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Episode #1: Metamorforce

Copyright: © 1994 Pioneer LDC Inc. (Japan, North America)
Length: 30 minutes
Rating: NR, Adult situations with brief nudity, parental guidance suggested
Format: Subtitled/Dubbed/CC (VHS/LD)

Director: Kitazune Hiroyuki Producers: AIC / Oniro / Pioneer LDC Character Design: Kitazune Hiroyuki

[ plot summary ]

[ VHS jacket ]

Strange mecha have begun appearing accross 21st century Tokyo, in an apparent bid to steal the last remaining original 20th century F1 race car, the six-wheeled Olf. During a retro F1 race sponsored by Zamtec Industry Corporation (ZIC), an attempt is made by these mecha during the Race Queen beauty contest. But it's Captain Tokyo to the rescue, and the theft attempt is thwarted. But who is this sharply-outfitted crime-fighter?

When Mirai Ozora finds out that it's her own geeky techo-freak brother, she decides to modify the Moldiver effect to add some style to his otherwise testosterone-influenced crime-fighter. But when the strange Machine-gal mecha heads a second attempt to steal the Olf on the racetrack itself, Mirai's brother Hiroshi discovers that he can't use the modified Moldiver. Now it's up to Mirai to save the Olf, the driver and the day from the determined mecha. Just who is behind all these attacks? And why would anyone want to steal a technologically out-dated car?

[ capsule review ]

Parody, thy name is Moldiver! Like Project: A-Ko before it, nothing is sacred, least of all the super-suit genre in science fiction. This show pokes fun at just about anything and everyone, include Japan's marginally successful F1 driver, Nakajima (or Nakagawa in the show. In real life too, he's had a tough time keeping up with other drivers and newer technology). Not even the venerable animation studio itself is immune, as its alter-ego is cast as the evil corporate monster. If that's not enough, how's this for a twist: The Mol effect will only work on humans if they're not wearing any clothes -- and there's a minor quirk that has to do with a time limit... The Japanese have no qualms about using nudity, or even implied nudity as a means to deliver humour. Moldiver uses this too-often used device in a very tasteful, if not effective way. Before you start yanking the tapes off your shelves, relax -- the nudity is very minor and very innocent, and it has to be: this series is targeted at the younger grade-school kids. (Has anyone else noticed that beauty pagents and skimpy bathing suits seem to appear more often in shows for very young viewers? Is there something I'm not getting here?) The target audience also means is that the story's pretty simple, and lots of gee-whiz techno-babble to keep things interesting. Keep in mind that this is the first of a series, so part of the show is a whirlwind introduction to the players.

Animation is above-average across the board, with some great motion perspective shots thrown in. And the cast? There's a very competent (and large!) line-up of vocal talents; but Nogami Yukana does a great job as the bubbly and mischievious Ozora Mirai, without going 'over-the-top.' Morikawa Tomoyuki delivers an equally competent performance as her geeky super-nerd brother, Hiroshi. Add to that a decently catchy soundtrack, and Pioneer's awesome packaging (postcards and informative posters) and you end up with an easy recommendation.
- AN, 98.01.20

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: N/A rate_04.gif N/A
Direction: N/A 4 stars N/A
Acting: N/A 4 stars N/A
Animation: N/A 4 stars N/A
Music: N/A rate_04.gif N/A
Translation: N/A 4 stars N/A
Overall Rating: N/A rate_04.gif N/A

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