Review by: Brenda Gregson
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $49.98 US
Running Time: 325 minutes
Rating: TV MA
Release Date: Available Now
Welcome to Edo, a time of Feudal Lords, samurai and an Elvis impersonator.
It’s anime series like Oh! Edo Rocket that really catch my attention especially since comedy series like it make for a different kind of viewing experience and the crazier the series the better. Well, in my opinion anyway, because the crazier a series gets the more fun you’ll have watching it and this definitely applies to Season One Part One of Oh! Edo Rocket.
Taking place in the Edo period but with a tongue-in-cheek interpretation that – comically enough – shoves some modern elements only to remind itself that this is a different timeline so what’s a helicopter flying overhead or why do two characters find themselves in modern Akihabara? No matter what modern convenience the series tosses our way there’s always a character to remind the others that doesn’t belong but it certainly is funny to hear them try to brush off an Elvis or Harry Potter reference.
The series centers on Seikichi Tamaya, a young boy who dreams of creating a fireworks extravaganza that would ultimately make him the best in his craft as well as be the one that provides his friends and neighbors with a good show that will make them forget their problems. You see, Edo is suffering from a Feudal Lord’s ban on luxuries of all kinds as well as the use of fireworks during festivals. Seikichi, however, doesn’t care and is constantly targeted by the City Commissioner and his obnoxious South Edo special agent, Nishinosuke Akai.
One day, the local locksmith named Ginjiro gets caught in the middle of a battle between two unusual beasts (one white and the other blue) battling when men in black armor attack both monsters. The same day, Seikichi gets a visit from a very unusual and pretty girl named Sora who commissions him to build a firework that could reach the moon itself. As crazy as it sound to Seikichi, he accepts the job for two reason that are quite obvious.
As Seikichi begins the process of designing a firework through his ideas and trail-and-error attempts, others in the neighborhood start showing interest and a few even want to help. There is Seikichi’s brother, Shunpei, who is a math wizard and has a huge crush on Sora. Then there’s the locksmith, Ginjiro, who is inspired by Seikichi’s new mission as well as taking a keen interest in Sora.
Of course, there’s Lord Mizuno and his order that will get in his way and, of course, Agent Akai who will stop at nothing to find misconduct among the people of the neighborhood. Then there are the murders of young women by a blue beast who Ginjiro finds out by way of the mysterious Men in Black is called a Sky Beast. It isn’t until he makes a shocking discovery about the white Sky Beast that Ginjiro joins the Men in Black as their leader to catch the blue Sky Beast and protect the white one who seems to want to protect rather than attack humans.
Meanwhile, Seikichi makes some discoveries of his own about building a new kind of firework called a rocket that is more durable. Unfortunately, all his earlier rockets seem to explode and he comes to realize that Sora wants a result that has the rocket reach the moon without exploding. In fact, he comes to discover that Sora wants to ride the rocket to the moon.
You see, there’s a secret about Sora that becomes known not only to Seikichi but also the rest of neighborhood and suddenly Seikichi finds himself wanting to help her even more. In the meantime, Sora wants to stop the Blue Sky demon who is actually much like Sora. There’s an interesting twist as Agent Akai meets a strange beautiful woman of his own who seduces the man and makes him carry out her dirty work.
As serious as this all sounds, Oh! Edo Rocket handles the story in a crazy and oftentimes hysterical manner thanks to the dialogue and various sight gags. The characters are an eclectic mix of comical characters such as an engineering genius who operates a wooden mech that goes nuts or the fellow mathematician who everyone seems to forget. Then there’s Ginjiro’s friend who runs a rental store and an old man who has crazy contraptions … one of which turns Seikichi, Sora and two musician/spies into cats.
Oh, and did I mention the series is crazy. It might be too off-the-wall for most viewers but then again – thanks to the English dub – you’ll laugh at the dialogue as well as the sight gags. This is thanks to the high energy of the cast whether it’s Greg Ayres or Cherami Leigh handling the dialogue in a delightfully lively manner. I liked the Japanese cast but the English dub voices and dialogue (complete with profanity that isn’t used for simple shock value) made the experience even funnier.
Season One Part One of Oh! Edo Rocket will make you laugh and make you realize that you are watching a different and zanier kind of comedy anime series. It’s because it’s off-the-wall crazy that you might find yourself liking it and even more so if you watch it with the English voice cast. If zany comedies aren’t your thing, Oh! Edo Rocket might not change your mind about the genre but if you do give it a chance you might find yourself having a good time and that’s exactly what this series provides.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Seikichi has always dreamed of creating fireworks that would make the residents of a little Edo-period neighborhood forget their troubles when he meets a strange-but-cute-girl named Sora who asks him to make a rocket capable of reaching the moon. When he accepts he gets mixed into the craziness of the neighborhood as well as a battle between two unusual beasts and the mysterious Men in Black.
VIDEO QUALITY: B
Like the series itself, the animation can be a bit on the chaotic side since it mixes some crazy character designs with some more familiar ones. There are sight gags aplenty (and a giant wooden mech) that add to all the hilarity.
AUDIO QUALITY: A-
The English dub clearly gets the most laughs with some really over-the-top performances from the entire cast with Greg Ayres (as Seikichi) really standing out. The music is lively in this series and so are the opening and closing theme songs.
Sadly, there aren’t many extras to speak of besides the textless opening and closing theme songs and a few trailers. We would have loved one or two audio commentary tracks or a feature that takes us through some sight gags that might go over the heads of some viewers.
A genuinely entertaining and wildly funny anime series, Season One Part One of Oh! Edo Rocket is the right mix of madcap comedy and action to make this a different kind of anime series you might want to check out if you’ve been searching for something different. Sure, it can get a bit too crazy but there’s a lot to like that make this one worth checking out.
Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment