The Planet Terra, once called a morning star in galactic system, was so beautiful. However, Terra is now under crisis that it may disappear with big explosion in universe due to the pollution and warfare. Dr. Chaco is the only one who knows the key of saving the planet Terra. The only way to save Terra is to make rainbow system work with seven mysterious crystals. To find 7 crystals, Dr. Chaco holds a race to achieve his plot to build his own universal dynasty with the power of the crystals. Riding Hamos Rick joins the race not knowing Dr. Chaco''s plot. Rick comes to know the secret of the crystals on the way of the race, tries to revive the planet Terra. This causes a war between Dr. Chaco and Rick to get the 7 crystals and rainbow system.
Since I was very young I had a great amount of cartoons and anime I had enjoyed but no other anime, or to be more precise- a manhwa, has ever had such impact on me as a child. I had watched all of it from the start to finish for at least five times and it broke my heart to find out that the Kanal D, the broadcaster for the tiny country of Serbia, where I was watching it was shut down. But looking back at it, I am ultimately shocked at how great and underrated this show is- how is it possible that this
is not at least fansubbed in English?!
Story of the Hamos The Green Chariot starts fairly simple, by giving you the introduction to the planet of Terra who saw much tragedy and pain, then it introduces you to the crew of the Hamos, probably the coolest tank I had seen, ever, who are about to embark on a journey to pay the bills for the orphanage by finding the seven crystals. The story adds layer upon layer as it progresses toward the epic tale of saving the Terra, and it becomes sometimes even surprisingly dark for something marketed towards children and has a fantastic coming of age touch to it and fills you with hope. It can be dismissed as a typical save-the-world kind of story, which, depending on your perspective, it can be, but the way it is told with convincing and humanistic characters is fantastic and it really makes you cheer for the cast! My only problem with it is that some parts of it are rather cheesy- like very, very cheesy, but these moments are brief and it had not distracted me from the epic tale it is telling.
The story almost fundamentally changes from episode 10 when the mecha element is introduced- Rick gets his own robot, the Patron, which looks fantastic and is memorable.
Hamos' art style is fantastic- the landscapes and the scenery is extremely diverse, ranging from barren deserts to megacities. Character designs are great and are very distinctive- Rick's character's design is probably one of the most distinctive designs I had seen in animation and Gutpo is the best robot ever- because he has a robotic mustache! The design of the chariot (the thank) itself is very cool, very memorable. I think that the art's major strength is its diversity, as mentioned before, in landscapes to the character designs. Mecha designs are very memorable and the scene of Rick entering the patron is in my opinion, iconic.
Animation is highly detailed, has a weight to it and is very expressive. Action scenes stand out as one of the finest from the 90s and the character animation outside from action is also fantastic. There wasn't a moment when it felt badly animated.
The original Korean opening theme 'Rick's Theme' sung by Girl is beyond fantastic- even without knowing the lyrics it conveys a fantastic sense of emotion and is extremely hopefully, like it is telling you 'Have faith in the Earth, the shining tomorrow shall bring you hope!' and it is used even as a background music, and every time it is used, it creates a magnificent blend with the scene and makes it even more memorable. Other music is also great- for example, Mary Hunter's theme is excellent, appears at the right time and feels appropriate. Other music is slightly less memorable, but it gets the job done. Sound effects stand between great and ok, but they serve their purpose. Japanese intro theme 'Looking for the Rainbow' by Humming Bird is OK, and interestingly, the Serbian opening sequence is actually using the instrumental of this rather then of the original 'Rick's theme'! Serbian opening theme is good, but it has some childish lyrics (example: 'from the one side there are villains and from the other brave kids' (?!)). Ending Korean theme is good, but disappointing compared to the opening. In Serbian dub, opening theme is re used as the ending theme.
Voice acting- 10/10
Serbian dub is pretty good, considering that it was done by complete amateurs, with some exceptions, which are some villains- the hologram scene at the end of the first episode is an example of this- the laughter there is very, very cringe-worthy... Rick's actor is great, so is Gutpo's and Bora's- who sounds a lot like Rei Ayanami to me. Only issue is the pronunciation of Gutpo's name- in Serbian dub they call him 'Gotpo', which is incorrect if you compare it to the way he is called in the Korean version. Overall a good, but ultimately a mixed bag. I can't speak to much for Korean since I haven't listened to much of Korean voice acting, and I can't speak for the Japanese side of things since I can't find the Japanese version anywhere.
If you haven't understood yet, I love the cast- they all have human feeling to them and are a very fun characters to watch, especially Hamos' crew. Rick is a great main character, has a childish side to him, which makes him a fun character to watch, Gutpo is a great supporting figure to the rest of the crew and acts as a voice of reason and has a interesting past. Bora is a mystery at the beginning and reminds me of that particular girl with blue hair and red eyes but gets a substantial depth to her character as show progresses. Villains, starting with the main ones, Chuck and Nero are actually great and have motivation for their actions and don't appear as evil as it seems at the beginning. Chuck (I think that's how you write it in English?) is a particular example of this as his character gets a surprising twist by the end of the show and makes him one of the best characters. Nero is good and also has some depth. Other characters include Merry Hunter, great sidekick who also has a revelation. Only miss is Roto, who ends up looking childish and useless most of the time but he is great for comedic moments.
I had a great time with every single minute of it. I loved the action, character interactions, mystery and development of characters. Show has a great sense of adventure and mysticism.
One of the most shockingly underrated shows ever- truly a shining emerald everyone had forgotten about, but in the hearts of the few, you will be remembered forever, as you head into the desert sunset, Hamos the Green Chariot.