Perhaps this will be some sort of post-script to my coverage of GALAXY EXPRESS 999. There's nothing to note past that. It's just interesting to watch book-ends of a decades-long career in quick succession.
Look, I love Matsumoto. HARLOCK’s my first anime ever, man. However, watching this makes me think I got a rise out of his modern output like INTERSTELLA 5555 and that random “Bohemian Rhapsody” AMV because those projects were chiefly intended to be retro. The man’s baroque style is so recognizable by this point that OZMA feels less like him strumming on his favorite themes and more like him just re-visiting well-worn archetypes, once more. As much as I like the hot-blooded leader lady in this show, I recognize that she basically feels like a female Harlock.
Maybe I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed before watching this one. Maybe the timing of my viewing - - so soon after NOW AND THEN, HERE AND THERE - - has just found me totally out of the mood for another “strange girl drops into a callow dude’s life and embroils him a war” plot. Intellectually, I realize this is classic-style, rollicking, swashbuckling adventure. Viscerally, though, it feels old-fashioned enough that I kind-of don’t want to even bother describing this tale of danger in a desert that’s very much like the high seas. The (unintentional?) allusion to the Princess of Oz doesn't do it any favors by setting its head space to a very specific time in the past.
Am I being too harsh and dismissive here, everybody? Or were some of you lunatics similarly conflicted about OZMA? I feel like I respect it more than I enjoy it.
Watch this episode, "Sand Whale" here and decide for yourself.