On a desert world a young boy, Sam Coyne, spends his days searching for the Ozma (Sand Whale). While out one day he comes across a woman being pursued by the Theseus army and rescues her, but not before coming across the Ozma that his brother disappeared searching for.
There were a couple of reasons why this series stood out for me, the primary ones being that 1) the character designs stood out as incredibly distinctive and 2) that this series comes from anime space opera legend Leiji Matsumoto (Space Battleship Yamato, Captain Harlock). For newer fans to anime, his most recent recognizable work would be Interstella 5555, in which he collaborated to direct music videos for french electronic artists Daft Punk.
With that in mind there were a couple of things to take note of that happen in the first episode which is typical of his style and the space opera sub-genre. We start off with a young hero who sees a woman being pursued by imperialistic forces and decides to come to her rescue, but it’s not just any woman as we later find out she’s royalty. What’s that? You’ve heard that story line before? Well don’t take the series for face value because of it as we’re introduced to a wide and colourful cast of characters right off the bat.
Most notably would be Captain Bynas of the Bardanos. There is also Maya, the blue haired queen of the Theseus, Mimei and Gido Gaira, the Theseus commander pursuing Maya. For old school fans, they’ll notice that Gido looks like Captain Harlock, except with a Gundam styled mask. All figure to be important characters for this series and get their fair share of screen time in this episode. Again, these characters lead to more tropes of the space opera genre with Bynas being the Captain of a ship of rogues, Maya the runaway queen and Gido the commander of imperialist forces pursuing her—Han Solo, Princess Leia and Darth Vader anybody?
Despite what you may think about my comparisons to a famous space opera trilogy from the late 70’s and early 80’s, I did really enjoy the first episode of this series. It’s a solid first entry to get people interested and ends on an action cliff hanger with Bynas and the Bardanos making their escape under the sea of sand. 3/5
Episode two picks up right where the last episode ends off, with the Bardanos escaping the attack by the Theseus Destoryers under the sea of sand. Here we’re exposed to the more technical aspect of the series as the technology to not only fight, but travel underneath the surface, take precedence. This episode is all about the battle of wits between the two commanders Gido and Bynas. Each prove their formidable skills in both cornering and escaping one another as Gido continues his pursuit of Maya.
However, for a while it looked like Gido had the edge over Bynas as he broke out tactic after tactic, pushing Bynas and her crew to the edge of extremes to evade capture. It’s a tense moment to watch as the Bardanos is ultimately helpless to fight back due to its resupply efforts being stopped short the last episode. During all this the question of whether Gido is going too far is brought up over and over again due to the importance of Maya. Sure we know she’s a queen, but it begs the question of why she was fled them in the first place and what her real importance to her people is.
Eventually Gido is forced to retreat, and though Maya and the crew of the Bardanos is safe, this only provides a short bit of reprieve for them. Gido reports to his commander which alludes to a greater importance to Maya’s character. There’s also the look of concern by the Doctor aboard the Bardonas who states that there is something definitely unique and strange about her. Along with those bits of information, we’re also told the distinction between the people of Theseus and the others as there is an apparent evolutionary difference. It’s said that the people of Theseus are highly evolved from the Natura, but in what ways? 3.5/5
The one thing I’m loving about this series is that it’s progressing at a rather nice pace. Each episode thus far has ended off on a cliffhanger that is readily addressed at the beginning of the following episode. Episode three immediately answers the question of what makes Maya so special and it turns out that unlike the rest of her people, her body is closer to being a Natura than the “Ideal Children” type clone that the rest of her people use. It’s also alluded to that she may be older than what she appears and that the clone bodies of Theseus are beginning to degrade over centuries of copying—Asgard of Stargate SG-1, anyone?
This adds on to the mystery of Maya and her decision to flee Theseus. It’s sorta revealed that a key decision involving Maya was passed by all but one person in the high command—General Danga, I believe is his name. This appears as a contrast to his actions in the present as he has tasked Gido with bringing back Maya to Theseus. So there’s probably an ulterior motive for him in his actions. There also appears to be a connection between Ozuma and Maya that has thus far gone unexplained as it has now appeared twice near Maya when she is in trouble. Just what does this latest appearanace hold for Sam, Maya, Gido and his crew remains to be seen. 3.5/5
I know this is late for me to make a first impression seeing as this series is already halfway done, but thus far it has been really enjoyable. There’s a really interesting story being told here in a world that I want to see explored more. I’m already getting the feeling though that there’s only so much that can be explained in the remaining three episodes, while also developing the series’ characters, and it seems like the characters will end up getting the short end of the stick. Still, the series is worth a watch.
GO Rating (average): 3.5/5
Continue to watch? - Yes.
Continue to review? - Yes.