A girl from another world, named Maze, is transported to a magical land in turmoil and finds out she can use incredible powers. (Sound familiar?) On the way, she meets a hyperactive little princess, Mill, who has a habit of exclaiming "Ugyuu" in random intervals, a pair of mercenaries, then more and more characters who all, for some reason or another, want to get into her pants. It doesn't help that Maze turns into a perverted male once the sun goes down, or that she's totally amnesiac. Uh oh.
Have we heard this story before? It looks like the creators of this series decided to take a whole bunch of *other* series and use random ideas from each.
First off Maze herself. Mix two parts Ranma, one part Nagisa from Iczer, and one part Ayukawa Madoka / Kuonji Ukyou / any Tsuru Hiromi character, and that's Maze right there. Then there's Mill-chan. My, I thought there'd never been ditzy teeny-boppers with speech impediments in anime before. (Lum? Sakuma Suzu? Shiratori Azusa? *C-ko?*) Solude is exactly like Fuuko-chan from Flame of Recca (or heck, Asagiri Priss, weaponry-wise), with the lesbian bent of Akane from KOR.
The list goes on and on. Every one of the characters seems ripped off of some other anime. Heck, when Gorgeous took the screen (yes, that's the villain's name *sweatdrop*) we kept expecting the Tuxedo Mask theme to start playing as he recited the Team Rocket monologue. But for all that copycattism, the characters ARE very likable, and we're never quite sure if Maze is one or two people - an interesting take on the Ranma/Futaba-kun phenomenon. Who is Maze? We're dying to find out ... because some characters already knew of Maze though she seemingly *just* arrived on the planet. And even Mill is hilariously cute. C'mon, she's a Tange Sakura character!
One little quibble with this series is the naming convention. For all we know, half of the characters may have been named Shabu Shabu, because they're so weird, we just can't keep up. This also extends to the OAV series - remember Mix and Nuts? That's par for the course!
But that's Maze for you. It's wholly unoriginal, but very fun. The plot is about as standard as they get. Rebel princess on the run (Star Wars!) meets girl from another world (Rayearth, Escaflowne) who turns into a guy (Ranma), who in turn pilot a Fearsome Organic Mech (Escaflowne, Brain Powered) with naked copilot (Iczer-One) and meet more and more traveling companions (Lodoss War, Slayers) until they arrive at their destination and destroy an Evil King. (Gee, did we spoil too much for you?) Even the art style seems quite like many other series we've already seen. Heck, there's even a nudie transformation sequence, which is disturbing since Mill looks 12 and acts 8 ... though Eric thinks she looks at least 13 ... okay, not much of a difference, huh!
What we *really* like about the series is the ending sequence, with the extremely fun "Junk Boy" ending theme, and the hilarious dancing SD Mill-chan (and Gorgeous!). Originality-wise, there's very little (besides the old guy with the detachable exploding head ... and Junk Boy, which is the catchiest theme since the Galaxy Fraulein Yuna opening song). It's a lot of fun, especially the funny (if hopelessly raunchy) sequences (like Solude and Aster *both* attempting to fondle Maze simultaneously). Yeah, it's campy and tasteless, but that's more than forgivable, but it's entertaining. (And it's not exactly as perverted as, say, the OAVs...)
Sure, it's been there and done that, but Maze tells its story in a fresh way (in more than one connotation, of course). Where else can you find a character who gets called "Oneeniisama!!!". And there's even very nifty and clever mecha action, some of which is just as funny as the rest of the series. Ever see bio-armor do a girly run? Even if just for that, hunt down this series. It's worth it.
Solid and funny, though it'd never pass copyright infringement laws in America, which is probably why it'll never get picked up here. (Wait a second ... it did get released?!? The wonders of parody protection never cease.) — Carlos Ross, Christina Carpenter, and Eric Gaede
Recommended Audience: It's better than To Heart. The nude transformation sequence, bath scenes, and the almost constant stream of people who all want to have sex with Maze (male *or* female, or in Mill's case, *both*), limit this one to mature teens and above, who might find it hilarious.
Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Partial (8/26)
Maze TV © 1997 Akahori Satoru / Suganuma Eiji / Kadokawa Shoten / JVC / JC Staff
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