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Exclusive review: Inu-Yasha:
Rumiko Takahashi's (Ranma 1/2, Maison Ikkoku, Mermaid Tales) new hit TV series in Japan
  Rating: PG
  U.S. Distribution Rights: ADV Films
  Genre: Sci-Fi

Maps (OVA)

Description:    The last survivors of an ancient race of living spaceships have become unwitting accomplices in a villain's search for the pieces of a long lost star map, and only one of their number is willing to risk everything to discover the truth. Branded a traitor by her own sisters, Lipumira arrives on Earth looking for the key, the Mapman.

To fulfill his destiny, the Mapman Gen takes to the stars. Unwilling to part with him, his devoted girlfriend joins him in a journey that takes them far beyond the reaches of Earth searching for the universal key.

Overall Grade: 78% (C+)

Trailer (High-speed modems)
Trailer (28k/56k modems)
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  Reviewer #1: Clyde Adams III
  Episodes reviewed: OVA 1-4; subtitled
Grade: 80% (B-)
   Maps is a good-looking, , recommended, lightweight, entertaining science fiction adventure. The art is good and attractive, but not outstanding. The music is catchy, but not memorable. The plot and characterization are weak. The basic situation is familiar: ordinary-seeming teenage boy becomes a major player in a galactic conflict. The situations and premises are very imaginative and original (the gigantic, sentient starships, shaped like beautiful women; the awesome weapon powered by the violent death of living beings), but don't hold together under close examination.

The story focuses on Gen, an Earth boy who turns out to be a descendant of the Nomad Star Tribe, who had created some very accurate maps showing the positions of starts and planets in the universe. He is unaware of this until he is approached by Lipmila, one of a race of sentient, woman-shaped starships. He gradually learns the secrets of the lost maps, why they are so important, why groups of sentient starships are fighting over them, and why they would be so dangerous in the wrong hands.

  Reviewer #2: Adam Schenker
  Episodes reviewed: OVA 1-4, dubbed
Grade: 76% (C)
   Here's a short dramatic science fiction series that's slightly above the average fare. It's not really anything we haven't seen before, in fact it seems a little like a mix of Tenchi Muyo and Iczer, but some of the episodes were done well. Although some parts were better than others, for the most part it held my interest and was entertaining.

This is a science fiction series with lots of action: some battles between spaceships, some more personal. A note about those spaceships. Some of them are, well, giant flying statues of women (and they're not like giant robots, they don't move). This is a little bizarre, even for anime. The plot is anime standard #107625: seemingly average Japanese student is actually a key to some great important thing and aliens come looking for him. While this was a little tiresome in the first episode, which takes place on Earth, from the second episode onward the setting moves into space and things get much more interesting. I think I liked the second episode the best as it had its own plot going, while also furthering the main story. I would have liked to see some more of the group's adventures in the same style as that episode, as Hoshimi, one of the main crew, didn't really get to do too much in the series. I didn't think the statue-spaceship battles were that great and were kind of confusing in the last episode, but episodes 2 and 3 had some good action sequences in them. There's quite a bit of bare female flesh in this one, from the fan service costumes worn by some of the characters to a few instances of nudity. Depending on your point of view, it's either distracting or a bonus.

Bottom line is there are certainly better titles out there but overall this series is entertaining despite its shortcomings. It's a little strange in some places, and some episodes were better than others. On the other hand, it tells a complete story that, while nothing amazing, has some good points. I don't know if it's worth a purchase, but it's worth at least a rental and checking out the first 2 episodes.

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