- Mozaika (1991: Studio DEEN) 4/4 eps.
Have you ever seen the 80s fantasy epic that is Krull? Within 5 minutes of starting this OAV Krull sprang to mind and has been stuck there ever since. They feel bizarrely similar despite the differences in their plot and if you like one then you’ll likely enjoy the other. But I am getting ahead of myself, what is this OAV about?
On a fantasy planet of Mozaika a once kind King, Sazara, has been corrupted by his head priest, if you’ve seen Lord of the Rings then it is THAT kind of a situation. As such Sazara now reigns with an iron fist and seeks to conquer the world! When Sazara’s sudden change occurred one of his retainers, U-Dante, tried to stop the king but was struck down. Now, many years later, U-Dante’s son seeks to stop Sazara himself and bring peace of Mozaika. Along the way our hero, U-Taruma, will make some allies and got to exotic locals, such as a pill shaped castle on the edge of a desert with eternally blowing winds! The problem is that he doesn’t actually get to face Sazara, or even stop him. Instead this is only really the prologue to the main story and so the villain of the OAV is one of Sazara’s henchmen: Dera. Now Dera is pretty cool, he is clearly inspired by Darth Vader and has a giant fist shaped battleship, but he isn’t the big bad and so it does feel like a bit of a let down. From what I understand this is an anime original creation from the minds of Ryousuke Takahashi (Votoms, Flag, SPT Layzner) and Norio Shioyama (he was the character designer and animation director on most of Takahashi’s projects) so one would have hoped that they could have told a complete story. What we got was quite fun in that slightly camp 80s way: cool locations, fun characters, and a solid goal. However, when you get half way in and realise that this is just going to be a prologue it definitely hurts the viewing experience.
This sucks because most things about this show are pretty good. I really love the art design on this show. To be fair a lot of it is stock fantasy stuff but there are enough cool twists like, the tauntaun like things everyone rides instead of horses and the giant flying castle shaped like Sazara’s head, that it does feel like its own unique world. This is backed up by some solid, though not amazing, action sequences. I especially enjoyed how the tone of the action changed with the tone of the show: at the start they are quite fun and light hearted but by the end they can be super brutal, there was one particular death near the end when a guy got shot by multiple lasers that was particularly impactful.
There was one thing that wasn’t particularly good though: the music. Honestly, I can’t remember any track from the show apart from the ED. They might as well have not been there given their impact on me. The ED on the other hand was this super out of place upbeat pop number that was clearly wrong for this show, every episode this bloody thing came on and ripped me right out of the moment. The worst part is that it is a good song!
Overall, Mozaika is a fun watch but I can’t recommend it. Not telling a complete story is almost always an issue, especially when the story you tell is only the prologue. Imagine if the only Lord of the Rings we got was the part up to them getting to Rivendell, you’d be annoyed, wouldn’t you? There is so much promise here and yet, like so many OAVs, it falls short because it didn’t get enough episodes.
Final score: 4C