They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Sotsugyou M: Ore-tachi no Carnival, Meisou-Ou Border, Hoshi Neko Fullhouse, and more!
9: Sotsugyou M: Ore-tachi no Carnival
Japanese: 卒業M ～オレ達のカーニバル～
MAL Score: 5.49
Kato, Shimura, Arai, Nakamoto, and Takagi are friends at an all-boys boarding school. After they get tricked by their school government president, the five must put on a performance of the play “Little Women.”
A story, unlike the synopsis seems to claim, does not really exist. Five good looking men are presented through the first 16 minutes of the series and then engage into crossdressing for a theatre play, because “kawaii”. One of the characters is show playing Graduation M game, that’s by far the most interesting point of the story… The rest rolls slowly, filling in the screen time with absolutely useless conversation that does not add anything to the story. As for the characters, that sometimes may make up for te story, are cut off cereal boxes. Each one is a stereotype, but so horribly stereotypied that it’s not even fun. It’s like a proto-Gakuen Heaven, but worst.
Now, this could be compensated if we had these 40 minutes f animation just for the eyecandy. It was done before, it will be done in the future, I personally have nothing against it… But the art… It’s not even pathetic… It is… Miserable. Horribly amateurish, as well as the animation. Everything is crooked, it looks like Neopets fanart done by a 12 year old. The most basic laws of shading, perspective, anatomy, colouring, anything you can remember.. Even the most basice IS WRONG!
Most likely the only positive point of this piece of “bizarre” animation is the voice acting. It is clearly well done and all the actores match ehtir characters perfectly. The background music is common of the genre but not less annoying. Cheery and cute songs intercalated by rock instrumentals that may fit perfectly in games but just seem out of place in anime riddle these 40 minutes. For a moment I even considered each character would have a theme song.
In the end, a really dreadful experience. A cheap OVA created without any care or skill. Avoid it for best results.
As a yaoi/shounen-ai fan, the sound of 5 bishounens cross dressing in a play based on one of my favourite childhood books was really appealing. I was lured to this anime through the false impression of its seemingly decent art, the seiyuu cast and a promising plot.
The synopsis written for this anime could only be applied for the very end of first ova as the entire ova was just an introduction of the characters and nothing much else. The second ova was again about absolutely nothing. Only snippets of the play rehearsal were shown. Then it got even more pathetic when the anime tried to add a twist in the last 15min, desperately hoping to engage the viewers and failed miserably.
This anime was a waste of time and I only finished watching it out of obligation to the precious megabytes I’ve wasted by downloading it.
8: Meisou-Ou Border
Japanese: 迷走王 ボーダー
MAL Score: 5.56
Featuring a modern-day odd couple, the naive virgin Kubota and the handsome charmer Hachisuka, who meet up by accident in a Middle Eastern desert and return to Japan to hustle their way through life. They start by getting involved in shady TV dealings, where they get jobs making fake docmentaries.
(Source: The Anime Encyclopedia)
We open with two blokes living in filth in a sketchy flat complex being hired to do a job. Since it’s good money and they’re incredibly stupid, they don’t think to ask what the job actually is before taking it. From there the plot just meanders.
Therein lies the big problem with this OVA. There’s some build up leading to their job but the actual work ends in five minutes and, after that, it’s just these idiots faffing about for the second half of the OVA. Even the job doesn’t get resolved well. There’s never a point where anything really engaging, funny or interesting happens. Which makes watching this roughly equivalent to staring at your wall. You probably won’t be too bothered by doing it but you also won’t gain anything from it.
I’m just going to refer to our protagonists as young scruffy guy and old shabby guy. Yeah, I could take ten seconds to look at their names, but I don’t care enough. Scruffy is one of those protagonists who’s an amicable, well-intentioned slob. Shabby is more the hedonistic, cheapskate but good on the inside type. They’re both incredibly stupid and we get the same problem with them as we have with the narrative in general. They’re just devoid of anything noteworthy or compelling. You could replace them with stray dogs on an adventure with no dialogue and at least the dogs would be cute which would make them better.
In terms of artwork and animation, it doesn’t look bad. It’s not the world’s most polished looking work, but it’s fine. And that’s, unfortunately, the highest praise I can give any element of this OVA. The worst part of the artwork is the character design. A lot of the major dudes who show up are just these kind of generic looking mangy guys. So, a lot of it ends up looking the same. It’s kind of like Marvel’s old GI Joe comics with clean cut blonde, blue-eyed dudes you can’t differentiate at a glance. Except that those gave them distinct outfits and these guys all dress similarly too.
Maybe Caribu just likes having generic mangy guys as characters as much as I like writing LGBT characters.
The main characters are voiced by Yara Yuusaku & Horiuchi Kenyuu. Their performances aren’t particularly impressive but they’re perfectly passable. I’ve heard better performances from both of them in the past, but those were in series where they were doing things that warranted range. The music is entirely forgettable. It’s all just rather generic.
There isn’t any on display.
Areas of Improvement:
Focus on one story line. Part of the problem with this work is that, instead of giving us one cohesive narrative and doing it well, it gives us a mesh of thrown together, half-assed plot lines. Focusing on one story would have given it a chance to develop the conflict and characters better.
Characters need personality. If you’re going to waste more than half the work doing nothing, at least use that time to give the characters some complexity.
Distinctive Designs. These guys looking very similar and just generic in general does not help this OVA. Even if you want to maintain the aesthetic of having them both look shabby, you can do that while also giving them more differentiated facial features. At the very least.
In the end, Meisou-ou Border isn’t a bad OVA. Its biggest failing comes down to one simple factor, there’s nothing to it. So, unless you need a sleep aid I can’t really recommend it. I’ll give it a 4/10 for being dull and tedious but inoffensive.
7: Hoshi Neko Fullhouse
English: Star Cat Fullhouse
MAL Score: 5.90
This slapstick comedy is about three pretty girls struggling to earn a living as pilots of the Iron Goblin delivery vessel. The computer answers back, the space pirates are on their tail, and romantic entanglements with their clients cause friction in the trio. The final episode throws the alien Eterna race in to the mix.
(Source: The Anime Encyclopedia)
The story is very simple and in-your-face, it’s about a guy named Yaoi Seitarou who’s piloting a ship called the Green Goblin and his misadventures in space, that’s it. You know this show will be a comedy from the first minutes of episode 1, when the robot Chiraku is telling a fun, somewhat dirty joke. If you laugh at the end of the joke, that means the show is for you and you should expect more of that, if you didn’t, that’s a sign this isn’t for you. I think letting the viewer know about the anime’s atmosphere from the beginning is a good thing and that joke really breaks the glass, I liked it and I expected to be entertained more, which happened all the way till the end of episode 4.
The viewer should not expect a heavy plot, sure something big happens that will shake our characters actions but all in all it’s a slapstick comedy, what is important is how the characters react to different events in the anime, what funny, out of place things they’ll do to keep us on watching. The show works this way because the two main characters on the pirate ship are fun to watch and interesting. The biggest asset is the characters, some of them may be cliche and boring but they work well and they offer us great moments of comedy.
– Yaoi Seitarou, the captain, is characterized in episode 2 by Chiraku: “The captain of the pirate space ship, Seitarou is a smuggler, still a virgin, and quite the bad guy. He brings porno discs produced on the dark side of the moon to buyers in the space colonies. He also takes sand from Mars and sells it as an aphrodisiac for high prices.”
– Chiraku, a perverted robot who tells dirty jokes
– Meifa, Lyla and Jojo, three rich high school girls who board the ship
– Gannet, a Haman Karn look-alike
– Purin-Purin, the ship’s sentient computer who has the appearance of a hot girl
– Hoshi Neko, a cute small cat
I liked Seitatou’s personality, he’s a cool guy, free as a bird, a pirate, he’s not your usual dense harem protagonist or super perverted geek, sure, he likes girls, has a porn stash, he developed his ship AI to look like a hot girl but he’s not boring to watch and anything can happen when he’s around. On the other hand, the robot Chiraku is a perverted and crazy character and he always makes fun of Seitarou, he is voiced by the veteran VA (Voice Actor) Kamiya Akira who played Mendou Shuutarou, Saeba Ryou, Roy Focker, Kazamatsuri Shinnousuke, the way he puts soul into Chiraku is great and he became for me a lovable character ever since I first heard him.
The three girls are kinda bland in the beginning of the anime, one is a crybaby and the others are just there. The voices don’t help either, the VAs sound like just reading lines and get on with it, very weak in my opinion. Only in the end though, they sound more “in-character” and like they put their soul into it, like they are part of the anime. many viewers may have problems with this, it can be a bit annoying.
Even if this is a comedy, expect a bit of drama related to space travel, robots trying to conquer humanity, kidnappings, space battles, gun shootings, pirates, lots of plot twists and so on. There’s a character in there who looks just like Haman Karn (Gundam Zeta and ZZ), and she’s important in one of the episodes, I say this is great fanservice for 80s Gundam enthusiasts.
The art style has a classic 80s look, with realistic looking characters (normal noses, normal eyes etc), it’s not the best animated piece ever created but it’s fair, the movements are a bit stiff but it doesn’t endanger the overall experience. The backgrounds look fine, the ship is well detailed, the interior has many details too, the celestial bodies look alright, the robots and mechs too, you can see that a lot of work was invested into it.
We don’t get that many sexy moments, some rare cleavages, few panty shots and maybe a scene with the boobs of a girl fully exposed, the creators wanted to cater any kind of audiences and they didn’t exaggerate with some elements. I say it’s pretty fine, in a 30 minutes episode we don’t need two thirds of it to be filled with naked ladies (not that there’s anything wrong with that), so the overall result is fair and watchable for different types of viewers.
No romance here either, our main guy hits on almost all the girls but there’s nothing serious going on. The interactions between the characters was the thing I liked the most. There are some scenes where our boys and girls have fun on the ship, talking, cleaning rooms, making food (slice of life stuff), it felt fulfilling and it was nice to get to know them a bit more, it added depth to our bland girls and made Seitarou a more interesting guy, just my kind of thing. And by the end of the show you’ll see that the relationship between them was really there, it looked authentic, it evolved from A to B, it wasn’t just for convenience sake, but you’ll have to get throw all of it to see it building.
It was a very easy watch for me, I knew where I was getting myself into from the first episode, I liked the laid back atmosphere and the idea of a guy who is a space pirate (I like this idea of freedom), the only bad things that he does is selling porn related stuff and dumb artifacts, so he’s not a real evil pirate who hijacks ships and all, he even wants to save people from time to time (and if he gets something in return that would be a plus). The girls were cute, they were annoying in the beginning but I got used to them and by the end of the OVA they were interesting and I felt that they offered something overall. Chiraku was great with his jokes and shenanigans, Gannet has short appearances but she was fun to watch, she has a fiery personality (different that the 3 girls) and she has an awesome design (I’m a Haman Karn fan).
In conclusion, this show is for everybody, the animation is not dated, it doesn’t have a heavy plot, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s good for 80s anime lovers (it has that feel) and it’s a fresh break from the serious plot and action heavy anime. It has about 2 hours in total and something happens every episode (be it a bizarre plot twist or some comedy moments interrupted by space battles), the overall plot is resolved at the end, so the viewer won’t be disappointed if he wanted to find that out. It’s a mix between comedy, SF, action, and space, it worked for me for I enjoyed it, I laughed every episode at the jokes, I was impressed by the ship’s designs, I liked the characters and I easily followed the story. It was an enjoyable watch.
6: Senran Kagura Estival Versus: Mizugi-darake no Zenyasai
Japanese: 閃乱カグラ ESTIVAL VERSUS -水着だらけの前夜祭-
MAL Score: 6.50
A letter arrives at Death Cram School. Inside is a an invitation to a spa resort.
Yumi declares to the four excited girls that, “No. This is evil itself,” points out that they are slacking off too much. Shiki proposes, “When opinions are divided, it’s time for boob rock-paper-scissors!” and then wins so they all go to the pool.
There, girls from Hanzoo Academy, Homura Crimson Squad, and Hebijo Clandestine Girls’ Academy also come, but Asuka says, “Let’s have fun together today” and they call a temporary truce.
However, a trivial matter sets off a sour quarrel and, at Yumi’s suggestion, they settle it with a showdown in the style of the ancient shinobi.
The problem with this OVA for me is very simple though – there are so many characters in SK that when you try to condense the cast into a 24m OVA, each of them can be afforded a scant few moments of screentime and, as a result, the cast is reduced even further beyond the stereotypes they already represent. Characters that can actually be funny in the games (Ryoubi/Ryouna, Katsuragi, Murasaki, Yagyu/Hibari) still throw out their same gags, but it just feels a little lifeless and forced here. There’s no room for the jokes to land. I almost wish they had chosen to focus on a single school for this OVA instead of the full cast for that reason.
That’s not me saying that this OVA needed a better story or something, by the way. What introduction does girls stripping each other until they blush and say “KYAAAA!” really need? But one of the hallmarks of the SK franchise (if not the fundamental core) has always been the characters themselves, who lean so heavily into tropes that it becomes a form of parody. Without the witty personalities of the cast, much of the charm of SK is lost on me, and it ends up feeling like a shell of what I actually enjoy about the series (although maybe I should be expecting as much from a short OVA like this).
All that said, the art is great, the VAs are fantastic (when they get a line to speak) and the fan service is even more over the top than it is in the games. Nipples can be shown here so expect to see tons of them (although I will be honest – was kind of hoping for some more variety in types of nipples, tiny/pink over and over loses its impact and, imo, further diminishes the uniqueness of the individual girls). So if skin is what you’re looking for, you will find it. Just don’t expect the same sharpness in terms of writing that you would normally find in other SK media, and if your best girl isn’t Yumi, prepare to groan when she gets side-lined.
5: Happiness!: Watarase Jun no Kareinaru Ichinichi
Japanese: はぴねす! 渡良瀬準の華麗なる一日
MAL Score: 6.72
With the help of the combination of many different magic, Jun gets turned into an actual girl.
Very straightforward story, albeit strange. Strange as in some characters had personalities a bit off, a new character hugs Saya, Ibuki attacks her best friend and etc.
I like the part where happiness was spread, as a tribute to the show’s title, which the original series doesn’t really seem to show.
The colours were a bit dull, but it’s still ok.
Not much impression. OP and ED same as original series, which was ok. Special effects and bgms were barely noticeable.
The main star of this OVA is Jun, which I have long taken to be a girl. All the characters seem like the same before the ending “arc” of the original series. But some characters seem to have a change of personality.
Gag humour. 😀
Ok. Fine. So-so. This is basically an OVA for those ppl who wanted Jun to really be a girl.
Nothing special here…just Jun transforming into a girl after a combined magic hit’s him.
Kindda dull…I was expecting more of this OVA so it’s my mistake here.
Same as the TV Serries.And like I sayed in the review of the anime…I DONT like the OP/ED …is just that my ears dosen’t accept this kind of songs
The main star was Jun.So for all people who desired Jun to actually be a girl you found your thing.I’m not drawn to that creep So I didn’t like very much this OVA.I still love Koyuki
If you dislike Jun as a character, you will hate this.
If you like Jun as a character, you should hate this.
I enjoyed Happiness! a bit more than most people but it was a while before I watched this. I was always kind of interested in it as Jun was my favourite character so an episode focused around him sounded appealing. He’s cute and unabashed and open about his dress habits and he’s queer as hell. He’s a great character there really isn’t much of in anime. So often traps and crossdressers will be reluctant or weirded out by their situation. But Jun is totally happy with it – he owns it. He knows he’s cute and he has a thing for Yuma and he makes it obvious. That’s why I loved him.
When I envisioned this show I imagined they would run with how Jun had been established in Happiness! – he would be shocked at being a girl, maybe even horrified. As he had expressed basically no desire to be a woman, that’d have made sense to me. He was just happy as who he was.
But what they decided to do was introduce an entirely new and out of nowhere character development – that all along Jun had wanted to be a girl. And that he’s elated to become one in this story. This was annoying to me as it kind of undermined what made Jun appealing as a character in the series. But I’d have been willing to accept it had the tone of the episode, or the writing for that matter, actually reflected it. Instead the fact Jun wanted to be a woman is just a kind of throwaway gag. Sure it’s a light hearted gag anime…but if that’s the case…maybe don’t throw in such a weighty topic? Maybe do what I had suggested and not have Jun’s reactions be “thank god I’m finally a woman!”
Let me say that I don’t think the premise of this story is entirely worthless. I think it could have very easily been handled much better and in a less offensive way. The introduction of the fan club had me certain they’d recover the unpleasantness of this episode with an arc around self acceptance. Jun, in his new body, assures his upset looking fan club that things will proceed as normal. Surely they will seem sad at his change, I thought – surely this will lead to him, in the end, realising he doesn’t and shouldn’t need to change himself to find happiness?
Nope. Just a throwaway visual gag about him smiling and that making them happy. No one tries to assure Jun he was fine the way he was. Nothing remotely close to that.
The tone gets even more twisted; despite Jun’s happiness, his classmates are now overcome with uncontrollable rapacious lust because he has become a real woman (despite not physically changing appearance wise)? And as a result he chooses to foresake his new sex. This is why I said at the start that if you can turn your brain off you might be able to like this. I can’t – this is just a horrific piece of writing. Jun learns the lesson of it doesn’t matter what you want, give it up because if you don’t men will rape you. What? Enjoy watching the original series now knowing all the while Jun is actually utterly miserable because his body doesn’t match his gender identity. Enjoy especially all the times Yuma is incredibly callous and insensitive to him!
Getting away from the writing – production wise this is about on par with the original series. The animation is as sloppy but the sound is fairly nice with some tolerable background music. The editing is characteristically snappy and fast paced.
Overall I can’t recommend this to anyone, really. It’s a rare example of an adjacent property making its source material actively worse. My opinion on the series Happiness! has diminished in light of this and I don’t see myself rewatching it any time soon as a result. I’ll try to forget this exists if I ever do rewatch.
4: Megazone 23
English: Megazone 23
MAL Score: 6.79
Shougo Yahagi is a young motorcycle enthusiast living in a world of hot bikes, hard rock, and J-pop idols. The general populace go about their lives in peace, under the watchful eyes of a computer program in the guise of pop idol sensation Eve, unbeknownst to them. Shougo himself is mostly concerned with riding his motorcycle and picking up beautiful women like Yui Takanaka, who aspires to be a dancer.
Shougo’s life suddenly changes when his friend, Shinji Nakagawa, shows him a top-secret project: the “Garland,” an advanced motorcycle that can transform into a robot. Ambushed by the military, Shougo hijacks the Garland and escapes into the city. Evading the military with the help of Yui and her friends, he gradually discovers that their idyllic society is only an illusion.
The first part is outstanding. As to be expected from Noboru Ishiguro. The story has some incredible twists, the art is top notch and there’s plenty of great 80s j-pop. I’d give this part a 9/10 and was really looking forward to what happened in the next episode.
So you can imagine the disappointment when in the second part, everything was entirely different. The characters do not even look remotely similar to how they do in part one and the conclusion feels rather lackluster in comparison to the introduction. The storytelling and art is by no means bad, but is clearly not to the same standard.
Part three has even fewer similarities; there is an entirely new cast and setting, and only has passing reference to the first two parts. This is more of a sequel than part of the same story. By this point it’s really no different from any of the other sci-fi OVAs out there.
The one thing that’s consistently great is the music. 80s and 90s J-pop, yes please.
In short, watch part one, but prepare to have the quality drop considerably by the time you reach the end (if you even get that far).
When i originally saw the trailer for Megazone 23 on a random anime dvd, i couldnt help but to be fascinated by the fast pace and 80’s soundtrack that i was watching, and i knew i had to get this anime.
As a major fan of old school anime, i ordered the Megazone 23 collection with all the aspirations of old school anime glory, and i must admit, it took me for a ride that ill never forget. With this review i hope to give my own opinions and insight on what has currently become one of my favorite anime titles – Megazone 23.
As for story , Megazone 23 is quite original. I have a large anime collection, and in all my years of watching anime have i never watched anything with a story like this one. its an original piece of work that has managed to become nostalgic and stay fresh at the same time, and it also manages to merge quite a few genres together, such as – mecha, romance,action,sci-fi, and even post apocalyptica. Megazone 23 has something for everyone thats for sure.
When it comes to the Art Department, Each part of the Megazone 23 collection has its own style. Part 1 offers a strictly old school style which could only be described as “80’s animation”. Part 2 is also animated in a late 1980’s animation style, but it is slightly different and more detailed than Part 1. Parts 3 & 4 are animated in the mid 1990’s animation style, with cleaner animation with a more modern look. Though each Part is animated in their own different style, i didnt find it taking anything away from my viewing pleasure, Each Part had its story to tell and i greatly enjoyed the series despite the animation changes.
The sound is basically one of the things that got me hooked on Megazone 23. i really enjoyed the 80’s style and music that Parts 1 & 2 were infused with. The look and sound of everything fit together really well and made it a great experience altogether, whether it was 80’s rock, or pop, or sythesizers. As for sound effects, i felt they were done quite well too, especially with the vehicles (motorcycles). I bought the ADV dvd collection, so thats the only version ive watched, and i must say that the dubbing was done really good in my own opinion.
As i watched Megazone 23, i really found myself liking some of the characters, especially Eve and Shogo. The music they used with the character Eve basically made her an instant legend when it comes to anime Idols, right up there with Macross and everything, and it is certainly for good reason. Shogo was a pretty cool character too. in Part 1 he was stubborn and hot headed, but as Part 2 rolls around you can tell he has matured a bit. Yui changes a bit fom Part 1 to Part 2 as well, and Part 2 introduces alot more minor characters that are pretty cool too. all in all, the characters of Megazxone 23 in a whole are pretty memorable 🙂
As a whole, I really found myself enjoying each and every Part of the Megazone OVA. I liked the originality of its story, the old school 80’s style presentation of music and animation, and the characters were interesting and kept the series fun to watch. Although i didnt mind the animation changes, i know everyone may not care too much for them, but if you can look past those changes and focus onthe story, then im sure youll enjoy Megazone 23 just as much as i did. If you are looking for an anime that is original and one of a kind, then Megazone 23 has everything you could possibly ask for 🙂
Megazone 23 is a very original anime with a setting that will enthrall the viewer into the story, characters, and even the representation of the era it was made in. Yes, this is incredibly 80’s. Part 1 by Noboru Ishiguro is absolutely outstanding. There are so many similarities to the art design and music of the Macross series, and the plot development is top notch. Not surprising that this show eventually became a movie, “Robotech: The Untold Story.” Part 1 focuses on a biker name Shogo and his run-in with a top-secret government weapon called Bahamut. He learns more and more about what the government is, what they want, and how it affects not only him but everybody in the city in which he lives in. Not to mention the interaction with the cities pop sensation named “Eve” and his eventual love interest Yui. Art, music, plot; this first part to the OVA series is top notch.
Now, due to the times and certain decisions being made, a change in essentially everything to series happened going forward in parts 2,3, and 4. A change in staff, lower quality, even the way the characters are drawn all changed. For example, Yui changed from Macross style and green hair to Sue with short brown hair and a generic character design. Basically, the entire OVA series goes downhill incredibly fast. It is a complete dumpster dive after how great part 1 was. Part 3 and 4 goes even further with it being a completely different setting and time period. The same lowered quality and generic character designs are shown again. This time, even the music, which was Megazone’s last saving grace, is pretty much gone.
Sadly, the series falls way short on a setting and plot with so much potential that takes the viewer into the universe of Megazone. If only the concurrent parts after the way the series began were anything remotely similar to Part 1; Megazone 23 could have been something on the scale of a Gundam or a Macross. Unfortunately, the series as a whole is executed horribly. Watch Part 1 and pretend it was the only part made.
3: Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino OVA
English: Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino OVA
Japanese: ガンスリンガー ガール -IL TEATRINO- OVA
MAL Score: 7.00
Episodes 14 and 15 of Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino.
To me it felt, as if it were either episodes that were closing the entire “season” or just full fledged fillers.
With that said, I’d rate the story: 6
The storyline in the first 13 eps were flowing acceptably, but the next two eps seemed to be filled with fillers with an ending that was too calm. The height of the story could have involved all of the girls in the crew in a state of frenzy, I was somewhat disappointed that it only focused on one of the girls which made the rating only fair, rather than all of them working together in a different scenario as I would have liked to have seen happen.
The art didn’t bother me at all- seemed normal for viewing (with a bit of blurry drawing in some scenery here and there), obviously the first season had better animation and contrast, but Teatrino was viewable and I didn’t have a problem with the artwork other than the fact that I might have been spoiled by the first Gunslinger Girl production.
It was the same old same old. The only thing that I somewhat enjoyed was the opening theme song from the first 13 episodes.. but seeing how these episodes were #14 and #15, there were no theme songs, but music inside the animations which didn’t seem to stand out (they just passed me by as it played in the background) as soothing or catchy.
I enjoyed the character interaction when watching each of them transform and several characters learning to be accepting and respectful of others as well as their past grudges.
However, I would have liked to see the character’s inner expressions more rather than the obvious repeat of how they’ve been feelng on the outside- it may have been that the characters were too calm in a way and may have left a bored feeling (not too bored but something felt empty).
Nevertheless, I do enjoy the series and if there was a third season by any chance, I would continue to watch it. Something about this strikes me as more than just interesting.
2: Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Gaiden (1999)
Japanese: 銀河英雄伝説外伝 螺旋迷宮
MAL Score: 8.08
Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Gaiden (1999) is the second of two OVA adaptations of side stories from the Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu novel series. This second adaptation follows the achievements of Yang Wen-li of the Free Planets Alliance before the fateful Battle of Astarte, and continues the tales of Reinhard von Müsel and Siegfried Kircheis of the Galactic Empire.
Yang is propelled to the spotlight after his famous evacuation of civilians from El Facil. Following an unofficial double promotion and a flurry of media attention, he chronicles his research of the Year 730 Mafia—a close-knit group of Alliance military officers centered around the famed tactician Bruce Ashbey. He investigates a startling claim by Ashbey’s deceased widow that may have enormous political ramifications: that the great war hero was not killed in action but murdered.
Reinhard and Kircheis are posted on the destroyer Hameln II, docked at Iserlohn Fortress. After gaining the respect of the crew, Reinhard’s leadership is tested when the captain is severely wounded and passes command authority to Reinhard, the next-highest ranking officer on deck.
While Reinhard and Kircheis are working in the Imperial capital Odin, Reinhard learns of a mining rights dispute involving Dorothea von Schaffhausen, a friend of his sister Annerose von Grünewald. Upon hearing that Count Herxheimer intends to settle the matter with a duel, Reinhard volunteers to represent the Schaffhausen family.
After falling out of favor with the nobility, Count Herxheimer is trying to escape to the Free Planets Alliance with a stolen Seffle particle generator prototype. Reinhard is tasked with retrieving both the prototype and the defector, but is only assigned the cruiser H?ssliche Entlein due to the confidential nature of the mission.
The Third Battle of Tiamat
To commemorate the 30th year of the reign of Kaiser Friedrich IV, the Empire announces a large-scale military campaign against the Free Planets Alliance. In the ensuing clash between the Imperial expeditionary force and three Alliance fleets, Reinhard’s timely intervention shapes the tides of war.
These ‘side stories’ were conceived in both written and anime form after the main series, and they contain a significant amount of foreshadowing and allusions to future events and important characters from the main series that are only named or shown in passing. These references would likely not be appreciated by those who haven’t seen or don’t like the main series. Hence the two prequel series’ should be treated as exactly what they intend to be: A ‘side story’ collection, not unlike some of the ‘specials’ that get bundled with anime DVD’s these days. Except that there’s no filler here, and we get to witness stuff direct from the source material. For that reason, it is strongly recommended that these two prequel Series should be watched after the main series, and this review is aimed at those who have already seen the main series.
Just like the first gaiden, Spiral labyrinth takes up a relaxed pace with a tone that is quite different from the main series’ tension filled drama. It doesn’t have the epic space fights or the massive story or character exposition of the main series. Instead, it presents the highlights of the past lives (mainly the military career) of the series’ main characters i.e Reinhard, Kircheies and Yang wenli. It is quite interesting to see what kind of (shitty) assignments (and misadventures) these future legends had to put up with when they were on the lower end of the military ladder. The lack of an overarching story would normally be worrisome; but the writer(s) takes good advantage of the story arc format, and the result is a commendable variety of stories which differ from each other in nature and theme, and helps keep things fresh.
Since the two prequel Gaidens were released from 1998-2000, the quality of animation is much better than in the main series. The colors are much stronger, the drawing more firm and overall the animation is more vivid. Like the main OVA, the series uses classical music and it fits perfectly well with the scenes. The infamous narrator is back again, except he doesn’t seem too keen on spoiling the story this time around (there’s not much to spoil anyway, as suspense level is much lower for the most part). The Seiyuu cast is the same, except for Kei Tomiyama, who did a perfect job as Yang wenli in the original 110 ep OVA. Due to his death by Pancreatic cancer in 1995, his role in the LOTGH franchise as Yang Wenli was taken over by Hozumi Gouda (hunter x hunter, D-gray man), who doesn’t sound as natural as Kei did in the role, but he makes for a perfect replacement.
The first half is entirely dedicated to Yang who, starting from his humble beginning as the son of a merchant ship Captain who dies in an accident on duty, is dragged into a military career by a strange twist of fate, and is then shot to fame when he saves the population of the planet ‘El Facile’ from an enemy invasion. All this we are told in the main series, but the first two episodes of SL cover the early part of Yangs life in a bit more detail.
His next assignment after El facile is a secret investigation into the death of a famous Free Planet Alliances war hero, ‘Bruce Ashby’, who supposedly died in an accident after winning the second battle of Tiamat. This investigation then takes up the better part of the next 11 or so episodes, during which we see Yang researching history, meeting historical figures, getting posted at a remote POW camp where he meets Patorichev for the first time, and comes across an old history obsessed ex-imperial soldier-turned-POW. As interesting the focus on Yang is, the long arc starts to drag towards the end. Despite that slight hiccup, the cameos on the FPA side are quite interesting. We get to see a much younger Bucock as a Turret operator. Yang’s interaction with Czellnu and Dusty Attenborough never fails to lighten up. The strict and principled Murai also makes an appearance towards the end of the arc to lend Yang a hand out of a tight situation. Overall the arc is interesting and enjoyable thanks mainly due to the history lesson and the solid cameo roles, although the plot itself starts to stagnate towards the end.
The best and the worst part of the series is in the second half; Focusing entirely on Reinhard and his trusty companion Kircheis, the last 14 eps are divided into 4 arcs, each with a unique story. Thus, we have an excellent 4 ep ‘Mutineer’ arc, which places Reinhard and Kircheis in a ship trying to save it from enemies without, while facing an internal discord within its ranks (complete with an epic Lotgh-esque death scene); the somewhat dull ‘duelist’ arc in which Reinhard faces off his would be assassin in a duel is the only blot-mark on the OVA; another 4 ep long masterpiece ‘Retriever’ sees the duo deep in enemy territory on an espionage mission as Reinhard commands a battleship officially for the first time; and finally the 2 ep long ‘third battle of Tiamat which is surprisingly the only arc with a proper lotgh-esque space battle.
While the ‘duelist’ is somewhat underwhelming (although mildly interesting), the ‘Mutineer’ and ‘Retriever’ are so good that they easily come close to the quality of some of the better episodes from the main series. These arcs also add details to LOTGH-verse, as we find out the origin of the zephyr particles, and how Reinhard gets his flagship Brunhilde. There are also some references to characters such as Merkatz; a small (random) cameo by lutz, and a somewhat larger one by Wahlen.
Overall, Spiral Labyrinth is slightly better than the first Gaiden due to a more consistent quality, a better variety of story arcs and a stronger role by Yang wenli. Definitely a must watch for LOTGH fans.
1: Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Gaiden
MAL Score: 8.15
Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Gaiden is the first of two OVA adaptations of side stories from the Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu novel series. This first adaptation follows the achievements of Reinhard von Müsel and Siegfried Kircheis of the Galactic Empire before the fateful Battle of Astarte.
The Silver-White Valley
Reinhard and Kircheis graduate from their military academy and are immediately sent to the frozen frontier planet Kapche-Lanka. Unbeknownst to them, their new superior schemes to kill Reinhard on behalf of a rival of Reinhard’s sister Annerose von Grünewald.
Dreams of the Morning, Songs of the Night
Reinhard and Kircheis are assigned to the Imperial Military Police, where they uncover the corrupt and oppressive practices of the Empire’s law enforcement. They are soon ordered to investigate the murder of a student at their alma mater.
As Reinhard awaits the bestowal of his new title of Count von Lohengramm, he sends Kircheis to the artificial resort satellite Kreuznach III for a vacation. Restless from the lack of work, Kircheis assists the local police with a drug trafficking case related to an attack on a disgraced former Vice Admiral.
A Hundred Billion Stars, a Hundred Billion Lights
While Reinhard is still a commodore in charge of only a single squadron, he laments the incompetence of his superiors during a battle against the Free Planets Alliance. Amassing military successes under the direct command of Vice Admiral Richard von Grimmelshausen, Reinhard repeatedly clashes with Hermann von Lüneburg, a commodore and former regimental commander of the Alliance’s infamous Rosen Ritter.
The setup, as fans already know, is epic defined. Having had his sister sold to the empire’s ruler by his deadbeat dad, Reinhard has vengeance in mind, but coupled with his genius intellect, it’s a vengeance that spans the galaxy, rather than through crosshairs via an assassination. This man wants to dispose of his nemesis in as grand fashion as possible, to not only save his sister, but to ensure it’s not a suicide mission, to prevent his tragedy from ever occurring again to any other. To do this he needs to usurp the ruler himself. His personal desire is dressed in a noble mission of reformation, which adds to the fascination of Reinhard’s character.
Prequels are generally designed to be viewed after the work they’re meant to be set before, this way the viewer can gleefully spot foreshadowing moments and discover insight into characters they think they already know. A Hundred Billion Stars OVA is no different in this regard. Though lacking in any big revelations for the first 13 episodes, it is admittedly more of an exercise in filling-in-the-blanks. However that’s not to say there’s nothing of worth here, because although the first 13 episodes have not much bearing on the main story of the saga, there is still quality writing involved when it comes to character and dialogue.
Seeing how Reinhard began his military career and observing him in the front-lines of the war, dealing with numerous death threats from pissed off aristocrats and embarking on a murder mystery as a member of Military Police is all very entertaining. It’s like constantly dodging bullets, what could have been terrible filler that betrays everything that came before, ends up being a work that is in honour of its predecessor, a supplement; more nourishment for the fans and viewers of anime in general.
The anime is interestingly, and successfully, split into segments. There are a total of four arcs of varying lengths, each with its own chapter numbering. This avoidance of one long narrative is successful because it prevents the anime from hitting slumps where the TV writers make up meaningless ‘filler’ type material to stretch the show to its allocated episode count. Instead we simply jump from one point in Reinhard’s life to the next; a greatest hits of his youth, if you will. His first battle for survival on a harsh planet, a stint in the Military Police, and then what we’re really itching for: a full-on naval/planetary battle against the Alliance with cameos galore. This last arc is what justifies the OVA.
But ok, I just lied about the anime avoiding hitting a slump. The third Kircheis-centred arc is extremely boring, clichéd, has the weakest link to the franchise (replace all the character names and you’ve more or less got a different show) and is populated by irritating characters. Reinhard has about five minutes screen-time, which kind of defeats the purpose of the OVA. It is the only time I have been bored in the entire LotGH viewing experience, and that includes the Golden Wings movie so that’s saying something!
Back to that last arc though, the longest segment and the one to introduce big revelations and become something more than an exercise in filling in blanks. It’s a character study that reveals aspects of a few characters and their relationships to others that we only had a hint of in the main OVA. It cements their mythology for good. What you thought you knew about them before isn’t turned on its head, its instead unabashedly celebrated in this arc, and even better that every aspect of the arc is of the highest quality. The direction, visuals, pacing, and plot, all superb. The biggest antagonist of the arc is a guy you really hate, but for all the right reasons, because he is generally a well-rounded character with intelligence and motive.
The animation isn’t drastically different from the main OVA, but being that it was produced in 1998 it’s smoother; with nice flowing hair moments. Character designs and scene composition is slightly higher of the standard the original OVA set. It’s all acceptable and does the job. It’s not going to win a lot of awards for its looks, but the story and characters are so strong, it doesn’t need to. The music also remains similar to the main OVA, all timeless classical bombast.
What this OVA also asserts is that Reinhard can’t form relationships with other human beings unless he is deemed, or feels, superior to them. This fact is extremely fascinating about the character, and the fact that he’s so damn charismatic and honourable means we simply accept this narcissistic character-flaw of his, whereas in any other anime we’d feel repelled against the character.
Sometimes it’s easy to be swayed by Reinhard’s superior attitude and presence, it’s easy to forget his struggle against the nobility. The OVA reminds us that the character had to fight his entire youth and early career against an entire system, a way of life. And this OVA contributes to his mythos in showing just how difficult and dangerous it was to ascend the ranks by dodging bullets, persecution, intrigue and insults to his dear sister all the way. It makes him one of anime’s greatest characters because he didn’t have everything given to him, he had to earn it.
He also had to earn our respect and admiration via a great voice actor, character design and most importantly characterisation, all of which are in full force in this OVA. I give it a 9 and not a 10 because you need to see the original OVA to complete the experience, and plus one arc wasn’t up to standard, but for all fans of LotGH this OVA is essential viewing.
A low-level nobleman’s son can claim he’s going to rule the universe, yet no one will care about the ridiculous dreams of a rebellious youth. For every rank that child rises, however, the possibility grows more and more real. Old aristocrats always talked about Reinhard and Kircheis’ swift rise in rank, some crediting his sister’s favor with the Emperor, and others noting his significant military accomplishments. In truth it is no small feat for a talented person to come into power. This feat is magnified in a despotic state ruled by incompetent party-goers, as is the case here.
While that struggle is a big focus, arguably more attention is given to the friendship of a blond conqueror and his red-headed guardian. Theirs is perhaps the truest and most positive connection in Legend of the Galactic Heroes.
Kircheis can see Reinhard’s considerable dreams, and admires them; however, Sieg himself is content with small things. He is loyal to a person, not ideals, such that if key people are belittled Kircheis loses his famous morality. Like Reinhard, his views have an inevitable paradox: even if the noble ideals of someone inspire you to follow them, the attachment you form can create a monster, if broken or threatened. Kircheis never blames his master for these issues, preferring to consider what justice can be had from his dire circumstances, a conclusion befitting his reasonable nature.
Reinhard is as charismatic here as in the main series. His aura is a little different; more childish, and unable to contain himself while serving others. He is so definitely a Lord that, as an under-18 junior officer, Reinhard feels perfectly fit to hold galactic Fleet Admirals in full public contempt. Not a single social injustice or corrupted passes him without a sharp rebuttal, and hardly an advantage isn’t capitalized on. His story really does lie ahead though, so what’s seen here is through the eyes of Kircheis: a blond hero whose future is bright, and whose life we follow.
Compared to when the franchise began, the animation has seen a huge improvement. Movements are more fluid, and some scenes look rather stunning, in particular those of the first 4-episode arc. The sound is consistent with the main series: brilliant voice acting (though the passing of Yang’s actor should be mourned), an operatic score, and typical sci-fi sound effects.
I always found the English opening to be questionable, and this one at first was no exception; after some time, however, I found myself never wanting to skip it. The art is beautiful, and the dynamic camerawork is atypical of this series. More than that, the images capture a picture of Reinhard and Kircheis at their purest, while the music and lyrics hinted at a melancholic rejection of how their lives turned out.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Gaiden
2. Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Gaiden (1999)
3. Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino OVA
4. Megazone 23
5. Happiness!: Watarase Jun no Kareinaru Ichinichi
6. Senran Kagura Estival Versus: Mizugi-darake no Zenyasai
7. Hoshi Neko Fullhouse
8. Meisou-Ou Border
9. Sotsugyou M: Ore-tachi no Carnival