DNA Sights 999.9

DNA Sights 999.9
Leiji Matsumoto has written some great stories -- stories great enough to be considered classic, to stand the test of time. DNA Sights 999.9 is not one of those stories.

After a meteor hits Earth, traitor forces have (for all intents and purposes) taken over, and the people are suffering. In the chaos, a boy named Tetsuro Daiba, who had lost his parents in the meteor hit, is paid a visit by Mello, a mysterious woman appearing in a bright light. When Daiba comes to, he finds itself in a spaceship infirmary under observation. Stealing a fighter that he didn't know how to pilot (until he tried it), he breaks out, flying like a total pro.

He was able to remember how to pilot from his DNA memory... and to find out more, his doctor friend takes him to his secret underground lab, in which he acts as a professor to find out ways to stop the traitor regime. When the forces invade to take him back, a girl named Rei Yuuki mysteriously shoots down their entire carrier with only a fighter jet! Apparently, both have mysterious powers that the enemies want, which may or may not be connected to their being the only two known survivors of the meteor impact.

While looking for a third survivor (which turned out to be a cat), the two are taken by force to Queen Photon (ruler of the traitor regime), who claims that she is out to SAVE the Earth from those who sent the Meteor. The two don't know whether to believe her or Mello until the (telepathic) cat breaks them out of the Queen's sealed chamber, and Mello comes to straighten things out. That's when the two (er, three) of them make a choice... Stay on a planet that can't support their advanced race, or strike out into the unknown of space?
Although the animation in this 1-part OAV is handled by Madhouse, it's produced by HMV, whom I must confess I've never heard of. The animation is quite good, certainly on par with other OAV's, and the bit of CG effects is handled flawlessly by Satelight (Kenji's Spring). Visually, the entire production is slightly above average. That isn't the problem here.

The problem is the tired, cliche storytelling. Having not read the original manga, I'm not sure whether to blame Matsumoto, the director, or the industry for defining each of the story elements as totally cliche. The plot recounts just about every tired old Space Opera plot element - from the angry main character lashing out on the wrong party and running away, to him running at someone who is obviously a hologram and falling as he passes right through. There is not one remaining element to this story that has not been routinely beaten to death by 80% of the serious Sci-Fi anime out there. Worse yet, as if sensing a failure, the ending features an appearance of Captain Harlock and the Arcadia for no real reason -- it's totally random and totally pointless.

Just to add an additional layer of mediocrity, we're not treated to the same high-quality dubbing that we're used to from Urban Vision. I'm guessing Jack Fletcher was tied up doing the Ghibli dubs for Disney and so he couldn't direct this effort, and whoever takes over simply isn't up to the task. We get a bit of the Hurry-Up-And-Fill-This-Space-With-Dialogue-Even-If-You-Have-To-Have-An-Odd-Unnaturally-Constructed-Sentance flaw that was so prevalent in Carl Macek's dubs. It's watchable, but not great.

With an uninspired telling, only slightly above average animation, and an inconclusive, tacked-on ending, there is nothing about this OAV that makes it anything but a must-miss. A pity that Urban Vision has chosen this one to be their first release in over a year.
Overall (dub) : C

+ Nice animation
Tired, cliche plot. Slightly Streamlinian dub. What does Captain Harlock have to do with anything?!

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Production Info:
Director: Masayuki Kojima
Script: Tatsuhiko Urahata
Storyboard: Masayuki Kojima
Unit Director: Shinichi Masaki
Music: Katsuo Ono
Original creator: Leiji Matsumoto
Character Design: Marisuke Eguchi
Art Director: Jirou Kouno
Animation Director: Masafumi Yamamoto
Mechanical design: Katsumi Itabashi
Sound Director: Yasunori Honda
Director of Photography: Yoshiyuki Tamagawa
Executive producer: Yoshitaka Haga
Producer: Masao Maruyama

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DNA Sights 999.9 (movie)

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