Anime Meta-Review




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Title Info

  • seen: 1-24 of 24
  • type: TV
  • grade: worthy
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Sun Dec 3 16:19:04 EST 2000
  • mod: none

What can I say...well, lets begin that this is a cheap and nasty video. It's full of questionable design decisions, often in place to keep the ecchi fan-service up, that have the potential to irritate. It also loses control in places and is downright silly in others. However, having expressed my doubts, I must admit it kept me feeding tapes until the end. And that end was more satisfying than I expected.

We begin the story with our heroine, Maze, having a very bad day. She wakes to find that her modern day house is now firmly embedded in the soil of a strange fantasy world. She also seems to have saved an escaping princess, albeit through squashing her foes underneath the house. Even more worrying for maze is the fact that she has no memory of who she really is, or why her house (she assumes) appears to have been uprooted and flung across dimensions. But the story does not end there. She seems to have gained a quest, and the unquestioning love of the (very) young princess she rescued. As she goes through the series she acquires additional companions and gets to realize the deadly nature of the quest. She also discovers that magic exists in this world and an awful lot of it is in the hands of a powerful cult that seems to want both the princess and her dead. This magic, called form, also allowing the creation of demi-armors, which are basically huge bestial magical mecha. And, no suprise, the enemy has lots of those as well. Fortunately it seems Maze has gained power well outside normal bounds, which allows her to defend herself. Although this power has a very strange dusk she changes both body and personality to become a lecherous, agressive and powerful male version. Through the story, centered around the attempts to thwart the evil conquests of the Jaina cult, we learn more about the world and the nature of her power, history and role.

Let's get the bad bits out of the way first. The various companions are very cool, and a lot of them have interesting backstories. There's even quite a few episodes focusing on them, which are often very strong. The main problem is that, especially at the start, the primary connection is that they all want Maze. Some want male maze, some want female maze, some want both, some hate one of the forms and male maze wants everything that is female. This is definitely not handled in the best possible taste. This includes quite a lot of ecchi content, unsubtle character design, and suggestive dialog. This continues, becoming ever more complex, throughout the series and really does outstay it's welcome in many ways.

Another potential weakness is the design and production quality. The design has, at times, a sort of careless quality. This is strongest in the mecha which are pretty unattractive (although it improves over time). Likewise some of the technology, items and backgrounds feel sort of sketched in rather than really designed. This is also TV quality animation, and not at the higher end of it either. The characters are often simply drawn, action is variable in quality and often repetitive and the coloring is fairly muddy. The voices and music are suprisingly unsubtle, and not always that easy to listen to.

So, why is it good? Well, the world is interesting and the production does grow more solid as time goes by. Likewise the characters, or at least some of them, become more comfortable as we get to know them and some of their history. Even the `mecha' stuff gets a bit more interesting as we learn more of what they are and the production skills improve. The essence is that it improves from a relatively dodgy start to become a pleasntly enjoyable production.

But what really pushes it up a notch is that there is a strong underlying story to hook you in. Sure the sometimes lazy writing and production will blow an episode for fun, but in general there is a real feeling of secrets being revealed. And some times, when it gets serious, there's some pretty good scenes and a real sense of menace and danger. Likewise the character of Maze, both male and female starts to come out. The reason for many things that seemed strange at the start are not only revealed but nicely linked into the wider story. This combination of a nicely spun story, with a strong human element, grows along with the characters to pull you into the series. And this leads to both a human, world and story conclusion in an impressive finale. It is an undeniable joy to look back over the series and see how things become clearer now. This is true even if I suspect a lot of it was actually patchwork.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:22 WST 2009