I personally think that El-Hazard is to anime what Star Wars is to regular movies. They both have a charming cast of varied characters, involving yet not overly complicated story lines, loads of excitement, and I can watch them over and over without getting bored. Heck, the Eye of God even looks like a miniature Death Star!
The characters really make this series shine. The hero is the slightly geeky, all-around-nice-guy Makoto Mizuhara. He journeys to El-Hazard with his friend Nanami and their gym teacher, the drunken Mr. Fujisawa. Once there, they meet a variety of people including the princess Rune Venus, the nymphomatic lesbian Alliele, and three priestesses, Shayla-Shayla, Miz Misthal, and Afra Mahn. On the villain front, we have the evil queen Diva, in charge of the Bugrom (yes, you're reading that right) empire. The psychotic Jinnai, Makoto's self-proclaimed arch-nemesis, lands a job as general of the Bugrom army. With his inflated ego and maniacal laugh, he's the kind of villain you love to hate.
The central story is an expansion of the Makoto/Jinnai conflict. Jinnai tries to conquer El-Hazard and, of course, Makoto tries to stop him. Naturally, everyone gets involved and soon you have an epic story chock full of fun. There is also a subplot involving a mysterious third party, and some of the characters even develop romantic notions for each other, adding to the fun.
The art and animation are of fairly good quality. The exotic locales of El-Hazard are presented in vivid detail, and the animation is generally crisp and smooth. The English voice acting is also quite noteworthy. The main characters all sound very convincing, but some of the minor characters could have used better voice actors. Another complaint is the voice actors are not listed with the characters they played in the credits. That's only a minor quibble, but it would've been nice to know who played who.
The only reason I docked a half a star from the rating is because of the ending. I expected a somewhat light ending, to reflect the tone of the series, but the actual ending seems a little more subdued than I expected. I was also left with some nagging questions that the images during the final credits didn't entirely answer.
Overall, this is quite a fun series. If you want something that's not too serious or complicated, but still delivers plenty of adventure and excitement, then I recommend you watch El-Hazard.
The Verdict: * * * * 1/2 (very good)
|last modified: 05-26-03||The Anime Critic and associated content © 1999-2003 Pete Harcoff. All rights reserved.|