The Anime Primer

Capsule Descriptions of Anime: O

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Oh Edo Rocket   Oh My Goddess!   Omishi Magical Theater: Risky Safety   Omoide Poroporo   One Piece   Onegai Teacher!   Oniisama E   Oroshite Musical Nerima Daikon Brothers   Otaku no Video   Ouran High School Host Club   Outlaw Star   Overman King Gainer

Oh Edo Rocket
Oh Edo Rocket: Shunpei, Seikichi, and Sora

In the mid-19th century, there were austerity laws in Edo which drove makers of luxuries - including fireworks - into poverty. One day, after an explosion in the sky, a young woman calling herself Sora approaches fireworks maker Tamaya Seikichi (yes, that Tamaya) and asks him to make fireworks that can reach the Moon. Meanwhile, Tamaya's neighbour is forced to come to terms with his past and his unusual abilities when he is recruited to defend Edo from some very unusual outsiders. And just why was Sora visiting Edo in the first place, and why does she always have stars in her eyes?

Based on a stage play, Oh Edo Rocket is a distinctly non-historical historical sci-fi drama that focuses on the character's relationships to drive the story. Sora and Seikichi's relationship is the primary one, but is not the only important one in the story.

Mind you, Oh Edo Rocket isn't all serious - there are anachronisms throughout the story, played for laughs (such as previous-episode recaps shown on TV sets, or a magistrate making records of his retainers' reports in his blog). Some people find these to be annoying, while others think they add to the humour.

The score isn't the usual for a period piece, either; it's big band, jazz, and a hint of flamenco, with not a note of traditional Japanese music to be heard. It works.

Oh Edo Rocket is not yet licenced in North America.

[Entry by Rob Kelk]

Oh My Goddess! (a.k.a. Ah! Megamisama)
Oh My Goddess!: Belldandy and Keiichi

Keiichi is visited by the lovely goddess Belldandy, who grants him a wish. He wishes that she become his girlfriend. Her older sister wants their relationship to progress faster, while her younger sister is dead-set against it. But why does Belldandy resist them both, insisting that promises must be kept? Based loosely on the manga Ah Megamisama by Fujishima Kosuke.

The original five-episode OAV series is available from AnimEigo. The manga is available from Dark Horse.

See also Ah! My Goddess (Movie), Ah! My Goddess (TV), and Adventures of the Mini-Goddesses.

[Entry by Rob Kelk]

DMOZ Open Directory Project

Omishi Magical Theater: Risky Safety
Risky Safety: Safety, Moé, and Risky (promotional image)

This quiet show is the story of an apprentice shinigami (almost, but not quite, a "personification of Death") named Risky, an apprentice angel named Safety, and a junior-high schoolgirl named Moé who becomes caught up in the destiny of the two supernatural beings. Risky and Safety have conflicting personalities and conflicting orders from their superiors, and usually work at cross-purposes, which is awkward for them because (for a reason explained halfway through the series) they share the same body. But when something goes terribly wrong with their corner of the world, they have to decide whether they can work together to set things right ...

This is a 24-episode series from the pen of Rei Omishi (the creator of Sorcerer Hunters), with each episode being ten minutes long including credits. It's a twist on the usual "coming of age" story so popular in Japan - the supernatural beings do have an effect on the humans they meet, but the humans have an even greater effect on Risky and Safety. The story takes quite a while to build to the climax, but despite appearances none of the episodes are "filler".

Available in North America on three DVDs from AN Entertainment.

R1 official website; includes a page where you can download episode 1 (Quicktime format only)

[Entry by Rob Kelk]

Omoide Poroporo (English title Only Yesterday)

A young woman just starting her first job has a bit of an identity crisis and decides to travel to the country in search of happiness, and possibly romance. Interwoven between the lovely scenic shots of rural Japan are flashbacks to the woman's childhood. Looking back at her past, the young woman wonders why these memories are so important to her, and what relevance they have to the present, and the future.

[Entry by Dot Warner]

DMOZ Open Directory Project

One Piece
One Piece: Luffy (promotional image)

This is a grand shounen adventure saga, with humor, action, drama and great characters. It's based upon a long running and very popular shounen manga. The anime is well over two hundred episodes and stays amazingly fresh and imaginative.

In a strange world of pirates, that is sort of a funky mix of 17th Century Spanish Main and today, Luffy, a teen who has eaten the fruit of a "gumo-gumo" plant, has become a "rubber boy", with super powers. Which is useful, because he wants to be the king of all pirates in this world and find the greatest pirate treasure of all time, the "One Piece". Luffy collects a strange band of associates and they explore this very baroque world, helping many folks in need (mainly by fighting the real pirates), but not actually pirating.

Licenced by 4Kids.

[Entry by Dave Baranyi and Catherine Johnson]

One-Shot Insect Killer! HoiHoi-san

see HoiHoi-san

Onegai Teacher! (a.k.a. Please Teacher!)
Onegai Teacher: Mizuho and Kei

Kei Kusanagi seems like an ordinary 15 year old, however he's got an extremely rare condition where his body goes into a "standstill" when he's under extreme pressure. One night while stargazing, he witnesses a shooting star that seems to be more than just interstellar crud entering Earth's atmosphere. All of the sudden, a mysterious woman appears before him. Later, his new teacher definitely looks like the mysterious woman, but how can he explain it without looking like a looney.

When he helps her move into her new apartment, he discovers the truth, she is an alien, well, half-alien. One of her parents was from Earth, and she was then ordered to observe Earth by the Galactic Federation. During a time when her ship computer went wonky, she & Kei were trapped in the gym supplies shed at the school. After the Principal ended up letting them out, Kei ends up marrying her, so that she can keep her job, so that she can stay on Earth, and not have to report this as a failure. However, since a marriage between a student and a teacher is very dangerous, they must now keep the marriage a secret. What's a boy to do when he's married to a gorgeous teacher and can't tell any of his friends?

Available in North America from Bandai.

[Entry by Bill Martin]

Oniisama E (a.k.a. Brother, Dear Brother)

Teenage Misonoo Nanako enters an exclusive private high school, makes new friends, and is quickly picked to join a snooty sorority. She is caught up in the emotional whirlwind of the passionate and unstable personalities of her female classmates: Miya-sama, the wealthy, beautiful, and ruthless sorority president; Saint-Juste, a brilliant pianist, but prone to depression and fits of self-destructive violence; the boyish basketball player Kaoru no Kimi, smart and ethically clear-sighted, but subject to a mysterious illness, and troubled by an undisclosed romantic sorrow; and the beautiful, fiercely loyal, but unstable and obsessed Mariko, the despised daughter of a wealthy writer of pornography. With innocent Nanako in the middle, the fragile truce between the other girls begins to break down, and Nanako is carried with them into a destructive maelstrom of passion, madness, and unrequited love.

This is the dark side of shoujo, much darker than author Ikeda Riyoko's best known work, Rose of Versailles. It is gothic and atmospheric, dramatic bordering on melodramatic, and includes sexual stalking, graphic physical violence, multiple suicide attempts, drug abuse, and lesbian homoeroticism. It is deadly serious, and becomes unbearably intense as the story passes the midpoint of its 40 TV episodes. It is not for everyone. Like it or hate it, you will never forget it. It has an outstanding score which reinforces the show's emotional tone. Available only as fansubs of the first 28 episodes; even the original Japanese edition is no longer in print.

[Entry by Slithy Tove]

Orange Road

see Kimagure Orange Road

Oroshite Musical Nerima Daikon Brothers
Oroshite Musical Nerima Daikon Brothers: the Nerima Daikon Brothers

This is one of the most unique anime series you will ever see. It is an honest-to-goodness 12 episode musical comedy, done in song and dance, just like a stage musical. There are great jokes (many bawdy), snappy songs, hot girls, pretty boys, and even pandas! What more can you ask?

This is the story of two brothers, Hideki and Ichiro, along with their girl cousin Mako, who make up the Nerima Daikon Brothers singing group. They have built a stage at one end of their daikon farm in the Nerima neighborhood of Tokyo and dream of becoming a hit and one day having a modern arena for their act on the site of their farm. But they have little money and lots of opposition, not the least of which are the neighbors who don't like the trio belting out songs in the middle of the night, as well as secretive forces who want their land.

In the tradition of musical comedies, the trio comes up with all kinds of crazy schemes, legal or not, in order to try to get some money. In addition, they are assisted by several other odd characters. The first is a "daikon panda", a little panda who has daikon leaves growing out of his head, and who eats daikons instead of bamboo leaves. There is also Nab (Afro and all), who runs a rental shop which rents some of the oddest things, but always just what the trio need. Finally, there is the mechanically-assisted police woman Yukiko, who sometimes investigates and sometimes helps the trio. And let's not forget the "Bank Machine Chorus Girls" who provide "Easy Loans" as required.

So if you like musical comedies and want some fast-paced, action-packed and imaginative "toe-tapping fun" you may well want to try out Oroshite Musical Nerima Daikon Brothers. The series will be released on R2 DVD starting in May 2006.

Licenced in R1 by ADV.

[Entry by Dave Baranyi]

Otaku no Video

A satirical look at the world of the "otaku", the word used to describe obsessive fans in Japan. Kubo is persuaded to give up his normal life by his friend Tanaka and his friends to pursue a life of devotion to anime, manga and so forth. We are introduced to all forms of otakudom as Kubo and Tanaka start a company or two with the ultimate goal of the otakunisation of the entire world! Includes spoof live-action interview segments. Subtitled release, originally released by AnimEigo in the US and Anime Projects in the UK.

[Entry by Chika]

Ouran High School Host Club

Haruhi Fujioka attends ritzy Ouran High School as a scholarship student, too poor to purchase the school's uniform. Searching for a quiet place to study, she happens on the room where the Host Club meets, a club made of six wealthy bishounen who cater to the whims of the female students. Through a series of events, she finds herself in debt to the club, working first as a gopher and then as a host herself. (Not having a really firm gender identity, Haruhi is at first mistaken for a male.)

Ouran High School Host Club is beautifully and wittily animated, and possesses a clear ancestor in the form of Revolutionary Girl Utena. Although many of the episodes are light and frivolous, as Haruhi learns more about the personal histories of her new friends (and they learn hers), the story reveals more serious undercurrents.

[Entry by laurie cubbison]

Outlaw Star
Outlaw Star: Melfina, Jim, and Gene

The first show in Sunrise's Toward Stars universe, Outlaw Star is an old-fashioned space opera writ large. Gene Starwind, a big fish in the small pond of his home planet, is thrust into a conflict between the Space Forces, the galactic pirates, and the "outlaws" who owe allegiance to neither side as they all try to reach the Galactic Leyline. Helping Gene are his young partner Jim Hawking, the lovely Melfina, and others who come and go from the plot. If you like "pulp"-era science fiction, you'll like this show.

Outlaw Star is available uncut on VHS and DVD from Bandai in North America, and an edited version of most of the series has been shown on US television. The show is available in Australia from Madman.

[Entry by Rob Kelk]

DMOZ Open Directory Project

Overman King Gainer

This is another Tomino Yoshiyuki variation on his lifetime preoccupation with "giant robot" stories, and to an extent can almost be considered a continuing evolution from his previous two series, Turn A Gundam and Brain Powerd. The story is set in the far future when, after a world-wide ecological disaster, most of the remnants of Humanity have moved to domed cities in wastelands such as Siberia, where the story takes place.

As with Brain Powerd, the mechas have some bio-mechanical parts and characteristics. But in the case of King Gainer, the mechas acquire varying powers by the addition of "over skins" to the basic mecha engine and design. These over skins are interchangeable and if captured without too much damage can be used by different mechas. King Gainer also shares two key similarities with Turn A Gundam: a huge cast of characters, and an odd anachronistic approach to design of the world. Turn A Gundam blended the look of the post-Civil-War US with mechas and a certain amount of "steam punk" sensibility. King Gainer blends the look of 1960's Soviet styles with giant retro trains and a certain amount of universal "grunge" look for the settings and characters.

The plot revolves around the effort of an underground group known as Exodus to take a number of mobile city modules out of their current domed city to a new "Promised Land". The erstwhile military leader of Exodus is Gain Bijou, a 28 year old cocky ladies man who likes to operate a two-legged open mecha with a powerful anti-armor gun in one arm and an oversized powered-up over skin arm on the other side. He gets 17-year-old interactive video game "king" Gainer Sanga unwillingly involved with Exodus and the two of them form an uneasy alliance after Gainer accidentally reactivates and becomes the pilot of an extremely powerful old war mecha. Gain is a very unlikely Moses, and Gainer is an even more unlikely and unenthusiastic Joshua in this "Exodus". Opposed to Gain, Gainer and Exodus are the forces of the Siberian Railway Guard, a quasi-governmental body that provides the main means of connecting the isolated cities in Siberia, along with semi-feudal rulers of the domed cities.

What differentiates King Gainer from Turn A Gundam and Brain Powerd is the odd humor that exists in many of the details of the story and design. Strange and goofy but self-consistent things continuously happen in the background. For example, the story is set in a frozen wasteland with lots of ice and snow around. Therefore characters will quite often slip and fall on their faces, particularly if they try to run on the ice. Gain also has a number of peculiarities, such as penchant to try make spending money by prize fighting in impromptu matches in various dome cities. So at one time Gainer is talked into sitting in drag in the audience to watch Gain fight, which turns out to be a bad move for both of them. Yet with all this and many, many other humorous moments, King Gainer continues to have an underlying thread of seriousness that underlies the series.

So all-in-all Overman King Gainer is an entertaining and interesting 26-part series. The music to the series is quite good, and it's hard to beat the Go-Go Dancing mechas in the opening animation. The artwork, particularly the background details, ranges from good to occasionally spectacular, and there is a great 3DCG eye-catch that shows up starting in episode 4. The show also has three "cute mascots", lots of "Tomino Babes" and tons of action. Add to this the humor and characterizations and you have a series that is memorable and enjoyable.

[Entry by Dave Baranyi]

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Any images on this page are copyright their respective creators or licencees, and are used under Fair Use (review) provisions of the Copyright Act. All reviews on this page are copyright their respective authors, and are used with permission. The compilation copyright for this page is held by Rob Kelk.

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