Thursday, June 7, 2012

Green Legend Ran Anime Review

Green Legend Ran
Pioneer (Geneon)
Original Video Animation
140 mins. - 3 episodes - 1 disc
$19.98 (1998)
ISBN 013023002692
Japanese/English Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Satoshi Saga
Studio - AIC

Synopsis: The Rodo, a monolithic alien race, descended upon the Earth at the pinnacle of human culture.  Their arrival affected massive climate changes combined with their ability to draw the planet's resources within themselves resulting in the loss of oceans and rain.  Now the bitter remnants of humanity cluster around the bases of the gigantic Rodo on a barren desolate world. 

The Rodoists have a stranglehold on water distribution
Humans are divided into two factions: the Rodoists stay closest to the monoliths where natural resources are still somewhat available and they worship the Rodo as gods vs. the Hazzard, a ragtag group of rebels who view the Rodo as invaders.  Caught in the crossfire are the rest of humanity, attempting to eke out a sparse living in slowly worsening conditions as the last of the planets resources are swallowed up into the Rodo.
Ran kicks back with a smoke after a long day of gathering supplies
Ran is a resourceful, hot-blooded boy living in a tiny border town and taking care of his aging grandmother.  His mother was killed by a stray bullet from a Hazzard rebel with a huge scar on his chest several years ago.  Now Ran is obsessed with getting revenge on the man responsible for his mother's death.
Aira shows Ran a secret garden where fresh water flows
A battle between the Rodoists and Hazzard breaks out in his town and Ran is caught in the middle.  He meets a beautiful, silver-haired girl named Aira living among the Hazard.  Instantly smitten Ran is torn between his desire for revenge and protecting Aira as the Rodoists seek to capture her as their prophesied 'silver-haired maiden'.
The Rodo 'mother' beckons Aira to come home
What is Aira's strange connection to the Rodo and 'The Green' inside the huge monoliths?  The Rodo's plan is revealed and humanity's fate hangs in the balance.  Will Ran choose revenge over love?
Ran shouts for revenge against the man with the chest scar
Pros: Positive environmental message, somewhat interesting story, a few good plot twists (like who Ran's father is)
That's gonna leave a mark
Cons: Animation is dated and has a very simple style, character designs are stylized without a lot of detail, plot is a bit weak and scattered in places, DVD has no frills (it's from 1998) like menu screen, etc.
The Rodoist Arch Bishop drinks some water
Mike Tells It Straight: I'm a sucker for a good post-apocalyptic anime and GLR fit the bill.  Humanity on the brink of annihilation - check!  Giant alien monoliths sucking the life from the planet - check!  Hot-headed punk kid tasked to save the world and get the babe - check!  All the ingredients for a decent flick, but it had a few pitfalls.
Aira's power emerges in the shadow of the Rodo monolith
The animation felt dated (this was made way back in 1992), was a bit rough around the edges, and the character designs were highly stylized/simple - reminded me strongly of Now and Then, Here and There and Fantastic Children.  Not my favorite style, but I can live with it.
The Rodo 'mother' tries to convince Aira to betray humanity
The story is relatively straightforward and acts as a vehicle for Ran's coming-of-age. I liked the environmental message and Ran's scrappiness.  The head Rodoists were totally weird and unique.  This show has some dust on it (it's a classic to many anime fans), but was decent and satisfied my post-apocalyptic future craving.  Other movies do it better (Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind in particular) and the weak character designs prompt me to give it an average rating.

TO BUY and Recommendations: