Good Morning Althea is an hour long OVA from the tail end of 1987. It was based off of an Itou Takehiko manga. One of these days I’ll talk about his famous works like Outlaw Star & Angel Links, but I guess starting with obscure works no one remembers or cares about is just as good.
We open with a ship getting attacked by automatons. Since they’re taken by surprise and have shields made out of papier mâché, only four people survive the initial attack and one of them dies immediately. I hope you got attached to him in the three minutes he was on screen because otherwise having him survive at all is just stupid. The two people left on the bridge are young Galory and the cyborg Nikolai. Galory decides to awaken the “Crest” girl Althea and get her help in dealing with the automatons. The trio decide to go over to the ship they’ve taken over, hopefully find survivors and destroy the core. Which should be all well and good so long as they don’t find survivors only to have them die three and a half minutes after being found. That would just be pointless.
The big issue with the OVA is with the awkward, stilted way events unfold. We start with the whole “Everybody is dead, Dave” incident. Then they just decide “well, we can’t escape, better try to destroy the core.” This is followed by them running around this ship that seems deserted and includes a scene of Galory & Althea just sitting down and chatting away like they can’t be bothered to care. It also includes a scene of Nikolai finding survivors only for them to die pretty much immediately before the main trio meet up for the climax.
The idea of having a small group try and stop a threat on a basically abandoned ship could work, in theory. We just needed a more cohesive, better constructed plot surrounding it.
Now, what I’m going to compare this to is the episode Lower Decks from Star Trek. This episode isn’t even as long as this OVA, focuses on characters we’ve never seen before and it gives you enough about those characters to get you invested in them.
The reason I bring this up is simple. If it’s possible to get me invested in four characters with a run time of forty five minutes, it should be easy to do the same with three characters when you have fifty. Good Morning Althea does not manage it in the slightest.
One issue with the characters is their stilted dialogue. I have to go back to the scene where Althea & Galory just pause during their dangerous mission to chat about nothing. Because if I’m trying to go into enemy territory to bring down a specific target, I know I want to just pause for a picnic and singing kumbaya. Singing a song that isn’t trash is also an option. It also wastes our time with these non-characters who get killed off very shortly after we’re introduced to them. And I have to wonder what the point is. We don’t spend enough time with these characters to give a shit about them. They have basically no impact on the narrative. Why are they here?
It doesn’t help that the dynamics don’t seem remotely natural. They try to push a close connection between Althea and Galory but they barely know each other and only share a couple awkward conversations. There’s also Nikolai. They have this “arc” with him where he goes from being standoffish and harsh with the others to actually really caring about them, but there doesn’t seem to be anything to explain his change of heart. He just kind of shifts from one to the other for no reason. It’s like Squall’s horribly written romance, but more terse.
That being said, I don’t really dislike the characters. They aren’t actively annoying, horrible or anything like that. They’re just a bland trio with contrived attempts at making them more compelling that don’t ultimately pay off.
The artwork isn’t bad nor is it good. There’s really nothing in it that makes it stand out from other anime of the mid to late 80s. The characters don’t have good designs. The general aesthetic is just kind of dull. The action sequences aren’t interesting to watch. It all just looks a bit underwhelming if I’m being honest.
The acting is fine. With the people they got, it could have been really good if they’d had something to their characters but even without that minor detail, they give fine performances. Genda Tessyo & Horikawa Ryo were definitely better in both Dragonball & Yu Yu Hakusho though. The music’s passable too.
There isn’t any. Which is fine since what little romance there is in the OVA is rubbish.
Areas of Improvement:
- Lose all the minor fodder characters. Honestly, we don’t need characters who show up only to die in a couple minutes. There’s no impact from it and it just wastes time.
- Build up the relationships before they swap ships. Because that scene where they just drop everything to talk is dumb.
- Tweak the opening. Instead of having these people be on a ship that gets attacked, I’d have Galory and Nikolai find Althea in an escape pod, find out what happened to her ship and then decide to go in. It spares us questions like “why did this thing stop attacking for no reason after killing everyone but these three?”
Good Morning Althea isn’t a bad OVA. While it does have a lot of issues, both with its narrative & characters, they aren’t so egregious that I’d call it bad. That being said, it’s definitely very weak and none of the elements really hold up very well. If you want some classic sci-fi goodness, look elsewhere. I’m giving it a 4/10.