Maze Box Set -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: NA

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  • Audio Rating: N/A
  • Video Rating: N/A
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: N/A
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Central Park Media
  • MSRP: 129.99
  • Running time: 625
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Maze

Maze Box Set

    July 10, 2001
Release Date: July 10, 2001

What They Say
Maze wakes up with amnesia in a zany fantasy world, only to find herself by evildoers and baby-sitting a spoiled princess. Luckily, she?s developed explosive superpowers to help her cope! But the powers come with a strange side effect? Every night, Maze transforms into a flirtatious man!

The Review!
Overall Rating: 3.4
(on a scale of 1-5)

-Technical Ratings-
Sound: 4
Picture: 4
Menu: 4
Presentation: 4
Goodies: 5
Overall: 4.2

-Content Ratings-
Animation: 3
Sound: 3
Plot: 2
English Acting: 3
Music: 3
Entertainment: 2
Overall: 2.6

Fans of the first season of Slayers rejoice, this series has the same tone and style as that series. However, if you are like me and were disappointed by the first season of Slayers, then stay away from this series. Stay far away from it. This is what happens when a cool idea for an anime series is taken and just stretched and stretched beyond it?s limit. It?s not too pretty.

-Technical Review-

As far as boxsets go, this is pretty good. The sound and picture are above average, pretty much what you expect. The menu works quickly and has motion, and music (Junkyboy! But more on that later). The box itself contains all the information you need on it including: rating, total running time, region coding, number of channels used, number of languages, and of course the extras. The art on the boxset is kinda random but if you are a fan of Slayers it makes the connection with it right on the front. This boxeset is done in the same style as the Slayers and Record of Lodoss War TV series. Like most CPM boxsets this sets comes loaded with extra stuff. One the first disc you get a behind the scenes of the English dub. This gives you a little sneak peak at the actors and some amusing stories that occurred during this dub and others (a recording session in the buff!). There is a gallery of stills from the show done in a slideshow style to the main themes. There is a quick meet the characters section. And to wrap it all up is a montage of scenes from the first disc that include Mill and one of her favorite turns of phrase. It?s entitled "Big Sister Brother". It?s in English and it has to be seen to be believed. I loved it. I reminded me a bit of Nanako-tronic from the Amazing Nurse Nanako discs (without the jiggling). On the DVD-Rom side you get a larger gallery that you can step through, the scripts to all 25 episodes and cast and production credits for Japanese and English teams. All these should make any Maze fan happy

**Special Note**
I don?t really have a rating for this kind of thing and I really shouldn?t have to rate this. But the subtitles on this set are really poor. The biggest problem is that they are semi-transparent, and as you watch them across light colored backgrounds it makes it hard to read them in many places. They are yellow, but this series has lots of bright backgrounds and costumes so the lack of opacity is a real minus. Another quick thing, the covers for each keepcase have art and info on the reverse side, but they are not clear! Doesn?t that kinda defeat the purpose? I like the clear keepcase, and it makes sense to have them in this boxset.

-Content Review-

I have to say that I want to see the OAV of Maze now. The characters, the basic story and the way everything falls into place seems like it could be lots of fun, especially if it was handled correctly. Maze has all the basics that could make it a fun fantasy romp with lots of bawdy humor. Instead you get a series that starts out pretty good but soon spirals out of control into a long boring tale, and a semi-interesting conclusion.

Maze is a young college student who wakes up with amnesia in a very strange world. She comes to the aid of a princess named Mill. You see Maze has been granted incredible powers, like being able to shoot energy from her hands and control a large Mecha named Dulger. There is one slight problem with this. You see during the day, Maze is a kind, peace loving girl who just wants to help her friends. At night, Maze becomes a man with a ton of testosterone and the power to hit on any girl that is in the vicinity. Mill falls instantly in love with Maze (both versions). Maze decides to become Mill?s protector, on their journey to the safety of a nearby kingdom. It wouldn?t be a fantasy story if there wasn?t a war brewing. And it wouldn?t be a comedy if there weren?t plenty of characters to interact with each other. In typical Tenchi/Ranma style most of the main heroes fall in love with Maze (Male or Female depending on the desires of the character). So of course you?ve got the quest, the battles, the groping, and the slap-stick humor in Maze.

The animation is pretty average overall. It?s pretty fluid, but there is some reuse of footage and lots of time the characters can look kinda funky. The costumes and character design are the best of the work. I?m not sure if the same character designer worked on this series as well as Slayers, but there are lots of similarities. I wasn?t too crazy about the mecha design or some of the set design. Lots of it seemed kinda thrown together and not really thought out at all. It?s not a horrible job, but it lacks a real concrete feel, something that should make the world that Maze enters entirely tangible (Escaflowne and El Hazard are good examples of how to do it right). The sound work is in the same boat. It?s pretty average and doesn?t really seem to stretch any creative limits or boundaries.

As I mentioned above, the story seems to have all the elements in place to make it a real fun and entertaining story. It?s got a touch of Ranma, Tenchi and El Hazard all mixed together. But where it goes wrong is in the lack of a variety of situations and humor. This is a one note series, same joke over and over again. Same basic chase and escape over and over again. The overall, war torn lands battling for domination, plot has been done better before. There are some creative twists that occur mostly at the end, and I will say that the last disc was the best of the bunch because of the twists. Unfortunately sitting through the rest of the series is a bit of a chore. There were plenty of scenes that I knew should have been funny and worked overall, but it just didn?t happen. Lots of the secondary characters ended up getting in the way or were just pretty useless overall (the old man and to a point Ms. Rapier). It just felt like a series of elements were created and the writers just worked a story around them. It just didn?t fall together well.

The dub is a pretty solid effort. Most of the main actors got into the characters and did a good job bringing them to life. I especially liked Mill and both Male and Female Maze. They seemed to be having a blast doing the parts and really made the dub enjoyable. Most of the secondary characters and baddies were a bit overdone and at time just took the cheese to a new level. This series should be over done, but there is a point where too much over the top can hurt the dub. Overall it was a good solid dub, not the best but far from being the worst I?ve heard either.

The score was pretty standard anime fare. It wasn?t anything great nor was it standing out as being horrible. Most of the time it fit the action and the emotions. I helped create mood when it needed to. The actual songs were a mixed bag. The opening credits were O.K. but the style really got on my nerves around disc 2. Now the end themes... well there?s a little ditty called Junky Boy. I love it. It?s gotta be one of the spazziest end themes since Tenchi in Tokyo. It?s hyper, and funky and it just made me smile every time it came on. In fact it was a real highlight for this whole series (I?m glad it was used as the menu music). But after the halfway point you get a new end theme. It?s a good theme, but it?s no Junky Boy! Don?t touch Junky Boy! (cough) Anyway...

Maze is one of those shows that had a bunch of potential for fun and wacky high-jinx and sheer entertainment. And instead it just spiraled out of control and really seemed to lose touch with where it could have gone and what it could have done. As a result I was really disappointed with it. There was a lot of potential here, but most of it was wasted for the same repetitive joke, or the same sight gag. It really reminded me of the first season of Slayers in that way. If you?re looking for a good series with dimension crossing fun and over sexed characters, El Hazard does it much better. If you are looking for something with a bit more of a serious feel then Vision of Escaflowne is also great. But Maze was something that could and should have been good and just didn?t pan out.

Roman J. Martel
Tell me what you think! E-mail me at...

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Behind the Scenes Video,Character Sketches,Big Sister-Brother,Art Gallery,Meet the Characters

Review Equipment
General Electric Performance Plus (25 Inch), Sony Playstation 2


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