When a research crew in deep space discovers the desolate ship "Green Planet" that warps into their area, they encounter Buzz, the commander and sole surivor of the ship. Being too incapacitated to make them aware of the situation of his ship, the research team will soon discover that they have found something far, far worse...
There is a reason Roots Search has been forgotten: it’s terrible. It isn’t terrible because the character development is shoddy, inconsistent, and arbitrary. It isn’t terrible because the plot is convoluted to the point of making obtuse art films seem lucid in comparison. It isn’t even terrible because of its low-budget animation quality or awkward pacing. With the right mixture of each of these, one could make a title that is “so bad it’s good”. And yet, somehow, Roots Search manages to just barely miss even this mark. It’s simply a case of being “so bad it’s still terrible”.
is a relatively early product of the OVA boom, produced in an industry that had money to spare for extraneous or daring titles—and if nothing else, Roots Search is pretty daring. To start off with, imagine writing a script that included psychic powers, interstellar travel, alien monsters, space stations and star ships and futuristic machinery, and then at the last minute tried to add in religious references to fallen angels, abstract embodiments of the Wrath of God, and a final purge of humanity that takes the form of a fleshy ever-mutating mass of monstrous tendrils and gore. The result is exactly what Roots Search consists of. It might be confusing to imagine how these elements could possibly combine to form coherent narrative, but have no fear; they don’t. Characters die arbitrarily, plot threads are left hanging out in the open, important devices introduced at the beginning are seemingly forgotten halfway through, and the final scene before the credits brings absolutely no resolution to the conflict despite attempting to appear so. In fact, the climax of the piece bears almost no resemblance to the rest of the work, introduces more unanswerable questions, and creates a tension that ignores the narrative tension that had already been building up over the course of the first half-hour—only to present a denouement that is just as unrelated and mind numbingly bizarre as the climax had been. It’s quite a puzzling method of structuring, to say the least, helped no doubt by extremely uneven pacing and a total disregard for a coherent development of character interactions.
The narrative elements aside, the animation isn’t anything all that special either. For an OVA of 1986, it ranks just below average on a scale of smoothness, but characters spend so much time in static positions that it really makes no difference. There are a few well-choreographed shots near the end, but again, they last only a few seconds in length and certainly aren’t worth sitting through the rest of the train wreck unless one is truly interested in this kind of surreality. Colors are dull but standard, and character models, backgrounds, and miscellaneous designs are similarly unremarkable. There’s a fair amount of blood that pops up in brief scenes throughout the runtime, however the more surreal and horrific material doesn’t come until close to the end.
All said and done, there isn’t much of this thing that has much redeeming value. The writing catastrophe is so ludicrous that it might be worthy of any daring enough to blow three quarters of an hour on watching it, but the animation and sound is so dated that there is little to no replay value. For all but the most adventurous journeyers into the underbelly of the OVA boom, I recommend staying away from this title. It deserves its niche in the dustbins.
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.
For many this just another piece in the long catalogue of AIC properties that were made by nobodies and can be only enjoyed by riffing on them. The two names that stand out in the production are the script writer, which is closer to what the US calls "script doctors" and just tries to make sense of the director's idea; and the mecha designer that you could know from Nadesico or Rayheart S2.
The production costs are divided between the gore scenes (with some decent blood splashes because 90's) and set designs. If there's something to enjoy here is the biologicaly infected spaceships, the later
is what made me watch this in the first place. On the other hand the characters look like a poor imitation of generic anime designs, there are barely any inbetweens and the general plot could not be there.
The main idea is an alien that dispenses justice on the guilty, but we only find out who is guilty and of what right before they die. There are espers, because it's japanese scifi, and very basic metaphors to explain things that require more, for the same reason.
If this hadn't been taken by Manga Corp no one would know about it, I'd risk to say that it was made as a cheap export as AIC used to do. In that way it serves as a way to understand that brief moment in the anime market and that's more use than it deserves to have. It also has very cool promo art, the laser disc cover in particular. I'd heavily recommend checking those images out.