Thursday, February 28, 2013

Classic Anime Review Corner - El Hazard: The Wanderers [Anime Review]

 Classic Anime Review Corner - El Hazard: The Wanderers

The Wanderers has this Ifurita...
I just finished watching, well re-watching El Hazard: The Wanderers, the first television series. Recently re-released by RightStuf! and Nozomi on DVD since Pioneer / Geneon imploded... or something. I think in 2009 they became Geneon Universal Entertainment Japan, and have no titles in the US market as of this post - it appears to be a branch of Universal in Japan.


I'm calling it a classic and it came out in 1995-6 in Japan. 
and this Princess Rune...
not this Ifurita...
So... 'classic.'

It's not bad - that is to say its rather average for a 90s TV anime. I mean the animation is dated now, there is no CGI - it's actually cell painted, by hand. I own a few, that are hopefully real and not Korean knock offs that I only learned about years after purchase... 

It has almost the same cast of characters as the OVA - with changes involving the Princess(es) and Ifurita. Alielle has some small personality switch as well. With these changes the plot is drastically altered. There is still the search for a way home, but Makoto Mizuhara (our protagonist) has different goals and romantic interests.  
Provided that's not Makoto in the image... I do not think it is since Alielle is all over here. [Purple Hair in the corner].
and not these princesses...
  The other main cast is still there, still roughly the same. Masamichi Fujisawa-sensei is still drunk and still over-powered. "Fujisawa KICK!" Nanami Jinnai is still there (her super power is changed), as is her megalomaniac brother Katsuhiko. As are the three preistess: Shayla-Shayla, Afura Mann, and Miz Mishtal (who still chases Fujiawa). 

The worst is really the change between Ifurita OVA and Ifurita TV. She transforms from silver-haired fearsome and lethally efficient demon-god into a dark haired, bumbling cheerful bubble-brain. It's jarring. Thankfully she is only in about half the TV series.     

 It starts off as a story of the dimensionally displaced Makoto and Fujisawa seeking a way home and turns into a grand 'save-the-kingdom' from the forces of evil (the megalomaniac Jinnai). The first half of the series is slow, a step by step search from library to preistess to preistess and so on, seeking the way to cross dimensions. Along the way comical near-misses occur, but eventually Nanami joins the crew. Then it is revealed that her brother, Katsuhiko, is leading an army of Bugrom (the not very mean or monstrous monsters). Eventually Makoto learns that the way home may be locked in a special place normally only reachable by the royal family, and from there the second half of the season begins.

And I'll stop there.

Honestly. It's worth watching, if you've got a few hours to spare. It's not as good as the OVA, most of the classic 90s TV series are not. But I still enjoy going back and watching them again anyways. Also, the English Dub is not too bad. I actually think the insanity of Katsuhiko Jinnai is delivered better in the English.

If you can grab the whole series for cheap on Amazon, or watch it for free on Hulu, give it a try. It's not going to blow your mind, but it is still fun.

Don't even get me started on the weird mash-up the Manga was...

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