Maze is a fairly typical girl who happened to drop into a fantasy world one day and found she was able to use a mystic power known as Folm (actually, Form with the r and l switched out). Together with an enthusiastic young princess and the usual retinue of warriors and sages, Maze travels the world, in search of new adventures.
She does have a little secret ... the minute the sun dips below the horizon, she transforms into man ... a man with very powerful desires. Can Maze control her male side enough to prevent more problems than she already has? What exactly are the nefarious plans of the villains, and what exactly is the purpose of the Bubble Tower? Will we ever find a coherent plot? And will Maze survive the rash of suitors she acquires throughout the adventure? These and much, much more will be revealed in this frenetic two-part OAV series.
Oh boy. -Another- silly fantasy OAV series? The intro sequence alone (a MGM spoof with the princess instead of the lion) is enough to give the serious-minded viewer pause. You do have to give this one credit, since it ups the ante on the Ranma gender-change formula. What if Ranma were originally a girl ... and the masculine side really -was- perverted? That pretty much approximates Maze. Maze gets around so much, in fact, that by the end of the short OAV series, all the major characters (of both sexes) want her for themselves.
The other characters are similarly loony and have equally nonsensical names, like the Princess Mix, and her brother, Nuts. Everyone has some degree of lechery, as well ... many of the scenes make you think you're watching a variation on Dragon Knight. There's even a questionably consensual sex scene, which, though not explicit, still is way more than the usual in this genre. Maze can officially be categorized as a genuine fan-service anime.
There is some genuinely funny material to be found here, too, like the bird-monster, Rodross (yes, of all things, a Babel II reference, and an indignant one at that!) and his 100-question dungeon pop quiz. The other two guardians of the Bubble Tower are equally (and hopelessly) silly. Indeed, the whole tone of this series is decidedly tongue-in-cheek. Maze's take on mecha is also interesting ... equal parts Escaflowne and Iczer (naked underage co-pilot included). The plot is standard party-falls-into-a-trap D&D stuff, but the added extras really spice this one up in more ways than usual. (I mean, a waterslide and kiddy-pool in the Bubble Tower?)
Overall, Maze is a decidedly embarrassing title to admit watching on a regular basis, but it's still worth a see, if you've got a knack for that sense of humor. The biggest problem, though, is that at only two OAVs, it's way too short to develop characters effectively, and as such, doesn't stand up well on its own. However, there is a subsequent TV series, as well as the original manga, so that would probably explain a lot of the holes in this work. Still, as a standalone series, I have to rate this insanely hormonal thing as the incomplete work it is. Fun, but wanting for more.
Originally intended as a teaser for the manga, it spawned an equally average TV series. That's a wrap! — Carlos Ross
Recommended Audience: They don't just stop at innuendoes in this title, and it does get somewhat violent during the opening sequences, so I'd reallyreserve this for high schoolers and adults. Not an out-and-out ecchi, but it comes REALLY close.
Version(s) Viewed: digital source
Review Status: Full (2/2)
Maze © 1996 Akahori Satoru / Suganuma Eiji / Kadokawa Shoten / JVC / JC Staff
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