Sol Bianca: The Legacy
From the back of the box: A lost battleship of a lost era. Crew: Five pirates lost in their own struggles. Objective: Unknown. Enemies: The army of the entire solar system. But the odds are about to even! Sol Bianca chronicles the adventure of a ragtag pirate team seeking fame, fortune and the meaning of life.
I first saw only three out of the six episodes during an anime screening. When I saw the box set being sold, I eagerly snapped it up thinking, "The remaining bits had better be worth it!" Pioneer has picked up an appropriate title since they are pirates. Their titles are usually more expensive than others!
Since I have not seen the previous OAVs, which I'm told are nothing to shout about, I shall do this review without making any comparisons.
Earth is lost. Humans have move to far-flung space colonies, which strangely resembles modern Spain. It must be a cool thing to have locations outside Japan. The team of pirates on this incredibly powerful ship consists of Jany, Feb, April, Mayo and June. There's an inherent pattern to the names.
The first episode opens with them trying to locate April's stolen flintlock pistol, looting and causing collateral damage and creating mayhem in general. Each episode can stand alone although there is a general storyline tying it all up. For such a short OAV, the characterization is surprisingly solid, probably because they are given their own episode time. Jany is overdosed on steroids, and is the impulsive and aggressive one. Feb is an excellent pilot although drunk most of the time. April is the levelheaded de facto leader. June is the ditz and the main pilot of the ship while Mayo is the obligatory weird little girl.
I like the idea that Earth is the lost frontier and how everybody wants a piece of the legendary place, where humans originate from, by searching for and fighting over prized artifacts from Earth. The ship, Sol Bianca, represent the lost technology and leads to conflict between the self-proclaimed Earthlings, Terra Force and our lady pirates when the former tries to forcefully claim it.
But we all know Sol Bianca is invulnerable!
Therein lies the good part of this OAV. It has one of the most original ship designs and combat scenes in science fiction. Their most powerful weapon is modeled after the Greek Goddess Artemis. The use of CG is nicely blended in to give the ship this aura of power from the lost Earth frontier age that is beyond comprehension. And the music appropriately generates the surge of excitement whenever the ships' weapon system starts up.
It does fall short of becoming a classic though, because the entire OAV series feels rather rushed with the character episodes seeming more like filler. And we are thrown into the middle of the story with no explanation of how the entire crew came to be. Certain parts of the plot makes no sense and while there are interesting tidbits and implications, they are never fully explored. Like the fact that the villain and April both possess a flintlock pistol that were originally paired.
Nonetheless, this is feel-good anime where you know the good guys (figuratively speaking) will eventually win, coupled with good adventures and a nice cliché ending.
Add one star if you like science fiction. — Diane Tiu
Recommended Audience: Should be all right for the general audience since I picked up my copy from a bookstore that caters to primary and secondary school children. No nude scenes, but there's an implied sexual encounter, which is done off screen.
Version(s) Viewed: R2 DVD (Singapore), Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (6/6)
Sol Bianca: The Legacy © 1999 AIC / Pioneer LDC / PEA
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