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Roots Search Review

by: sothis
January 15, 2005

story 7/10

Roots Search screenshot First of all, Roots Search has one of the most unexplained titles ever. Some series have titles that somehow relate to the story, but I have absolutely no idea why "Roots Search" was chosen for this OVA. It has nothing to do with roots (except tentacle looking things at the end), and nothing to do with searching.

Anyways, Roots Search takes places on a space station that houses the ESP Project, which is investigating -- you guessed it! -- ESP. Moira is the current subject, and she's having dreams about all her crewmates dying in fairly terrible ways. Then a spaceship shows up sending out a distress call, and they discover a strange alien and one human survivor. Everything goes downhill from there, and people keep getting picked off by their nightmares, of all things! Demons from each person's past come back to haunt them -- literally -- and they die one by one.

It's basically a cross between Event Horizon and Alien, and the premise is very interesting and unique for an anime series. Unfortunately, the plot is about as far as it goes for quality, as the animation and music are terrible, as well as the characters. For just plot, though, Roots Search had a good idea that was executed well, except the Cube-like ending and some major plot holes along the way. If you are looking for an interesting sci fi plot that isn't the same old kids in space fighting bad guys, Roots Search might be a good bet.

animation 4/10

The animation in Roots Search has so many problems it's almost funny. The first thing you'll notice is the really ridiculous looking character designs. Scott, for example, is extremely square with HUGE shoulders and a head that is clearly too small for his body. He also has a line across his lip that makes no sense at all. Other characters also suffer from square body and small head syndrome, as well. The main alien reminds me of a cross between Predator and female genetalia, and the monster near the end reminded me of many other R-rated related things, to say the least.

The special effects were incredibly cheesy and the violence and gore was laughable. Blood splatters looked incredibly fake (and the wrong color), and people's faces melting off and such makes you chuckle out loud, rather than scream in terror. Near the end, it's like their 5 dollar budget suddenly ran out, and the corridors look hand drawn in 10 seconds, and are INCREDIBLY bad looking. Animation is also recycled at times, such as the shot of someone running down the hall.

sound 5/10

The audio was incredibly cheesy, just like the animation. Synthy 70s sounding beats flowed throughout the OVA, fitting the tone that the animation set (though not on purpose, I'm sure). One thing that was hilarious about the sound effects is that occasionally, certain things didn't have sounds associated with them at all. For example, at one point Buzz smashes a panel, glass falls to the ground, and there's no sound! Or Moira shoots something and no sound comes out. This is coupled by the cheesy sound effects for other situations, as well as breaks in the sound when transitions occur at inappropriate times. The music was quite laughable on that note, really. Besides the effects, though, the music was fairly average for the type of OVA this was.

characters 5/10

The characters were quite flat as far as personality or depth, though we did learn about the pasts of each of the characters. Without spoiling, there were relationships that grew and vanished with several of the characters, and all of these seemed quite unrealistic. The alien was probably the most important character of the entire movie, but he isn't explained well. We hear a brief explanation of what exactly he is, but it seems cheesy. Granted, Event Horizon's sentient ship was cheesy too, but it was more interesting than what this alien said he was. In general, I felt the characters were too shallow (though this could have been because of the length, too), and the relationships were too unrealistic to warrant me caring about any of the characters.

overall 5.8/10

Overall, Roots Search really could have been something good, if it wasn't for the terrible animation and music. The plot had potential, that's for sure, but even that became crappy once you neared the end of the 45 minutes. Fans of Alien or Event Horizon might write this off as a ripoff, and it sort of feels like that, but it definitely was unique for an anime. If you like sci fi and want a fairly interesting watch, and don't mind the graphics and music sucking, this might be OK to watch. Else, probably not.

Anime Info

  • OVA (1 ep x 45 min)
  • 1986

Deep in the recesses of space, onboard a space station, a young woman named Moira is having terrifying dreams of her crewmates' bloody future. As if to prove the premonition, a lone spacecraft later descends upon the station casting a SOS distress call, though only one member of its crew was left alive. The visions begin to come true when Moira and her friends uncover a mysterious alien who can somehow manifest itself into their fears and regrets. With the crew being picked off on by one, and tensions rising, can any of them last long enough to escape?

my anime:

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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

default avatar davidbankson
Dec 28, 2013

The animation can be mostly ignored over time due to an interesting plot (despite the massive plot holes), but the ending will leave you ticked off. NOTHING is explained. MAJOR cliffhanger just as they are going to find out what's been happening. Not worth the waste of time.

dalmain avatar dalmain
Aug 24, 2013

I didn't think it was as bad it's reputation. I liked Moira. The animation was not terrible, almost typical of 80's anime. The music didn't stand out, so I guess it wasn't great or horrible. Good review.

Gamera avatar Gamera
Sep 8, 2011

It reminds me of Baoh. I'm watching this some time.

LinkSword avatar LinkSword
May 29, 2010

Yeah, sound effects (or ''the absence of sound effects'') were hilarious :P

I also thought Roots Search was quite interesting in some ways, but pretty average at the same time. Nice review.

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