Hello there. This is review number fifty seven and I’m back reviewing the Spring 2012 lineup. I missed a few more and I only discovered them after I double checked my list. It’s OK because the longer anime of this season is rolling to a stop soon.
I’m reviewing a short anime this time. It’s Ozma or Ozuma that is only six episodes long. Don’t let that fool you. This anime is a novelty. Let’s read on.
The story is a bit hard to explain without some major spoilers but it starts out with an explanation of how the Sun and its deadly rays devastate the Earth thus covering it in sand. I’m not sure if it’s post-apocalyptic but you’re free think of it that way. One day when Sam Coyne was riding his bike when he sees a girl being chased down by a large ship. The chase was interrupted by Ozma, a giant sand dwelling monster, and Sam was able to save the girl. He took him to his captain’s base but the army was serious on taking her back. The captain of the ship said no and so battle ensues but the girl has a secret about her which is the reason why the army desperately needs her. Sam is about to discover what it is.
Taking the Pants Off
Space Opera. This generation of anime fans doesn’t know what that is about but people who grew up on anime of the 70s and 80s know exactly what that is. It’s one of the most common themes in old school anime. The premise of adventures in Space that tackles heroism and of course, a nice helpful of drama is what Space Opera is about. Ozuma is an anime reflecting the spirit of Space Opera. It’s the latest work of Leiji Matsumoto who is pretty famous for his Space Operas. He is known for anime like Space Battleship Yamato, Captain Harlock and The Galaxy Railways. These are very huge anime back in the old days when anime is still fairly new but with avant garde approach to anime nowadays, this would be outdated. I’m not from the 70s by the way. I just love anime that much. Actually, Interstellar 555 was one of Leiji’s works. That was a pretty popular Space Opera.
Leiji’s latest work is essentially a revival of the good old days. All the things that make Space Opera great were reintroduced back into Ozuma. It’s a six episode original screenplay by Leiji about a boy who met a girl who is being chased down by an army.
The very first thing that strikes you when you watch this is the rather nostalgic art style of the anime. The slender character with the pointy faces and color combination that resembles old school anime. It was very nostalgic and you immediately feel the presence of Captain Harlock or the Galaxy Railway from watching one episode. The large sand ships of the anime are also very familiar. In a way, I guess it is bad because the anime looks run of the mill but the attachment of this anime to the old school ones was one of the reasons why it is still enjoyable despite being only six episodes.
The story was pretty decent and I was actually surprised that the pacing was not rushed. Well, it wasn’t rushed until the last episode. The story had a nice pacing about Sam saving Maya from the Theseus, the army chasing her. Maya seems to be very important for the Theseus who is all “Ideal Children” who are people that was created by choosing the best genetic makeup of people. These Ideal Children seems to rule society and under them are people called Natura. Basically, it’s like a rich and poor kind of divide among the people but the rich is now facing extinction. Maya is believed to be the one to save them. Maya actually escaped from the rich’s grasp to go meet Ozuma. It’s the large sand dwelling creature that randomly appears on the sand sea. She asks Sam for help to meet the monster and what ensues is a fight that determines the fate of the entire world.
The best part about the anime is the fights between the land ships. There was a lot of technical babble thrown around but it was basically a chess game and we get to see both players try to outsmart each other. It was also different to see a fight in the sand. The sand acts like water and the ships acts like submarines. The two captains of the ships try to out maneuver each other and there were some brilliant moves from both sides which was really impressive.
The two captains is also part of the main cast in this anime. They were also one of the elements that helped brought out the Space Opera appeal of the anime. There were generic at best but the story calls for them to rise to the occasion on a lot of the best parts of the anime. There was also an interesting twist in the later parts of the anime that really makes both captains very likeable.
The anime has some major flaws though and one of that is the last episode. The pacing was really nice and the story was able to develop in five episodes so I was a bit disappointed at how the last episode played out. Most of the hurdles of a six episode anime were nicely overcome by this show but it couldn’t do much justice for the ending. It was truly a shame.
The other flaw of this anime is handling some of the characters. The crucial ones that move the story along was developed pretty nicely but there were some characters that was abandoned then reintroduced later on. There was one character that died in the anime but there was no emotional response from me because I only saw that guy in a flashback. They should’ve just eliminated him completely and let him stay as a flashback.
The anime was still great though. It’s like an hour and a half long movie cut into six episodes. I marathon the anime and I suggest you do the same in order to better appreciate the anime. It’s a great anime despite its flaws.
Sight and Sound
The animation is an obvious stand out. The 70s appeal was present in this anime. There are the tall, slender and pretty girls with pointy faces. There are the men with the cleft chin and muscular build. There are some characters with the rather Osamu Tezuka appeal. It’s not moe because moe wasn’t around during the 70s. The attention to detail on the vehicles is also a standout.
The best part though is the marriage of this old school style with CG animation. I was literally drooling at how amazing the result was. It was the same approach they did to “A woman named Fujiko” and I think I see a trend forming here. I would love to see more old school anime get the CG treatment.
The OP was English sung a Japanese band and I was distracted at first because I can’t hear the lines but if you close your eyes then you can hear it clearly. It’s a very catchy song. I also like the opening sequence as it represents the theme of hope that was present, suggestively, in the anime. The scene of this dried up desert and the flowers swaying to the breeze represents the human’s adoptability. It then introduced the characters. It’s a nice opening sequence.
The ED was a bit sadder and it’s a common thing for a Space Opera anime to have such ending songs. There are some sad parts in the anime and I guess the ED reflects that. The ending sequence was nothing special. It’s just the girls of the anime looking cute and sad or whatever.
5/10 “One episode ruined the whole experience. A shame.”
This anime is really nice and despite its restricted length, the anime still delivers an action packed anime with some decent twists and nicely paced story. I recommend it.