Distribution Rights: Pioneer Entertainment
Genres: Fantasy, Comedy
|El Hazard: The Magnificent World (OVA)|
Alternate Title: Shinpi no Sekai
Description: Meet Makoto, an ordinary
Japanese high school student. Katsuhiko Jinnai, a
not-so-ordinary high school student, has somehow gotten
it into his head that Makoto is his destined rival, and
hatches plot after plot against him. Makoto's never
given Jinnai any reason to believe this, but that
doesn't stop Jinnai from luring Makoto to school late
one night for his own nefarious reasons.
Once at the schoolyard, Makoto is summoned by a
mysterious woman who shows him the way to El Hazard, The
Magnificent World. Pulled this way and that by the
threads of destiny, Makoto and several others venture
into this land of fantasy and Demon Gods.
| Reviewer #1: Andrew
Episodes reviewed: OVA 1-7;
first of the various El Hazard series, and in my
opinion the best, The Magnificent World is a beautiful
fantasy tale. Three students and a teacher from a Japanese
high school are transported to a magical world, where they
become entangled in a giant war between the human inhabitants
of Roshtaria, the insect drones of Bugrom, and the mysterious
Shadow People, all of which are struggling to obtain the power
of a gigantic Death Star-like device, the Eye of God.
This was one of the first anime that I had ever seen, and I
was bowled over by the quality of the animation. Roshtaria is
a maze of lush forests, desolate deserts, and Middle Eastern
castles, while Bugrom lies somewhere between a haunted house
and the industrial styling of Gartlant from Saber
Marionette J. Luxurious eye candy, aided by some
top-quality character designs and a budget that didn't run out
at the end, a problem for many high-quality series.
The characters present a mixed lot. Jinnai is quite
possibly my favorite villain; his particular brand of madness
(and crazed laughter, oh ho ho!) is worth it all by itself.
Also noteworthy is Fujisawa-sensei, outrageous drunk, teacher,
and mountain climber. The main character Makoto is fairly
bland, although the series has him do a great deal of
cross-dressing and we rarely see him in his "comfortable"
zone. Nanami is adequate but secondary to the plot, as are
many of the secondary characters... though the priestesses get
some good differentiation, especially the marriage-obsessed
Miz. When Princess Fatora is finally rescued, and you have to
listen to her, you'll be yelling, "Lock her back up!", if my
experience is any indication.
It's hard to judge the appropriateness of the series for
children. There's not too much nudity, outside of the third
episode (ah, the obligatory onsen fan service festival!), the
language runs fairly clean, and there's next to no blood. On
the other hand, there IS the third episode, which is chock
full of nudity, and Alillele is a disturbing little walking
Lolita complex. The gender bending aspect of the plot isn't
extreme, but it's there.
El Hazard is one of the classics. If you like
fantasy at all, go out of your way to see it.
| Reviewer #2: Clyde Adams
Episodes reviewed: OVA 1-6;
||El-Hazard is a
beautifully executed, high-quality, exhilarating fantasy
adventure, highly recommended. The style is strongly
influenced by the Arabian Nights. The underlying theme
is familiar: a high-school student is thrust into a fantasy
world to take a major role in an epic struggle. What makes
El-Hazard special, aside from its beautiful art and high
production values and its many engaging characters, is the
originality and freshness of its story. For example, the
cataclysmic struggle for El-Hazard, with Makoto on one side
and his enemy Jinnai on another, turns out to have a third
side with a decisive impact.
The protagonist, Makoto, and three of his acquaintances are
transported to the world of El-Hazard. Each gains a different,
special power as a result of the transfer. Makoto's power is
subtle, and is not discovered for several episodes, but has a
major role at the climax.
In a clever comic coup, the creators use the Prisoner of
Zenda plot with a gender twist. When Makoto arrives in
El-Hazard, he is seen to resemble a missing princess(!), and
is coerced into impersonating her.
| Reviewer #3: Sun
Episodes reviewed: OVA, dubbed
||I personally am not
really fond of most of Pioneer LDC publications. El
Hazard, being produced and published from Pioneer, is
somewhat exceptional from all the rest. Art is close to it of
Ah Megami sama! (Oh My Goddess!), especially the
color cordination of background art, which is heavy with
pastel-tone. The character design is reminecent of OMG as
well, but more typical of all the rest Pioneer LDC. The music
is alright, for the ones trying to be exotic, mid-eastern
style or Arabic, I assume.
Story line is rather simple to follow. It was amusing to
see this first episode of El Hazard, even though it was
dubbed in English. It was tolerable, although not recommended.
Over all, this animation has good qualities of its own... I
suggest you watch this, or even add this to your vast anime
collection, especially if you like people falling into another
dimension to meet their destined lover, (ie. Fushigi
Yuugi, aka Mysterious Play, yet another Pioneer LDC
publication) then this is one of the anime for you.