Please Save My Earth OVA

I never gave much thought to this before, but I like the Japanese title (Boku no Chikyuu wo Mamotte) better because it conveys who the person saying it is. In the anime, in fact, Rin actually says pretty much the exact phrase.

Story/Characters

I should probably start this out by mentioning that the manga is 21 volumes long while the OVA spans a mere 6 episodes. Obviously, all of the story is not going to fit in 3 hours. I must applaud the creators for making it feel like a complete story (with a so-so ending) even though they had to cut out so much material. Nevertheless, I’m left wanting more, and I guess I’ll have to get the manga from somewhere to satiate that desire.

The story, in a nutshell, revolves around a group of teenagers (and one little brat) who are all reincarnations of a group of alien scientists who had studied the earth from the moon. As they find out more about their past, their present lives end up revolving around it and the types of people they used to be.

The premise sounds sort of ridiculous, but it’s presented in a very matter of fact way that makes it acceptable. By far the best thing about the story is not any specific event, but the great nostalgia it manages to create.

I could nitpick about the small things that were never wrapped up, but I’m only really bothered by one: Shion and Mokuren’s past. I read up on the characters via Wikipedia, which claims that Shion raped her, but in the anime, all that is said is that he “hurt” her. This completely changes their relationship, as accidentally emotionally hurting someone, which the anime leads the viewer to believe is what took place, is in a whole different league than raping someone. His whole believability as a villain depends on this, since I don’t really feel sorry for him at all if the later is what happened. In that case, he deserved spending those 9 years alone and can shut up and stop whining. If, however, I take into account only what was revealed in the anime, I can see how he would be justified in seeking out revenge. He’s sort of supposed to be the villain you understand and feel sorry for, so this is important. In fact, I keep calling him a villain, but his aims aren’t even that horrible; the worst thing about him is that he absolutely fails at getting them (or tries to get them) in a humane way.

The only other thing wrong with the story is the last episode, which just feels very different. I like it and thought “Kyaa” was the most adorable thing ever, but a giant human-sized cat out of nowhere was a bit jarring among the other relatively realistic settings. (The aliens look like humans, after all.) The ending… well, I’m perfectly willing to accept it as an ending, although it’s a loose one that leaves many ends open and sort of goes “Hahaha, now you must read the manga!” That isn’t bad per se, but I don’t know how much I’d enjoy only the anime.

Finally, on a random note, when I first started reading the manga, I was about 15 and a huge yaoi/shounen-ai/BL/whatever fangirl. Five years later, I’m fairly disinterested in most of that stuff, but Issei and Jinpachi still get to me. They’re just cute. (For all of you offended by gay things, that kiss is the worst that happens and the attraction isn’t even mutual. Issei was a women in his past life, you see, and he’s still attracted to the man Jinpachi used to be.)

Art/Animation

It’s not as if the animation is anything spectacular, but for some reason I really liked it. It was probably the hair blowing in the wind that did it for me, but, whatever it was, after a few episodes I just suddenly came around to thinking that it was absolutely gorgeous. I must add, however, that I like older things (like records and film, as in photographic film), including pre-digital animation, so if you think today’s methods are so much superior, you’ll probably disagree.
It certainly doesn’t look bad even by modern standards, in any case.

Music

The music functions as background music, overall. (Well, duh, that’s what it is, but I mean that it’s not as memorable as, say, Cowboy Bebop.) It stood out favorably in some instances and there was never a moment where I was annoyed by it, but I certainly wouldn’t be able to recognize any of it if I randomly heard it somewhere. There is one exception: the ending (alas, there is no opening). It’s written by the lauded Yoko Kanno and takes a while to grow on you, but it’s quiet, haunting, and perfectly suited for the sense of nostalgia it manages to create when coupled with the animation. In fact, you can watch it here on YouTube.

DVD

Since this is a DVD, I figured I may as well review that, too, instead of just the content.

I hate the stupid logo used for the North American release, which looks hideous on the cover but also dominates the menu. What’s wrong with it is that this is a very soft and delicate show, which the bright, contrasty, yellow and sky blue lettering that someone thought looked good (I reckon he or she was intoxicated, as was the person who quality checked the subtitles.) doesn’t convey at all. All it conveys is “This looks ugly.” The menu itself, aside from the logo, is also quite ugly, but I guess that can be forgiven since this thing is eight years old by now. It works, and that’s the most important part.

The translation seems to be somewhat loose, but I like super literal translations so anything less than that will seem so to me. To give an example of what I’m talking about, there was a line that should have been something like “It wasn’t your fault; it’s Sarjalim’s will,” but the subtitles only had “It’s Sarjalim’s will.”

Other than that, there were typos. Typos in professional subtitles; was the editor sleeping or something? At one point, “Mokuren” is spelled “Molkuren.” Also “If you thinking about suicide again…” For Christ’s sake, this isn’t a fansub and I paid money for it, so please take care of that.

The video quality was average for a DVD. There were aliasing issues and sometimes a tiny yet annoying chunk of the top left corner was black. As with the menu, I suppose this can be excused because of its age and because all six episodes are on just one disk.

The extras don’t seem like much at first, but the character biographies as well as the FAQ are interesting to read through after having watched the series.

Overall

Ugly DVD aside, I love the entire series and want to give this a really awesome rating, but I just can’t when I take into account only this OVA without the manga. The ending, acceptable as it may be for someone who wants to read the manga, just doesn’t satisfy on its own. Since the rest is composed of such a wonderfully well paced and tightly written story (except for maybe the beginning, which kind of drags), I’m still going to give it a 8/10.

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