Maze OVA - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: All Region DVD
  • Released By: Central Park Media
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 85
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Maze

Maze OVA

By Chris Beveridge     September 19, 2000
Release Date: September 19, 2000


Maze OVA
© Central Park Media


What They Say
Transported through time and space, Maze has gained incredible powers - and one astronomical problem. Every night, she transforms into a lecherous man! To top it all off, she must rescue a fugitive (and overly affectionate) princess from a mysterious warrior cult. But male Maze would rather be chasing the ladies…

The Review!
Which came first, the OVA or the TV series? Traditionally, the TV series runs its course and then there are maybe a few OVA's or possibly a movie if it's popular enough. Maze went a bit in the other direction with the OVA arriving first in 1996 and followed up in TV format in 1997. So it's rather appropriate that Central Park Media has released the OVA's first.

Maze contains both of the usual suspects when it comes to the audio tracks. The Japanese language version sounds good, with some decent directionality at times but with the majority of the sound coming through the center channel. The English language track has no issues other than a few really high pitched voices, such as the fairy and Mill. The dub mirrors the subtitled script fairly close, which seems to be the trend these days from CPM.

The video side of things are fairly decent, though there are some issues worth talking about. During panning sequences, there's a varying amount of line noise. For some of them its pretty minimal, but in some other areas there's some pretty serious jitter going on, noticeably during the first episode when they pan through the city and the downtrodden resident is leaning against the wall. After the opening sequence of the first episode there's a bit of artifacting going on as well. For the most part, it looked pretty decent on our setup. While checking it out during our review on our Apex player on the Zenith 27" TV, we notice a bit more pixellation and also some surprising breakup during the dance sequence done by Mix. This scene didn't have any problems at all on our main setup, so we're beginning to doubt just how good of a player the Apex is to judge by. There are some really great looking scenes though. The most noteworthy is when Mill and Maze summon their Dulger with all the colored swirls. Great looking scene.

The front cover of the package does some really cute things, notably in that they kept the original logo. It's a bit busy with all the characters, but there's some terribly cute super deformed versions of several of them. The back cover gives a good rundown of the two OVA's and the features. CPM has released this disc with the clear keepcase, so on the reverse side of the cover you get the episode chapter lists and the abbreviated cast listings for both languages. There's also some black and white animation stills in here.

The menu system, though similar to previous ones, is pretty good here. The light and airy colors combined with the music work well. The scene selection submenu is pretty cute and works well even with as much animation playing through it that there is. Selections are accessed quickly and without any issue.

CPM has packed on quite an interesting extra for this release; the first episode of the TV series that's currently being released to VHS. So in addition to the two OVA's, you get an extra 30 minutes of the show that will attempt to woo you into buying it when it eventually makes its way to DVD. There's really little else on the DVD-Video side of things, but the DVD-ROM side contains some solid extras.

In addition to the normal script and cast sections, the art gallery has some good shots of the animation and several great Japanese promotional pieces, such as sell sheets and the VHS cover art. There's another section of conceptual art as well.

The Maze OVA's themselves are pretty straightforward. The traveling group of strange folk are on the run from the Jaina Holy Group. The Group recently caused a coup in the kingdom of Bartonia and killed the king and queen, causing Princess Mill to high tail it out of there. Along the way she ran into Maze, a woman who was mysteriously transported to this world and who has some interesting powers. She's also partially cursed in that at night, she turns into a he, and he is quite the horny guy. He wants to sleep with just about everyone and does everything he can to do so. And succeeds!

While on the run, the group takes up residence in the Grand Duchy of Babylon, whose king has made a deal with the Jaina Holy Group to help capture Maze in exchange for funds to complete his Tower of Babylon. The gang gets split up and hilarity ensues.

This is a pretty standard plot all things told, but there's a ton of fan service in it. Lots of nudity, lots of dirty jokes and some pretty good wink-wink jokes to the viewer. The closest that I can relate this to is the final episode of the El-Hazard: The Alternative World TV series. It's light and fun with a lot of scantily clad women taking off what little they have. Not a bad way to spend the evening.

The bonus episode shows the differences though in how they toned things down for the prime time TV series release and expand on the actual meeting of Mill and Maze. It seems pretty interesting, though much like the OVA, pretty standard in terms of plot. I'm sure it'll make its way to DVD eventually.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,1st TV series episode included,Meet the Cast

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster gold plated component cable and Sony speakers.

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