Moka, a hotheaded adventurer, Kiriman, a mute humanoid greyhound mage, and Buruman, a fox-kid thief, are members of The Guild. (It says so right on the building in English in bright red letters!) They are commissioned to find the "Dragon's Head", a legendary artifact, and steal it from the temple where it resides. Of course, no temple isn't complete without its crazy cult - and no treasure is complete without dangers not even the prescient Kiriman could foresee. When the insane ruler of the land decides he wants the Dragon's Head for his own purposes, a wild chase ensues, including a guitar-wielding pirate (who looks suspiciously like Bluegrass from The Silverhawks) and numerous little man-eating fish. The three adventurers must use their wits and sheer force of will to survive ... and maybe even get some treasure along the way, too!
Now *this* is what Ruin Explorers was supposed to do - it presents a hilarious and engaging story, interesting and *original* characters, entertaining music, and excellent animation - especially considering that Ozanari Dungeon was made in 1991! What makes this anime succeed where others simply don't?
Well, for starters, the opening sequence is funny, with the heroes being chased by various movie monsters (Dracula, Frankenstein, Jason) and even a Titan ballistic missile at the end. Not exactly usual, and a great way to start a fun show. The story is quite original, taking turns one wouldn't expect - especially the twist with Moka's very special sword, and how the Dragon's Head turns out to be quite an interesting character on its own. Even the ultimate villain of the story was a clever surprise. Every episode is just as exciting as the last, and we kept begging for more long after the tape ran out.
The leads themselves as well are downright cool. Moka is called an airhead, but she actually plans out most of her battles well (apart from the "Fake Dragon Head" ...) and she uses her strength to good effect. It's not her fault she speaks in Osaka-ben! ^_^ Buruman, similarly, is just as useful with his skills, seeing as he's the consummate thief. And Kiriman (Eric's favorite character) is smug, clever, and pulls off hyperdimensional signage with more panache and relevance than Genma-Panda could even dream of.
The action sequences were fun and exciting, and you couldn't but root for the heroes as they skillfully fought through battle after battle. And we really liked how they displayed fanart for the series after each episode, some of it exceptionally good, but all of it really cute. We really like Ozanari Dungeon. Sure, it's a bit old, but it's better than a lot of the newer stuff out there. And that's what counts.
While too light for a five star rating, this clever, amusing fantasy series shines despite some older animation. — Carlos/Giancarla Ross
Recommended Audience: Not much objectionable here. Some silly violence, and maybe a few effects that might scare the really little ones, but otherwise, fine for most children. Even adults would get a kick out of it.
Version(s) Viewed: digital source
Review Status: Full (3/3)
Ozanari Dungeon © 1991 TMS
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