some of them are certified monster chow, and even if they come off a little under-utilized, I don’t think it matters much as far as the conflict goes. They’re pretty likable and work when neccesary and personalities aren’t forced down your throat. In fact, I was rooting for as many as possible to make it out of there.
Now, back to the monster: If there is one thing that the mid to late 80’s era of anime can do well, I mean REALLY well, is monsters, aliens, and demons. The indeterminate mass of the beast kept in the shadows, the tenticles, the rows of sharp, serated teeth, those 80’s creepy crawling sound effects. The anime monsters of the 80’s were some of the most horrifying, vicious, freakish hellspawns I’ve ever seen with nothing but rows of teeth and a bad attitude, and this monster didn’t disappoint.
IN CLOSING: Lily CAT is actually pretty good and holds it’s own well against some of the big budget heavy hitters of it’s time. It was released in a time when sci fi and horror were at their zenith, and if you’re a fan of classic anime or survival horror, this won’t disappoint. Don’t let it’s age or obscurity fool you; Lily CAT is a buried treasure that any fan could appreciate.
OVERALL SCORE: 7 out of 10
PROS: Very well written, Visuals are pretty great, decent cast
CONS: English voices are kinda cheesy, deus ex machina near the end there
It’s Alien in anime form, but it tries to set itself apart by having more character backstories and a weak moral theme in the second half. It’s nothing special, and not nearly as intriguing as it could have been. It’s also really predictable, as the title and early sequences essentially strip away part of the mystery.
When it comes to story telling, we don’t even get five minutes into the film before it’s telling us things out right through forced dialogue. A real shame.
The Captain was the only interesting character and the rest are potential canon fodder for the alien creature to munch on, which we never see. We also don’t see very much of it either because we’re constantly shown boring sub-plots that don’t matter because we’re expecting everyone to die anyway, so it’s not even a good horror film where we get to watch the creature kill things. That is not to say horror films should just be glorified snuff, but if a movie fails to have any compelling characters or themes, then it sure as hell be fun to watch – which this wasn’t.
Audio and Soundtrack:
I enjoy an orchestrated soundtrack in horror films. It was neat to hear piano, and an absolutely beautiful and compelling track during the opening credits. What I don’t like is different genres jumping around on me. Orchestration to some electronic to rock and roll. It’s overbearing and pulls you out of the immersion. Songs are cut short at awkward moments as well, which pulls you out again.
The audio is nothing special. It works. It’s got a retro feel to it.
Not very good. There are better animated films that were released in the 80’s. None of the perspective shots are scary, and most of the time I wondered why I was being shown hallway after hallway with a different color pallet. I understand it’s on a ship, but a ship has different locals. Maybe a hall with windows? Perhaps the sleeping quarters, kitchen, entertainment room, bathroom??
The creatures animation was pretty neat. I wish more scenes were shown with it. If so, the film would have been much more enjoyable.
I said I’d watch it last October but forgot. That’s the only reason I picked this up. From what I’ve come to learn, most horror anime aren’t very interesting and fail to be scary. I don’t think I can even say that I enjoyed myself while watching this. I’ve kicked the habit of looking at my phone when watching films/shows, but this one had me pull it out once or twice because I was so bored.
However, the film isn’t offensively bad, it’s just boring. I can’t say I’d go so far as to NOT recommend it to people, but I won’t say anyone should watch it, either.
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*SIGH* Enough brooding. One of the worst anime original home videos that exists in my opinion is Lily C.A.T.
Lily C.A.T. is a science fiction/horror anime OVA from the ripe age of horrible anime like this one. The film follows the spaceship on a 40-year mission. Under the instructions of an unknown force (that remains unknown and is never address again throughput the entire anime) the ship’s A.I. computer system accidentally introduces an alien bacterium into the ship while its human crew is in cryostasis. Naturally, both the ship and the unknown force want to eradicate the bacterium from the ship but also to cover up for this blunder. And that’s what sets the plot into disarray.
You have a misfit crew that doesn’t get along at all and only wants to look out for their own selfish goals and they are attacked by man-killing bacteria that took over a cat. You can already see it coming. The story is typical horror; the mysterious, scary, evil pursuer picks off the crew one by one. The alien wants the humans dead. But that’s not too bad, it’s mundane, but typical horror, but so can still keep watching.
But when you look at the characters, things start to get much, much worse. My main gripe with the characters is that not one of them, except the obvious couple, Hiro and Nancy, get along. Not one of these idiots. It’s as if the writers made them forget that a dangerous, life-erasing bacterium is gunning for them, and they need to work together to survive. Then there’s Hamilton, who defines the meaning of determination so hard, it has to be seen to be believed. It’s very… BAD! None of the characters were in their right mind. In my eyes, characters as simple-minded as the ones in Lily C.A.T. deserve to be food for bacteria. Hamilton chases Hiro for pride, Hiro comes out of the blue as a murderer without any evidence that he was beforehand, and a complete lack of any backstory to boot, Nancy acts like a schoolgirl for almost the entire anime, Hiro comes off as a bad stereotypical stoic, Carolyn is awful, and for one member of the crew, it’s so obvious he’s not gonna make it, you consider him dead meat right after his first speaking line. It’s all pathetic. One more thing, Guy is the only black male in this crew. His position like other characters that weren’t the cop, the heroine or the lead males Hamilton and Hiro was debatable, and that says enough on its own.
The sound is of a typical, outdated film type. The 80’s muddled, low sound effects, the cheesy 80’s music, even the characters wear clothes from the 80’s IN A STORY SET 40 YEARS IN THE 23RD CENTURY. Damn. The dub is awful as well.
If it isn’t a secret by now, Lily C.A.T. delivers a crushing, gut-wrenching, horrible experience for the viewer. It contains your fan service-like but action girl and the blood and guts that defined those ovas of the time, complete with a sub-par, but passable plot that is ruined by unsettled characters and holes that pop up in pivotal scenes (Pay attention to the background check interviews and Hamilton himself– Believe me). To top it off, in order to screw with the viewer more there are two things from an actually good horror movie, Alien, that Lily C.A.T. adapts. Not going to spoil it or the “ending” as some might call it, but these elements that Lily C.A.T. graciously and proudly copies only complicate the story even more. It’s almost a guaranteed re-watch to understand what is what and which is which, but this anime is not even worth the first time you see it– it’s a mediocre, gory, bloody, confusing mess. Its enjoyment factor is destroyed by its horridness and I’m dead serious. When Lily C.A.T. isn’t boring me in the opening, or disgusting me through the “jump scares” (they suck, really), it’s killing me throughout because it’s a painful, confusing and pointless mess. The characters even lampshade how pointless it is in the anime. I apologize for this drawn out review, but it’s better than wasting an hour watching the anime itself. Friends of mine have praised this series and call it a great horror anime. Some even claim it is an obscure buried treasure. The only place I want Lily C.A.T. buried is in the bottom of my crappy anime basket pile, never to see the light of day again.
Story: The beef of my review; The story is typical and even disoriented and confusing (3)
Art: Nothing bad, nothing to get an eye-gasm over. Gore-galore. (6)
Sound: Bad, but it was the late 1980’s. This is the one area I can’t rip Lily C.A.T. because it’s not its fault. The English dub is god-awful and poorly acted. (6)
Characters: Gosh… (4)
Enjoyment: I shake my head when I try to think of enjoyment an d Lily C.A.T. going together. (2)
OVERALL: 4- Bad. I grace Lily C.A.T. with a blissful “4” rating. I recommend you stay away from this anime. If you really liked “Alien”, give it a 6. Otherwise, don’t bother.
English: Five Numbers!
MAL Score: 6.14
In an isolated prison, there are only four prisoners and a cat. One day, a power outage opens all the locks and all of the prisoners are released. However, all of the guards are nowhere to be seen and there are no exits. An extraordinary event occurs in response to an old man’s strange behavior.
Well, the story has potential, but wasn’t explained well. I was rather confused at the end, so I had to watch it again. It had a lot of symbolism and references to the game of roulette. Even the prisoners are actually named after roulette slots (R,N,V stands for red, black and green… in French). It has a few plot twists, which will keep you entertained, though.
The characters lack names and personalities. They only reveal small pieces of their background story, which wasn’t enough to care much for them.
The characters looked a bit awkward and their movements appeared a bit stiff. At first I couldn’t realize it, but they were created with cel-shaded animation. Hand-draw and classic 3D were also used at some points, which was… confusing for my eyes. However, the backgrounds were detailed and futuristic.
The cat sounds were totally fake (but funny). The music wasn’t that bad, but didn’t seem to fit with the story at some points. The voice acting was decent, but I have seen/heard better.
It was a good short story, which will leave you wondering. The ending didn’t make much sense, but is kind of poetic and symbolic.
The boy was most probably a government spy and knew the cat was carrying a virus. Thanks to him the humanity ends up infected in the end. It is a roulette game where the bets are human lives.
–END OF SPOILERS–
It is a short animation with some good ideas. I suggest you give it a try, but there are better sci-fi animes out there.
It’s single biggest flaw is character design and the animation of human movement. Stiff, awkward, and generally unattractive. I think perhaps it is so distracting that you just can’t develop any kind of feeling for the characters. All the background art and mechanicals were quite lovely, though.
I didn’t pay much attention to the sound so it must have been o.k. I did find the ending song fun and wonderfully ironic.
Again, I’ll say it isn’t a bad story and if you stay as hungry for something passably close to hard science fiction as I do, you will find it a good way to spend less than an hour.
If you’ve read the synopsis it is pretty self-explanatory. There’s a power outage in a prison where there are 5 prisoners and a cat. The plot is quite simple: the characters try to find an exit from the prison.
And there may be a plot twist.
The backgrounds are gorgeous. The animation of the characters feels weird in comparison though, but after a while you get used to it and becomes quite charming.
There aren’s many song in the OVA and the most remarkable one is the ending, which is great!
Although you do not get to know the characters completely the little things you get to know about them are enough for the story to make sense. And it is nice to see how their different skills are helpful to the situation they find themselves in.
Despite being short it is a very enjoyable story.
Personally I didn’t know what to expect from the story but I’m amazed with it. Everything was absolutely enjoyable. And it’s great how the staff got to tell so many things in just 24 minutes. Definitely one of the best OVAs I’ve seen.
20: Space Fantasia 2001 Nights
Japanese: スペース ファンタジア ２００１夜物語
MAL Score: 6.23
Based on Yukinobu Hoshino’s 1984 manga in “Action Comics; shot in “Super Perspective Technique”.
It is the 21st century, and two young people were chosen. Adam was sent off into a space ship and was sent off into outer space…
(Source: ANN, AniDB)
We have the basis for most high tech, futuristic genres in this anime. Space exploration for the purpose of repopulating in a cleaner, longer lasting sense via terraforming other worlds. Sound familiar? You bet your cheeks tis’! With this movie you have the idea and what it might seem like to pitch long term space sleep and travel to prospective colonizers as well as , to put it bluntly, fruits of the seeding of life labor upon a new world.
The animation was straight outta the eighties which though some may not like; with the rampant need for over ecchi, chibi as can be nonsense these days, it was not bad. It looked like regular people and so it was all drawn as such. I too like larger eyes on my anime characters, but not as large as the overly extreme type many animes can portray.
The music was also straight outta the 1980s, with the ending theme being evocative of some awsome action and intrigue, sultry packed gripping film. HUZZAH!!! Jazz n dance to this ending I says! =p
If you are at least 25 ( 20-ish works too) years old, you will probably appreciate this even if its just for that feeling of nostalgia. If you are younger, watch anyways and add another anime notch to that needlessly thin MAL belt. To infinity, and b….whoops, dont sue! T.T
Story: like I say, typical Golden Age sci fi done right. Very realistic in the science(as much as they can afford to), with interesting twist and epic scale.
Characters: The OVA is short and not about individual characters. Not for fan of character-driven fiction.
Animation and art: 80s anime art style. The aesthetic is nice, but the animation is not. Lots of panning to hide the lack of movement. Pleasant to look at, but don’t expect too much.
Sound and music: strange 80s music. May not for everyone, but fit the OVA perfectly.
Overall I gave this anime an 8 out of 10.
It’s a simple enough plot. Space exploration and attempting to begin life anew elsewhere. The story is told in a detached historical way that I have not seen anywhere else. It just plows on through making brief mention of how the characters are linked. There was also an unhappy mood hanging over the whole story.
The animation was very poor by today’s standards. Considering when it was made though, this is to be expected.
Nothing really stood out. There was happy and sad music in all the appropriate places though so I guess that counts as a plus….
There wasn’t a whole lot of time to go into character development or anything like that. The OVA seems to be focused on telling the story within that short span of time so there wasn’t room for details. I think this is the first of anything I have seen where I can’t even pick out a main character.
I didn’t enjoy this one. My biggest complaint is that it’s too short, which makes it feel like there isn’t any substance to the story or that little effort was put into making its making. Again, I felt pretty detached when watching it and it might well be because of the lack of a lead character that the story follows. Maybe it’s suppose to be like that–maybe the story is suppose to be told in a history textbook type manner.
Overall, I think 2001 Ya Monogatari could have been a lot better. I wouldn’t recommend this one unless you’re looking for different anime styles. The way the story in this one was told is definitely different than any I have seen. Considering my complaints though, the style’s probably not something I have missed out on.
19: Oira Uchuu no Tankoufu
English: Mighty Space Miners
MAL Score: 6.29
In the mid-21st century, mankind has begun the exploration of space, and one company, Planet Catcher Corporation, has pioneered capturing asteroids and comets to mine the resources within them for use on Earth. On one such asteroid, Tortatis, lives 12-year-old Nanbu Ushiwaka – the only child ever to be born in space and survive.
But survival itself is no longer guaranteed – a military satellite triggers a disaster during a operation to capture Halley’s Comet, and Ushiwaka and his fellow colonists must find a way to survive when both their country and their company abandon them. Can they escape before the nuclear reactor on the asteroid melts down? Or are they doomed to die as they lived, among the stars?
There isn’t a lot of character development, but it’s not too hard to look into what personalities are played. Nanbu, the protagonist, wants to ace his tests to be a space miner like his parents, though the impending disaster puts lives in jeopardy and will be Nanbu’s ultimate test. He’s aided by his long time friend Fuko, and there’s nothing wrong with her, but there’s little else to say. The cast is small and not very complex or deep outside of their occupations, but they don’t need to be and in certain aspects, watching them work to save lives aboard the damaged colony and pull together the will to survive in a time of crisis answers more questions about their character than a long-winded flashback or exposition could ever answer. I always miss that kind of character progression back in the mid 90’s with anime. I feel you get more accomplished with a character or characters working and growing together in a current predicament and plot as opposed to trying to figure out the Rubix Cube of shattered emotions that an anti-hero lead is attempting to convey in the form of vague, cloudy backstory and clunky writing over the course of 26 episodes.
Space Miners’ artwork is very good, and withstands the test of time by putting up a good fight. The animaion is very smooth and the quality is akin to Urusei Yatsura: The Beautiful Dreamer movie. It’s pretty fluid and detailed, the character designs simplistic, yet effective. Well-drawn technology keeps you grounded into the belief that use of this machinery could be about 80 years from now.
The ADV english dub is pretty impressive, featuring voice talents of Rob Mungle, Amanda Winn-Lee, and Tiffany Grant. The BGM seems cropped out of Mega Man 3 in some of the action scenes, and the opening theme has some of the most comedically ridiculous lyrics I’ve read since Gravitation.
Probably the biggest problem with this title is it’s not complete, and that really hurts the overall score I wanted to give it. The majority of the first episode is very much like a Metroid mission of escaping an exploding space station, and episode two is alot of whats really going on politically. I can only surmise that there was supposed to be more, but the project was scrapped and this 2 episode OVA is all there is. I won’t go into detail about it, but if you’ve seen Pilot Candidate, you’ll kinda know what I mean.
IN CLOSING: Mighty Space Miners is pretty enjoyable, and if you’re looking for a classic space title that’s pretty darn good, this one is worth checking. Ending aside, it holds very well over time and is a nice slice of retro-treasure I was fortunate enough to find again, even though I had to pay $35.00 for the VHS tape of it.
OVERALL: 7 out of 10
PROS: Nice attention to detail regarding interstellar physics, great english dub, that talking helmet is adorable
CONS: A little bare-bones, the damn end is a little upsetting
For some reason I’ve gotten this spark for space related animes and this one was well worth the trip, despite cutting so very short. Memorable and definitely worth recommending if there’s any spark of interest for space related scifi (and you manage to find this gem) with depth and believability somewhere in there.
The art is detailed, and nicely animated. I’m especially impressed with the realism to the machinery! The opening theme is so groovy! Not much of a chance is given for the characters to develop, but Ushiwaka is a determined, likeable kid with a can-do attitude. Super cute!!
The story and characters are so well written, and so much backstory is alluded to, but not in a way that overwhelms the viewer. Straightforward, yet the opposite of boring, and definitely an intriguing premise. I really really really want more! So much to think about!
You don’t see much hard science fiction in anime. It’s really an awful shame Mighty Space Miners never got very far! I can hardly even find any information about it online, and I’ve searched for hours (however i am limited to english-only resources). All I know is supposedly there was meant to be 6 episodes total. Every now and then I get really passionate over this and go into
a mini-crisis that Mighty Space Miners wasn’t completed…. I’d have been a HUGE fan, as well as a lot of other science fiction buffs I’m sure.
Will Ushiwaka save his home? It’s been over 20 years, so it’s pretty likely we’ll never know, unfortunately 🙁
18: Terra Formars: Earth-hen
Japanese: テラフォーマーズ アース編
MAL Score: 6.29
Bundled with the 21st and 22nd volumes, the OVAs adapt the Earth arc of the manga.
Story: They literally jumped from zero to a hundred with no explanations. These Ovas start with the main characters hunting down Terra Formars on earth (we have no idea how did they get back from mars and how Terra Formars reached earth) then they introduce a new strong character who joined the main characters to kill Terra Formars. So, there were a lot a lot of fighting between Terra Formars and the main characters. Just llke S1 & S2, no real story just fighting. Then they introduced the Terra Formars’ leader who wears like Buddha holding a human baby and on his sides two “bad” humans (his alliance). So, how did he manages to make friends with humans? Who is that baby?? I have no idea. So, as expected, there was a big fight between his followers (Terra Formars) and the mean characters. The main characters kinda won the fight . After that, Buddha (or whatever you wanna call him) run away with the baby, and the main characters kinda had a happy moment and start laughing and that was the end. Basically, a complete shit.
Art: Aiming for children.
Characters: More retarded than they were in season two.
Overall: Don’t waste your time on this shit.
(personally I had so much expectations from this Anime, but they ruined it with their lack of a story and too much fighting, and they added many fan services, which is cringe in this type of Animes. Also, they made the Asian group the bad ones (except for Japan of course because they’re the good ones a long side with the west) which is kinda racist. And that totally ruined it for me. It was really unnecessary.
17: Sol Bianca
Japanese: SOL BIANCA (ソル·ビアンカ)
MAL Score: 6.34
Five female pirates pilot the Sol Bianca, a starship with a higher level of technology than any other known. With it, they seek out riches, such as the Gnosis, an legendary item of power, and pasha, the most valuable mineral in the galaxy. Along the way, they must consider a stowaway’s quest to save the one he loves, and seek revenge against those that have wronged them.
It’s not enough for them to wield these snaking lethal weapons, but their ship has to have an epic version too, slicing and dicing everything in its path. Their entrance is bold and assured, the direction patiently keeping our heroines’ faces from us until the perfect moment, like Spielberg’s reveal of Harrison Ford only after he’s whipped a gun out of a rascal’s hand at the beginning of his first Indy movie. Yes I just mentioned Sol Bianca and Spielberg’s Raiders in the same sentence, sometimes you have to be compassionate in life, at least that’s the hokey message of the first episode of this OVA.
Ok, Sol Bianca has the same template as Outlaw Star, Cowboy Bebop and dozens of other sci-fi anime, and is crammed with every anime cliché you can think of, but at least it stars a fun group of characters squabbling and exchanging wisecracks you’ve heard a million times before but still grin at anyway.
The pirate crew of the Sol Bianca have multi-coloured bleached hair styles (you can tell because their eyebrows are still black!) and outfits resembling Power Rangers. This is the end of the 80’s. A time when we weren’t afraid of colours; when good guys could wear something lighter than grey and bad guys weren’t cloaked in shadow all the time but confident enough to walk around looking like 80’s pop band rejects.
A planet featured in the first episode is run by a generic despotic ruler, reminiscent of Street Fighter’s M. Bison, and dressed a bit like Irresponsible Captain Tylor (minus the overcoat), though obviously lacking that guy’s amiable attitude. Lacking in anything remarkable at all really which is a shame as we all love a scenery-chewing bad guy, but this guy isn’t even peckish. People on this planet are oppressed and working in mines. Mining for what exactly? Who knows? When you want to oppress, you just chuck them in mines!
Despite the fact that the episode’s shenanigans are kick-started by a boy stowaway on a ship populated by all females, there is no lousy harem atmosphere, no pace-stopping sexual hijinks. Instead the humour is breezy good fun with the occasional blood-letting violence sprinkled throughout. The first episode’s story is a completely forgettable liberation-fest, although I did find the last few scenes accidentally resonating a bit, for both the concept behind the idea and also an idealistic speech about a time before planes hit skyscrapers coupled with an iconic 20th century image.
The second episode is much more fun. Thank God for Die Hard practically inventing the ‘exciting stuff happening in a contained environment’ template, and thank God for anime running with it. Ok, the generics still continue, but it’s just more enjoyable watching a thriller cliché than a war resistance one.
The pirates this time are attempting to steal something expensive on a luxury ship but confront resistance in the form of bullets and thugs. The story moves on, but continually keeps the action inside spaceship interiors keeping with the semi-claustrophobic theme of the episode. There’s also development on the pirate crew’s ship itself, a character in its own right. Definitely one of the best spaceships in anime, with cool design, mysterious interior and history, it’s like a mobile futuristic apartment that just happens to have destructive capabilities included.
So with the second episode everything is funnier, dramatic, more action packed and entertaining and we finally see the potential of Sol Bianca, a potential not yet reached but still attainable if the franchise continues with sequels. With a bit more passion infused into the production, this franchise could be something special and at least get within whipping distance of anime like Bebop, and with the all-female crew would have just enough to make it distinguish itself from its rivals.
As it stands, Sol Bianca is easily lost in that crowd, as is evident from MAL’s low statistic for the show, although a high statistic obviously isn’t a marker for quality, so maybe one day another Sol Bianca will be released with a better script and director involved, and will become a cult hit.
The characters in the OVA are fun, although the eldest and one who appears to be the leader is so laid back it’s like someone spiked her drink. She wanders around in a daze and doesn’t actually do much at all, which is a waste. The art is of course early 90’s, but the animation is smooth as anything produced post millennium. The music is typical 80’s synth rock/pop that dates it but also gives it charm that all 80’s/90’s anime have.
Sol Bianca ends on a baffling last scene that’s begging for elaboration, leaving you unsatisfied but wanting a bit more, which represents the entire OVA very well.
It’s strengths are in its rich artwork and worldbuilding, its presciently-executed sci-fi for its time, and the overall badassery.
The artwork is pretty phenomenal throughout whenever it’s not a character model. If it’s a ship, or a robot, or a docking bay, it looks incredible. They go fairly well into their world without overexplaining anything considering the small span of time the series uses. After spending a lot of the past few years watching new shows whose action sequences always seem a little rehashed, every perspective they used looked fresh and unused when dealing with space combat.
The Sci-fi concepts are very well-executed and today might seem pretty par for the course, but at the time were pretty advanced. The main one I saw consistently at play was the idea of people resigning and not continuing to try useless stuff when things were out of their control, something which is something which is realistic to any venture involving a large or widely-skilled crew doing any task, and the only other series I’ve seen the mentality showcased is Legend of the Galactic Heroes. But while it executes the treatment of the situations well, it doesn’t overexplain itself and lets the sci-fi do its job of providing the impossible.
Finally, the badassery. The story doesn’t really shy away from being a simple action story, but it avoids many cliches. Each character is depicted as strong in their own right, and they aren’t ever stuck in cliche situations. Each has a developed personality and for a 90’s anime about an all-female space pirate crew, it manages to avoid many of the “Men Writing Women” tropes (although when they do strike it hurts), and mainly ends up being a fairly decent representation of strong women in action roles. While a little OP-ish and plot armory, the characters all represent their own set of awesome skills and the action is fun and often awe-inspiring.
The Flaws. The mentionable problems of this anime are the character art, the shallowness of the plot, and the unexpected and pointless nudity.
The character art is a juxtaposition with the non-character art in that it’s just bad. Granted this is about normal for early 90’s anime, but the voices and mouth motions are extremely off-sync, and the scenes with any character motion which aren’t full-action scenes are usually very poorly done. But generally speaking I don’t think that’s a very strong criticism at all; the non-character art and action animations are so mindblowing they more than make up for this.
The plot was also not nearly as deep as it needed to be. I suspect there’s a lot more written to this world which could have been included if more material had been made, but with the space we had there could have been more done. Again though, this criticism isn’t so important due to the fact that it’s very good at filling out the role of a simple action series. Not everything HAS to have the kind of metaphorical depth some media carries with it, but this could have worked more with the space it had and didn’t, which I think is somewhat of a negative mark.
Finally, the random and unnecessary nudity in what could otherwise be a very pro-feminist type series. The first time it happened it seemed just sort of forced and weird, especially juxtaposed with the general lack of ero fanservice in camera angles or plotline. The second time it was just gratuitous and had me really wondering what the hell they were thinking putting it there. Very strong mark against the series.
All in all, this is a really enjoyable two OVAs and is a good watch for fun, but nothing mind-blowing on an intellectual level. Watch it for badass space pirates rendered in that beautiful early-90’s hand animation.
MAL Score: 6.37
Fifteen years after its last contact with our world, a space freighter known as the Flying Dutchman requests permission to dock at a remote moon base. This mysterious ship carries liquid protons: a power source essential to the survival of Earth’s population. But before the precious cargo can be delivered, the base is ambushed by galactic terrorists who seek to destroy the new form of energy and issue a death sentence to all of humanity.
Against a backdrop of intergalactic colonization and bizarre alien life forms, Aon and Elena – star-crossed lovers from rival countries competing for valuable natural resources – struggle to build a life together despite the objections of their superiors. Their budding romance is thwarted by an outbreak of alien fungus and the interference of a cutthroat militaristic madman. To survive, the young couple must maintain their faith in each other and learn to trust the unique creatures which inhabit this strange and wondrous new world.
However, while television has enjoyed several successful science fiction franchises, it is anime that has produced more sci fi tales than almost any other medium. From space opera to cyberpunk, from utopian dream to dystopian future, from aliens to mecha, anime has, throughout its history, produced some of the most iconic and influential science fiction works in visual media (one example of this is the original Ghost in the Shell’s influence on The Matrix).
There’s one small problem though. While there is a wealth of great sci fi tales in anime, there is one type that has largely been ignored, and that is science fiction in the classical style (i.e. Arthur C Clarke instead of Tengen Toppa). Imagine my surprise then, to find not just one, but two “classic” sci fi tales, and both are TO.
Based on the manga 2001 Ya Monogatari (2001 Nights – a play on “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “1001 Nights”), by Hoshino Yukinobu, the series was originally adapted as an anime in 1987. Unlike the previous iteration though, the story for TO is an adaptation of chapters 12 (Symbiotic Planet), and 14 (Elliptical Orbit), of the manga, with each episode being dedicated solely to that chapter.
The first episode, Elliptical Orbit, is about a giant space station in orbit around the earth. The station is, for want of a better term, a giant gun that “shoots” cargo containers to the moon, but on this particular day there are unexpected visitors.
Episode two, Symbiotic Planet, involves the potential colonization of an alien world upon which a myriad of species of fungi and symbiotic lifeforms grow. Two competing teams of scientists have been sent to study these species before any colonies can settle on the planet.
One of the reasons why I like TO is because there is a very clear focus on the plot and, unlike many recent sci fi offerings, there is no attempt to curry favour with the audience by adding action where none is needed. While each episode does involve some form of combat at times, there is far more relevance placed on the human relationships, and any action is treated as nothing more than a product of the circumstances. In addition to this, the time dilation aspect of Elliptical Orbit is handled rather well, while the romanticism of Symbiotic Planet reminded me of nothing more than Romeo & Juliet.
Unfortunately, while I consider the pacing of each episode to be pretty good, there are those who consider the series to be a little on the slow side, and although I can somewhat understand the perception, the speed and manner in which the plot develops is central to each tale. Given that each episode is an individual story in its own right I found that the pacing works very well, and draws the viewer into the tale in a very firm but gentle manner.
In terms of looks, TO is one of the few anime made completely in CG. While this may not seem like a good choice at first, the use of CG allows for some truly breathtaking scenes, and adds a certain realism to structures like the space station in Elliptical Orbit that normal animation methods simply can’t match. In addition to this, the animation is good throughout both episodes, with character movements being particularly notable for their fluidity.
There is, however, one small issue. While TO may look great and have some quality animation, there is a remarakable lack of emotion from the characters. Granted there has been some effort put into facial expressions, but unfortunately this doesn’t really work out too well, and in some cases can make a laughing character look psychotic. The sad part of it all is that full 3D animation has successfully managed to provide expressive characters, while CG still seems to be lagging behind in this department.
This lack of expression is, thankfully, not reflected in the acting, a fact which makes the lack of emotion on the character’s faces all the more noticeable. Elliptical Orbit features the vocal talents of Paku Romi and Ootsuka Akio in the two lead roles (Maria and Dan), while Symbiotic Planet has Hirano Aya and Fukuyama Jun playing the, pardon the pun, startstruck lovers Elena and Aon. The acting in both episodes is very good, and if the facial animation matched up to the quality each seiyuu displays, TO could have been truly excellent.
As for the sound effects and music, the choregraphy in both departments is not only well executed, but surprisingly detailed, and while every scene is not dependent on atmosphere enhancing music, the tracks that are used are well chosen.
While TO may have many good points in terms of audio and visuals, the same cannot be said of the characters. Elliptical Orbit, for example, really does warrant a more detailed look at the extremely complex relationship between Dan and Maria, in particular because of the time dilation aspect, while the lovers in Symbiotic Planet could really have done with more development and background.
That said, TO is effectively a snapshot in time, and because of this the viewer is only privy to a small glimpse into the character’s lives, especially given the running time of each episode. While there are those who wish for a little more in terms of detail and development, if one considers the show as nothing more than a glimpse into someone’s life, then the lack of any real growth ceases to be a hindrance to one’s appreciation of the anime.
In all honesty, TO managed to surprise me, not just with its quality, but also in the areas it lacked. That said, the stories themselves are both intruiging and engaging, and hark back to the “classic” science fiction of yesteryear. Truth be told, I would recommend this to any sci fi fan as it is a singular example of how good “classic” science fiction can be when modern techniques are used to bring the story to life (unlike the mediocre Lensman movie and series).
Hopefully there will be more shows of this type, especially as Planetes has already proven that “classic” sci fi anime can be very popular.
Thank God I did.
– Art/Animation. Though this show may be 100% CG, it’s 100% good CG. The second episode proves that. Save the characters, everything is so beautiful. There’s no glitches and mishaps you might see with hand-drawn works.
– Soundtrack. A lot of the time, the show simply pans out to let you soak in the art. And it plays some great background music at the same time. I usually don’t take much note of a show’s BGM, but TO really brought it out with minimal dialog and maximal (?) music.
– Sci-Fi. The best sci-fi (except mecha) stories make the technology seem both believable and commonplace. TO accomplishes this. It combines the new, creative ideas of light-speed traveling and planet colonization with the age-old plots of “man waits for woman” and “Romeo and Juliet.” The sci-fi puts a fresh new spin on the plots, and the plots make the sci-fi believable. It’s a win-win-win combination: the sci-fi is improved, the plots are un-cliched, and the viewers are guaranteed a great show.
– The design of the Bazooka in Episode One. Honestly, that looks like a giant phallic symbol. It looked wrong the moment I saw it, and I couldn’t unsee it.
– CG’d characters. The animation only slips up with the characters. Though normal people fidget and move around, most anime don’t show that. CG is different – if you don’t make a CG character move around, it looks eerily unnatural. However, TO goes overboard, making the characters move around TOO much.
– CG in general. A lot of people claim to be hand-drawn purists, but CG is in just about every anime (except for Miyazaki works). TO just takes it to the next level. I will admit that it took a while for me to get used to the CG, but it wasn’t much of a problem after ten minutes or so.
– Physics. A lot of the stuff that happens doesn’t follow the laws of physics. People can’t change direction in space by swimming. You can’t break through a window in a space station that easily.
I guess a lot of people must have dismissed this show as CG crap after watching one minute of it, or brainwashed mecha fans like more action with their sci-fi, because this show is clearly underrated. I suggest you look past the CG and see the true value of TO. You’ll be glad you did.
The first and second episodes share nothing in terms of story. The first episode is about human relationships in space when people age differently. It’s been done before(and better) but an interesting idea none-the-less. Instead of pursuing that idea to it’s fullest they decide to just throw in one of the lamest generic bad guys I’ve ever seen. It does have an interesting twist, but it doesn’t really justify watching the whole thing.
The second episode is about 2 lovers on an another planet that just happen to belong to opposing factions. It wants to pose the question of whether it’s humans that shape a planet or is it the planet that shapes humans, but it’s really just an uninteresting story.
Art: I think the backgrounds were done pretty well, but the characters just didn’t look right.
sound: I didn’t really have any thoughts about the sound either way
characters: I think they did a really bad job with the characters. The way they interacted felt awkward and I couldn’t bring myself to care about any of them.
15: Maetel Legend
MAL Score: 6.41
The artificial sun that lights the frozen planet La Metalle is dying, threatening to extinguish what little life is left there. Queen La Andromeda Prometheum decides that the only way for her people to survive is for them to submit to Hardgear’s transformation process, which will turn everyone’s body into machines. The Queen’s daughters, Emeraldas and Maetel, refuse to submit to this process, and fight to stay human.
The animation is typical Leiji Matsumoto drawing style, but given a slightly more vivid look due to it being a more modern title.There wasn’t a great deal of music in this anime and what there was isn’t worth mentioning.
One word to summarize the characters in this anime would be functional.There not great or terribly bad,they fill there roles without being memorable.Most of the scenes are shown of a few characters mostly Maetel , Emeraldas,Queen La Andromeda Prometheum and Hardgear.
The plot is straightforward story-telling and at time just seems dead and uninspiring.Unlike earlier 999 works,there is no real memorable moments in this ova,its just there to fill its purpose of giving insight of Maetels origin and the mechanized empire.Even though the plot is pretty simple its still not without its flaws,such as; despite the fact that the people of the planet La Metalle being close to destruction due to the extreme temperatures,they still waited till their situation reach critical and didn’t just leave the planet even though they had the means to do so.
Overall although unspectacular its still a must watch for any fan of the galaxy express 999 franchise.
14: Battle Athletess Daiundoukai
English: Battle Athletes
MAL Score: 6.48
It is the year 4999 – mankind has long abandoned war in favor of intergalactic competition through athletic events. One of which is an all-female contest for the coveted “Cosmo Beauty” title. Akari Kanzaki has just entered the University Satellite in hopes of becoming the latest Cosmic Beauty – a title held by her mother long ago. On her first few days in the university, she meets new friends, encounters fierce rivals, and struggles to become the best of all the Battle Athletes.
Considering this is the 90s, the animation is actually quite stunning and demonstrates anime’s increasing ability at the time to push the limit and illustrate things that modern live-action could not accomplish. The lighting of the competition torch on the university satellite via unmanned rocket, for example, really just took me away. Though character movement is staticky, you really have to hand it to the animators for delivering some great ideas for future sporting events.
The sound I can’t comment much on. It was there, it mixed well, but overall it was just plain. I won’t rate it badly but it’s nothing to talk any more about.
The story is jagged, but involved. Each episode seems to focus on a different sporting event as a result of training for the big competition at the end, which takes up the last two episodes. Certain elements, such as Mylandah’s extreme interpretation of competition, as well as Akari and Kris’s growing friendship carry over, and the story isn’t afraid to throw a twist out of nowhere either. However, because of the limited run, it really doesn’t carry out as successfully as it could have. Instead it comes off as a summary, with sporting events in-between.
The characters range from bland to incredible. The most incredible character, I thought, was Kris. She was well-developed and unique enough to stand out of the crowd. Unfortunately, she’s really the only who stands out. There are other characters like Tanya and Lahrri, who run on one aspect of their personality the entire run. Other characters, like Mylandah and Anna, also run on one aspect, but are saved by that aspect of their personality’s influence on the plot.
Overall, I really enjoyed Battle Athletes. It’s a good watch if you’re looking for something that’s involving enough that it doesn’t put you to sleep but short enough that you only have to dedicate a day or two to watching. Though it’s not the best, it is good.
One last note; From what I’ve heard, to really enjoy this OVA, you need to watch it before you watch the TV series, Battle Athletes Victory, which I hear is much better. However if the OVA is just a taste of what the series has to offer, I can’t wait to get into Victory.
Adding up the totals, Battle Athletes comes out to an overall 7. The art and a good portion of the characters make it stand out enough that you can overlook the majority of its faults. A quick watch and a fun one.
The series was also preachy with an unnecessary religious vibe regarding sports, but the set up for the given situation – as interesting as it was – was done poorly. I was also left thinking separate doesn’t mean equal – the boy’s school isn’t mentioned until plot relevant and quickly leaves, yet I was left feeling as if this was content pandering to a male audience. Well, it it is shounen after all. I couldn’t help but feel the work was a bit fanservacy.
It’s also worth noting there is LGBT content, yet I feel this was meant to pander towards the male audience rather than really have representation. Personally, I wished for a little more development regarding these elements.
This said, character, art and sound were top notch, not to mention the fact I could follow through with the movements even if some of the things didn’t make sense, like a certain student not getting punished despite the fact a computer system would be able to detect she was messing with such things.
13: Spaceship Agga Ruter
English: Spaceship Agga Ruter
Japanese: SpaceOfera アッガ ルター
MAL Score: 6.49
Follow Taiyo and Kei on their journey in space, filled with laughter and skinship as they meet new friends and enemies in their search for the missing core of Agga Ruter.
12: Spirit of Wonder: Shounen Kagaku Club
Japanese: ザスピリットオブワンダー : 少年科學倶楽部
MAL Score: 6.57
The now 50 year old Scientific Boys Club decides to built a ship that sails to Mars on the “Ethereal Current” – a thesis of the wife of a club member which claims that the universe is flooded with Ethereal energy. On this stream they travel to Mars in order to prove an old theory about channels on Mars built by Martians, but there is no life. Many years later, when both theories are considered to be nonsense, a Mars expedition discovers a stone with the inscription “Scientific Boys Club 1954”.
I said it gives a warm atmosphere but looking at the setting you can’t help but feel a little chilly, its always snowing, but this does provide a nice touch to the landscape shots. The setting is never really touched upon but they all have English names. Now although not strictly a comedy one could hardly call it a drama, there are a few times you will want to say “Jack, get your fucking ass home to your wife.” But there love is strong and the old guys provide enough humour.
There are only six character to appear in the whole show, not surprising with it being only two episodes. Jack has a job in which he must travel away and the story starts with his return, he lives with his wife and her Father and doesn’t seem to be able to hold his drink, Windy his wife is an eduacated girl, she published a book about Ethreal and the Scientific Boys Club are the only ones to have taken it seriously, she helps them out throughout providing answers to equations and genrally setting them straight. The three old men of the club are the main highlight, Windy’s Father seems like the leader of the group, the Einstein look man is funny, he is a bit of a perv flipping a couple of girls skirts and is the main source of the comedy, the other member stays rather quiet and isn’t really involved in the plot but is always around. Not forgetting of course Miss China has a few cameo roles.
Art is rather simple and seems a little dated like something from the 90s rather than 2001 but the landscape shots were nice and it didn’t effect the show it self. Animation wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t great either, something like a motorbike heading of in the distance didn’t even become smaller as it faded off, characters were all well drawn and stayed proportion mostly.
Sound is decent, the general background noises were bland, the sound of trees and the wind blowing were what you would expect them to sound like but wasn’t much variety in it. No music stood out, it all fit nicely into the scenes and the credits song was a cool big band type song and was a decent listen to.
Overall for an hours worth of OAV spread oout over two episode you can’t go wrong, especially if you enjoyed the prequal as this gave off a very similar feeling to it, its got a clam feel about it and is something to sit back and relax, there are no bad guys to worry about, no one to get into the way of out characters, a nice gentle comedy that will make you go ‘D’aaaawwww’ a few times.
The Scientific Boys Club is a wonderful, “modern” sci-fi fairytale about a woman and three old men achieving their pipe dreams… and a drunk guy.
Imagine grandpa tells you about the time he flew to Mars on a ship he built with two of his old buddies and a drunkard, based on some completely bogus theory. That’s total nonsense, right? But what if it /were/ true?
That’s the point of Spirit of Wonder: Scientific Boys Club.
It’s a very feel-good story, not just because of the slow pacing and realistic characters, but also because it grants the unrealistic wishes of these characters. Windy’s scientific theories were mocked and proven wrong, and now she’s a stay-at-home wife. The three old dudes of the scientific boys club have believed for 50 years in a totally nonsensical claim that aliens live on Mars. But luckily for them, this is a story where pigs fly and the sky falls down, and all their unbelievably fantastic dreams are fulfilled.
This ova is the total opposite of “hard” science fiction, where all the science-y stuff has to be scientifically accurate. Instead, Tsuruta has gone out of his way to emphasize how non-scientific everything is. It’s a sci-fi that’s not supposed to be sci — not supposed to be believable. And it feels so good.
P.S.: for more reading, I wrote a bit more with spoilers here: http://flomu.net/blog/2018/12/spirit-of-wonder-scientific-boys-club
The story is shallow and nothing interesting happens at all; you are left with a couple of beautiful, very well-animated scenes, but no compelling events for the plot. They study, they drink, they build a kind of spaceship, go on their mission and… That’s it.
It’s like you’re seeing a slideshow of some trip your uncle Joe went to in 1979 and all he talks about is how good it was, but you get no feeling out of it, you just can’t relate. Uncle Joe is a bad storyteller. Maybe he worked on Spirit of Wonder.
The animation is adorable, the designs, the colors, the faces of the characters, all make you smile. Good music, it gets the mood right.
You don’t get to know the characters very well. This is why I’m saying it’s pretty difficult to care about something here. All you see them talking about is science. Ok, the title is SCIENTIFIC Boys Club. But at least I was expecting some kind of uh deep human relationships. I see they laugh, argue and smile, loving science together, but I don’t see why. I can’t understand how. Windy is the only likeable character there, yet she almost never talk.
If you’re not expecting a compelling story and just wants to kill time, this can be a good, beautiful surprise. For me, personally, it didn’t work.
11: Crusher Joe OVA
English: Crusher Joe: The OVAs
MAL Score: 6.60
The galaxy is a strange and dangerous place, and there are times when even the United Space Force can`t help. That`s where the Crushers come in – skilled troubleshooters who will deal with any problem, large or small, for a fee (large only!) And there is no better Crusher than Crusher Joe!
In both one-hour long episodes, the Crusher team (Crushers being this universe’s elite mercenaries) is called in to solve a problem for a planetary government. The plot is very heavy on space action, with even less character moments than the movie. The storylines are rather standard for serialized SciFi and would be at home in a Star Wars spin-off. Don’t expect thought-provoking questions, just enjoyable space action.
As a plus, the animation quality at least matches the already good movie animation and is accompanied by orchestral music befitting a SciFi.
10: Herlock Saga: Nibelung no Yubiwa
English: Harlock Saga: The Ring of the Nibelung – The Rhein Gold
Japanese: ハーロック サーガ ニーベルングの指環
MAL Score: 6.69
Captain Herlock is drawn into a saga of intergalactic proportions when the son of a deceased comrade unwittingly forges the Ring of the Niebelung. Evil forces gather to wage war against the last remaining superpowers of the galaxy led by a demented outcast. Herlock must counter the amassed armadas that threaten the last gods and recover the ring before Paradise is lost.
While searching for a missing friend, the crew of the Arcadia comes across a space colony who’s people had been completely wiped out.The bandits were seeking information about the whereabouts of the planet Rheim,located in the centre of the universe,it is the location of the Rhein Gold.They aim to use it to forge a ring that will give them the power to invade Valhalla:the home of the gods and take over the universe.
This is a pretty good anime.The animation was nicely detailed and rich in colour while at the same time carrying that old school character design.The characters while not being the most developed were fairly original and came across as convincing.The music was nice,typically slow instrumental space opera theme.The pacing of the anime can get pretty slow and threaten to put one to sleep,this is definitely an anime that you’ll watch in parts instead of all six episode at once.
Although not spectacular,is a much watch for any Leiji fan or a newby.
Like last time, I’ve once again chosen to cover an anime that had TONS of potential and then blew it. Harlock Saga is a loose retelling of Wagner’s Ring Cycle using Captain Harlock and the other Leiji Matsumoto characters to try get young audiences into opera. Hell, if Princess Tutu could get anime fans into classical ballet, this should be easy. As Bubsy the Bobcat would say “What could possibly go wrong?”.
An evil being called Alberich has stolen the Rhinegold from a planet at the center of the universe and has forged a ring of power to try conquer the universe. Harlock and his crew end up meeting Alberich’s sister Mime, who helps them on their quest to defeat Alberich and save the universe. Yeah…they made Mime a chick for some reason and decided to make Mime a hero. Why? Mime was written to be absolutely loathsome so the audience applauds when Siegfried stabs him to death! Oops…spoilers if you haven’t seen the opera yet. Also the final villain of the Ring Cycle isn’t Alberich, but rather his son Hagen. This anime doesn’t even have Hagen in it…or Siegfried…or Brunhilde. When they say loose adaptation they mean VERY loose. Why even say its an adaptation if they are going to be this far from the source material? All this will do is piss off anyone who has seen the 4 operas or anyone who knows anything about opera. Oh, and the worst part is that this whole anime was made as a fun way to get people into opera, but it’s actually WAY more boring than the operas it was based on. Seriously, this anime is a LONG 3 hours filled with scenes of nothing happening.
This does look a lot like the Harlock series from the 1970s in terms of art and animation quality so that’s good. Unfortunately, this was made in 1999.
So this has an all Wagner soundtrack right? Nope! Each episode has maybe 2 minutes of Wagner and mostly consists of mediocre tracks from Kaoru Wada. Now look, I love the Inuyasha soundtrack and I’ll always have a soft spot for Wada, but this is a fucking Wagner appreciation anime!!! An average episode of Galactic Heroes features more Wagner than Harlock Saga.
This was an ambitious project that SHOULD have been great. Harlock is awesome. Wagner is awesome. The Ring Cycle is a great story that helped influence Tolkien to create Lord of the Rings. All the pieces were there, but some head scratching terrible decisions derailed this project. How can this anime be summed up in just one word? Well, I’ll let this guy review Harlock Saga for me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBFXTwv-WPM
9: Ginga Tetsudou Monogatari: Wasurerareta Toki no Wakusei
English: The Galaxy Railways: A Letter from the Abandoned Planet
Japanese: 銀河鉄道物語 ～忘れられた時の惑星～
MAL Score: 6.73
This is the OVA of The Galaxy Railways.
The Galaxy Express 999 crashes on the off-limits planet of Herise and it’s up to the SDF Sirius Platoon to assist.
8: Queen Emeraldas
Japanese: クィーン エメラルダス
MAL Score: 6.86
The story revolves around a race that seeks to dominate the galaxy. A lone mysterious female warrior, known to others as Emeraldas sails the endless planets of the universe- in her Seas of Star ship- fighting the tyranny of that merciless race. She is tormented by the memory of her lost love.
First off, the few good things the series has:
1. The story. Despite the shortcomings of basically everything else, the story itself is actually quite good. The series has great pacing, fun characters, and an interesting overarching plot.
2. The action sequences. Although a little uninspired the fighting throughout is some of the best in Harlock. There are cosmo guns, gravity sabres, cloaking fields, energy shields, lasers, missiles, space battles, and a giant robot horse.
Now, onto the bad:
1. It’s not actually about Emeraldas. Despite what the title may have lead you to believe the series is actually about a young boy named Hiroshi who dreams of building his own spaceship. Emeraldas acts as his watchful guardian and that’s about it. If you were thinking you’d get to finally see a series with some focus on Harlock’s most alluring and mysterious ally you were wrong.
2. Being an OVA you might assume its self-contained, well it’s not. The series doesn’t end on a cliff hanger or anything but it’s pretty obvious the plot was intended to continue on.
3. The animation sucks (kind of). The first two episodes are pretty solid but the studio was switched halfway through and the latter 2 episodes are visibly worse. Especially the characteristic Leiji Matsumoto eyes which the second studio never seemed to get right. The series also has a penchant for 90’s 3D animation which I assume was all the rage at the time but now looks hilariously bad.
4. The dialogue is terrible. By the end of this 4 episode OVA I estimate you will have heard Emeraldas say “I am Emeraldas” about 14 times. I don’t know what happened but the show really fell flat in this regard.
Ultimately this is a series that you should only watch when you’ve exhausted all other Harlock options. In that regard it’s enjoyable enough, I certainly didn’t hate it but it leaves a lot to be desired. The real tragedy however is simply pondering what could have been. Emeraldas was a fairly underdeveloped character before this OVA and she continues to be afterward but it’s obvious they were setting up for something big. I’ll let you see how it plays out but there’s a lot of foreshadowing and then it seems to end before it even really gets started.
The Leiji Matsumoto pattern has made it clear that a young and ambitious male protagonist is likely to emerge whenever a story needs to be told and Queen Emeraldas proves to be no exception. This time, the tale concerns Hiroshi Umino who ironically gets more screen-time than the titular character herself. Basically, the story is comprised of a series of coincidental encounters these two characters have with each other and the opponents they more or less face co-operatively as Umino aspires to grow stronger and explore the universe in the liberal spirit he shares with Galaxy Express 999’s Tetsuro.
I’d like to make it clear that this OVA seems to exist in order to provide some background information on a popular heroine and as such does not bother too much on developing its narrative. There is a troublesome lack of continuity present and it seems like Umino’s repeated meetings with Emeraldas are just random plot devices created to establish a friendly relationship based on coincidence. All in all the story is not particularly strong but comes off as decent.
For the first time I got to witness a Leijiverse title with detailed scenery, fluid movement and wonderful character designs. A most welcome delight! Queen Emeraldas applies a few instances of horrible CGI but generally maintains a great and stylistic approach that qualifies to the contemporary standards.
Emeraldas was apparently deemed awesome enough to get her own theme song and, musical appeal aside, it does match her personality and epic characteristics quite a lot. The rest of the soundtrack is decent but seems to be a lot more timid.
As far as voice acting goes, the two protagonists are portrayed in praise-worthy manners and Emeraldas in particular has the virtue of being voiced by the same woman who starred as Oscar from Rose of Versailles.
Sigh. Assigning a 7 to the “character section” of an anime in which one of my favourite characters of fiction resides doesn’t quite seem right. However, as much as I’d like to call Queen Emeraldas character-driven, even that term feels strangely out of place. There’s nothing particularly wrong with the characterization, it’s just that there isn’t any in abundance. We get to witness Emeraldas’s inner feelings; her motives and a past that has shaped her as the cynical heroine she has become. But those who watched Captain Harlock and Galaxy Express already knew those things about her and little of the material is actually new. Then there’s the modernized Tetsuro and a few diabolic villains that create a diversity that’s not as amazing as expected.
All in all, the characters in this OVA aren’t bad at all (look at the 7 damnit!) but given that most titles in the Leijiverse seem to be character driven, it certainly doesn’t reach the standard.
Despite my harshness I’d like to emphasize that I greatly enjoyed this title as an opportunity to watch one of my favorite heroines show off in a story that seems to be designed in favor of her awesomeness. It quite accurately falls into the “Guilty pleasure” category with a heavy focus on space battles and fencing but still reaches at least mediocre heights of story-telling and disappointing yet sufficient character portraits. Recommended to somewhat initiated Matsumoto fans but might not work quite as well as a gateway drug.
7: Cobra The Animation: Time Drive
Japanese: COBRA THE ANIMATION タイム ドライブ
MAL Score: 6.90
Lady has disappeared so Cobra must dive into her past to save her. This is the story of who Lady used to be and how she got that metal body.
In short, there’s isn’t much to say about this OVA as I’m uncertain whether it’s based on manga material or if its just an original story. Regardless, Time Drive goes into more detail between the relationship of Lady & Cobra as every other material relating to Cobra displays their partnership as platonic or professional coworkers. However, Time Drive shows Cobra & Lady as romantic in their past life as her operation to becoming an Armaroid is also featured into the story. The rest of the OVA focuses on this revolt towards this king named Giros in which Lady or Emeralda wishes to overthrow.
Time Drive is a nice addition to the series but doesn’t have that “kickass” feel of the original anime of 1982, possibly due to the usage of cgi & the lack of cool villains. There’s is some action but once again Cobra doesn’t use his signature Colt Python & most of his battles are with the Swordian aliens.
It’s interesting to see Cobra & Lady being lovers, yet no other series seem to explore their relationship as Cobra seems to be more smitten with other women & never grieves about his past life with Lady. I should also note that this is the last time Nozawa Nachi plays Cobra as in next series ,Cobra The Animation 2010, Uchida Naoya takes the role of Cobra. I’m actually surprised Lady’s actress, Sakakibara Yoshikio managed to be the only voice of Lady for almost 3 decades. Lastly, the opening Time Drive & the following Cobra The Space Pirate sung by Sasja Autheunis are just as good as the original theme of Space Cobra.
6: Hi no Tori: Uchuu-hen
English: The Phoenix -Space-
Japanese: 火の鳥 宇宙編
MAL Score: 6.96
In deep space, four astronauts discover that their colleague Makimura has mysteriously died shortly following a cryptic note about his imminent murder. Though horrified by the news, the inoperable state of their spaceship leaves the crew no time to grieve, and they evacuate via escape pods. Determined to identify the culprit, the survivors begin to suspect fellow crewmate Kizaki, on account of a rivalry between himself and Makimura regarding the only female team member, Nana Ichinomiya. However, to their bewilderment, they notice Makimura’s pod following them, yet failing to respond to attempts at contact.
As the astronauts try to interpret their perplexing circumstances, they learn there are more inconceivable stories about their lost teammate, one involving the Phoenix, a mysterious bird said to have the ability to grant immortality. It is not until they crash into a seemingly deserted planet that the crew will finally uncover the sinister truth behind Makimura and his suspicious pod.
Set in a distant future, Hi no Tori: Uchuu-hen illustrates the cruelty of human beings passionately in pursuit of their own desires without any regard to the consequences.
It’s 48 minutes of the most baffling decisions I’ve ever seen an anime make. For that reason alone, it’s worth watching. As a serious product, it’s dreadful. Its redeeming qualities are few, and mainly only centered around the great visuals. As an unintentional comedy, however, it’s a perfect 10.
As soon as I saw that one guy’s nose, I knew the cheese factor was going to be off the charts with this one. So if you love cheese and jank as much as I do, I think it’s worth investing 5 minutes to see if this one is for you.
5: Iria: Zeiram The Animation
English: Iria: Zeiram The Animation
Japanese: イ リ ア ゼイラム The Animation
MAL Score: 7.06
Iria is the story of a girl and the Alien being she loves to hate. The series begins with her brother, Gren, taking a job. He is a bounty hunter, and one well known for his incredible skill. Iria, being a skilled apprentice bounty hunter herself, tags along. What is the job, one might ask. It is to find out what has happened to the crew and cargo of a Space Station. Needless to say, nothing is as it seems, and the war between Iria and Zeiram begins in earnest.
Story: Iria is a bounty hunter, and follows her brother´s footsteps.
She goes along with Gren (her brother) to a mission…and since that she won´t get satisfied until she destroys Zeiram…an alien lifeform created to kill and destroy.
The plot is fantastic! 10/10
Art: Even though the artwork isn´t recent, I think it is wonderful…the colors well chosen, the graphics well made and lets admit: Iria is a gorgeous bounty hunter!
Sound: The background music is very good! It is old and has some 80´s/90´s catch, and the OP is real good! At first you think it is a bit strange…^^ 9/10
Character: The characters are well developed, but the main thing of the story is Iria…she is a bold and strong woman, that won´t relax until she finishes her duty…She shows herself a bit fragile in some moments, but when it comes do Zeiram she will try by all means to destroy what is tecnically "undestroyable".
Enjoyment: As a fan of adventure, sci-fi and great fights, Iria- Zeiram the Animation is excting, and at least 99% enjoyable! A true classic! 9/10
Overall: 9/10…if you like sci-fi genre, this is a classic and a must see! So sad there isn´t more of it!!
The weird opening theme, which sounds like some Sharon Apple song from “Macross Plus”, feels out of place and put me off the anime initially. And not being the fastest anime off the block despite its short length, it took “Iria” a couple of episodes to catch my interest, but to its credit it gains more and more momentum as it goes on.
The action, though slightly sluggish at times, is overall solid enough to provide a good foundation for the enjoyment of “Iria: Zeiram the Animation”, with the appropriately climatic climax being especially good. It’s backed up by a pretty good story (albeit one that doesn’t explain everything) and some really likeable characters. The roles of the mischievous kids are played out perfectly, as is that rogue Fujikuro, providing comedy entertainment that often had me grinning widely. The animation may not look that great by today’s standards, but there are some fantastic character designs. The heroine Iria herself has quite a unique look, while Zeiram reminds me of Yoshimitsu from the Tekken video games.
On the downside, I think the anime suffers from small inconsistencies in its characterisation and plot. To name a couple of examples, part of the personality of Iria is hard to pin down since she seem to be inconsistently portrayed from one episode to the next, and I could have sworn the Zeiram’s weak point that is revealed towards the end had already been peppered with bullets with little or not no effect in an earlier episode.
Even though this OVA does look and sound a bit old, it’s still succeeds in providing an entertaining 3 hours. Worth checking out if you come across it.
4: Terra Formars: Bugs 2-hen
Japanese: テラフォーマーズ バグズ２号編
MAL Score: 7.18
Adaptation of the Bugs 2 arc of the manga.
The story/premise was a bit cliché: It’s your standard futuristic dystopian society with a socioeconomic class system and planetary level threat that results from genetic modifications to mankind.
I think the action sequences for the cockroaches establish their strength and intelligence pretty well; the potential danger they pose to humanity at large comes across clearly.
All things considered, I think 80% of the the show was fighting. If an Attack on Titan-Baki mix sounds like your cup of tea, you’ll probably enjoy this.
the art is okay, the animation is fine, being aware that this OVA is an introduction to a whole franchise, i’ll only mention the things that can not possibly be fixed :
the pace is stuttery, mixing moments of doubts with gratuitous reveals to try and explain plot elements or characters in a hurry, most of wich are incredibly cliché (hinting on a dystopian future with corrupted politics and perhaps even a caste system ) this might be only because of the OVA nature of this episode, but still could certainly have been more subtle.
The characters are apparently disposable, but not as brillantly done as in Attack on Titan wich makes sure the viewer gets familiar with them before doing horrible things to them, but more in the “that’l hopefullyl make people talk about it” sense of random guro, wich feels like some kind of cheat to me, covering up the lack of plot, wich seems to fit in a single sentence judging from this single OVA:
past the first encounter, there is no surprise, no cliffhanger, no new element introduced to the story, it all relies on it’s own premice wich is ” mars has been terraformed through the use of moss and cockroaches, people we send there disapear shortly” and all the episode is basically showing the many gruesome ways to make explorers disapear..
my main issue tho, is on the solution to the explorer death issue, seemingly the whole concept of the series, is the “surgery” undertaken by the protagonists, allowing them to instantly grow insect parts upon injecting themselves some kind of chemical product……. and that’s just not Science Fiction, in any realistic sense ever, that is Ben-10 Fantasy ! not only the idea that such body enhancement could be done, but moreover the idea that it should be sufficient to face an unknown menace, implying that such unknown menace had to be fought through close-combat….
this is where it lost me, seeing year 2600 humans unable to think of anything else than this incredibly far-fetched solution is nothing but threatening my faith in humanity, present and future ..
as a parody of an old Z movie tho, that could work, so if that is what you’re looking for, enjoy !
Nothing beats a series where blattodea, a species relentlessly massacred by humans, turn the tables to flatten the real pests: homo sapiens. In this case, the cockroaches come in anthropomorphized form and appear to be quite capable of employing basic strategy. The OVA seems to develop some back story for the scenarios in the Anime. Witnessing the human deaths is very satisfying. It gives happy feelings. I wouldn’t call this horror, but I can see how it might be so for others. But revenge is so sweet. This anime brings to life fantasies of mine. The last time I pointed at the screen and laughed so much was when I watched the start of Elfen Lied and the first few episodes of Attack on Titan. It’s satisfactory comedy to me. I want more! I score it a masterpiece because it is rare, entertaining, misanthropic and strays further from other generic plots and universes where humans tend to prevail even though they clearly don’t deserve any victories. That’s my focus here. The animation, sounds and voice acting were good. The dialogue and characters were standard for anime. I don’t care much for human characters anyway so I can’t get attached to them and unless they’re paranoid, schizophrenic evil mad scientists (like in Steins;Gate), I can’t relate to the characters either. I need to see more to piece the story together but it has me curious to see more about the virus and about the evolution of the Terra Formars. The Terra Formars and the cockroaches are pretty cute yet endearingly creepy. I’d trust them before I trust the slimy, filthy, narrow-sighed and killer human dictators.
If you enjoy watching that one selfish, pretentious species of ape violently get what they deserve because they’ve declared themselves special privileges which prevent you from giving them some of their own medicine, then I will recommend you watch this OVA (and the Terra Formars series) because you will enjoy it, too.
3: Space Pirate Captain Herlock: Outside Legend – The Endless Odyssey
Japanese: SPACE PIRATE CAPTAIN HERLOCK OUTSIDE LEGEND ~The Endless Odyssey~
MAL Score: 7.34
On an archaelogical mission to the end of the known universe, Professor Daiba unwitting unleashes an ancient horror from its confines. Five years later the malevolent alien force sets in motion a plan which reunites the various crewmembers of the Arcadia to sail the stars once more as well as bring Tadashi Daiba to meet Harlock for the first time (again).
The characters of Harlock are beautifully designed with a semi-sloppy art style that flows well into the atmosphere of the show. It’s a show about a universe where nothing new happens. All of the space pirates are gone. No new planets are being discovered. However, it’s still a manly man’s world with plenty out there, but everyone is in an eternal rut, until a scene of some old men in a bar decide to go pirating again in a scene beautifully directed in that the lights in the bar are stage lights that go on suddenly, and go out smoothly for whichever character is talking. It cut to Daiba, our main character, beating the crap out of two guys. Then his dad dies. Harlock appears out of nowhere with an ultimatum off manly destiny. He tells Daiba that real men hang out on space ships and explore doing what they want. Then, EARTH IS STOLEN!
In the end, this is the best Harlock rendition yet. It’s great. Watch it, whether you’re a Harlock fan or not.
Here’s how I think the pitch meeting went down. In 2002 Madhouse presumably thought that anime fans wouldn’t be interested in going back to watch a series that was over 20 years old at the time, if such a thing was even available to find at the time that is. I’d say that was a correct assumption. Especially considering the negative attitude most current anime fans has against pre-2000’s shows. Instead this series is squarely aimed at people who had seen the original 1978 Captain Harlock series. Not a bad idea I suppose. Make a bit of money of some nostalgia. I’m sure Leiji Matsumoto wouldn’t mind some licencing money so he could buy a ship in a bottle or some hair extensions for his wife. So what could go wrong?
I can only presume that whoever wrote this had never actually seen the original series. But instead had a drunken friend describe the show for him. Everything is explained to him in a series of half remembered plot points, vague explanations of the majority of the cast, a need to stress that manliness is one of the core aspects of the show and an extremely enthusiastic need to emphasize that Captain Harlock is a pretty cool guy. When the writer presses him for more information about Harlock and what makes him such a cool guy he had already passed out.
Endless Odyssey would claim to be a sequel to the original show. The Mazone invasion and the ending is referenced. Despite this Tadashi is not a former crew member. His father Professor Daiba is still alive somehow too. So it’s kind of a continuity snarl I guess. But that’s not exactly a deal breaker. On the surface everything looks like it checks out. A darker take on the original to reflect the fact that whoever caught the show when it originally aired was around their mid to late 20’s when this came out. A pinch of horror atmosphere to go with that nostalgia. It’s just a shame the plot is really dumb. The Earth is stolen(?!) by Cthulhu-esque horrors. None of that can faze Captain Harlock of course. He can just stare them down or whatever since he’s such a cool guy. You’re kind of pushing it here guys. The supernatural twist isn’t really working.
But hey. What would a captain be without his crew? Well. Unfortunately they get the short end of the stick. Because all of the lovably crew of the Arcadia are criminally mishandled and underused. They’re used for cheap nostalgia moments or callbacks. When they show up for the first time you’re supposed to go “yaaaay!” ( Ok maybe I did get a bit excited when Miime first showed up. ) and then? They do pretty much nothing. None of them have any impact on the plot at all. A great supporting cast just squandered. And before you ask. No, Captain Harlock isn’t bringing his A-game to carry the show. At best he’s on auto-pilot. At the very worst he’s grossly mischaracterized perhaps to make him seem more “cool”. You’re not expected to follow orders? Yeah it’s not like he’s the captain of the ship or anything. Fuck off. Yeah he let the crew do what they want when they were off-duty in the original. But they were all expected to follow his orders when it was go-time. Get this personality-free body snatcher off my screen and bring back the real captain. Even the voice actor for him is totally wrong. Sorry. Makio Inoue is the definitive Harlock. Anyone else just sounds like a pale imitation.
I will give Madhouse some credit though. The art is just wonderful. It is very faithful to the original work and lovingly rendered although with that modern shininess of course. The cast has never looked better though! Quirks of the original show such as the tall, slender women with long hair and the cartoonishly deformed small people are all accounted for. The Arcadia also looks great which is obviously of huge importance. I have no doubt that whoever drew this was a big fan. So I can only hope he never actually watched this. To match the “darker” tone and horror posturing the art is suitably dark. But good art can only get you so far. And for being an OVA the animation is nothing special. Pretty much just TV quality. Still I would call this show a visual treat. So it has something going for it.
I will also give it credit for a kind of interesting ending. And a relatively understated sense of masculinity. A breath of fresh air in an era where manliness is relegated to a post-ironic and over the top sideshow in anime. Don’t think I need to name any examples there. You know what I’m talking about.
If you want to get into Harlock I’d suggest starting with the lavishly produced Arcadia Of My Youth movie and go from there. Endless Odyssey is for completionists only.
MAL Score: 7.43
In the year 2041, mankind created their first space colony on the moon. But after a freak cataclysm devastated human civilisation on Earth, the republic of the moon built a domed megalopolis known as Eden. Now in the year 2267, a boy called Takeru spends his time engaging in hover-craft races against rival street gangs, unaware that he is about to embark in the journey of unearthing Eden’s origin.
Disappointment came in when I learned that Otomo was only designing the characters and the technological look of the series rather than writing the stories. However, after watching this OVA series with 7 episodes, I can now say I was impressed, although it could have been so much better plot-wise.
Freedom is set in 2267 in the moon colony Eden, after the Earth has been left uninhabitable due to an ecological disaster.
The world of the series really is impressive. There are no giant mechas or spaceships travelling at the speed of light. Instead of relying on useless fantasies, Freedom goes beyond your average anime series and presents us with a more realistic world, where people work and live in. And besides, you never see anything happening on the moon so that is definitely a plus.
The biggest fault in Freedom lies, without a doubt, in the plot.
Screaming Akira, this series follows a group of teenagers, led by Takeru, who spend their time racing and working on their “vehicle”, a three-wheeled motorcycle. Whenever they get in trouble, they are assigned to community service, or “volunteer work”, as the CAC calls it, which basically consists of walking along a tube on the lunar surface to check for leaks. It is during this tedious duty that Takeru witnesses a satellite smash into the Moon’s surface nearby and within discovers a photograph of a woman standing over a group of children on what looks like Earth. We will basically follow Takeru in his search for this woman.
It takes two episodes (out of only 7) for the story to take that important twist that moves things forward and, even after that, things seem to progress rather slowly. There is, in fact, too much talk and not enough plot.
Another negative aspect is that there was too much Cup Noodle product placement. Although Freedom was originally made as an advertising campaign, it doesn’t look good. If this was a TV-series, it would be alright, but not as an OVA.
The artwork and animation are two of the strongest points of Freedom.
The artwork is like an evolved form of Akira, since the style is basically the same.
Animation is amazing, but it might require getting used to. Freedom is one of the very few anime (that I know of) to be made totally in 3D cell-shaded CG. Most people will probably need to get used to the style, but once you can look beyond this, you’ll be rewarded by a great series.
The quality of art and motions is really well done. Their awkward motions are vividly portrayed. The racing scenes look like an upgraded version of the bike-chasing scenes in Akira, and they are also excellent.
The opening is fantastic. I specially like how they associate things, like the vehicle with a kid’s tricycle. And the race sequence is like a manga brought to life and evolves as important events take place along the series. Truly amazing.
If you’ve seen Ergo Proxy, you’ll probably detect resemblances in the soundtrack. Yes, the author is the same (Ike Yoshihiro) and the music style is also similar. I shouldn’t need to say anything else. The soundtrack is spectacular.
The opening was one of the best ones I’ve seen. The song matches perfectly with the animated sequences. The singer’s name also speaks for itself (Utada Hikaru). As for the ending, despite being just instrumental, it strengthens the powerful climaxes on the first three episodes.
As for the voice cast, it’s not outstanding, but gets the job done (except maybe Sanae Kobayashi, who had a rather mediocre performance as Ao).
The characters are the biggest strength of this series, although they’re just a group of hot-headed teenagers. Freedom is what a shounen anime should be. Shounen animes often forget that every teenage boy is an idiot. Freedom portrays that in a pretty realistic way, as their personality is consistent throughout, as opposed to the regular shounen with random idiotic “filler” scenes that are used not as part of the character, but simply as comedic relief. This is much better than your regular lead who just wants to become the best in the world, which just leads them to brainless directions without any real goal in mind… not really that interesting for me.
Flaws in the character department mostly appear in the last episode because the creators decided to be too epic for their own good, and some characters become a bit unrealistic for the sake of a more “epic” ending.
The enjoyment department is incredibly subjective but, personally, Freedom has its moments. Those moments are usually action scenes and the climaxes of the episode, which are, without a doubt, breath taking. Past those parts, most of it is average.
Overall, Freedom is a very good sci-fi anime with great characters, a nice OST and a powerful animation and it’s definitely a must watch for fans of the genre.
1: Tenchi Muyou! Ryououki
English: Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki
MAL Score: 7.64
Seventeen-year-old Tenchi Masaki grew up hearing stories about how his ancestor used a sword to seal a demon inside a cave seven hundred years ago. When curiosity gets the better of him, Tenchi goes to the cave and stumbles across the sword from the legend. Thinking that the story is nothing more than a fairy tale, he removes the blade and inadvertently releases the demon, who turns out to be a space pirate named Ryouko Hakubi. Furious about being trapped for so long, she attacks Tenchi, but he is able to repel her with the sword, awakening his inner power. After seeing this, Ryouko takes an interest in her unlikely savior and decides to crash at his place.
As if it were a chain reaction, more alien women—Aeka Jurai Masaki, an uptight princess from the planet Jurai; Sasami, Aeka’s sweet younger sister; Mihoshi Kuramitsu, a ditzy Galactic Police Officer; and Washuu Hakubi, a wisecracking genius—gradually come in contact with Tenchi and begin living with him. Through his encounters with these five women, Tenchi begins to learn more about his ancestry, newfound power, and the looming threat lurking beyond the skies.
Like the many generic” harem animes” studios seem to spit out every season… this series too has an unlikely hero who suddenly finds himself surrounded by a multitude of hot babes… but that is the only common factor that this classic shares with its modern brethren of failures.
This series is an example of a harem done right with enough story and action to propel it into the category of “something special.”
The last 7 episodes were written in order to accomodate the GXP storyline and were created over 10 years later, so I personally consider them almost a separate series.
This is my favorite anime…period. I know I’m not in the majority on this, but it succeeds on every level. It is the definitive “harem” anime, while maintaining a great plot and fascinating universe/backstory. The fact that each of the women have complex and fascinating pasts and facets to their character is something unique to this genre. It’s heartwarming, romantic, raunchy, funny, dramatic, and even is a mystery at times.
Story: The story starts with Tenchi, mischievous grandson of a shrinekeeper, stealing the keys to the shrine from his grandpa. He then explores a cave that family lore claims to house a “demon”. Of course he accidentally frees the demon which sets into motion a complex series events that involves all the great powers of the universe. As Noike mentions in the 3rd OVA, the Masaki household rates as a galatic superpower by the end of the series. The interesting question is, how much of this did Grandpa plan out?
Art: Done in the mid-90’s it’s cel animation. That being said it’s beautifully animated though the characters sometimes are simple looking due to the style at the time. All of them are uniquely animated, wear different outfits and hairstyles which helps show the attention to detail.
Sound: Nothing to rock out to, but it all works. I have to add that the original voice acting english cast was great, and funimation really screwed up with the 3rd OVA and will burn in the fiery pits for the abomination of the GXP crossover.
Character: The main character is Tenchi, high school student and usually studious, courteous, and not very rebellious except for the carefully nutured interest in the cave. In true anime teen fashion, he acts a perfect gentleman around the ladies and though not oblivious to their charms, he refuses some very blatant offers
Now for the ladies:
Ryoko, the demon from the cave and former space pirate. She’s linked to her ship/ pet cabbit (rabbit/cat) Ryo-Ohki and has quite the interesting pedigree from both parents. She’s the first to fall for Tenchi and is very aggressive in her affection for him. Washu implies that her aggressive sexuality is a front to protect her sensitive feelings for Tenchi.
Ayeka, is the pampered princess of Jurai who arrives on Earth to arrest Ryoko; but instead ends up her primary rival for his affections. Presenting herself as younger and more proper than Ryoko, it’s often hinted that her mind isn’t as chaste as her act.
Sasami, is Ayeka’s younger sister. Despite being the youngest in the house, she often displays the most maturity. She bonds quickly with Ryo-Ohki and cooks most of the meals for the household. All this while holding back a secret that she fears will tear her from the others.
Mihoshi, the hapless GXP policeperson. Referred to by Washu as a “genius of pure luck”. She’s clumsy and not very diligent in her duties but her luck seems to land her in trouble and good fortune simultaneously. She plays the dumb blond of the group, but her forthright nature wins many over. She’s somewhat interested in Tenchi, but isn’t focused enough to compete with the highly competitive duo of Ryoko and Ayeka.
Lastly there is Washu. Washu is in her own words “so many things really…” some of these include being Ryoko’s mother, the greatest scientific mind in the universe, and the one person who sees all that is going on behind the scenes. It’s a measure of her self-confidence and maturity that she does not blow everyone’s secrets out of the water take control. She has some designs on Tenchi, even shedding her disguise as a young girl and returning to adult form to offer to bear his child. Of course he declines, and she remains in her guise from there on. It’s never stated, but her interest in Tenchi is mostly scholarly and only acts romantically interested to keep Ryoko and Ayeka on their toes.
It’s clear that the storytellers intended to include some traits of the ideal woman in each of the women, but also included flaws that prevented that.
Enjoyment: As I said before, this series strength lies in a great plot and rich world for the characters to interract in. The story never stagnates and the few times things slow down is to reveal a great deal about one of the characters. The blend of action and comedy goes well together and the rapidly expanding plot never leaves the viewer bored.
Overall: I’ve yet to see an anime do so much with so little. The closest I’ve seen yet is Code Geass, but it’s apples and oranges to this. Just when you think you understand everything about a character they reveal a new leaf…well Mihoshi is pretty straightforward and Tenchi’s dad is pretty much a middle-age perv. Everyone else though not only reveals their past, but also grow and change during the series. My fav character is Ryoko, as with many other people. She displays a depth of character and obviously is head over heels for Tenchi but has a very hard time showing him how she really feels.
I would recommend this to anyone! I will mention that the uncensored version can be risque at times (Ryoko isn’t familiar with nudity taboos) so I qualify everyone as everyone over 17.
To begin with, the plot. It’s a somewhat standard “hopeless boy surrounded by diverse girls embodying different fantasies” comedy on the surface, although the girls are a more interesting bunch than “cute one, tsundere, sister figure etc” by virtue of also being parodies of sci-fi anime archetypes; alien princess, super-strong killing machine, child genius, futuristic special forces. On top of that there are a series of events that make up a sci-fi plotline of their own which is reminiscent of other light-hearted adventure shows like Outlaw Star.
As a whole, it’s enjoyable and offers a nice twist on the usual harem comedy.
The art design is very 90s. The characters are drawn in a style that screams Outlaw Star, which is quite fitting for the sci-fi styling. While it could be considered functional and unremarkable, it is nevertheless fun and, to my mind, distinctive. You wouldn’t want the curvy and emotive characters of a Takahashi comedy show, or a hard-line Dynamic Pro style full of facial hair and giant melons, for a show which at its heart is a love letter to 90s sci-fi anime.
Sound is unremarkable but impossible to complain about – the dub voice acting ranges from quite bad to very funny, and the “Ayeka laugh” is pretty iconic as THE female villain laugh. It’s a show of caricatures, and so exaggerated voices are ideal.
The characters are all funny and well-developed for what could easily have been one-note jokes, setting the show apart from the competition. Mihoshi manages to quite nicely be a comic homage to characters from Bubblegum Crisis, Outlaw Star and other shows, as an example.
In terms of pure fun factor, you can’t beat this OVA. It’s a far above average example of a genre that is crowded with unremarkable entries.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Tenchi Muyou! Ryououki
3. Space Pirate Captain Herlock: Outside Legend – The Endless Odyssey
4. Terra Formars: Bugs 2-hen
5. Iria: Zeiram The Animation
6. Hi no Tori: Uchuu-hen
7. Cobra The Animation: Time Drive
8. Queen Emeraldas
9. Ginga Tetsudou Monogatari: Wasurerareta Toki no Wakusei
10. Herlock Saga: Nibelung no Yubiwa
11. Crusher Joe OVA
12. Spirit of Wonder: Shounen Kagaku Club
13. Spaceship Agga Ruter
14. Battle Athletess Daiundoukai
15. Maetel Legend
17. Sol Bianca
18. Oira Uchuu no Tankoufu
19. Terra Formars: Earth-hen
20. Space Fantasia 2001 Nights
22. Melty Lancer
23. Lily C.A.T.
24. Dai Yamato Zero-gou
26. Bounty Dog: Getsumen no Ibu
27. Guy: Youma Kakusei
28. Cosmic Fantasy: Ginga Mehyou no Wana
29. Busou Shoujotai: Blade Briders The Animation
30. Al Caral no Isan
31. Uchuu Kyoudai: Apo’s Dream
32. Space Travelers The Animation
33. Twinkle Heart: Gingakei made Todokanai
34. Advancer Tina
35. Hell Target
37. Roots Search: Shokushin Buttai X