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Green Legend Ran: Global Warming is Aliens

Green Legend Ran is an OVA from the early 90s. It was brought to us by AIC, the same studio that was responsible for Battle Athletes, Blue Gender, Solty Rei, Explorer Woman Ray & a variety of others. I don’t know anything going into it besides it being science fiction. So, let’s take a look and see if this one, unlike the last OVA I dug up, is worth a look.

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Story:

In the distant future our planet has been transformed into a world of desserts after giant extra terrestrials dropped onto our planet. There are contained patches of green, but they’re few and hidden away. In this world, the ruling class is made up of the Rodoists, people who worship the invading aliens and control the water supply. An opposition faction called Hazzard has also stepped up to fight against the Rodoists while most people are caught in the middle. We follow Ran, a young man who wants to join Hazzard to take revenge for his mother’s death. She was killed by a man with a scar on his chest during a confrontation betwixt the Rodoists & Hazzard. He meets up with Hazzard and befriends a girl his age named Aira. She’s immediately abnormal because of her silver hair. Normally that wouldn’t be strange in an anime, but in this one it’s significant. What does her silver hair mean? Will Ran manage to find his mother’s killer? What will happen between the factions?

While there are some interesting ideas on display, the execution leaves much to be desired. The series is pretty passable at building things up but its resolutions tend to last for all of thirty seconds and be unsatisfying. Ran spends most of the OVA repeating himself and contributing very little to the events that are happening. The story arc manages to simultaneously drag and skip over important elements. We’ll get long, slow periods that will contribute little or repeat information we already have and then we’ll skip ahead in time and be left with the impression that something important happened between the scenes but they aren’t sharing what. The environmental message in this is also really unsubtle and in your face. On a scale of Captain Planet bad to a Miyazaki film, it comes considerably closer to Captain Planet.

To the OVA’s credit, it does have some pretty strong moments when it manages to keep its focus. I also do kind of like the ending to the series. It does subvert the kind of ending you’d expect.

Characters:

There are some major problems with the characterisation in this OVA. First off, there are the villains. When a villain is supposed to be somewhat sympathetic, the series tries to hammer that in with really stilted dialogue. Which may or may not work. When a villain is just a villain, they’re cartoonishly, over the top evil. Then we have Ran himself. He’s a really dull character. It doesn’t help that he’s largely completely inept and just yammers on about the same things constantly. There’s also the dynamic betwixt Aira and Ran. It comes across as completely contrived in order to move the plot. They spend maybe a day in one another’s company and all of a sudden they’re the best of friends and willing to completely rely on one another. I would only buy that if one of them was actually a dog. Not a dog in human form, but a literal dog of some kind.

Art:

The artwork and animation vary. On one hand, the OVA is quite good when it comes to strange, surreal imagery. There are quite a few scenes that employ that aesthetic effectively. In contrast, their stuff with ordinary people can be pretty bad. There are a lot of awkward movements that no normal human would do without actively trying to contort themselves, a lot of awkward facial expressions that don’t actually match the emotion that the character is supposed to be conveying and a lot of action sequences weakened by a combination thereof. There’s also the design of their desert suits to be considered. They look like they’re made of heavy material and they have completely unnecessary shoulder pads. Because when you’re under a hot sun, you want heavy material with extra features that weigh you down. There’s also the question of how they’re supposed to function. They look a bit like diving suits. Initially, I thought they might be like proto-stillsuits where they recycle a character’s lost moisture but there’s never any indication that they can get moisture from them. It’s almost like they didn’t even consider functionality and just designed something stupid. At least it wasn’t a battle bikini.

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Sound:

The performances in this aren’t bad but they aren’t good either. Ultimately what we get from Kikuchi Hidehiro, Yayoi Mitsuki and the others are passable performances. The music from Yoshikawa Youichirou is decent enough. It’s not as good as the soundtrack he did for Iria, certainly, but it’s all right.

Ho-yay:

Don’t expect to find any here.

Final Thoughts:

Ultimately, Green Legend Ran is a series with a promising premise, that’s held back by poor execution. The story ends up with more weak moments than strong moments. The characters are largely bland, or worse. The artwork is bad when it comes to conveying normalcy and the acting is just mediocre. It’s not a bad little OVA, but in the end, my final rating is going to be a 4/10. It’s weak. Next week I’ll look at another OVA with AD Police.

Azumanga Daioh- The Animation: Needs Less Kimura

Azumanga Daioh was a slice of life comedy by Azuma Kiyohiko that ran from early ’99 to mid ’02. In April of ’02 the anime adaptation started airing. It was handled by J.C. Staff. We talked about them last week with Wolf Guy. They were also responsible for Shakugan no Shana, Nodame Cantabile & Toradora among others. Let’s just hope that this one is better than the last anime I reviewed from them.

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Story:

The basic premise for the series is that we have a bunch of quirky girls attending high school and getting into all kinds of shenanigans. A first for the anime I’ve reviewed, I know. Each episode is divided into segments and each segment features a different humorous scenario involving our main cast.

Yes, Azumanga Daioh has a very common, very basic slice of life comedy premise. However, to its credit, it does a superb job at executing that premise. It features quite a few fun, cute and charming scenes. Almost every single joke in the series is really funny. The jokes that fail all revolve around the same character, Kimura. His entire shtick is that he’s creepy and behaves in alarming ways that would get any teacher fired from a reputable school. A lot of his gags are both predictable and just aren’t funny.

Characters:

The cast isn’t particularly complex. They all have pretty basic archetypes that they rarely deviate from. However, the series absolutely excels at highlighting the quirks of the various characters and giving strong interactions among the main cast that allow them to play off of one another in ways that are absolutely hilarious and a good deal of fun. Which is another problem with Kimura as a character. With the rest of the cast, they can surprise you in their interactions. With him, the other characters get creeped out and/or angry and that’s pretty much it.

Kimura aside, the cast in this is really endearing. Ayumu is surprisingly adorable. Tomo is always fun. Sakaki, Kaorin, Kagura, Chiyo, Yomi, Yukari & Nyamo are all just great. You could put any two or more of them together and come out with a funny moment. Which the series does take advantage of quite a bit.

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Art:

The series tends to gravitate towards simple backgrounds and animal designs. However, to its credit, the artwork features a lot of strong visual gags the characters are nicely designed and the art style, though fairly simple, does really suit the series.

Sound:

The vocal cast in this is really good. Matsuoka Yuki, Asakawa Yuu, Nogawa Sakura, Kaneda Tomoko, Higuchi Chieko, Hiramatsu Akiko, Kuwashima Houko, Hisakawa Aya &Tanaka Rie are all not only strong actresses but also perfectly suited to their roles. Which is also true for Ishii Kouji, he really conveys Kimura’s unpleasantness perfectly. The music from Kurihara Masaki is really nicely done. It complements the series really well.

Ho-yay:

There’s certainly some. Kaorin has a really obvious crush on Sakaki. Kagura also seems to have one at times. I think she has the same definition of rival that Greta does. Although Kaorin would definitely be a better match for Sakaki. Do your best, Kaorin, Deutschland is rooting for you. There are also certain moments where Tomo and Yomi come across as more than friends. Although there aren’t many of those.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, Azumanga Daioh: The Animation is pretty delightful. If not for Kimura, it would probably be among the best comedic anime I’ve reviewed. His presence does hurt the series somewhat, but not too badly. All in all, it’s a lot of fun and I do recommend it. My final rating is going to stand at a solid 8/10. Next week I’ll look at Green Legend Ran.

Wolf Guy: *Insert Loud Regurgitating Noise*


Wolf Guy started out as a manga in the early 70s and ran for eleven volumes. A year after it ended, a live action film came out. Almost two decades after that, J.C. Staff dug it up to make an OVA. Yes, the same studio behind Potemayo, Honey and Clover, Love Stage, Yami no Matsuei and many others. So, the OVA came a bit late all things considered. But was it good? Let’s take a peek at this OVA from the early 90s and find out.

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Story:

We open with a scene of a kid watching who we presume is his parent get killed. Move forward to a scene with an injured man in a hospital. Shift scene to random people we know nothing about, unless they show up in the manga, saying that Inugami Akira might be alive. The man in the pair is contacted by someone who tells him that Inugami Akira is alive and asks him to meet her in a specific place at a certain time. He responds in the most level-headed way he can think of. He runs her car off the road so that she can answer the questions she was going to answer at the rendezvous. Wait, what? This basically leads to the beginning of the quest to rescue this guy.

It also brings up one of the two biggest problems with the narrative. A lot of the major events are nonsensical. It’s not just the “running someone off the road and drawing attention to the secret meeting” thing either. There’s a bit where two characters are tunnelling over a secure installation with power drills and, somehow, no one hears them. Even though they can hear the commotion above. Even when they’re literally breaking down a wall behind some people. No one notices until it’s too late. Incidentally, the tunnelling scene also involves a woman going completely stir crazy and the only explanation for it is that “well, she’s a woman.” We also have two characters trail a third in a car. He glances at the car so they decide they need to switch cars. A bit of an over reaction there, isn’t it? I mean, you guys are in a crowded parking area. It’s not like he has any reason to suspect you’re there for any reason besides patronising the businesses. Just to make this plot point even more pointless, they immediately attack him after getting the new car. We also get some completely pointless plastic surgery that never comes into play in a significant way. Possibly the worst, though, is when a certain character gets drugged, raped and impregnated and they let the sixteen year old with a crush on her decide what to do about it because she’s still catatonic. No. Just no. You don’t let a sixteen year old make that decision. You find a relative. If she has no relatives, you let a medical doctor decide what would be best for her as a patient because sixteen year olds don’t make good decisions and this one certainly doesn’t make the decision that’s best for her. Quite the opposite. He makes the worst possible decision.

The second massive problem is the general treatment of women in the series. Wolf Guy loves to show its female characters abused, sexually and otherwise, for cheap shock value. Expect a lot of incredibly tasteless, crass sexual stuff. I get the feeling that Kazyumasa would have gotten along well with Frank Miller. Then we have the “romance.” It basically consists of women falling instantly in love with guys for no adequately explored reason. Then we have the ending. The ending is set up as “tragic” but it doesn’t work. For one thing, the tragedy comes from our “heroes” being inexcusably stupid. For another thing, it’s predicated on us caring about a character who we know basically nothing about.

Characters:

The cast in this is really badly written. You might have been able to gather part of that from all of the story problems that stem from the characters acting inexcusably stupidly but it also goes beyond that. Our main protagonist is supposed to be someone we like and root for but he’s, frankly, despicable and an annoyance. The only reason we have to root for him is that the major antagonist is an actual rapist and just one of those “evil for the evils” villains.

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Art:

The artwork is pretty bad. It’s not as incompetent as most aspects of the series, but it’s pretty bad. We get a lot of gratuitous bum shots of female characters. The facial expressions look bad. The action scenes aren’t well done and there’s just a lot of general laziness.

Sound:

This is one of those works where they got some good actors including Toshiyuki Morikawa (the voice of Sephiroth) but a combination of poor direction and there being nothing for them to work with makes them sound like they can’t act. The music is the best part of the OVA. The opening theme tune is pretty decent and the rest is bland, but at least it’s not bad.

Ho-yay:

There isn’t any.

Final Thoughts:

So, that’s Wolf Guy. All in all, it’s absolute garbage with no redeeming qualities and I loathed it. Every audience insulting, idiotic moment. I can’t really recommend it to anyone. It may not be the absolute worst anime I’ve reviewed, but it comes close. My final rating is a 1/10. Next week I’ll look at Azumanga Daioh: The Animation.

Futari wa PreCure: Splash Star- Holding Hands with the one you love gives you power because… PreCure

Let’s take another look at Toei’s PreCure franchise. So far, I’ve looked at Futari wa, Max Heart & Doki Doki. This time around, let’s talk about Splash Star.The third instalment of the franchise that ran from ’06 to ’07. How well does it hold up compared to the other instalments we’ve looked at? Let’s take a look.

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Story:

Young Mai is moving back to a city she used to live in. While exploring, she encounters a familiar looking girl, Saki, underneath the sky tree. The two encounter a pair of faeries, Flappy & Choppy, who remind them that they briefly encountered each other beneath that same tree five years ago. A brief instant that was so formative for the pair that it apparently caused their fates to intertwine because PreCure has never been subtle with its massive amounts of subtext. The two are confronted by a leafy looking menace who demands that the faeries disclose the location of the fountain of the Sun. Saki and Mai go to their defence, transforming into Cure Bloom and Cure Egret. Together, they set off on a mission to revive the holy fountains.

Honestly, there aren’t any major problems with the series. About the worst you can say about it is that it’s very much a magical girl series with all the optimism, enemies of the week, transformation sequences and such that are prevalent in the genre. And there’s nothing inherently wrong with a work in a genre being very much grounded in that genre. Especially when it’s something like this with a young target audience.

Splash Star has a lot of aspects that are kind of similar to Futari wa but that are also distinct. Both series feature an athletic girl and one who is into more intellectual pursuits. The characters even look a bit similar. But they’re involved in different things and have different issues related to those interests. Both series have a generic male love interest who’s barely acknowledged because every time he shows up for a moment with the girl who has a crush on him it’s used to transition into a bigger moment for her with the other PreCure but Splash Star makes use of that a lot less and has different kinds of moments betwixt the girls as a result. In both of them, the athletic girl has a younger sibling. But the relationship dynamic that Nagisa had with her brother was a lot different from the one Saki has with her sister.

I do like the pacing in Splash Star. It does a really good job of introducing a variety of major villains, giving them some time to be menaces and then bringing the next one in before you can get tired of the current one. Splash Star also features a superb redemption story with some surprisingly tragic moments within it. Darn it, PreCure writers, stop making me feel things. I’m supposed to be a cynical git. A cynical git who hates everything. Or so I’ve been told. There are some strong moments of tension in the series as well. They really make you curious about how Saki & Mai are going to resolve things. Although you know they will because it’s PreCure. The climax is really well done too. The series is just generally fun, cute and endearing.

Characters:

There are some strong characters in Splash Star. Saki and Mai are great. Their families are a lot of fun. Michiru and Kaoru are great. The supporting cast has a lot of fun, colourful characters within it. In terms of antagonists, most of them are pretty standard. The big exception is Alex Louis Kintoleski. There is something utterly delightful about him and his techniques that have been passed down the Kintoleski line for generations. Shitataare and DoroDoron are kind of fun at times. The worst character, by far, is Moerumaba. He comes across as a strange blend of gay and Latin stereotypes. The faeries aren’t particularly compelling, but they’re decent enough.

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Art:

There’s a lot of praiseworthy aspects to the artwork. The backgrounds are nicely detailed with some very nicely done scenery. The action sequences can be absolutely amazing. I do love the way this franchise incorporates really physical brawling into its action sequences along with the special magic attacks and Splash Star is no exception to that. It does suffer from the same issue with the stock footage attacks that Futari wa did. Namely, that there are very few and they start to get dull after a while. This was before they’d learned to vary them a bit more, clearly. There are some really interesting villain designs. I can’t stand Moerumba’s and Alex Louis Kintoleski may be the best villain, but his design is kind of boring. He’s just a golden muscle man. Those two aside, great villain designs. I do like the PreCure designs too. I like that Saki & Mai have multiple Cure forms and I like their outfits. The monster designs continue to be very creative and interesting. Which is another thing the franchise has been consistently good at.

Sound:

The best performances come from Kimoto Orie, Enomoto Atsuko, Fuchizaki Yuriko & Imai Yuka. There are plenty of other good performances as well. Sato Naoki is back for the soundtrack work and he does a really nice job.

Ho-yay:

Saki and Mai may be marginally more homo-erotic than Nagisa and Honoka were. They’re heavily inspired by one another. They gain strength when their hearts come together as one. They talk about their fated meeting. They have a date where they actually feed one another home made bento. They talk about how energised they feel when they hold hands. I can only imagine how much that’s going to increase when they get older and start snogging. In any case, their dynamic is adorable.

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Final Thoughts:

So, that’s Futari wa PreCure Splash Star. If you’re a fan of the whole magical girl aesthetic, it’s for you. You will almost certainly garner enjoyment from watching it. If you aren’t a fan of the genre, it’s not going to change your mind. For myself, I pretty thoroughly enjoyed it. Loved the characters. I give it a solid 8/10. Next week I’ll look at Wolf Guy.

Tales of Zestiria the X: With a Little bit of Berseria thrown in because… Velvet Parse is Lazy

I’ve talked about Namco’s Tales franchise twice before. With reviews of the Phantasia and Symphonia anime. Zestiria is one of the more recent games and the first series of its anime ran late last year. It was brought to us by Ufotable. You may recall them as the same studio that worked on the Symphonia OVA I looked at, and Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight. How did they do with the first series of Zestiria? Let’s have a look. Please note, this review includes the one episode prequel: Saiyaku no Jidai.

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Story:

We open with Princess Alisha sending a soldier to investigate a strange cloud overshadowing a city under her kingdom’s jurisdiction. Just one of many calamitous events. Alisha and others are hoping for the legendary Shepherd to appear. All while preparations for a sword festival are taking place and Chancellor Bartlow is making preparations for a war that she’s trying to prevent. As to why she can’t pull royal rank on him and put him in a position where he has no power, I have no idea. She doesn’t even have to go full Princess Usako and send him to “prison island.” In any case, time passes. She doesn’t hear from the soldier she sent. So she takes several soldiers and goes to investigate herself. This eventually results in her finding her way to a strange land called Elysia where, supposedly, seraphim live. But all she can see are a bunch of buildings and a human boy about her age named Sorey. Sorey wants humans and seraphim to go back to living side by side and seems to see something in Elysia that Alisha can’t.

The biggest issue with this series is just that a lot of the plot points are pretty predictable. Of course, the boy who can see the seraphim goes to the sword festival and turns out to be the Shepherd. But that’s not the extent of it. Nearly every plot point that they resolve in the first series goes exactly where you’d think it would. There’s all of one moment where the narrative might surprise you. And even if that moment does, it’s a very safe surprise. The series seems very hesitant to deviate too far from the conventional, generic path. The politics of the world are kind of unclear too. Now, in all fairness, the game does explain why the monarchy doesn’t wield much power or respect and Bartlow can just be a dick towards the princess, but the anime never really addresses it. The problem being that it’s kind of an important detail for understanding the story. Then we have the Velvet Crowe episodes. They aren’t bad episodes by any metric but they are very much out of place. Basically, we get part of a completely different story inserted into this one for seemingly no reason. Unless the second series decides to have the two plot lines intersect, but that seems unlikely since Velvet is from a different game entirely.

The ending is a bit mixed. On one hand, it has some strong moments for the series and it does do a good job of giving some resolution while opening things up for a second series. However, it also suffers from having one of those “the antagonist has a chance to end the threat presented by the protagonist but decides not to bother for flimsy reasons” moments. And those only really work in media for children. Not so much in something like this that’s aimed at teens.

On the positive side, the series does do a good job at introducing enough plot elements to keep you invested in what’s going on. The random Berseria episodes aside, it is well paced. I will also give them credit for having well executed plot points, even if they are obvious. I also do like the allusions to Arthurian legend.

Characters:

The characters are pretty decent. The issue that holds them back from being really good is that the main cast is only a step or two above archetypes, at least by the time the series ends. It’s entirely possible that the second series of Zestiria will further develop their characters and make them more interesting. They certainly develop a bit in this one. They have conflicts, motivations and some pretty strong relationships. Particularly betwixt Sorey and Mikleo. The antagonists are just bland with no real sense of personality.

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Art:

The artwork in this is really good. The action sequences are really well done. The backgrounds are nicely detailed. The character designs can be silly in that JRPG aesthetic but they don’t look bad. About the worst you get are the dumb feathers randomly clipped to Sorey’s ears. In general, the worst thing I can say for the art is that it does feature some highly conspicuous CG moments. Which can be distracting.

Sound:

The cast in this is really good. Kayano Ai, Koyasu Takehito, Satou Rina, Osaka Ryota & Shitaya Noriko all do really well in their roles. And there aren’t any weak performances. The music is quite good.

Ho-yay:

There’s not a whole lot. The series has the occasional scene that reads a tiny bit like homo-erotic subtext. Usually involving Alisha.

Final Thoughts:

that’s the first series of Tales of Zestiria the X. It has its strong moments. It has the basics down very well with the sound and art. The story, however, suffers from multiple bizarre decisions. Having a part of Berseria randomly inserted into the narrative. Not explaining the details you need to understand Alisha’s circumstances. The series also really hasn’t done enough to develop its characters at this juncture. Maybe if they’d done that instead of showing us a part of a completely different narrative for no reason. Still, it’s a decent start and I am curious about the second series. I’ll probably review that at some point after it’s finished airing. But, for this one, I give it a 6/10. If you’re a fan of the Tales franchise or even just fantasy works in general, give it a try. Next Week I’ll look at Futari wa Precure Splash Star

Mob Psycho 100: A Dullard Psychic

Mob Psycho 100 is based off of a manga by ONE. Yes, the same manga artist behind One Punch Man. The anime came out last year and was brought to us by Bones. Yes, the Soul Eater, Heroman, Wolf’s Rain, etc… Studio. So, is this one okay like One Punch Man, better or worse?

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Story:

Mob is a young man with psychic powers. His master, Reigen, is a con artist who pretends to have psychic abilities. Together, they get paid to go out and exorcise spirits. Shenanigans ensue and Mob’s counter raises towards 100. What will happen when it goes all the way up? Will Mob ever find others like himself? Will he ever discover that his master is a fraud?

The biggest issue with the series is the comedy. A lot of it is either really obvious or just random nonsense. There are very few funny moments to be found. The whole narrative is also similar to One Punch Man in that it likes to build up some kind of confrontation for Mob, but then he settles it with relative ease once he gets worked up enough to actually fight. The big difference is that it’s considerably less competent here.

The best I can say about the story is that it has its occasional moment. It has a few funny scenes and some more serious parts that are pretty decent.

Characters:

The characters in this fall woefully short. Mob is mainly defined by being thick. His brother’s main feature is his mix of admiration and jealousy towards Mob for his amazing psychic powers. There are a couple scenes that showcase the dynamic between Mob and Reigen that come close to making it decent.

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Art:

The artwork does have some good and bad elements. On one hand, a lot of the psychic power scenes are pretty visually creative. On the other hand, the character designs are boring and lazy. The backgrounds are usually weak and a lot of the action sequences are weakened by being a bit of a hard to follow mess.

Sound:

This is a series that suffers from extremes in the acting. You get a lot of characters being really exaggerated and a lot of actors sounding completely uninvested. Itou Setsuo especially. There isn’t much in terms of middle ground that allows the cast to show that they can actually act. Kawai Kenji’s soundtrack for this isn’t bad. It’s not good either. It’s a pretty average work. His tracks for Bakuretsu Hunters and Ghost in the Shell were definitely better.

Ho-yay:

There really isn’t any. The most we get in terms of romance is Mob having a crush on the most easily impressed girl ever. Which is weird because we only see her talk with her in flashback and even then it’s about five lines. I guess when you’re a dullard that’s enough to create a fixation.

Final Thoughts:

Mob Psycho 100 is pretty stupid, and not in an entertaining way. The story is dumb. The jokes are largely unfunny, stupid humour. The characters are morons. It’s certainly not on par with One Punch Man and, frankly, it’s the worst thing I’ve reviewed by Bones. If you liked One Punch Man you may want to give it an episode or two. Maybe it’ll work better for you than it did for me. But, for myself, I give it a 3/10. Next week I’ll look at Tales of Zestiria the X.

April Bonus Review: The First Doctor

Doctor Who has been a staple of Science fiction since the early 60s. There have been comics, novels, audio dramas, video games and a whole lot of merchandise. Obviously, I can’t review the whole franchise in one go. Not only is it impractical, but the various runs have had vastly different qualities. So, I’m going to look at the first Doctor’s television run. I even watched the reconstructions of those episodes which have been lost due to stupidity within the BBC. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, it used to be common practice at the BBC to cull old archived shows to save space. a a result, a bunch of the first and second Doctors’ runs were destroyed. Leaving only some still images and the audio. 

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Story:

We open with two teachers, Ian and Barbara, discussing a strange student, Susan. They ultimately decide to go to her supposed address, which leads to a junk yard, to investigate what’s happening with her. They end up in a conversation with an elderly man outside of a police box. This eventually leads to them entering and finding Susan inside. Strangely, the inside is larger than the outside. After an argument, the old man uses the control console to take them all to the past. Thus begins their adventures through time and space. 

the first issue that comes up is that it does take the series a couple serials to settle into an aesthetic. The early episodes are a bit off in that regard. Even after it settles, the serials do vary in quality. You get some, like Planet of the Giants or The Gunfighters, that aren’t very good. Gunfighters is outright boring, actually. You also get serials, most notably The Daleks’ Master Plan, that meander and drag. 

That being said, there are a lot of clever and/or creative ideas on display and there are certainly more strong serials than bad or weak ones. Basically every serial featuring Vicki is really good, particularly The Space Museum. 

Characters:

Here’s an area where the First Doctor’s run falls a bit short. While he is an interesting character (once they get past the early stage and settle on a character for him), most of his companion characters are pretty flat and dull. He also has Katarina, possibly the most pointless character in the franchise. She shows up, takes a short ride on the TARDIS and basically dies immediately. There are really only two companions who aren’t just inoffensive and boring.

The first is Susan. She’s a really annoying character. Honestly, part of the problem with her is just that they didn’t think her through. Here’s a girl who’s loomed from the same genetic cloth as the Doctor (because people from Gallifrey aren’t born, they’re loomed). She’s travelled with him for a while. Supposedly, she’s been on quite a few adventures. Really, she should be the most seasoned of the companions during her time in the group. So, why is she absolutely terrified of absolutely everything even slightly unusual? I’m not even exaggerating when I say that this girl screams all the bloody time and with little provocation. See a plant move? Scream. See something odd looking at you? Scream. See a tiny black and white dog in a bunny costume? Scream.

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How did she manage to travel with the Doctor at all? You’d think that she’d have had a heart attack or mental breakdown long ago given how high strung she is. 

The other exception is Vicki, the first great companion in the franchise. Not only is she a breath of fresh air after dealing with Susan, being plucky and adventurous, but she’s also pretty badass. She can use her cleverness to not only get herself out of bad situations, but the others as well. A trait which is highlighted in the aforementioned Space Museum serial. Honestly, it’s no surprise that the serials with her tend to be the best. She’s got more personality than most of the companions and she’s a delight. 

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Visuals:

By today’s standards, this series is pretty dated. They’re very much at that mid 60s level. A lot of the alien designs are goofy by today’s standards and there are definite times when the sets look cheap. But, in all fairness, the effects were pretty good for their time and they don’t really spoil the series. 

Acting and Music:

The acting is largely competent. The best performances come from William Hartnell and Maureen O’Brien. Probably because they’re playing the most interesting characters. The other companion actors, Jacqueline Hill, William Russell, Peter Purves, Jackie Lane and even Carole Ann Ford are decent enough. The music is largely good. The theme tune in particular. There are occasional exceptions, however. The song that they keep playing during The Gunfighters is boring the first time they play it and gets grating when they play it the next fifty times. 

Final Thoughts:

All in all, the First Doctor’s run holds up pretty well. While it does suffer from Susan, early episodes not knowing where they’re going, Susan, the occasional weak serial, Susan & dated effects it also has quite a bit going for it. It has creative, interesting ideas. Vicki is amazing. The Doctor quickly becomes a great character and it’s just a solid start for the franchise. All in all, I give it a 7/10.