El Hazard: The Wanderers Anime Review
Shinpi no Sekai Eru Hazaado
The Mysterious World El Hazard
US Release By
Fantasy Action-Adventure Romantic Comedy
26 25-minute episodes
1995-10-06 - 1996-03-29
Makoto Mizuhara is a teenager with it all. Brains, looks, and sensitivity. So what if he's clueless? Unfortunately, Katsuhiko Jinnai, president of Shinanome High School, has dark and nefarious plans for our oblivious hero. Jinnai, tired of living in Makoto's shadow, decides to sabotage Makoto's science experiment. This being anime, the device sends Makoto and Jinnai hurtling through time and space. Along for the ride is Nanani, Jinnai's sister and Makoto's childhood friend, and Mr. Fujisawa, the history teacher in all his unshaven, mountain-climbing, alcoholic glory. He's understandably one of the series' most loved characters.
Anyway, our wanderers find themselves in the far-off world of El Hazard, smack-dab in the middle of a war between the Kingdom of Rushtaria and the Evil Bugrom Empire. Makoto and Mr. Fujisawa rescue the beautiful Princess Rune Venus of Rushtaria (love interest no. 2), Jinnai is captured by the Bugrom Empire and immediately proceeds to conquer it for himself and teach the Bugrom what it truly means to be really, really bad, and Nanani just wanders the world alone for the first third of the series. For completely unexplained reasons, Mr. Fujisawa possesses the strength of a giant, just so long as he's sober (heh, heh, heh!). After getting acquainted with their surroundings, Makoto and Mr. Fujisawa begin a journey through El Hazard, trying to find a way back home...
El Hazard: The Wanderers is the product of the same people who brought us Tenchi, and it doesn't disappoint. It leans a bit more heavily on the Romantic part of Romantic Comedy than Tenchi, but it's none the worse for that. It's a sweet, funny, colorful series, with enough romance to melt the hardest heart. And enough humor to cause even the soberest of sourpusses to crack. All of the characters are appealing in their own particular ways. Makoto's an honest hero, Jinnai is the most pathetic, obnoxious, and amusing villain you're likely to find. And Mr. Fujisawa has to be seen and heard to be believed. The series isn't very serious (hyuck, hyuck), so don't expect much depth. Still, compared to Tenchi, it's downright profound.
To close, in my opinion, this is one of the best, if not the best romantic comedies out there. Check it out.
Notes and Trivia
This is the first TV series and stands completely alone in its plot. In a phenomenon familiar to those who've followed the various versions of Tenchi, the original El Hazard OAVs (The Magnificent World--both series) and the second TV series (Alternative World) are all off in their own unrelated storyline.
Staff & Cast
Original Japanese Cast
Makoto Mizuhara: Tetsuya Iwanaga
Mr. Fujisawa: Koji Ishii
Katsuhiko Jinnai: Ryutaro Okiayu
Nanami Jinnai: Rio Natsuki
Rune Venus: Kikuko Inoue
Shayla-Shayla: Tomo Sakurai
Afura Mann: Miho Yoshida
Miz Mishtal: Saeko Shimazu
Alielle: Etsuko Kozakura
Diva: Yoko Sawaumi
Dr. Schtalubaugh: Tamio Ohki
Londs: Hiroshi Naka
Ura: Aya Sakaguchi
Ifurita: Yuri Amano
Other Voices: Keiichi Sonobe, Takehiro Murozono, Akiko Nakagawa
Original Concept: Hiroki Hayashi, Ryoe Tsukimura
Producers: Kazuaki Morijiri (Pioneer LDC), Kyoko Kobayashi (TV Tokyo)
Director: Katsuhito Akiyama
Art Director: Shigemi Ikeda
Director of Photography: Shigeo Kamiyama
Character Design: Kazuto Nakazawa
Music: Seikou Nagaoka
Opening Theme: "Illusion"
Performance and Arrangement: INVOICE
Lyrics: Ryuji Takagi
By Pioneer LDC, SOFTX, TV Tokyo