Anime Meta-Review


Sol Bianca: The Legacy


By Date




Title Info

  • seen: 1-4 of 13
  • type: OAV
  • grade: flawed
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Fri Dec 1 00:31:14 EST 2000
  • mod: none

The long awaited, by some at least, continuation to the older Sol Bianca tapes. The Sol Bianca itself is a super high-tech spaceship that travels between exotic locales in some version of the far future. The ship is crewed by an exotic, all female, group who keep themselves entertained as adventurers and funded through piracy. They're a diverse bunch and are imaginatively named after various months of the year. They're fairly skilled individuals in various combat or technical skills, and aren't afraid to get into situations that require a bit of action. Combined with the fact that their ship is capable of actions thought impossible by the technology of the day, including quite a few destructive abilities, they're a pretty feared bunch. Thankfully for the galaxy at large they're also a fractious, squabbling and ill-disciplined group that spends most of their energy fighting each other. And these episodes seem to be `further adventures', although I hope there will be some longer story threads as the series progresses.

But, it doesn't take many tapes before a certain disappointment hits home. Like (I assume) most people who watched the average but interesting earlier tapes there were two questions dying to be answered. The first is where they got such an astounding ship. The other is where such a strange bunch of individuals, who often don't seem to like each other very much, actually met. There's also the fact that the second movie started a really interesting story, giving some hints of information about the ships source, but didn't come close the finishing the story. However, barring the possibility of flashbacks, the designers of this series have chosen to ignore all this. We meet the team when they are well established and have had the ship for a goodly amount of time. Likewise the events of the movies seem slated for some future time.

How can I tell this is before the movies? Well, there's another gripe. One of my favourite characters was May, who was the young, energetic member of the crew. She was also the mechanic type and had her own mech. Well, in this show she's a child, and as such of limited interest as a character. Which is a real shame, because this team really needs some cheer and dynamism.

But the most serious problem is that they return one element from the earlier movies. And that is basically that the four person crew of the Sol Bianca are basically a bunch of bums. They're selfish, undisciplined and arrogantly confident. This shows up all the time with grandstanding, doing stupid things during stress and a total inability to plan. In addition they don't really have any desires to move the show forward. One's greedy, one's violent, one's a drunk and one's impressively immature. Does this sound like a team to empathise with? If it wasn't for their high tech toys, luck and hyper-tech spaceship they'd all have died long ago. Which means that, in many ways, the toys are more interesting than the people.

Certainly the production seems to agree. It's full of computer effects, including really agressive digital paint. As a result it is really bright and clean...but in a way too clean. It almost looks like people are constructed out of chips of plastic rather than flesh. There's also the requisite computer pans and zooms to make it even more obvious.

However, while this is eye-candy and actually disruptive to developing a story, there are some beautiful gadgets here. And they're wonderfully decorative and impractical. They're also well suited to computer assistance. From a digital genie to give personality to hacking, a super hi-tech weapon system or one of the most extreme star-ship attacks in any anime they're good fun. Even the ships computer, and the most astounding art-nouveau system interface (I want it, I want it) are superb. Someone put some series time into this, and seems to have had fun doing it....but I wish they'd spent the time on characters and non-episodic stories as well. The voices weren't sufficient to make the crew appealing, the music seemed pretty electronic but sufficient.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:25 WST 2009