|Also Known As: Sazan Eyes|
|Format: 4 OVA|
|Allegiance: Kodansha/Bandai Visual|
|Director: Nishio Daisuke|
|Intelligence Agency Report by: Lady Sage|
|Yakumo has been alone ever since his father ran off to study demons in Tibet four years ago. Then one day on the way to work, he comes across Pai, a mysterious girl who presents Yakumo with his father’s skull, along with a note from said father. It explains that Pai is a Sanjiyan, an immortal demon, and the last of her race. He asks that Yakumo aid Pai in her search for the Statue of Humanity, which can turn Pai into a human.|
|Field Agent Report by: Miki|
|(not an average)|
3×3 Eyes is a lengthy manga series by Yuzo Takada, the creator of All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku (and its iterations) and Blue Seed, some of the earliest releases by the anime companies now best known to American audiences. The 3×3 Eyes manga ran in Japan from 1987 to 2002, so the release of this short adaptation early in its run indicates that this OVA is going to be open-ended, condensed, and watered down.
This sounds immediately negative, and while it is, the series also has its upside. For one, it’s very entertaining. The plot moves briskly and explains just as much as necessary as it goes along. The character premise of someone who can’t die as long as his partner is still alive also affords some rather violent and bloody scenes to no ill—and sometimes amusing—effect. Furthermore, there were only a couple of brief fanservice moments, the lack of which was nice to see. The characters do suffer from simplification and a lack of any gradual development, but this does not mean that they aren’t fun to watch. There are a couple of scene changes in which a span of weeks or maybe months could have passed, allowing sudden changes in characters to seem less abrupt than they may have seemed otherwise.
As for the technical aspects, the visuals and the audio are very competently done. Even though the OVA is now almost two decades old, it doesn’t look nearly as dated as most TV series of the age. The characters are well-drawn and the animation is fluid. The music is pretty good, nothing phenomenal, but up to the task. The acting is very, very well done— Pai is voiced by Megumi Hayashibara (Slayers’s Lina Inverse, Evangelion’s Rei Ayanami, Cowboy Bebop‘s Faye Valentine), one of the best in the business. The rest of the cast infuses their performances with a lot of, for lack of a better term, gusto. The only downside is that there are several obvious places in which the animation and the audio don’t quite sync up—and this is in Japanese!
Anime is notorious for offering confusing or even nonexistent endings, and 3×3 Eyes falls into the latter category. However, because it is an adaptation of the beginning of a long-running manga series, viewers have the option to pick up the series in print to find out what happens next. There is also a sequel OVA made in 1994 (licensed and released in the United States), offering some hope that the animated version can reach a satisfactory conclusion. Unfortunately for us here in America, only the first nine volumes of the manga were released domestically, so even if you are interested enough to pick up the published version, you’ll hit another brick wall.
3×3 Eyes, despite being a truncated adaptation, is still a nice way to spend a couple of hours. It was fun to watch and definitely got me interested in the story—if only the whole story were available.