Anime Meta-Review


Ambassador Magma


By Date




Title Info

  • seen: 1-3 of 13
  • type: unknown
  • grade: archaic
  • Series state: Don't intend to watch more.
  • made: 1993
  • Review created: Recently, but I didn't record the date.
  • mod: none

Sometimes, at the dusty end of anime shops, you find the old commercial tapes that they've obviously given up on selling. And despite the discount and curiosity you can't help but wonder if that is where they should stay. In any case I surrendered and bought some of this series, which proved to be a relatively modern animation of a classical old Osamu Tezuka (Lion King, Astroboy) manga. This was easily determined because they put some stills of the original manga during the end credits, and it looks very dated and quite silly. Which unfortunately also sums this anime up pretty well.

It turns out that in this version of the universe cosmic absolutes such as good and evil, light and darkness are pretty simple to tell apart. The forces of light involve a giant gold colored robot who can transform into a rocket ship. The forces of darkness look a lot like a demonic figure, with his own huge spaceship filled with assorted monstrous hordes. In the earliest history of Earth the bearded spirit of Earth (incidentally called earth) summoned the robot (Ambassador Magma) to fight the darkness (Goa). Magma won, but the spirits of both lived on in the form of mortals. Now it is time for round two ,which sadly requires the death of both carriers (which seems like a bit of a waste after thousands of generations). We follow a brave young boy (pretty annoyed at having lost a potential girlfriend), and his reporter father, as they become marked by Goa's alien troops. Can they warn the world, and defeat the forces of Goa before he acheives his conquest of Earth (both spiritual and physical).

In other words things certainly were simpler in the older days of animation. The family gets to be chased around and fight with the aliens, and occassionally get saved by either Magma or Earth when things get too intense. The kid also got given an amulet by the sacrifice, so no doubt he'll eventually find it to be a weapon or tool to aid the fight. It's not innately bad, it just feels very dated and pretty seriously corny. I wouldn't mind having more to see how the story develops, as i'm sure it has some reasonable moments, but this is pretty rare and not really sufficiently interesting to make me hunt to hard. The dialog is pretty limited, the story overly simple and the characters seemingly stupid. should I find out that the aliens have infiltrated the area (posing as humans) I would not chase them, and I certainly wouldn't `split up so we can cover more ground' as these guys seem prone to do. Mind you the alien tactics are not much better, with the plot device of Goa needing to `recover' stopping him from simply coming down and squishing the whole annoying lot of them.

Mind you, as soon as I said old commercial tape there is another element that will occur to experienced anime watchers...yep, atrocious dubs. Wooden at times, over acted at others and quite painful. And when they try to do atmospheric sounds, like gasping or girlish giggling it is so bad it physically hurts. This goes a long way towards making the story and characters seem ever dumber than they may actually be. The actual animation itself is suprisingly good, it's pretty old but is quite clean and has some reasonable motion. I suspect there was some decent money behind this (at some point in time). Although this tends to make the old style design look even stranger, almost retro in appearance. And then there's some borrowed music to play in the background (some western, some Japanese) to put the finishing touches. There's probably precious little reason to hunt out this anime, or even be interested enough to watch it should you find it.

I doubt any of the sites I source from have a review of this one. The one thing that did come out in my web search was that it is based on a live action series as well as the Tezuka manga. Most comments considered it retro styled and few chose to champion it.


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