Last time I got to see anything related to Leiji Matsumoto was the animation known as Interstella 5555, where Daft Punk's songs dominated the entire film. The other time was when Toonami had a streaming service known as Toonami Reactor, which allowed me to see the entirety of the first Space Battleship Yamato series in the Americanized form known as Star Blazers.
Besides those two works, I have encountered many references of his shows in comedy animes such as Excel Saga, along with the western cartoon giant robot series known as Megas XLR. I have heard nothing but good things about the shows that he has been involved in, so I was exited to see an original new series that has Leiji Matsumoto's style thrown in.
OZMA takes us to the setting of a desert planet, which most likely has issues with people trying to obtain water. Even though there was no mention or hint of this, you can only assume that this will be one of the many problems that go on in that world. Our hero going by the name of Sam is searching the area for a particular kind of whale (I assume that aquatic lifeforms live in the sands in this world.) until he ends up encountering a certain individual that was escaping from a military group (Kind of like the same type of scenario we have seen in most fictional materials.). Selecting the most obvious outcome, Sam ends up taking this person back to his group.
Following in the footsteps of Moretsu Pirates, OZMA also gives off an old school vibe upon watching the first episode. Part of that contribution plays in the barren wasteland kind of setting, along with the sci fi like technology that is used in the series. Some of the design choices also apply in this aspect, since you have thick outlines on the characters that thin downs depending on the lighting. This sort of design kind of feels like a show from the 70s that was recolored to fit the modern look of digital anime.
Another neat aspect is how Leiji Matsumoto's character designs are colored in this series. Based on the designs I have seen of past works with his style, the character's eyes would always be colored black instead of featuring a variety of different colors. OZMA manages to do the opposite by giving eye color to each character, which gives them a whole new look compare to his older designs (It shows you how minor design changes can flesh out a piece.).
OZMA's purpose as a first episode was to introduce the viewers to the setting and characters, which still revolves around the beginning segment with Sam and his guest. Despite the slow setup, I see a lot of potential in this series regardless of who is behind the character designs. The entire cast shows promise, and there are also a handful of cartoony looking characters among the group. Fans of Leiji Matsumoto's works will also be able to pick up some shout outs in regards to a certain badass captain.
Even if you are not a veteran with anything that Leiji Matsumoto has done, I have a feeling that OZMA can still be enjoyed by newcomers since it is its own contained story. I think one of the best parts is that you are not risking too much by jumping into this series. Mainly because it is going to be a six episode series (Unless it is going to be multiple seasons.) that airs every week, so you won't be wasting that much time. Counting up the total number of minutes, it would be the equivalence of watching two movies, or one long film.
I am definitely curious on what surprises the setting is going to offer, especially with what the beginning has foreshadowed so far. If this is going to only be a six episode series, then the story is going to grow in power next week.
[You can explore the world of OZMA at Viki and Crunchyroll]
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