A story of future Earth - A warning for mankind: In the future, our planet will be transformed into a strange new world where human life struggles on an Earth without rain or oceans - only vast, parched deserts.
Two youths fight for survival on our hostile planet and find hope. The sea, the sky and the land had been completely polluted by mankind when mysterious objects fall from the heavens. These titanic vessels smash into the planet and suck up the air, water, and most living creatures into their womb, stealing away the very essence of Earth`s nature.
The few remaining inhabitants struggle for survival against a hostile environment and an oppressive ruling race known as the Rodo. One young, hot-blooded human named Ran, fights against the Rodo and a world in which rain is only a legend. He strives to join an Anti-Rodo group known as the Hazzard, not only to defeat the Rodo, but also to hunt down the man who killed his mother.
Green Legend Ran is an interesting little OVA from the early 90s that's probably too ambitious for its own good. It's got ancient aliens, a post-apocalyptic earth, opposing factions consisting of religious extremists and their corresponding resistance, a revenge plot, a love story, and some kind of environmental message. Taking place in such a detailed setting with such a detailed lore, it doesn't quite know where to start and where to end.
And that's a major problem for Green Legend Ran: It has lots of interesting ideas, but it doesn't spend the appropriate amount of time on each one, and in that way its two
hour run time paradoxically feels both too long and too short. The narrative that's woven between all of these concepts can be a little jarring as a result, causing the motivations of some characters to come into question. Some holes are present in the plot, too. While it's not really hard to catch on eventually, it is hard to feel engaged when you're not always invested in what's going on. And, although the concepts can be interesting, they're sometimes relegated to expository dialogue instead of being explored through actions.
The main characters of this OVA are Ran and Aira, and they have some pretty good chemistry together. In fact, the best scene of the series is simply a lighthearted one that features the two of them playfully getting to know each other while on an errand to fetch some resources. The animators portray their body language so fluidly and realistically here that it's just really fun to watch. But, as fun as it is, the scene's simply not long enough to convince the viewer that Ran already feels as strongly as he does for Aira. As soon as she gets snatched up by the bad guys, he's already dead set on risking his life for her, and they've only talked for what was maybe twenty minutes at best. Not only is this abrupt parting unsuccessful in providing a compelling character motivation for Ran, it also robs the rest of the series of further interactions between these two characters, which is especially disappointing.
Ran himself isn't exactly the most likable character, either—at least sometimes. It's an odd situation where the show clearly tries its hardest to make you care for him...and you know, it does work to an extent, but there's just something about it that doesn't feel genuine—like they were going through a checklist of things they could mix together to make a protagonist that would earn your sympathy, when ultimately he just comes across as a nasally-voiced little shit half the time. The emotional climaxes of his arc seem kind of awkward, too, probably due to him hardly getting the chances to interact with those characters who are supposed to be so important to him. However, Ran does have some cute moments with Jeke that do manage to feel genuine despite their predictability.
What probably ends up being the most fascinating aspect of this series is its atypical interpretation of environmentalism. It's almost the antithesis to the idealistic pro-earth beliefs of someone like Hayao Miyazaki; here, rather than being put on a pedestal, the forces of nature are represented by an oppressive alien god who actually feels like an exaggerated mockery of the type of person who would love nothing more than to see the earth purged of us "rotten humans" who do nothing but destroy it. This series proposes that wishing for such a thing would probably be going too far and that moderation is important for both sides. To be fair, though, Miyazaki's works never quite go that far either, as they usually end on the hopeful note of giving humans a second chance. However, nature is usually portrayed as the side that's deserving of the most respect in his stories, and it'll certainly never be painted as the villain. (And, if you've read certain quotes from the man, you'll know he's the type who'd probably be more in agreement with the "screw humanity" creed of the alien god of this story.) Regardless, it is refreshing to see an anime that tackles this subject matter from an angle that's different from what's seen most of the time.
Now, if there's one thing that's clear about this OVA it's that it looks very good. It's got appealing character designs, the animation is stellar, and there's a lot of momentum that's given to every action; objects and characters have a nice physicality and weight to them. The setting of the series also really comes through in the creative shot compositions that show off the gorgeous landscapes of the desert and the rows of rusty industrial buildings. There's also a great use of lighting here, where vivid, colorful rays and other shapes frequently shine though and pop against the darker backdrops creating an atmosphere with a lot of depth. The only negative when it comes to the look of the show is the occasional use of black gradients that are thrown on top of shots which looks pretty lazy and distracting. But, other than that, the visuals provide nothing but eye candy throughout the entire series.
The more I think about it, the more the story of Green Legend Ran actually feels like something better suited for a long JRPG, where all of its ideas could've had the time to shine. Some scenes even feature segments that could've easily been gameplay instead, particularly one moment where Ran has to follow directions written on notes left by another character in order to make it through a mysterious maze. That being said, the glimpse we do get of this world, however disjointed, is one that's filled with imagination. Its attitude towards the environmentalism debate is intriguing enough on its own.
Green Legend Ran is the kind of anime you'd to see on the sci fi channel at four in the morning one night out of the blue and absolutely love. It's really a diamond in the rough, folks. The story might seem unoriginal but it was a fairly unexplored concept when it was made. The idea is a little similar to Trigun and Origin: Spirits of the past, which I think some's reccomended. It's darker in tone, though, and the conclusion is a little abrupt. The art isn't outstanding but it serves it's purpose. Some characters are more thought out design-wise than others, which is
a bit of a shame. The sound serves its purpose but you'll just as soon forget it. The story outshines the characters sometimes but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable. It's still worth watching, I've enjoyed it a lot over the years.
Once again , this was one anime in a bargain VHS box decades ago i passed on because it din´t look interesting.
Decades and some months later i´ve watched it and it was an adventure i wish i was in it, at first look it is more to figure out ( after the narration ofc) where this ova is going , because though i had no expectations at all, after the 1st episode i was a bit skeptical about the animation and all, but DON´T Judge a book by its cover.
Onwards to part 2 &3 the storyline and all became more clear, even though
some early 90´s anime had some bad 1980´s animation habits, it looked more ´proffesionally directed´ more colour and better camera work.
Storywise it reminded me a bit of the 1995 anime Blue Seed wich has simmilair plantlike enemies, Green legend ran looks more respectively but a much cheaper idea and product, but still fun.
Soundwise i had no problems with, i LOVE those 90´s anime sound effects blended into it.
No way that the charachters were´stereotypical´ because each important
charachter has like a clear own personality, ok at times it drops at unexpected moments but thats how it was back then, as for the heroes and villians design it looks quite good, but the villians got a special design given to then ( mainly the ´super villians´) since they are not from earth,that is understandable ofc. Through some oldskool grainy scene´s and sometimes wobbly sidecharachters i had a good time given to me , and as a lone ova project from the 90´s it had a good potential to became more ´wellknown´ as would put it so overall its a good saturdaynight anime for 135 min! enjoy