This Fandora thing is old (1985), and I’m drawn to old anime. I knew nothing about it, aside from that the picture on ANN is sort of neat. It also has â€œdreamâ€ in the title. Since it’s only 3 episodes long, I decided to give it a try. What awaited me was… mediocrity. Why I also wrote an excessively long summary, I don’t know. Perhaps so that others don’t have to watch it to know what happened? Or maybe just to procrastinate?
With spoilers, of course!
Fandora is our heroine, clad in a skimpy fantasy outfit. Along with her goofy-looking sidekick, Que, she works as a bounty hunter in space. By using the “Jewel of Lupia” mounted on her crown, she turns into a reddish version of herself and dons a sword and shield to fight bad guys.
The anime starts off with Fandora and Que catching (chopping the head off of) a criminal. After discovering that the bounty they received is going toward practical things (like fuel), Fandora decides that she wants the next one all for herself. Hence, she wants the most well-paying one: “Yogu-sogos,” some notorious criminal of which there isn’t even a picture. Que talks her out of it.
Instead, they decide to go after “Red-Eye Geran,” who is currently located on “Lem,” a pretty fantasy-kingdom place complete with a white castle. (To give you an idea of how ridiculous this anime, and anime in general, can be, Que describes it as “a parallel democratically-ruled ideal kingdom.” What the Christ?)
They warp there only to find it all dark and gloomy. (I wonder who could have possibly caused this. Hint: itâ€™s not Geran.) When Fandora and Que go to a pub/inn/place-with-a-bartender to inquire about what happened, all of the men there crowd around her. It turns out that the country has been befallen by a horrid scarcity of young women.
The source of this evil is… a cult! A cult led by a man named “Gilsberg” who murdered the king, now rules over the kingdom, and takes all young women as his slaves. How charming. (He’s also a very merry fellow. Warning: image shows semi-naked women.)
There’s also a princess, “Lemia,” whoâ€™s in cahoots with him.
Of course, Fandora has to rush off to save the kingdom! Close to the enemy headquarter “Grand Cathedral” (which doesn’t look much like a cathedral, so letâ€™s call it a castle), Fandora’s jewel on her crown starts shining. She retreats to figure out whatâ€™s going on with it.
Itâ€™s time for some back-story, told by a drunken Que. (Why is he drinking at such a time?) Fandoraâ€™s red jewel goes together with a blue jewel. Should they both fall into evil hands, the whole world will fall into darkness. The opposite if someone good has them. (Gee, how original.) Guess who has the blue stone!
While Que is asleep, Fandora sneaks out to explore the town. (She has no freaking clue that Gilsberg is Yogu-sogos.) As expected, she is captured and taken to Gilsberg, who wants the crown, or the jewel on it. Fandora turns out to be surprisingly weak and completely fails at defending herself.
Gilsberg puts on the crown, but it rejects him. Fandora thinks it’s because he’s evil, but it’s actually just because he’s a man. I quote: “The sword is a man’s symbol of rule and the crown a woman’s.” Right. Lemia ends up getting the crown. No terrible calamity immediately befalls the world, so I guess the prophecy wasnâ€™t that accurate, after all.
Fandora is escorted to a fighting ring suspended above a prickly pit of spikes where she has to conveniently face Geran, the criminal she was after. (Oh, and her skirt was torn off so that sheâ€™s now wearing only panties.) Suddenly, she quits being really terrible at hand-to-hand combat and puts up a fight (which she doesn’t win). Gilsberg and Lemia look on, when Lemia begins to be bothered by the crown. It seems to show her memories of good old fairytale Lem and removes Gilsberg’s brainwashing.
Just as Fandora is about to be defeated by Geran, Liam steps in and kills him. She then turns against Gilsberg himself only to be struck down. Before dying, she returns the crown to Fandora.
Fandora finally realizes that Gilsberg is Yogu-sogos, mainly because he tells her. They both transform and start what I assume is supposed to be an epic battle, during which they manage to destroy the castle. Que, who had been looking for Fandora in the form of a bug (Heâ€™s able to change his shape at will.), comes to help her and reveals his true form. He is… a (terribly ugly) dragon!
Yogu-sogos is buried under the rubble that is his crumbling castle while Fandora and Que escape. The blue jewel vanishes into the sky. Fandora vows to search for it, or rather hopes to come across it while working as a bounty hunter. The episode ends with a hand snatching the blue jewel out in space somewhere.
I already said it was mediocre, and I stand by it. The animation is nothing to write home about. In fact, itâ€™s sort of bad, considering that this is an OVA. Yes, itâ€™s old, but it looks more like an older TV show (say, Tenku Senki Shurato) than an OVA.
The music is forgettable when it exists at all. For probably at least half the episode, there is no background music. The rest isnâ€™t terrible, but itâ€™s noticeably old in a bad way.
There are a few tacky panty shots. They’re a bit more subtle than the full-on, close-up, up-skirt crotch-shots that are found in some anime these days (I say this based on Strike Witches screencaps.), but they’re still creepy.
There are no dreams, as I was deceived into believing by the title.
It just feels uninspired. The characters aren’t developed well so that I couldn’t care less about what happens to them. Nobody is given any background. After an entire episode, I know nothing about who Fandora is or why she became a bounty hunter. I donâ€™t even know her motivations, past money. I donâ€™t know where Que comes from or why they teamed up. Those are just the basics, and the anime doesnâ€™t throw out any more questions except for â€œwhatâ€™s going to happen to the blue jewel?â€ Worse, it doesnâ€™t even raise the questions about Fandora and/or Que. Not everything has to be a mystery, but youâ€™ve got to give the viewer some incentive to keep watching, and random cookie-cutter characters arenâ€™t enough.
To expand a bit on the cookie-cutter thing: Yogu-sogos is an evil villain who has nothing in mind aside from ruling the world. There is no grey area of evil-but-understandable ambitions; everyone is categorized into the very black and white categories of “good” or “evil.”
Why do I always write long, detailed summaries of mediocre works? Is it some sort of masochistic streak? Whatever the reason, I plan to keep watching and summarizing even though Iâ€™d only give this episode a 5/10.