Wednesday, December 2, 2015

OBSCURE O.V.A.S, *Tenamonya Voyagers

A very obscure OVA 4-episode series from the late 90s, Tenamonya Voyagers holds the distinct honor of being the first anime to be released in America that was a DVD-only release. Prior to this, all anime was put out either prior on VHS, or simultaneously on VHS and DVD. This is possibly why it was so under the radar of most U.S. otaku. This OVA was like a lot of ones done in the 90s as being incomplete(similar to Dragon Half)but still holds your attention, and is basically "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy meets The Fugitive".

Set sometime way in the future, Ayako is a young Earth woman who just became a teacher, and gets a position at a school on a distant world, but after arriving there the school shut down, leaving her and sports scholarship winner Wakano stranded with not enough funds to get back home. After lamenting their situation, a mecha comes falling out of the sky piloted by teenage space mafa figure, "Space Trash" Paraila, who claims to be a dropout student also trying to find her way to Earth, where apparently once any intergalactic criminal is absolved of all crimes if they make it there. The three ladies pull their resources to get a space train, but the ship is pulled over by the very determined detective Tatsue(also from Earth)who is determined to arrest Paraila to help bring down a galactic syndicate. Fortunately for Paraila, she has a special circuit card that can amp up any mecha to god-mode, and she along with Ayako and Wakano make their escape. Along their voyage, the trio come across Paraila's old flunkie who is keep at heisting robots for them to use, all this while being pursued by both the space cops and space mafia. They eventually jack an abandoned pleasure cruiser, and become end up crashing on another planet while still leaving the fate of their voyage to Earth up in the air, to which even the narrator makes a note of as in to indicate they were waiting to see if the anime would continue past 4 episodes!

Despite the slight abrupt conclusion, Tenamonya Voyages is one of the first truly space anime that goes off the beaten path. As it came out around the same time as Cowboy Bebop and Outlaw Star, this OVA took their star trek from the point of view of the common person just trying to make it back home, sort of like a Planes, Trains and Automobiles version of Lost In Space. It was produced by Studio Perriot, and features intensively good animation, although there's quite a few shots in the last episodes that I can't believe didn't cause seizures for some of the Pokemon victims. The writing is good too, although some gets lost in the English translation. The entire series was released on a single DVD, so its not to hard to track down, but it's so worth a look!

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