Michiko NeyaToshiyuki MorikawaTomokazu SekiRyotaro Okiayu
Maze (OVAs)
Also known as: Maze Megaburst Space (OVAs)
Medium: OVA, series
Year: 1996
Director: Iku Suzuki
Original creator: Satoru Akahori
Actor: Ai Orikasa, Chinami Nishimura, Kotono Mitsuishi, Kouji Ishii, Kumiko Nishihara, Mako Hyoudou, Masaharu Sato, Michiko Neya, Ryotaro Okiayu, Ryuuzou Ishino, Sakura Tange, Takashi Nagasako, Tomokazu Seki, Toshiyuki Morikawa, Unsho Ishizuka, Yasunori Masutani, Yuko Kobayashi
Keywords: anime, fantasy, boobs
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: two 28-minute episodes
Url: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=2045
Website category: Anime 1990s
Review date: 29 July 2017
That was mental. Not in a "wow" way, unfortunately, but in an "I can't tell what I'm watching" way.
Maze was originally a series of 13 light novels (1993-1998). J.C.Staff made these two OVA episodes in 1996, then did a 25-episode TV series in 1997 and a 42-minute sequel movie in 1998. Unfortunately I don't have the movie, but I'll be watching the TV series to see what a less incoherent version of Maze looks like.
These two episodes, though...
We begin with sixty seconds of info-dump that's the nearest you'll get to an origin for these characters. It will make more sense if you go back and rewatch it after watching the episodes, although still not a lot. We're in a fantasy world in which Princess Mill is hanging out with a gender-shifting BigBroSister called Mix and occasionally fighting baddies with her in a gigantic bio-mecha. Where did Mix come from? No idea. Where did the bio-mecha come from? No idea. Why does Mill have to be topless to pilot the bio-mecha? Ah, that would be because these OVAs mostly exist for the sake of fanservice, nudity and nipples. (Those won't be in the TV series.)
There's a doll-sized fairy called Randy who dives down Mix's cleavage and a boy we'll see naked called Nuts. There's light-hearted nude lesbian molestation and light-hearted offscreen rape. No, really. The girl (another princess) doesn't seem to mind afterwards and indeed will end up proclaiming that she's in love with her rapist. Mix, you see, is a demure, kind-hearted girl by day, but a fanged sex maniac with demon hair by night. In a less silly show, this Jekyll-and-Hyde would be horrifying. I'm still not sure how we're meant to be taking it here. (Then, in ep.2, we learn that he so likes fighting baddies that he doesn't notice that Princess Mill is topless. Does this just mean that he's violent, or perhaps is Princess Mill underage and does Male Mix have standards?)
We also have a cast of heroes who are introduced to us by fighting some baddies... and killing them all with sprays of blood and knives exploding through the throat. That's light-hearted too, by the way.
There's a plot. The king of Babylon is building the Tower of Babylon and oppressing his people in order to finance it. In the end, this is played bewilderingly straight with him and his daughter.
It's a mess. No more, no less. I'm hoping that the TV series makes more sense, but it seems likely that to some extent this is deliberate. I think it's going for manic comedy. See the dragon's underground quiz show, for instance, which in fairness was a bit funny. It has some wild sex-related ideas, e.g. the Mixes, or the fairy reproductive cycle. However I've still got no idea what happened in the final fight, how Male Mix beat the villain or indeed what's going on with the bio-mecha in any way whatsoever. Watch this if you like anime fanservice even with very 1990s character designs, or if you've got an hour to kill and you fancy seeing some anime that's flailing all over the shop. It has a frenetic sort of appeal, but as an exercise in storytelling it fails.
No, I won't be watching the TV series after all.
I made it through four episodes before giving up. This show has almost no characters. Instead it has a mess of attempted molesters, silly romantic/sexual fixation (Mill is in love with both male and female Maze) and a lone sane protagonist (female Maze). All of this is being played for comedy. The mecha don't feel as if they fit the fantasy setting. I liked female Maze's outburst in ep.4 about objecting to being called strong if that means "good at fighting", but otherwise I see the TV show as hyperactive but dead.