A young lady (Keyne) is being chased by a lecherous bloke named Papacha on her spaceship. She realizes that he's following her by means of a tracking device cleverly planted in her underwear. (You know what happens next. C'mon, this is fan service anime here!) By the time she shakes Papacha off her trail, not only is she naked as a jaybird, but her ship's about to crash. So she goes into cryosleep, but not before a Sharpie (tm) marker falls out of her ship and becomes the object of worship for a tribe on the planet she crashes on (much like the Coke bottle in The Gods Must Be Crazy).
Much later on, one of the tribe members (a hyperactive groupie named Aun) makes off with the marker and goes gallavanting off into the desert, where she gets set upon by bandits. In comes the "hero", the nigh-indestructible preteen Photon, who bops her on the head and defeats the bandits in one fell swoop. How does she thank him? She writes "baka" on his forehead while he sleeps. In permanent Sharpie (tm).
After Aun jets off, Photon finds a strange spaceship and accidentally sets off Kiine's cryosleep chamber. In a fit of capriciousness, he writes "baka" on her forehead too. In permanent Sharpie (tm). Not once thinking that maybe forehead markings *mean* something in her culture.
And meanwhile, we find out that Papacha has a bad habit of not keeping his clothes on. Eww. Commence the silliness.
Where can we begin? Photon is at once cute, funny, silly, and hopelessly perverted. For starters, the spaceship chase with Keyne is a rather daft version of the beginning of Star Wars, but I can't quite imagine Darth Vader grinning lecherously as Princess Leia strips and shreds her underwear. Not to mention that the villain has this awful painted-on mustache to boot. Talk about your creepy pervert, and this guy's a man of high standing in the universe!
To keep on the subject of characters, Photon himself is pretty cool. Sure, he seems immortal, but he's so blase about it. Beam attacks go right through him, and he can lift heavy tonnage without breaking a sweat, much less slipping a disk. This kid is powerful, and he's supposed to use it to protect Aun, his older sister, who doesn't appreciate the protection at all, because she's too busy chasing after rock star idol "LamanLamanLamanLamanLaman-samaaaaaaa!!!!" (We told you she was a groupie.) Of course Photon sees the truth about groupies immediately. "You'd just annoy him." To which she replies with a marker to the head.
The art style to this OAV series is very familiar, sharing many a similarity with Tenchi Muyo, El Hazard 2, Yamamoto Yoko, and Dual. Though it's not a Pioneer production, it looks and acts like one (because with the staff on this show, it might as well *be* one), with a bright color palette and very well-done action sequences. The story doesn't really seem all that derivative, but rather clever and fun, and the world Aun and Photon live on is interesting and beautiful. The music is appropriate and fairly unobtrusive.
The action sequences are very fast and slick (considering the hyperactivity of certain characters), and the scene were Photon meets Keyne (well, what would you do if you saw some stranger lying next to you if you're naked? Blast away with your phaser, naturally!) is actually quite well-done. Photon's fast and strong, but when confronted with a naked girl who fires lasers at him, then wants to give him a bath, well, he's pretty darn helpless isn't he?
Of course, there is the fact that the main villain (the creepy pervert Papacha) likes to conduct business only half-clothed. Sure he *looks* debonaire when you see his richly-appointed garb from waist up ... but when the viewer sees him scratching "where the sun don't shine", so to speak ... Funny, yes, but a bit disconcerting, too. He only gets worse as the series goes on, too.
If there's one problem with the show, it's that the ending happens way too quickly, and is incredibly anticlimactic, as if they were trying for a sequel or something. Not that we'd *mind* a sequel, but I'd rather have preferred a clean wrapup. Can't win 'em all, I guess.
We definitely recommend this to mature audiences. There's a tad too many undertones (and overtones) for any kids to be watching this, but it's still a lot of comedic fun.
Not quite a five-star show, but it *is* a lot of fun. — Carlos Ross and Christi
Recommended Audience: Not for kids. Keyne is naked through the entire episode, and Photon seems to take a shine to a certain part (or shall I say a pair of them) of her body. Also, the animators had to resort to black dots in one extended scene with Papacha, which is never a good sign. (EWW!) And when Photon is forced to take a bath - well, he's a tad too young for black dots. Let's just leave it at that. No actual sex, of course, no language that we really noticed. There are also a few scenes that feature a bit of blood (even if it is comic in nature).
Version(s) Viewed: digital source; VHS, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (6/6)
Photon © 1997 AIC / Photon Project
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