Final Review: Ozma (Ozuma)

DISCLAIMER: Anime reviews on this blog will attempt minimal to no spoilers unless other noted. If a review seems dull or shallow, it’s because I’m trying to make sure not to go into too detail for those who are actually interested in the show before or after reading the review or those who have yet to finish the title. If you want further details, there are usually tons of reviews that can be found elsewhere on the internet. Furthermore, anime reviews in general are the sole opinion of the author writing it and thus differ across the users. There is no such thing as a “right answer” only a majority agreement. You are free to have your own opinions and thereby free to state and/or argue/debate in the comments section below or on the Fansub TV Forums. The review is not necessarily meant to serve as a recommendation but rather a personal opinion of having completed the series.

Ozma (or Ozuma) is the 60th anniversary WOWOW project with source material by Leiji Matsumoto. Matsumoto is famous for his Space Battleship Yamato, Galaxy Express, and Captain Harlock works, all of which were fantastic classic sci-fi works. Unlike those works, however, Ozma is set in a desert world that revolves around the legendary sand whale, Ozma. Ozma is a short 6 episode series that aired during the Spring 2012 anime season and was simulcasted on CrunchyRoll.

Ozma’s story is the worst I’ve ever seen from Leiji Matsumoto. The premise is relatively intriguing but there are far too many terminologies and plot events in the short 6 episodes it has to fully develop itself. At the end of the 6 episodes, the show is full of holes, lackluster explanations of various terminologies and the world the characters live in, and worse of all, stale characters. Unlike Matsumoto’s past works, development was not the only key issue here but the fact that the characters were uninteresting and not all that engaging made it difficult just to sit through a single episode.

Art wise is okay. Desert area is a little lacking in detail and the whole “magical sand” animation is a bit too much for a show that’s not fully space sci-fi. Animation is pretty cheap and low budget, even when you’re talking about GONZO, which is still emerging from bankruptcy. The quality from Last Exile ~Ginyoku no Fam~ was even better than this trash. Also, Ozma is suppose to be a desert whale…someone want to explain why it’s like a mechanical ship?

Music? OP/ED are generally forgettable. Background music is average. Sound effects is pretty good though. The show does manage to capture the whole submarine atmosphere feel with appropriate active sonars. Seiyuu wise, the lineup is great but I sensed a strong lack of emotion in the characters. Everything felt too rigid and stale.

Enjoyment? Plot holes, lack of explanation, character backgrounds, all of this are missing in this show. It’s like someone completely skipped over the outline step when creating this and went straight to writing a story based on whatever came to mind. At the end of the day, this is typical GONZO, meaning they will throw in as much intriguing material as possible but never able to wrap up nicely. GONZO clearly has not learned after falling to the depths of hell not too long ago and I would recommend staying away from this title.

Overall, to be honest, this show had a somewhat competent staff to at least make an average quality work. However, the show couldn’t even get to that level. A major disappointment and I’d suggest not watching this if you’ve already been spoiled to the goodness of Harlock, Yamato, and/or Galaxy Express. There are shows that have a similar premise as Ozma but do it better even though it’s not a Matsumoto title. The Third, Last Exile, and Mouretsu Pirates are easily comparable and if you want to stretch it, Desert Punk and even Fractale will get the job done. For a 60th anniversary work, this is just bad. P.A. Works clearly set the stage with their 10th anniversary project, Hanasaku Iroha, last year. WOWOW just clearly fails.

Story and Character:

  • Premise (0.5/1): Interesting and a bit different for a Leiji Matsumoto title. Nice change of pace.
  • Character Personalities (0/1): Bland and dull. I constantly hear kids whining.
  • Character Development (0.5/2): It’s there but added in to move the “plot” rather than anything else.
  • Character Usefulness/Presence (0.5/2): There are maybe 5 characters you need to know in this show. The rest of which act like they play a major role but end up being pure side characters. I can’t even remember their names.
  • Pacing: (0/1): It’s literally one new “development” after another with few resolutions.
  • Reasonable/Plausible (0.5/2): Conflicts are okay. Resolutions are terrible. The tactical battles weren’t really all that tactical. They’re nowhere near the stuff you see in Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Tytania, or even Crest of the Stars. Also, if it takes 3+ tries to figure out an enemy’s attack pattern, the captains are clearly incompetent.
  • Conclusion (0/1): Rushed and weird. Makes little logical sense.
  • Total: 2/10

Art and Animation:

  • Backgrounds (1/2): Nice setting. Desert could use more detail
  • Character Designs (1/2): Rough but acceptable. They don’t really match the setting that well
  • Fluidity (0.5/2): Poor
  • Visuals/Special Effects/Flashiness (1.5/2): Colorful, but lacking synchronization with setting. Visuals seem like they were done out of the blue.
  • Art and Animation “Expectation” (1/2): Seen better from GONZO, e.g. Last Exile ~Ginyoku no Fam~
  • Total: 5/10

Sound and Music:

  • OP/ED/Insert Themes (1/3): OP/ED are forgettable. Not bad but forgettable.
  • Background Music (1/2): Average.
  • Sound Effects (1.5/2): Above Average
  • Seiyuu (1/3): For a strong seiyuu lineup, I’m disappointed with the stale emotions in this show.
  • Total: 4.5/10

Enjoyment:

  • Amusement (0/2): None
  • Weekly/Next Episode Anticipation (0/2): Average initial episode and it only went downhill from there.
  • Presentation (0/2): If you are lost by episode 2, you’re probably not going to understand anything else in the series.
  • Re-watchable (0/1): Zero
  • Recommendation (0/2): Captain Harlock, Galaxy Express, Space Battleship Yamato are all Matsumoto works to watch. Ozma is not. The Third, Last Exile, Fractale, Mouretsu Pirates, and Desert Punk should be prioritized over this.
  • Value (0/1): None
  • Total: 0/10

Preliminary Score: 5/10

Final Score: 3/10

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