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Odin: Photon Space Sailer Starlight Review

by: sothis
November 27, 2004

story 7/10

Odin: Photon Space Sailer Starlight screenshot I've read my fair share of reviews for Odin, all of which give it terrible scores. I'm talking Angelique or Wild Cardz terrible. All of these reviews had one thing in common -- they all had watched the dub, which has about 40 minutes of the 2 hour 15 minute Japanese version removed, supposedly significantly cutting down on the story. I, on the other hand, did watch Odin in its original form, so I can only imagine that either A) the subtitled original version is a hell of a lot better than the dub, or B) strange parasites invaded my brain (presumably from that sketchy Mexican food I hate recently), causing me to believe that a truly suckass movie was a lot better than it actually was. I'm inclined to go with A, but who knows?

Odin is a very interesting sci fi story that is heavily based in Norse mythology (which is rare in itself). Without spoiling, the story revolves around a young woman named Sarah, who the crew of the Starlight find on its maiden voyage. Through a series of events the crew discovers a long lost alien secret that involves all of humanity and its origins, prompting them to find Odin, the mysterious planet itself. The story of Odin really is based on a few things: the first stage is them finding the girl and learning the secret, the second is the decision to venture to the planet and/or travel time, and the third is arriving in the area, who and what they encounter, and a few various other events. I found the story itself to be really interesting, though perhaps a bit cliched as far as sci fi goes. Nevertheless, i found the premise to be exciting (as I do with most sci fi), and can only predict that other reviewers disliked it because the dub cut out so much of the story, perhaps making the premise much more confusing. Especially with the inclusion of Norse mythology, I found the plot to be solid and likeable.

On the other hand, there were some aspects of the storytelling that weren't so great. For one, there was a problem with the pacing, but it's hard to place my finger on exactly what made it a problem. At times I found myself being bored, but only after the first hour or so. Once fighting and such began, I think that's the point where I started losing interest occasionally. It's not like there were super extended scenes, or monologues which were way too long, just something about the pacing SEEMS slow. Another major no-no of the movie is the complete lack of ending, putting it in the same category as other decent-movies-that-ended-terribly such as Grey: Digital Target and A Wind Named Amnesia. I already knew far ahead of time that there wasn't an ending, so I wasn't ready to throw anything at the monitor. Regardless, having no ending sucks, especially when the entire course of the movie was building up to a climax which just didn't happen. Even with these faults, I still felt like the movie had a solid and interesting plot, so I'd encourage other reviewers to try to watch the Japanese version sometime.

animation 7.5/10

For being made in 1985, I was really impressed with the animation. I've seen quite a bit from the 80s, and most of it looks the same - unimpressive. Colors look washed out, shading is minimal, and nothing really stands out. Odin definitely surprised me with how clean and interesting it looked in most aspects. Granted, explosions and such did look minimal and cheesy, but everything else was quite detailed. Colors were vibrant and looked good for sci fi shows: lots of blue, green, and of course the mandatory orange/red jumpsuits for the crew members. What impressed me the most about the animation was the stunning space scenery that was shown to us very frequently. Brilliant star systems and space mist were depicted, and the machinery of the ships and stations was equally as impressive. Another interesting thing to note is the ship designs. Odin's whole premise is based around exploration and how since early days of man, we have conquered the seas. The spaceships follow this idea and look more like old frigates than high tech spaceships. The propulsion is laser beams and other high tech concepts, making them not completely unbelievable. There was intricate attention to detail, and all in all, great animation.

sound 5/10

Had you asked me what score I'd give the music after 30 minutes or less, I would have said around a 1. The music of Odin, much like Geneshaft, was pure buttrock. I'm talking wailing glam at its finest (or worst, depending on your outlook). There are very few series out there that can pull off a soundtrack like this (if you call one song being played over and over a soundtrack), and Odin wasn't one of them. Come to think of it, I can't think of one anime I saw where I *liked* the buttrock or thought it was appropriate, but that's another story. Luckily, around the halfway point the music turned much more serious and was quite good. It reminded me of something from Space Camp or the Explorers. Also, quite a bit of it was dark churchy sounding organ music, a personal favorite of mine (and the reason I like synthy black metal). The beginning was totally inappropriate with the buttrock, and the end was completely appropriate with the synthy dark music, so I averaged the score out at a 5. One absolutely HILARIOUS thing to note is that at the end of the movie, suddenly you are watching a music video OF THE BUTTROCK BAND SINGING THAT SONG! I literally came close to dying of laughter. I'm sorry, shallow or not, I just can't see little Japanese guys pulling off being a hair metal buttrock band, it just doesn't work! I found it so amusing that I'm going to do something I rarely do in reviews, and give you some links to screenshots. here, here, here and here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Voice acting was decent for all parties.

characters 5/10

Odin definitely didn't have the best characters, or the best character development. We are introduced to a variety of crew members, but they all look the same and it's hard to distinguish them. In my case, I ended up not caring and concentrated on the plot instead. Sarah is an obviously different person, being the only woman I remember, as well as being quite mysterious. Unfortunately, even in her case she isn't developed much. I think the only person I had any sort of empathy for was the captain, though we know little about him except, well, he's a captain. In general the characters, while having lots of time for monologues and discussions, weren't very useful as far as the movie was concerned, and shouldn't be thought of as a factor for watching this or not. Just think of them in the background as opposed to the plot and pretty visuals.

overall 6.5/10

I'm going to draw the ire of many other anime reviewers for this score, and probably will make some people think my reviews aren't reputable, but that's their problem ;). I can only imagine that the reason so many people rate Odin so poorly is because the dub MUST be terrible compared to the Japanese version. If that isn't the reason, and many people seriously hate Odin, then I have no idea why they think that. Yes, the pacing is a bit awkward and it definitely is long (2 hours 15 minutes), and sure, there's no ending. If you love sci fi, though, I can't see why you wouldn't be interested in the plot, and for something made in the 80s, the animation is quite good. If you have a serious sci fi craving and haven't seen Odin yet, you might consider checking it out. Just watch with caution, since opinions seem to be so different about it. It was definitely not as suckass as everyone says according to me, at least.

Anime Info

  • Movie (1 ep x 140 min)
  • 1985

It is the year 2099, and laser-driven photon ships roam the galaxy in search of intrigue and wonder. On a search for discoveries, the newly-built Starlight set out on its maiden voyage, only to run across a mysterious young woman and a strange alien message which only she can decipher. Following intricate clues which hint at the origins of civilization as we know it, the crew of the Starlight now set off for a distant galaxy where their destiny, as well as the future of humankind, lies in wait...


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About the Author

sothis's avatar

sothis

My fav genres include sci fi and horror, but you'll find a lot of obscure reviews from me too, given I watch a ton to add to the database. My new reviews are written a lot better than my old ones, so when in doubt, sort by date! ^_^ Enjoy, and I welcome any and all feedback.

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comments

Funkgun avatar Funkgun
May 17, 2012

BUTTROCK!

default avatar Friday
Nov 26, 2011

This one makes my list for worst or cheesiest Anime ever... though the soundtrack carries most of the weight for that title.

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