Elf Princess Rane
Amateur treasure hunter Go Takarada has been searching for the famed Salamander for a long time. As he is about to come close to his goal...a chaotic series events leads him on a wild goose chase, dealing with a pair of fairies, Rane and Leen, that pop out of nowhere, his numerous sisters (who also seem to pop out of nowhere), the nefarious Yumenokata Foundation who aims to turn their town into an amusement park, the Fire Department who opposes them...
Will Go ever find the true treasure that lies before him? Will Mari Yumenokata ever win Go's love? Will wild-haired Zenshuuin ever Mari's love? Or find a hairspray that keeps his hair in place effectively? And will the fairies succeed in finding the Four Hearts that they seek? (And just how many other anime are spoofed in this video anyway?)
Just when you think you've seen the silliest series anime has to offer, along comes something so far out it makes Dragon Half look tame by comparison. Elf Princess Rane is, quite simply, the looniest anime series yet, and it's a real treat, especially for the astute anime fan who can pick out the numerous spoofs of other anime cleverly slipped into what can be best described as an hour of pure insanity. Look for spoofs of, among many many other things, Tenchi Muyo, KO Beast, and Mazinger Z. (And if you can name all the figures in Go-kun's room, you are a crazier otaku than I would ever want to be.)
What about the plot? That's really not the point of this anime. It's purposely incoherent and truly secondary to the outrageously zany characters themselves. None of the characters are portrayed as having more than a veneer of sanity, and most speak in various archaic or backwoods dialects (at last count, ten different Japanese dialects were used in this series), absolute nonsense (Rane herself), or in rapid-fire machine-gun dialogue (often simultaneously with another character) that makes this series frighteningly difficult to translate. (One translator noted that it took them three times as long to translate Rane as any other title they'd ever attempted, movie features included.) What does get translated is some of the wittiest and out-there dialogue in anime to date, as well as some of the trippiest nonsense ever to grace the screen. Massive kudos to the actors in the English dub for producing an equally hilarious version of the show, replete with bad Necronomicon references and Go's hyper exclamations of "Elfie!" You really can't go wrong with either language, and it's best to grab the DVD release and watch it at least twice!
The art quality is fairly good, but sight gags are where the animation truly excels. Instead of shifting instantly from super-deformed to regular mode, characters -reinflate- (even funnier than it sounds). The soundtrack is usually quite frantic (as befits an anime of this type) and reflects the series quite well. There is some gratuitous nudity (one of the episodes revolves around a hot springs resort, and the fairies don't tend to be consistently clothed), but it's mostly for laughs.
And there are plenty of laughs to be had here. Elf Princess Rane is the cleverest, zaniest comedy to come out of Japan since Dragon Half, and it's a frenetic production that'll leave you breathless from laughter and the sheer effort of just keeping up. If you're looking for anything remotely resembling seriousness, pass this by, but if you are in the mood for a good laugh, Elf Princess Rane just might do the trick. It's just too bad it's so short...the preview for volume three is actually a gag, as only two volumes were ever produced. However, the creators of this show did transfer the same frantic energy to the shoujo series Kodocha, and hopefully we'll see more of their work find exposure in America.
Hilarious and fun, Elf Princess Rane is truly funny stuff. We only wish there we more of it. — Carlos/Giancarla Ross
Recommended Audience: Probably not a good idea for younger teens, as there is a goodly amount of gratuitous nudity, plus a bit of harsh language, but again, it's mostly for comedy's sake. (It'd probably go over their heads anyway.) There is a bit of implied sexual innuendo concerning the fairies as well. The mild amount of violence (slapstick and explosions) probably wouldn't bother anybody but the youngest of children, and they wouldn't be watching this anyway.
Version(s) Viewed: digital source; VHS, English dub; R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (2/2)
Elf Princess Rane © 1995 Dangun Pictures / KSS
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