The first impression I had about this particular anime is it didn’t strike me as a magical girl OVA and just more of medieval/fantasy story. Since this particular OVA was released during the 1980s, I wondered if it’s going to have any of the ridiculousness and cheese that American movies had in their own media that was present at this time. Although, looking at the promotional art and some screencaps, the art is extremely gorgeous and it’s something that definitely appeals to me. The only thing, though, I didn’t expect to like it as much as I actually do.
Since this is only one OVA, I’m not going to do a synopsis of it, but there are elements in this review that do have quite a bit of spoilers.
Because Yohko wrote a song, it’s important to note that the music is an important factor in this anime because she uses this as a catalyst to confess her feelings for her secret crush. There are piano pieces, synth (which shows its age), and orchestra music in this anime which is strange when one considers the mix of sci-fi and fantasy.
The sci-fi is a little out of place in an anime that’s mainly about legends and fantastical beasts. It’s not melded in very well and it’s kind of weird that after learning about Leda, there’s a throwaway line about hopping their robots. Perhaps it’s to help understand how Leda managed to make Master Zell bring Yohko to Ashanti and try to discover the secrets of her stereo. Despite this, though, the random inclusion of sci-fi isn’t terribly distracting or take the audience out of the show. It’s used to help understand how the people of Ashanti live on the land without just saying, “it’s just because of magic”.
Yohko is a very good lead character – she seemed adaptable and definitely capable, though the fact that it’s only one episode hurts her character a little bit. She’s not shown to have some kind of athletic ability until she arrives in Ashanti and starts running, and lifting herself from the vines. It does show that she has an ear for music since she composed the song her self but it’s not too bad.
The other characters, Ringum, the talking dog, and Yoni, the remaining Leda shrine maiden, are very good characters as well. They can stand on their own and they really are interesting in their own rights but they never seemed to overshadow the main character herself. As for the world, it would have been nice to know if there were other villagers in this particular world to show how devastated it actually is when it seemed that Leda abandoned them.
A problem, though, with the characters, including and especially Master Zell, they act as actors playing a certain archetype instead of being actual characters. Usually, this would be a really bad thing, the archetypes, but it’s not as annoying in this OVA. It’s pretty much downplayed as something that someone with an affinity for cheesy 1980s media would enjoy.
The animation, especially for its time, is absolutely stunning! Granted, there are quite a few flubs here and there but it’s not so bad that the viewer wouldn’t be too distracted from it. Certain angles, colors, and the atmosphere of the anime itself is extremely well done and pretty effective. It certainly works with what’s going on and the colors aren’t over-saturated with a singular one. All in all, it’s gorgeous to look at!
As for the magical girl component, well, it’s there. She does get powers and there is a cute mascot. There is a sequence and she does eventually return to her more normal every day life. If there’s an appropriate way to help understand, it’s pretty much a lite version of “Conan the Barbarian” but with sci-fi & magical girl tropes added in.
Would this anime benefited more as a 12-26 episode series rather than a single OVA? It doesn’t necessarily need to have an entire series about the lore, technology, and the characters but it’d be nice if it did. But, as it stands, it’s pretty much good on its own. It’s something to watch when you need some action with little bits and pieces of romance and magical girl. It’s fun and that’s all it is.
It’s really enjoyable and I’d recommend this OVA especially to those who enjoy some lite 1980s anime cheese.
(Part of Project Magic!!)