Entry updated 29 August 2022. Tagged: TV.
Japanese Original Video Animation (OVA) (1995-1996). Original title Shinpi no Sekai Eru Hazādo. AIC, Pioneer LDC. Directed by Hiroki Hayashi. Written by Ryoe Tsukimura. Voice cast includes Yuri Amano, Kouji Ishii, Tomoko Ishimura, Tetsuya Iwanaga, Rio Natsuki, Ryotaro Okiayu, Ryūzaburō Ōtomo, Tomo Sakurai and Yoko Sawami. Seven 30-45 minute episodes. Colour.
Makoto Mizuhara (Iwanaga) accidentally activates an artefact found beneath his school, putting the area in a Stasis Field. A young woman appears: after announcing she has waited 10,000 years for Makoto, she sends him to the planet El Hazard. Three others in the vicinity are transported too; Makoto first finding Masamichi Fujisawa (Ishii), an alcoholic teacher. Rescuing Princess Rune Venus of Roshtaria from humanoid insects called the Bugrom (see Aliens), Masamichi discovers he now has superhuman strength (though only when sober, a condition he is loath to maintain). Rune remarks on Makota's uncanny resemblance to her sister (see Doppelgangers), Princess Fatora (Ishimura), who is missing.
Above Roshtaria's capital floats a vast spherical object called the Eye of God, with a passing resemblance to the Death Star of Star Wars (1977): it is a Weapon that requires two princesses of royal birth to command it (through recognition of their genes). The empire of the Bugrom, ruled over by Queen Diva (Sawami) wishes to conquer the rest of El Hazard, and is deterred only by the threat of the Eye of God: so Makoto is pressured into impersonating the missing princess.
Corrupt student council president, Katsuhiko Jinnai (Okiayu) was also transported to El Hazard. As he can communicate with the Bugrom, the Queen tells him he is the one prophesied to lead her Empire to victory ... this catapults him over the brink of sanity. Learning of a sleeping demon, Ifurita (Amano), who can destroy cities, Katsuhiko goes to the Forbidden Island to awaken her: Makoto, who has teamed up with the three powerful Priestesses of Muldoon, tries to stop him. Makoto recognizes Ifurita as the woman who sent him to El Hazard – but she has never seen him before. The planet was once home to an advanced civilization; following a catastrophe (probably involving the Eye), this era is now remembered as a time of Gods and Demons. Ifurita is an Android from that era; when Makoto touches her he has visions of the past, including a futuristic City with Spaceships (likely the ruined city the queen has shown Katsuhiko – see Ruins and Futurity). It turns out his power is to control ancient El Hazard Technology, enabling him to read her mind.
In his travels Makoto finds Nanami Jinnai (Natsuki), Katsuhiko's sister, who can see through illusions. This proves useful, since there is a third faction on El Hazard: the Phantom Tribe, who are masters of illusion. Led by Galus (Ōtomo), they had kidnapped Princess Fatora, seeking revenge for being dragged from their Dimension long ago by the Eye of God. Fatora is stolen by Ifurita and taken to the Bugrom Empire, but is rescued by Makoto and friends, during which Ifurita's obedience chip is destroyed by Makoto. The princesses now activate the Eye of God, defeating the Bugrom – but Galus sabotages the controls, intending to destroy El Hazard. Makoto wants to enter the Eye to turn it off, though that will send him to another dimension and time. Ifurita stops him, pointing out it is clearly her who is ordained to enter: how else would she have gone back 10,000 years and turned up on Earth to be awoken by him (see Time Loop)? We then see the original meeting and what happened afterwards – Ifurita being met the following morning by a glowing, gowned Makoto – the how unexplained.
This is a very good and funny (see Humour) Anime presentation of Planetary Romance, with some nice animation, particularly in the first and last episodes. Each human getting an unexplained but curiously apt Superpower might irritate some; however, though the plot and characters do not break any new ground, they are engagingly done. Makoto is a little bland as the lead; but Katsuhiko is entertaining, as is Shayla-Shayla (Sakurai), a fiery priestess; whilst Ifurita developing her identity provides a more sober thread.
There was a subsequent 26-episode anime Television series retelling the OVA, called El-Hazard: The Wanderers (1995-1996). The original OVA had two sequels, the 4-episode OVA El Hazard: The Magnificent World 2 (1997) and the 13-episode television series El-Hazard: The Alternative World (1998). [SP]
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