Years before experimenting with CG animation and making recent titles such as the Appleseed movie series and Space Pirate Captain Harlock, Shinji Aramaki was of and still is one of the most influential mechanical designers in the Anime industry. Working in such titles as Genesis Climber MOSPEADA, Bubblegum Crisis, Halo Legends, Project Blue Earth SOS, Megazone 23 etc. you can see how much attention to detail is put into the look of each mechanical or robotic design which is why I’ve always praised and admired him both as a designer and a filmmaker for the work he has contributed. For his second and also solo directorial work Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01 stands as being his only work in an OVA and one he not only directed but written as well. This is sadly one of his works that had there been more to it in terms of story and character, it would have left more of an impression because it clearly shows.
So with The Professional over and done with, the second movie or OVA this time takes Duke Togo in a slightly different direction in regards to its themes and story. Whereas Golgo 13: The Professional focused heavily on a never ending vengeance trip on how so much can be thrown at the main character without being 100% active in his own film, Queen Bee’s story is focused more on the themes of tragedy and corruption and how suffering can be profited from that and then silenced through the deal carried out by the hired man, yet despite that though the result of this doesn’t live up to its name or what it delivers.
However, contentment brings with it complacency, and over time humanity became so dependent on Fractale that social and technological development all but ceased.
One thousand years later, Fractale begins to corrode and systematically shut down. Before it is gone completely, it's keepers, the enigmatic people of The Temple, initiate a plan to reboot Fractale and restore paradise. But a rogue element, a cult of anti-system insurgents that call themselves the Lost Millennium, seize this opportunity to attempt to shut down the system for good, recognising all the hundreds of years of growth and development wasted due to mankind's en masse addiction to Fractale.
nter our protagonist, a fifteen year old boy called Clain. Clain has been raised as part of the system, but has never really taken to it as much as everyone around him. He has never even bothered creating a Doppel for himself, preferring to do everything personally.
One day while returning home from an errand he meets and rescues a girl called Phryne from some LM pursuers. After hiding out with Clain for a night, she vanishes by morning, leaving in his care a brooch which (after cursory examining) releases the seemingly ownerless humanoid Doppel Nessa, a perpectually upbeat ten year old girl around whom the series will primarily revolve, as both The Temple and the Lost Millennium attempt to retrieve both her and Phryne as part of their plans to restore or destroy respectively the Fractale system.
light he had never considered. And while the Temple themselves are portrayed in very traditionally villainous ways, their goals are entirely altruistic. Yet the ML are displayed in a very light-hearted, almost familial way, but have no qualms about using terrorism in the name of their cause. In both cases we are shown how their ends, from their personal perspectives, entirely justify the means. When considering what each side fights for, both are offered sympathetically.
And by the end of the series' scant 11-episode duration, the question is never definitively answered. The viewer is left to think for themselves: "What was achieved? Is the world now a better place than it would have been given the opposite goal? Was mankind's dependence on Fractale really such a bad thing, just because it seems so alien to our current point of view?"
It may not be greatest series of all time, but if you like your anime to present to you ideas and leave you thinking, it's fully worth the watch.
Plus the English dub stars Brina Palencia in full-on convincing young boy mode, and the always amazing Luci Christian as Nessa. And Luci is *always* worth the admission price.
Battle Angel Alita Ova (1993) *Minor Spoiler Review*