Nov 9, 2018
Straight from the heart of the OVA boom of the mid 1980s comes Roots Search, a weird sci-fi horror with a rushed, bland plot and the finest mediocre animation 1986 had to offer. I couldn't tell you were I found this one as it had been in my collection for quite a while but I could not recall where exactly I'd obtained it. Probably part of a larger batch with some other equally terrible 80s OVAs.
I watched a sub on Laserdisc. The best part was those sweet refraction effects that just don't look the same outside of Laserdisc.
The story was awful. Quite cliche.
It was a blend of Event Horizon, Alien, and Solaris (I'm aware that two of those movies came out after). That sounds awesome but in practice it was far from it. Note that this is about 45 minutes while those are all around 2 hours. Before the viewer has any real idea what's going on, there is suddenly an alien on a table and everyone is just "huh, that's weird" about it. I do appreciate hopping right into the action but this was a bit too rushed. Much of the early plot implied we knew more than quite literally nothing about the characters. Everyone gets existential for no reason out of the blue. With no prompting whatsoever, characters question life and the nature of existence. The female lead knows the male lead for, what, half an hour before before falling in love with him?
As for the animation/art, poor. Just plain poor. The lines are far from crisp and the characters have wonky proportions. The female lead is the only one who seems to have had any effort put into them. The alien just looks goofy. Environments are bland. The period was known for its painstaking detail and none of that can be found here. The editing is also atrocious. Midway through a scene the action will just stop.
The sound is mediocre at best. The voices were recorded at different qualities, making conversations distracting. Sometimes objects like guns do not make any sound. The music improves toward the end but is just overall 'eh'.
I did not know this was a horror anime until I looked it up on MAL. With that, it was not scary. The thrills are boring. The zingers are bland. Nothing to see here. The ending will make you shrug. No satisfaction at all.
Despite the awfulness, I don't regret watching it. I love the low budget OVAs and I believe they are an important feature in the history of anime. While on the whole Roots Search was trash, it had elements that can be found elsewhere. Will I watch it again? No.
What did you think of this review?