Anime Meta-Review


Ryokunohara Labyrinth


By Date




Title Info

  • seen: 1 of 1
  • type: OAV
  • grade: watchable
  • genre: shoujo
  • form: sub
  • source: fansub
  • dur: 40
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Mon Apr 9 10:38:15 EST 2001
  • mod: none

This is one strange little title. It feels like it's got elements of shoujo, shounen-ai and a treat for lovers of the manga. But without that context many viewers are going to find it weird and wandering.


The story begins with two young guys who are not only the best of friends, but have been since they were very young. Indeed they're such good friends that one begins to wonder if a shounen-ai (boy's love) anime is on the way. And while they are quite affectionate, and there's lots of dreamy looks full of meaning, there's nothing explicit in this direction. In addition we also get to follow them as they go to school, and greet several of their friends. Perhaps it's going to be a high school drama instead?

And then the plot kicks in. I'm not going to spoil it but I will mention that it involves a certain conflict over spirits and souls. The offshoots of this being what happens to these two youths when one of them undergoes a subtle change in what he is. Meanwhile the logic and desires on the part of the `aggressor' in this story are also mysterious, subtle, symbolic and ultimately pretty cool. There's not much action but quite a lot of character in how it plays out and is resolved.


On the other hand subtlety could easily be interpreted as simply being without direction. Things move slowly and both dialogue and actions seem to be curiously calm and without haste. And the show's full of flashbacks which are interesting, but don't seem very story focused. This becomes especially obvious when at one point the school building, with the characters inside, goes on a dreamlike trip through space. It's quite impressive, but i've got precious little idea what it was actually supposed to mean.

The characters themselves are another sources of confusion. The lead males are fine, we do get a strong sense of personality there, it's the rest of the `cast' who are the problem. We meet them quite early, about 4 more students, and they're in quite a lot of scenes. Plus they get a number of pose shots which make them seem important. What they don't get is any dialog or character development. For that matter they don't even really get any introduction. I assume that these are other characters from the manga source, and thus have meaning to the fans, but most western fans won't have that information.

Those who are generous, with a taste for shoujo inspired pacing and meaning, might still enjoy this. The lead characters are dramatic and interesting enough. The plot, once it becomes clear what is going on, is both subtle in its effects and epic in its meaning. And the very best part is when the `creature of darkness' is revealed we get an insight into their character. It's a nice touch and the character is quite intriguing. It's a shame that the short duration, and the fact that the plot is really just to introduce some more complexity into the show rather than be the focus, means that the depth is limited.

The production is not too flashy and a little bit dated looking but quite satisfactory. It's got a firm grasp on the shounen style for backgrounds and effects even though the characters are a bit more `solidly' represented than I would have expected. There's some impressive scenes but it's rarely too active or flashy. The voices are solid, although lots of name calling between the two leads. The music is less impressive, some decent vocal work but someone having too much fun with a synthesizer during the `dream' periods.

The tape I saw also had an extra called `Special Appearances' that is even stranger than the anime. About all I could tell was that they sent the voice actors to Helsinki for some reason. Possibly cruelty as I find it hard to imagine Helsinki being the home of anime. In any case since it's only about 4 minutes long, and has no dialog, it is curious but not very meaningful. As such it may present an unfortunate parallel to the anime it accompanies.

Other Reviews

None of my regular sources have a review for this title. Indeed there's not too much information around in general.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:24 WST 2009