Anime Meta-Review


5 Star Stories


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Title Info

  • type: movie
  • grade: worthy
  • genre: mecha
  • form: sub
  • source: fansub
  • made: 1989
  • Review created: Tue Jan 30 11:13:44 EST 2001
  • mod: none

Well, this one has `sci-fi epic' written all over it. A large number of intriguing characters, politics, combat with huge mecha to add spice and a wonderfully realised world. The main irritant is that it promises much more than it has time to deliver. Oh, and the title refers to the five stars in the joker star system, where the larger story is set.

The basis for this story, which is clearly just a small step in preparing for a much bigger story, is centrally concerned with mecha. Although there's a nice twist to it. You see while they have huge (and I do mean huge) mecha they've also discovered that actually controlling the damn things is nearly impossible. The solution is to build a super-human cyber-enhanced artificial organism to make control possible. And, if you're going to do that, why not make them look like really cute women while you're at it? After all, they are controlling humanoid mecha and interacting with their human `master' so it almost makes sense. It also seems that they're pretty rare, and the very best ones are treasures beyond price. Thus when a recognised master has three of them seized, and it is announced they will be given the chance to pick a master of their own, all the powers of the joker system are sure to be there. That said, it seems the maker has grown tired of building servile slaves and has made these three both self-willed and with a purpose in mind.

So while the event is intricately connected with mecha it actually ends up being all about people...even if not all of them are human. More specifically it seems that the person who seized the `fatimas' (the name for these controllers) is a nasty piece of work with his own, hentai, plans for them. At the same time there's various players in the audience, powerful men in their own right, with their own aims and agenda's to carry out. The guy we follow, a very effeminate bishounen, has an additional layer. He's been spending years of his life trying to build a mecha that doesn't need a fatima to control, a quest he's so far been unsuccessful with. But the reason for his quest seems to be that he knew the fatima when they were children, and while he hates the idea of them as weapons of war, he has a personal connection to them (one in particular). And then, cruising through this tangled web like sharks are the mirage knights, a bunch of legendary bad-asses who are wonderfull characters considering the short time they get.

In other words it's actually pretty cool. There's obviously an immense wealth of material to draw upon, plus lots of events to suggest in the future, which makes this a very rich anime. It also makes it, as mentioned, downright irritating. There's only this one movie and the, supposedly immense, manga is almost certain to never be translated. Still, this story is sufficiently self contained that after a couple of viewings it makes enough sense. The characters themselves are great, the small bits of politics are believable and powerful and the plight of the fatima's touching and believable. It also has a very strong sense of style, with each of the five different worlds obviously having very different cultures. Back this up with wonderfully detailed technology and locations, plus firm pacing and direction, and this is a pretty good anime. Mind you those of you hoping for full on mecha action will probably be disappointed. While there's a little bit the focus of this anime is definitely on the characters.

The animation is older and the style has echoes of early shoujo. Colors are quite washed out and some of the character designs are both detailed and dated. This has an interesting effect when seen beside the agressively detailed technology. On the other hand there was real money behind this and the animation is still perfectly watchable and will readily suck you into the well designed world. The motion, while limited, is charming and the character motions very well observed. Indeed the characters are very rich considering their number and the given time. All in all it is an anime with a story to tell and both the skill and money to do a memorable job of doing so. The voices are good and solid. I don't remember there being much in the way of memorable background music though.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:14 WST 2009