Oh! Edo Rocket: Season One, Part One (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)
November 4, 2010 by Dennis Amith
From the creator of “Gurren Lagann” comes another awesome anime series titled “Oh! Edo Rocket”. Hilarious, fun, a pretty cool concept and featuring a unique animation/art style. Definitely worth checking out!
Image courtesy of © 2007 Kazuki Nakashima/OH-EDO-ROCKET Production Partners. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Oh! Edo Rocket – Season One, Part One
ANIME RELEASE: 2007
DURATION: Episodes 1-13 (325 minutes)
DVD INFORMATION: 16:9, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Japanese 2.0, Subtitles: English
COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment
RELEASED: November 2, 2010
Originally created by Kazuki Nakashima
Directed by Seiji Mizushima
Series Composition by Shou Aikawa
Character Design by Takahiro Yoshimatsu
Art Director: Junichi Higashi
Music by Yusuke Honma
Anime Production: Madhouse Studios
Featuring the following voice talent:
Chika Fujimura/Brina Palencia as Sora
Tomo Sakurai/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Blue Woman
Yoko Soumi/Greg Ayres as Seikichi Tamaya
Kouichi Yamadera/Jonathan Brooks as Ginjirou
Masaki Terasoma/J. Michael Tatum as Tenten
Rie Kugimiya/Cherami Leigh as Shunpei
Risa Hayamizu/Leah Clark as Tenhou
Romi Park/Stephanie Young as O-ise
Tokuyoshi Kawashima/Chuck Huber as Nishinosuke Akai
Arisa Ogasawara/Trina Nishimura as O-riku
Welcome to Edo, a town where the finer things in life are strictly forbidden. You can’t have fun, you can’t earn money, and you certainly can’t strap a princess to a rocket and blast her into space – but none of that will stop Seikichi. Making things explode is his calling, and if the little man with the big rocket can send his lady to the moon, the city of Edo just might become bearable again.
In 2007, the 26-episode anime comedy TV series “Oh! Edo Rocket” premiered on TBS and is based on a stage play written for the Gekidan Shinkansen theater troupe by Kazuki Nakashima (creator of “Gurrenn Lagann”) and produced by Studio Madhouse. The series also has a strong talented force behind it as it is directed by Seiji Mizushima (“Shaman King”, “Sllayers Next”, “Fullmetal Alchemist”, “Dai-Guard”), screenplay adaptation by Shou Aikawa (“Neo Ranga”, “Sorcerer Hunters”, “Fullmetal Alchemist”, “Casshan: Robot Hunter”), music by Yusuke Honma (“Fushigi Yuugi”, “Yu Yu Hakusho”, “GTO”), character designs by Takahiro Yoshimatsu (“Slayers”, “Trigun: Badlands Rumble”) and art direction by Junichi Higashi (“City Hunter”, films, “Guyver”, “Cowboy Bebop”) and featuring an opening theme by PUFFY. “Oh! Edo Rocket” takes place in 1842 during a time when the government has banned all luxuries, plays, performances, inventions and fireworks. A young teen named Seikichi loves to make fireworks and one day he hopes to make a huge display that people have never seen. He knows it makes his friends and the village happy and despite the strict rules imposed by the government, he could care less. But one day while experimenting with the fireworks, he sets of government officials who are now going through the village to pursue the person who set off the fireworks. Fortunately for Seikichi, he has people in the village (from the Furai Row-House Block) willing to protect him which include Ginjiro the locksmit, Santa the carpenter, Shinsa the mechanic, and his brother Shunpei, the math genius. One day, he is approached by a strange blue haired girl named Sora who asks if he can create a firework that can go to the moon. Smitten by the girl, Seikichi agrees but when she starts telling him that if he knows the story of “Princess Moonbeam”, of course he has heard of it. But when she tells him that she is Princess Moonbeam and she needs to get to the moon, at first he doesn’t believe it but because she has strange abilities, he figures that he needs to help her. Meanwhile, strange occurrences are happening in the village as a blue beast has been attacking women and sucking their blood dry. There have been sightings of a white beast as well, fighting the blue beast. It turns out that the white beast is actually Sora and she came to Earth to apprehend one of the worst criminals from her planet, the Blue woman and she needs to stop her because she will kill more people. The only one who knows her true identity is Ginjiro the locksmith and because of his fighting skills, has been chosen to join the government and their special force unit known as “Men in Black” to take down the beasts. So, while Seikichi tries his best to devise a firework that can go to the moon, a few of the villagers try to do what they can to protect Sora’s identity while trying to fend off Akai Nishinosuke, a policeman who reports to the magistrate and hates the residents of the Furai Row-House Block. But he also has a secret as well… he is helping the Blue woman.
“Oh! Edo Rocket: Season One” features the first 13-episodes on two DVD’s. Here is a spoilerless summary of each episode: DISC 1:
- EPISODE 1: Bright Red Fireworks Bloom in the Great City of Edo – The government officials pursue the person responsible for the fireworks. Meanwhile, Seikichi meets Sora for the first time.
- EPISODE 2: The Man Was Waiting – The villagers meet Sora for the first time and Genjiro runs into the white beast.
- EPISODE 3: A Silver Fox Bound By Fate – Genjiro is asked by the government to join the Men in Black and also fill him in on the beasts.
- EPISODE 4: No Need to Get Excited – Genjiro and the Men in Black take on a Blue beast.
- EPISODE 5: The Argument – Seikichi and Sora have their first argument.
- EPISODE 6: Duel to the First Love – O-Riku, daughter of the Kagiya Fireworks Shop is a girl who likes Seikichi and is jealous of Sora.
- EPISODE 7: That Crazy Girl Just Flew – Sora is flying and now Seikichi, Genjiro and others from the village believe she is Princess Moonbeam.
- EPISODE 8: Love, Murder…He Does it All – The Blue woman has help from Akai Nishinosuke. Sora in beast form tries to get parts for Seikichi’s rocket and Genjiro learns the truth about Sora.
- EPISODE 9: Betting on Love – Seikichi gets help for his rocket. Meanwhile, Seikichi is wondering if Genjiro and Sora are a couple.
- EPISODE 10: Madhousecastincarnations – Seikichi and Sora turn into cats. Genjiro learns that two performers are assisting Seikichi.
- EPISODE 11: Poppycock! – Akai tries to put doubt in the minds of the Men in Black that Genjiro maybe helping out the beasts.
- EPISODE 12: If You Don’t Like Worrying – An episode focusing on Seikichi’s brother Shunpei and O-Nui (a girl who acts like a Puppy).
- EPISODE 13: Whaddaya Think of These Guys? – The Men in Black (with no disguises) go to Genjiro’s home to find out if he is actually siding with the beast and to spy on him.
“Oh! Edo Rocket: Season One” is presented in 16:9 widescreen. Because Kazuki Nakashima is known for “Gurren Lagann”, a series that uses a unique art style, it is no surprise that “Oh! Edo Rocket” also shows a unique animation and art background style as well. You will notice that the backgrounds look like they were water colored and thick black lines were painted on top. Also, you will notice the characters often do not have the usual black stroke around them but in this case, a blue stroke. Another unique style to “Oh! Edo Rocket” is how a lot of the older people in the village are drawn almost super deformed and look a bit funny, while the younger adults often are depicted as normal sized people. But needless to say, the animation and artistic backgrounds compliment the wacky storyline of the series and is actually well-done and unique in its own way. Overall, a wonderful job by Madhouse Studios!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
As for audio, “Oh! Edo Rocket” is presented in English Dolby Digital 5.1 and Japanese stereo. Both Japanese and English soundtracks are well done and for the action sequences, there is a good amount of surround sound usage during the fighting sequences to crowd ambiance. But as for which is the preference, both are well-done. Of course, Greg Ayres who does the voice of Seikichi has probably the same style of voice used in all of his anime series and rarely does he try to do something different, so his voice is consistent in this series and fans of Ayres will dig that. Brina Palencia and Colleen Clinkenbeard do a wonderful job as well.
On the Japanese end, Chika Fujimura did a great job playing Sora. She doesn’t have too many anime series in her resume yet but she did a wonderful job. Yoko Soumi who does the voice of Heikichi is a veteran and is known for her role as B.C. in “Vandread”, Mischa of “Eureka Seven” and Natasha of “Gunsmith Cats” and many more. But watching the Japanese soundtrack and English dub track, both are well-done.
Subtitles are in English.
“Oh! Edo Rocket: Season One” includes the following special features:
- Textless Opening Song – Textless opening theme by PUFFY
- Textless Closing Song – Textless opening theme by Santara
- Trailers – Funimation Entertainment trailers
“Oh! Edo Rocket” is an anime series that pretty much rocks! I admit that at first, watching the first episode, I was wondering if it was a low budget series because I was not used to seeing backgrounds painted via water colors and seeing the blue lines for the strokes on the characters. It’s just something you don’t see in an anime series, but the more I started watching “Oh! Edo Rocket”, I realized that the series was actually quite artistic. And later finding out that Kazuki Nakashima (of “Gurren Lagann”) was involved, that made things even better and then I started to learn that most of the people behind this series are major veterans for top tier anime series, so this is a pretty awesome collaboration talent behind this series. On top of that, typically when you get a creative series, it’s usually not all comedy but in the case of “Oh! Edo Rocket”, there is a lot of comedy in the series, there are some dark plots which involve the Blue woman but overall, the animation style, artistic backgrounds and the storyline have been solid thus far. The characters are all fun and even though you see a good number of people pop up, it’s one of those series that they are more for support and you really don’t have to know their full names. As long as you know who are Seikichi, Sora and Genjiro, you’re pretty much set. The first half of the series so far have been nothing but entertaining and fun. It’ll be interesting to see if it will become more serious in the second half but for now, for this first half alone, I was pretty impressed. Overall, if you are looking for a fun, action-packed, comedy-driven anime series with a unique style, definitely give “Oh! Edo Rocket: Season One” a try! Definitely recommended!
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