El Hazard: The Magnificent World

Shinpi no Sekai El Hazard
Also Known As: El Hazard
Genre: Comedy
Format: 7 OVA
Allegiance: AIC
Director: Hayashi Hiroki
Vintage: 1995
Intelligence Agency Report by: Lady Sage
Makoto, having just exposed the fraud his self-proclaimed rival Jinnai used to become student-body president, is currently fleeing for his life. But just when it seems like his time is up, everything freezes. A beautiful woman emerges and tells Makoto she will be waiting for him in El Hazard. In an instant, Makoto, Jinnai, Jinnai’s little sister Nanami, and their teacher Fujisawa are transported to this other world. There, they quickly become embroiled in the growing conflict between the two races of El Hazard.

Field Agent Report by: Lady Sage
Overall 8.50
(not an average)

When El Hazard: The Magnificent World was first released in the U.S., Pioneer’s (now Geneon) advertising slogan was that it was “from the makers of Tenchi!” The claim piqued the curiosity of many, including myself. Tenchi Muyo was a fan favorite for its mix of almost every genre; would El Hazard be a worthy successor? I’m pleased to say that except for a few pitfalls, it is.

The title is no misnomer: El Hazard truly is a magnificent world. It is gorgeous, detailed, and fully, vividly realized. The music further contributes to the exotic setting, with a lovely middle-eastern sound that you don’t hear in a lot of anime. In other words, it is the perfect place for a rollicking save-the-world plot. Although it may not be the most original story, it moves briskly and there are some interesting twists.

If only the characters of El Hazard were as fully realized as the world itself. Most of them are likable enough, and Makoto is refreshing change from most modern anime heroes – intelligent, talented, and not a loser at all! However, development is unfortunately subpar. The cast is rich with colorful, interesting characters that I would have loved to get to know better, but they never really grow beyond caricatures.

Despite the flat characters, El Hazard is far from the worst series to spend your time on. It knows exactly what it wants to be, and achieves it. So what if it doesn’t have much socially redeeming value? Go ahead, step into the world of El Hazard, I promise you won’t regret it.