Somebody tells me to watch Ozma. So I ask, “Okay, why should I watch Ozma?”
“It’s not an anime about high school kids! People get into giant sand ships and battle each other!”
I then think, “Whoa, that might actually be kind of cool.” After all, I had just watched a show where Nyarlat-freaking-hotep is personified as a hyper bishoujo with a checkerboard skirt. I mean, how do you go from this
You just don’t. It’s not right. It’s… no, I’m sorry for digressing. We’re not here to talk about that. We’re here to talk about Ozma.
And how it’s even worse than turning an Outer God into potential wank material.
Before Ozma starts, the author appears onscreen.
He sounds like a nice enough guy. He doesn’t want our reality to turn into Ozma‘s reality. Cool, maybe we’ll get some neat environmentalist commentary. I’m not even joking–I love the trees. And sand sucks:
The anime finally starts and an evil looking dude is chasing a girl across the sand. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a strange sense of déjà vu:
Is this just a coincidence, I thought? But then another wave of déjà vu hit me:
This is getting crazy. And the evil dude in a mask totally looks like that bad guy from Gundam Wing! But at this point, I’m still trying to give Ozma a chance so I check myself: “Self, not all Japanese dudes in girly masks look the same. That’s totally racist.” Plus, it turns out that the guy responsible for this anime also worked on Galaxy Express 999. Maybe he just didn’t have time to draw new characters.
So I keep watching and the girl gets saved by a lovable, shaggy-haired scamp, i.e. the hero. Afterwards, the anime’s world-building, world-building, world-building some more… it’s not the most exciting stuff, but every story has to establish its setting. Just then, the evil guy and his military shows up. They demand that the good guys hand the girl over to them. I’m thinking, “Shit’s about to go down. Here’s the exciting part that my friend was talking about.” I was wrong; the only thing that went down was my heart rate.
I’m thinking constant action, explosions, unlimited firepower, so on and so forth… what I got was a bunch of poorly-animated dudes sitting in rooms, yelling at monitors and punching buttons.
“Double the speed!” the captain commands. She often sits in a chair.
“Double the speed!” a subordinate repeats.
“Going to double speed!” chimes in a third person. And this is how these claustrophobic scenes play out. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a ship moving slowly through sand… er, water? I don’t even know how the sand happens to be translucent underneath the surface, but whatever. In any case, just when you think you might actually get to see things happen, the anime quickly cuts back to the captain yelling out another order from her chair.
It looks like the good guys are going to escape. Aaaaand… I get to see none of it. I just get to see people play command center. Imagine if Starcraft 2 didn’t have any of the fancy graphics. You just play as an old dude in a chair; you bark orders to people and they tell you what might be happening during the zerg invasion. That is not exciting. Therefore, Ozma is not exciting.
And don’t forget the jargon. We can’t effectively world-build without making up a bunch of terms that will likely be inconsequential to the bigger picture.
“The enemy is deploying a quasi-transition field.”
“What’s the radius of the LS boundary phase?”
“We’ve lost the phonic signature.” That’s too bad, ’cause I just lost a damn and I’m not even done with the second episode. Zero tolerance to command rooms everywhere.