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The Wanderers of El-hazard

Every so often I run short of money to buy new anime and I am forced to watch the old stuff I have collected over the years. Recently I have decided to wipe the dust from some of my oldest videos and watch the Wanderers of El-hazard or El-hazard for short. The El-hazard. El-hazard is an anime show very much like Tenchi Muyo and was even made by the same people. TV series is available from Pioneer in the form of 7 vhs cassettes ( I am not sure if it available in cassette form anymore but I bought it 3 years ago) or 4 DVDs.

The Wanderers of El-hazard begins with Makoto Mizuhara working on some weird science project. Makoto has a childhood friend Nanami Jinnai and her psychotic brother Katsuhiko. Eventually Katsuhiko Jinnai (or just Jinnai as that is what most people call him) messes with Makoto's invention and sucks the three of them and Mr. Fujisawa, the drunken history teacher into another world. It doesn't take long before he runs into a princess by the name of Rune Venus (actually she runs into him running away from big bugs called bugrom) and is saved by the new super strong Fujisawa. After a few misunderstandings with the princess Makoto and Mr. Fujisawa are sent on their way to find a way back to their own world. Soon enough they find that Jinnai is in control of the bugrom and have foil is plots. Eventually they are told to seek the three priestess who might know a way back. Actually the priestesses don't know a way back and Makoto and Fujisawa head back to Rune Venus's castle. The rest of the series is spent either foiling the mad plots of Lord God Jinnai (that is what he wants everybody to call him)or going on adventures with Rune Venus.

Many people look down on the TV series as they say it is inferior to the original Oav. I think that assessment is not entirely fair for several reasons. One, if the plot was exactly the same as the Oav there would be no reason for the people that saw it to watch the TV series and if it was a continuation of the Oav, people that didn't see the Oav would be easily lost. Secondly, the format of a 26 episode television series has much more room to introduce characters at more leisurely pace than a 7 part Oav. Many of the changes I felt were for the better, such as the change in Nanami's power, as you will see if you get to episode 19 or so. Another big change is that Rune Venus is much younger in the TV series, the same age as Makoto. Many people complain that the Wanderers ruined the character of Ifurita, by turning a tragic character into a comic buffoon. This is a truly valid complaint, however the Television version of Ifurita is an entertaining character within the context of the series and fits the more comic mood of the series.

The one flaw I do find with this series is that like several other anime series is that they take a few episodes to develop their setting. This is one of those series that takes a while before it truly becomes a worthwhile comedic series. But once it does the wanderers of El-hazard is truly worth watching. I won't lie to you and say this is a truly classic show that you must watch, but if you are looking for a good, light comedy adventure this will easily fit the bill. I give the wanders of El hazard a 3 out of 5.

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