From Ryosuke Takahashi and Norio Shioyama, the creative minds behind great animes such as Armored Trooper VOTOMs and Panzer World Galient, comes an epic tale of swords and sorcery! On the eternal planet of Mozaika, the formerly benevolent King Sazara has been possessed by an evil priest and has begun a bloody path of conquest all across the world! Mozaika's only hope is the young warrior U-Taruma, son of U-Dante, one of Sazara's victims. If you like fantasy, or classic Norio Shioyama character designs, you can't miss this 4-episode OVA!
Eiyuu Gaiden Mozaicka is very much a product of the sword-and-sorcery/sword-and-sci-fi fantasy tales that had their heyday in the 80's, in much the same vein as famous titles like Conan the Barbarian, Krull or Ridley Scott's "Legend". But of course, this being the 80's, much of the output (especially in the west) was equal proportions of tackiness, cheesiness and aggressive mediocrity. The same held true of anime OVAs that took inspiration from this trend. Thankfully, Mozaicka is one of the better works to emerge from this trend, thanks to the involvement of director Takahashi Ryosuke and animation director Shioyama Norio, whose winning partnership I last
witnessed in VOTOMS.
While the story is as generic as it gets, the aesthetic is where the show truly shines. The world of Mozaicka is a meticulously detailed expanse of the unknown, and you get the feeling of having been treated to only a small glimpse of it within the show's running time. Mozaicka is a fine example of how presentation alone can elevate the most generic of generic tales to a small experience in its own right. There is a banjo-playing wanderer who reflects on the world and the developments in the story with poignant music. There is an omniscient "bird of wisdom" that has been unable to hatch and has grown old in its eggshell, that regards the protagonists' predicament with habituated despair. All these flourishes add a certain character to a world that would otherwise have felt bland. The character designs are equally inventive, and each one stands out visually. Oh, and the characters ride bipedal "horses" that are something of a cross between a bighorn sheep and a velociraptor, and have the agility of a mountain goat to boot.
Back to the story and characters - it's something about a formerly benevolent king Sazara who has been corrupted by an evil priest and now plans to rule the whole world by force from his hovering Laputa-esque fortress (that is incidentally modeled after his face). Opposing him is a lone boy called U-Taruma, who is basically Chirico Cuvie from VOTOMS with his blue hair now grown out. So our fearless young hero musters a bunch of ragtags and discontents from the fringes and borders of the world to rebel against Sazara, so the King sends out his Darth Vader-esque general to crush the seeds of dissent, who sets off in this battleship fortess modeled after the king's right fist (in this case, quite literally made of iron). It's a little more complicated than that actually, but the whole point is that this is basically a setup to show some cool action scenes with equally cool visual flourishes.
The only thing that feels out of place in an otherwise highly consistent aesthetic is the ending theme song, which is an 80's pop-rock score dangerously close to cheesy territory (though here you might feel differently), with Engrish lyrics to boot. Though this show was made in 1991, it reflects the withdrawal symptoms the media felt at being weaned off the 80's, much like a guy refusing to chop off his mullet hairdo until well into the mid-90's. But given that it's precisely such nostalgia that gave us a quirky show like this, I'm not going to complain. It's a "jingle-jangle" night, baby!
Hi. I'm not a super serious anime reviewer, but I saw that this one didn't have any reviews, so I thought I'd try to give you the gist of it.
First, if you don't like fantasy, there's nothing here for you. The eery alien world is the true main character, and it is not character driven, though there are some good characters. The plot plays out like a chapter from an alien bible. I love it, but I know most people who watch anime like heavily character driven things. I mean, generally with OVAs you'll find little character development, but this one is particularly mythological in
its style. Big things transpire in an alien world.
The art is good for the time. There's no 5 tone shading, and I've seen better action sequences, but the character designs and the atmosphere are top notch. Like I said before, the world is the main character, and it comes through in the variety of characters as well as the mysterious and alien backdrops. The "demons" are very creative and striking in their design, and were a highlight for me.
The sound is fairly crappy by today's standards. No surprise there. The ending theme however is really cool and funky-- check it out.
I really liked this because I like old OVAs, and I like plot driven anime that transport me to another world. The art was good enough. The designs themselves were great. It was generally trippy and alien, and kept me interested. If that sounds good to you, give it a shot.