First Impressions – Ozma

There’s something special about a good space opera. I’m not entirely sure what, but anytime I find one, I have to watch it through to the end. There’s just something captivating about massive, epic stories and battles and struggles between good and evil and all that nonsense. Is Ozma going to keep up with everyone else or will it fall short? Let’s find out.

Leiji Matsumoto. If you love sci-fi anime, especially of the space opera kind, then you know this name. And if you don’t, then you know of his works. Space Battleship Yamato, Captain Harlock, and Galaxy Express 999. All classics, all Matsumoto, all stuff I have never gotten around to sitting down and watching. Because I’m a bad space opera geek. Anyway, if you liked those series, then you’ll probably end up enjoying Ozma.

Ozma has quite possibly the best cold open I’ve seen. A booming narrator describes the setting: A futuristic earth where an abnormality with the sun has all but completely wiped out life. Everything is a desert, basically. During this teaser, we’re treated to some wonderful landscape and storm shots. It’s all kinds of great, the animation is astounding.

The story is very typical first episode stuff. Guy (Sam) is outside of his home village port thing, hunting for his late brother’s enemy (a sand whale named Ozma); Sam finds the mysterious and beautiful Maya being chased by military; Sam saves her; they go back to port and the military pursues. It’s simple, basic stuff until the military shows up. Then everything gets amazing and cool and I’m not going to spoil it for you.

The characters are all pretty likeable and are incredibly well-drawn, you really get a sense of the retro influences when they’re on screen. Everyone, even the generic crew aboard Sam’s ship, has their own little personal touch. It’s a labor of love and you can tell from a mile away. The fact that nobody looks exactly the same (aside from the uniformed soldiers) is a huge plus for me.

Music is pretty good, too. Again, standard stuff for the genre aside from the opening. The opening is… a kind of J-Rock-ish engrishy track. It’s decent, but it feels a bit out of place. Something more heroic or epic probably would have worked better, but I can see them not wasting that kind of song for the opening.

There are a few particular bits I’d like to talk about before I wrap things up. First, the weird CGI vehicles are back again, but they work. I may or may not have complained about Mirai Nikki (and many, many other series) using CGI for cars and other such normal stuff. I mean, I get why they do it, but it always looks weird and out of place. It works in Ozma though. The ships look good, despite the CGI. I guess it just gives off a nice contrast of something super high tech and mechanical, as opposed to more primitive or organic things.

Also, there is a lot of weird, universe-specific, unexpositioned jargon in the first episode. Everyone throws out all this technical lingo like it’s natural. Nobody stops to explain it. And to be perfectly honest, I hope they never do. I get the need to fill the audience in, but… Why explain what a Natura ship is to someone who’s been around them long enough to know? Why not just let us figure things out on our own? So for that, I thank you, Ozma.

I’ve been pretty nice to this series, so I’ve got to have some problem with it, right? Well, I do. My biggest problem with Ozma is that it will only be six episodes long. I honestly can’t find things to really hold against it without being nitpicky. All in all, Ozma takes the best of both old-school classics and more modern stuff and throws them together. And it works spectacularly.

Anyhoo, that is me done for today. Schedule for the rest of the week (hopefully) is as follows: Lulu first impressions tomorrow, some unknown music on Wednesday, Thursday will either be an anime review or a Grass Pants Muses. Anyway, if you like what you see here, then feel free to subscribe via email or check the contact page for ways to keep in touch. As always, thanks for reading and have a good’un.

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