El Hazard: The Wanderers
In an accident at the physics-lab, Mizuhara Makoto, his friend Jinnai Nanami, one of his teachers, Mr. Fujisawa, and his rival Jinnai Katsuhiko are sent into another dimension, to the land of El Hazard. And what starts out for Makoto and friends as a way to find out how to get home escalates into a full war over control over El Hazard as Jinnai Katsuhiko sides with the Bugrom and their leader, Queen Deva.
For those of you that have seen El Hazard - the Magnificent World, let me point out that this is not any sequel to said title, but rather an alternative story. There are changes in some of the characters, mainly and mostly, Rune Venus and Ifurita. Also, some of the characters have had their personality traits expanded, so to speak, which means that Jinnai is even more competitive and paranoid, and Nanami is more of an opportunist, to name an example. (Or two.)
In any case, we're here to find out if this is something you want to spend money on, right? So, let's get started....
The animation is very nice, almost up to par with the OAV's. And seeing as this is a twenty-six episode series, we get to see even more of El Hazard's beautiful and diverse locations.
The music is pretty much the same as the OAV's as well. The intro song is actually quite good and the ending theme isn't so bad either. The voices are very good in either language, as to be expected from a Pioneer release. People who have seen Street Fighter II the Animated Movie and 3x3 eyes will recognize the voice of Makoto, which might seem a bit odd for some. Shoryuken indeed.
So that leaves the story and the characters. To tell you the truth, I was skeptical. Alternative storylines to anime I love always leaves me in a bit of a quandary; should I or shouldn't I buy?
(Renting is, unfortunately, unheard of over here in Norway, even in our larger cities. But I digress...)
Nevertheless, I finally gave in and bought it. And I watched the darn thing until I fell asleep. How's that for a seal of approval?
Seeing as they expanded this, as most TV series do, into twenty-six episodes, we get a long, whopping tale that explores all facets, not only of El Hazard, but all the characters in it. And there's a lot happening there. Jinnai is plotting more dastardly schemes, which takes the group of intrepid heroes over more locations. (Each of the priestesses has their own temple now.) And as for the characters...
The characters -- some changed, some not -- are, as in the OAV, wonderfully executed. Makoto is pretty much the do-gooder he always is, Fujisawa is still an alcoholic mountain climbing fanatic, and Nanami is still a rather opportunistic young lady. The biggest changes is apparently as I mentioned in, amongst others, Rune Venus. She now seems to be around Makoto's age. (wink, wink) Ifurita is perhaps the one that changed the most, now being a slightly ditzy but generally good-hearted girl who just wants everyone to be happy, and tries her best to graduate and make her master happy as well. Yes, I said graduate ... Don't ask, just watch the show. Of course, if you haven't seen the OAVs, anything I mention about changes is pretty much redundant.
In any case, I can only recommend this with all my heart. It is a great series that does its OAV counterpart every bit of justice. Well-written, well casted, well played.... Do you really need to know more? Well, okay ...
How about this: they have released the entire series on four DVDs. That means six or seven episodes per DVD. How's that for a deal?
Recommended Audience: Well, there is no nudity, but Makoto's first encounter in the new world is with a faceful of cleavage, so the very youngest need not apply. Also, Fujisawa's tendency to drink might offend some. However, unlike the OAV, Alielle's ... err, eagerness is toned way down, as is, to a somewhat lesser degree, Fujisawa's alcoholism and smoking habits, so you don't have to worry about that too much. There is also some minor violence at about Ranma 1/2-levels. I'd say any 8-10 year old kid could deal with this, no problem.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD, bilingual
Review Status: Full (26/26)
El Hazard: The Wanderers © 1995 AIC / Pioneer LDC Inc
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