El-Hazard: The Wanderers (anime review)

El HazardTitle: El-Hazard: The Wanderers: Anime Elements Edition

U. S. Release Date: 6/7/16

Format: DVD /26 Episodes / 650 Minutes

Genre: Fantasy

Age Rating: 8+

Overall Personal Grade: B+


It all starts out at a regular old high school. Makoto is a severe science geek, Nanami is all in to her cooking and trying out ways to turn her circumstances into money making business. Her brother, Jannai, is the most self important student council president that most people have ever seen. His biggest folly though is his jealousy and dislike of Makoto. This leads him to sabotage Makoto’s science project causing a portal that sucks all three of them along with a teacher into the land of El-Hazard.

El-Hazard is a romanticized version of an Eastern kingdom, with  invading Bugrom army of  insect-like beings.  The 4 modern Japanese visitors all find themselves alone in this strange land. Each sets out to make their way, encountering the inhabitants and finding a place in this new world. Makoto ends up under the Princess Rune Venus protection and soon runs into the teacher. Together, they must resist a take over by the Bugrom which it turns out is now led by the evil student council president, Jannai. He has hatched a plan to become supreme ruler and god of El-Hazard.

Makoto begins seeking a way back to his own time and home. This sets him out on a quest as he seeks out the help of the temples and priestesses. More and more he find hims self drawn into this world, and later rather than sooner, he and the teacher run into Nanami, who has been making her living cooking and starting a business anywhere she can. Jannai keeps escalating his reign of evil with his dastardly  plans, eventually risking the destruction of the very land he wishes to control.


El-Hazard : The Wanderers was shown on television in the mid 1990’s. And it shows. I found this series to be really dated in pretty much everything. Starting with the music, I found the opening difficult to listen to. It seems like it was bad back then too. The support music wasn’t bad, since it really did fade into the back ground. The American dub is something I did appreciate. There were none of the overly squeaky kiddie voices for the female characters.

Visually, this is also dated. I like the rich and saturated colors. The faces are the pointy nose and chins of that time. There is a lot of still frames where just the camera moves and zooms in. Not bad on its own, but there is more than I am used to, again, a sign of the times.

As far as the characters go, they were interesting enough. And there was personal and relationship growth that I generally hope for in an anime. They really were able to deliver a good mix of action, intellect, drama and comedy to keep the series interesting. Sometimes a  personality seemed to just be thrown in just for the diversity, but I didn’t mind that. There is a character somewhere for a viewer to connect with.

The bits of this and that thrown in together is kind of El-Hazrd’s personal characteristic. Visually, characters, plot elements, back ground stories, settings, special powers, etc. all have a consistent inconsistancy. There was even a reference to Indiana Jones, which I thought was the highlight of the comedy. Why in the world was that in there? Doesn’t matter, throwing it all together made it more interesting.

Overall Grade: B+ This is a tough one for me to grade. Its dated style and music wasn’t what I am currently enjoying. But this is one of the foundational anime out there. And, a friend of mine was a big fan of this series, so that holds great importance to me. So, even though it isn’t in my top tier of favorites, there is definitely an audience for El-Hazard. The last couple of episodes and the ending really help expose more of the heart of the series. So, to get the best of El-Hazard, this isn’t one where you can watch just 3 episodes to see if it is good enough for your time.


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