Monday, June 18, 2012

Anime Review: Ozma

It seems like every season there is one show that airs a month or so earlier than everything else and this time around the show was a six episode OVA based on a concept by Leji Matsumoto. I haven't seen any works that he's actually, well, created since I don't think he had much to do with this project, so I thought this might be a good place to dip my toes into the Lejiverse and then try out some other series later. Although it turns out this might not have been the best one to start with....


Summary: At some point in the future Earth has undergone a massive desertification and the only people left seem to be "Ideal Children" (seemingly immortal people who were created through genetic modification long ago) and "Naturals" (who were also modified long ago but have since lived and reproduced normally). Sam Colin's belongs to the later group and while looking for the legendary sand whale OZMA one day he comes across the mysterious Maya who is being chased by the army of the Ideal Children. He brings her back to the sand ship captained by an old friend of him and his brother, Bainas, and the resulting power struggle for Maya could set the course for the future of the entire planet.

The Good: The battles in the sand were genuinely interesting and tense to watch, you don't often see submarine style tactics in a show and I thought those were the best parts of the show. The side character Mimay got more development than I was expecting, probably more than Sam did in the end, and oddly enough the other character I thought was the most fleshed out was the captain Bianas, odd simply because they were two female side characters, not the leads. The premise had the potential to be interesting but sadly it just didn't deliver in the end.

The Bad: I've heard that the original concept of Ozma was for a movie and it shows, the plot already feels stretched over just six episodes and despite that it feels rather lacking in a lot of areas. Every single character, except perhaps Bainas, needs more character development, and the setting needs a lot of fleshing out as well. We, the viewers, know there is a conflict going on but the details about what it's actually about are rather scarce, overall I was more disappointed than impressed by this work.

The Audio: Funny enough the opening song was in English on the legal English streaming sites but was in Japanese for the Japanese broadcast, don't think I've ever seen a show do that. Other than that, none of the music really stuck out to me. Actually, the ending music was so plain that I didn't even watch it all the way through and missed the foreshadowing in it, oops.

The Visuals: As I am quickly discovering, Matsumoto draws a lot of rather similar character designs and the not-important characters had incredibly simple designs (which in an odd way dated the show, or at least the concept) and the show wasn't as visually interesting as I was hoping for. I've seen a number of other people complain that the animation was cheap looking and, although I still can't differentiate between average and crappy animation unless I'm really paying attention, since I saw that complaint from so many people in multiple places that I'll take their word for that.

So a miss, the show is streaming on Crunchyroll and Viki but honestly I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, there are better desert sci-fi shows out there and I suspect there are much better Leji Matsumoto shows out there too.   

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