Anime Meta-Review


Desert Rose


By Date




Title Info

  • seen: 1 of 1
  • type: OAV
  • grade: watchable
  • made: 1993
  • Review created: Thu Dec 28 15:57:19 EST 2000
  • mod: none

It's endless fun getting a tape like `desert rose' and trying to work out what it's actually going to be like. Although finding out that the name refers to a person, and that her occupation is counter-terrorist operations, made me realise i'd got it wrong again.

It turns out that the woman who bears the title holds it for two reasons. One is due to her actions as a mercenary leader in some of the backwaters of the world, presumable this is the desert bit. In addition she's marked with a rose-shaped scar, which combines with her surname of rosebank to give the other half of the equation. We get to see, in a fairly brutal manner, how she both gained the scar and the undying hatred of terrorists that has made her what she is today.

And what she is today is the leader of an all-female counter terrorist group within a larger organisation called cat. The show opens with a nice action scene, not afraid to show a bit of violence, that indicates that in addition to being female they're also very competent at what they do. This competency impressing the people trying to organise a secret gathering of the leaders of the world, both east and west, in switzerland. With such a large gathering of such important figures it's almost certain that some organisation will take a shot at them. And while the organisers believe their security is flawless it might not hurt to have some professional's on hand. Especially considering that no-one, neither attendee's or attackers, is likely to suspect the prospect of every maid packing serious firepower should the need arise.

Mind you, every anime fan expects it. There's certainly no shortage of lethal and armed females in the anime world. Thus what was probably meant to be `novel' actually ends up feeling familiar and a little corny. It also leads to the other problem, while anime fans are happy with female warriors, they're generally not happy with them being blown away. While this abounds with double standards it might help explain why the main body of this plot is more about uncovering the `mystery' of the attack method and the `professionalism' of the girls, rather than being action based. Combined with some competent but lifeless and unimaginative writing and dialogue the whole experience is interesting but fairly unimpressive. The conclusion, in addition, has a couple of elements that challenge belief. Then again, this is only about 30 minutes long, and introducing a large number of characters and what wants to be a complex plot is perhaps a bit too ambitious. It's certainly watchable, but it's little suprise that apparently this pilot did not lead to a longer series.

The animation has dated a touch, and the general `stillness' of much of it suggests the budget was not immense. More serious is the limited sense of technical design (one of the staples of this type of thing) which reduces from the impressiveness of the experience. And, perhaps most serious in an anime full of pretty women, the character design and representation is not that attractive, and there are occasional character animation `errors' during the show. Must give special mention of the one non-cute woman on the team, their explosives expert, who as a result actually stands out much more. The voices are reasonable, although the non-cute woman's deeper voice once again stands out. The music has some weird guitar music running through it, which doesn't integrate that well. In all it's competent, but unimpressive and somewhat staid, production.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:17 WST 2009