Feb 21, 2022
This OVA consists of two action-packed space adventures. While the first episode is slightly above average, the second one won an "OVA of the Year Award" in 1989, and it's easy to see why.
"The Ice Prison," the first episode, follows a plot reminiscent of the one in the movie (the OVA can be enjoyed without having seen the movie, however). There are 2 brief nude scenes near the beginning, and it starts out slow. It gets better after about 10 minutes in, but the story ends abruptly. One important thing to note about this episode, and what lowers my score for it, is that it
has excessive eyecatches. There are a total of 10 eyecatches that appear throughout the episode to mark scene transitions, and they're jarring. This would be much easier to watch without them. The music is about the same quality as that of the movie; it's an orchestral soundtrack, with a jazzy pop-style ending theme. Voices are good. Character designs are interesting; one of the characters in this episode 1 wears odd glasses with lenses that look like cut emeralds (how does he see out of those?). The animation is good. While this episode is heavy on the action, there isn't a whole lot of violence in it; what little there is consists mostly of implied deaths off-screen, and nothing too graphic. On its own, I rate "The Ice Prison" a 6. It's on par with the movie, with slightly better pacing and direction, but not enough to give it a higher score.
The second episode, "The Ultimate Weapon: Ash," is the stronger of the two. You don't need to watch the first episode to understand the second, by the way; they're each like a short movie. Anyway, "Ash" has an action-filled plot that is fast-paced, yet easy to follow. There are some violent scenes, especially when the Cloakers (biomechanical lifeforms) decapitate people, etc., but these scenes are quick and relatively tame. There is no nudity in this episode. Similar to the first episode, "Ash" ends rather abruptly and we don't get to see the aftermath, and we also don't get much development of the characters that hadn't already been established in the movie. But it is still quite good, and one of the best single '80s OVA episodes out there. As mentioned above, this particular episode won the "OVA of the Year Award" at the Japan Anime Awards ("Nihon Anime Taisho") in 1989. Animation, voice acting, and music are on the same level as the previous episode, and there are no annoying eyecatches in this one. I give "Ash" an 8.
Since the first episode is a 6, and the second is an 8, the combined rating for the OVAs is 7. They are both worth watching if you like classic sci-fi action, and the second one in particular is highly entertaining.
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