In the far future, the elevated irradiation from the sun has destroyed the environment of the earth and the birthrate of humans has drastically decreased. The government controls society with an army of cloned soldiers called "Ideal Children (IC)". Sam Coyne is a trader in a desert. One day, he saves a beautiful woman Maya, who has been chased by Theseus, a corps of IC. He shelters her in his trade ship, but the destroyers of Theseus surround Sam and Maya.
Ozuma is an anime that starts with potential, unfortunately it suffers from a crippling flaw; it's just too short.
The first thing you'll notice is the very old looking character designs, this is because it is based on the unpublished script by Leiji Matsumoto from the 1980's. Some might be put off by them, especially if you have only watched anime post 2000, but I think it provides a good example of how anime has changed visually over the years, and would hope that people would not avoid the series because of the old art. The animation was of a good quality throughout the run, and the CGI which was used often was mostly done well, although there were one or two instances where it looked slightly awkward.
The soundtrack for Ozuma did it's job satisfactorily though it didn't stand out very much due to it being forgettable. The ED, "Utagoe" by Minami Kizuki is a pleasant track with some soft piano, however it is the OP "Neverland" by F.T. Island that will attract your attention. There is both a Japanese and an English version of the opening, the version you will hear will depend on the source of the episodes you watch. Both versions are decent tracks, though I much preferred the English opening.
The setting was initially very interesting, the earth has turned to desert due to increased radiation, and the cloned people called the "ideal children" rule over society. I thought this all had a lot of intrigue, and hoped that we would get interesting revelations as the show progressed.
Unfortunately nothing much came of the setting, and this is where it starts to go downhill, most of Ozuma's problems (including this one) stem from the aforementioned length. This is only 6 episodes long, but there was enough content to constitute over twice that. As an unavoidable consequence, this was very rushed. There isn't much time to build up to revelations, develop characters, or even have a satisfactory plot.
The plot seems very simple at first, with Sam (our protagonist) saving Maya from her pursuers, followed by a battle that mimics submarine warfare. In reality the plot should have been much more complicated, with politics and important biological themes, namely "species which do not evolve will not survive", however, despite the potential for a complex and interesting story, it is mostly glossed over due to the time constraints, which is a massive shame. The mystery about Ozuma (the sand whale) was interesting, but the way in which we found out it's true "identity" was underwhelming, and a plot twist concerning Gido was fairly obvious.
Due to the fact the characters were conceived in the 1980's, they have the common personality quirks from that time, and are likable, though most of them are only in the background, since there isn't any time to cover them. The main characters suffered from a lack of characterization, and with the pace of the show, there was no time for proper character development or any change in the relationships between the characters. The way Sam and Maya interact with each other stays the same throughout, which was disappointing. The only main character that stood out was Bainas, as she was an intelligent commander who was entertaining to watch, and progressed the most as a character, which was still too little.
Ozuma is enjoyable most of the way through, the battles that take place beneath the surface of the sand are well executed and make use of clever tactics, and because they are like submarine battles, you can actually understand what's going on to the full extent. However by the end, where the pacing of the show is the most rushed, I found everything so underwhelming that I wasn't so much unable to enjoy it, but I just stopped caring about what was happening.
To conclude, there was far too much content for the time available, which resulted in an anime which was disappointing, and left you with a feeling of indifference, which is a pity considering how much potential it had and how likable it was at the beginning.read more
First of all, I feel I should remind any reader that this anime is by Leiji Matsumoto... that's the same guy that did the Harlock Saga if that name drew a blank for you. So, if you like his stuff, you will like this anime. For me, he has been hit-or-miss, so we shall see.
Story AND characters, there are many elements of a typical Leiji Matsumoto storyline. We have a near ruined, desert-like landscape, intrepid, young hero with scruffy hair, lovely, delicate-looking, young woman in danger, spunky but still pretty girl, Lady captain of the "good" ship that looks completely like all the other female captains Leiji Matsumoto has drawn, and the Captain of the "bad" government ship with the obligatory mask. The story looks a LITTLE different from some of Matsumoto's past works, but not really enough to comment on... yet. I get the idea of picking something and sticking with it, but do all of his animes/mangas HAVE to have the same characters just repeated in the same song, different verse? NAME one of Matsumoto's characters that typically appear in his works, and I believe you have it here.
The art was typical of Leiji Matsumoto. It was, of course, beautiful and it was nice to see that the guy finally learned how to draw a nose. I'm sorry, but aside from some cleaner lines and the nose thing, the art is exactly the same as his other works. Lovely, but... exactly. the. same.
The sound was refreshing. The OP was all in English... and I could understand every word!!! The music throughout the anime was fitting and very nice, and the Ending song was pretty and soft.
Like I said before, if you are a fan of Leiji Matsumoto, you will love this. If you have never seen his stuff, this is a good anime to start out on... only six episodes. If you, like me, like his stuff ok but think it gets a bit old and repetitive, you still might want to check it out as it IS only six episodes. read more
OZMA is your stereotypical apocalyptic-type story, where the world is pure desert and people must live in cities near an oasis. The conflict is centered on the titular OZMA figure that appear to be a beast that has terrorized the high sands for centuries. The majority of the action take place on the ship that the main characters reside on and centers on their interaction with the "Ideal Children" empire and their princess.
Story(6)-The story is okayish, I guess. While the overall plot is decent and such I would have loved to see more of the apocalyptic culture. Oh well, I guess there's Mad Max. The story centers on a young boy named Sam, whose older brother Dick(I am not making this up) mysteriously vanished years ago. Sam believes OZMA is the reason for his disappearance and tries to track OZMA's movement. While this story is great in concept I don't believe it actually works. The majority of the 6 episodes is someone being kidnapped and Sam's friends having to retrieve them. The ending is a bit lackluster as it does not provide valid closure to the audience as well.
Art(8)-Honestly, the art was pretty good. This art was very unique so to speak, as every character had their own facial structure. Even the throwaway's had no similarities among them even if they were only active for one scene.
Sound(5)-Aside from the opening and the closing no music came to my mind as special. I believe the opening was tailored for this anime as it fits the mood perfectly. The closing is extremely mellow as well, which is something I look for in my theme pieces. The only negative is the other music isn't really notable. If I was only judging based off of theme music alone, this would be a 8.
Character(5)-The character's were alright, the main character(Sam) pissed me off to no end. It's obviously not apparent that this character learns any lesson from his actions and does the same actions over and over to advance the plot. Other more interesting characters do the same type of thing and the most interesting characters are skipped over in the process of attempting to develop other characters
Enjoyment(4)-I didn't really enjoy the series because it had one key flaw to me, it did not worldbuild very well. The majority of the story happens on the barren desert while they had a beautiful intro city that I would have love to see more off. It also had battles in locations that we knew about in this world and did not attempt to be unique in a sense.
Overall(4)-This series does what it is intended to do, which is tell a story about the mysterious OZMA, but even then it barely does that. It skips over the notable thing in the post-apocalyptic genre in favor of horrible character development.
Would I recommend this series if your an very experienced anime viewer? : Yes.
Anyone else? :
No read more
Also being labeled as Ozma. It's created by Matsumoto Leiji (the creator of Space Battleship Yamato) and directed by Takahashi Ryosuke who created Armoured Trooper Votoms. The story is a bit cliche to me. Takes place in a world where almost everything has turned into a dessert, a fateful encounter happened between a boy, Sam with a girl, Maya. Maya, who appears to be an important person, was chased by Theseus, a cloned army of the government. Sam saves Maya and brings her to his ship. Theseus army then begins the chase.... Does anyone else expect a pair of droids or a Yoda character to be mentioned at some point?
From just the staff and art style gives an "old school" 70's/80's style anime feel. So if you like old school anime or just have a thing for nostalgia this is a good series for you!
I personally dropped this anime. It shows potential but just wasn't to my taste. I don't mind that the art style is a bit old school but I found the story to be a bit too cliche. read more