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Dallos Review

by: sothis
October 17, 2004

story 5/10

Dallos screenshot Oh dear me... where to begin. As the description states, men have been working on the moon for a few generations, and have been reduced to slaves, essentially. Their only hope is a large and mysterious structure named Dallos, which is worshipped as a god, by some. The question of "why" is never really explained, nor are we ever privy to the reasons why this structure is somewhat sentient as well. Regardless, the moon men have decided to rebel, and one neutral man named Shun is thrown right into the middle of it.

I'll say up front that it's very difficult for me to say positive things about this OVA (though I saw the 83 minute movie version), simply because the dub was SO incredibly bad that most of the time I was focusing more on how hilarious the dialogue was, rather than what potential merits could come out of the storyline. The story itself wasn't bad, but it wasn't anything fantastic or special either. It probably reminded me the most of watching something like Total Recall, with hints of Toward the Terra, Spriggan, and Bounty Dog. The whole "men turned slaves want to rebel" concept just isn't that original (I don't care if it was at the time, I'm speaking from my experience now), and didn't interest me that much. Then there's Dallos, which seems to be thrown in almost like a wild card, and isn't explained to boot. Finally, the story doesn't really end (like many things that are released, it seems), giving no sort of conclusion. All things combined, the story of Dallos was disappointing and overshadowed by the RIDICULOUSLY BAD DUB.

animation 5/10

The visuals for Dallos were pretty bad most of the time. Yes, I know it was created in 1983 so perhaps you can't expect too much, but come on now... every explosion was a perfect cylinder of 2 shades of orange, character designs were ugly even for that time period, and the high-octane motion scenes were jerky. In addition, some of the animation was just REALLY bad, such as a scene where a door to a large spaceship bay of some sort was being closed. It literally looked like someone was dragging the door upwards with another cel, looking completely fake and silly. In the world of Dallos, shotgun shells fly straight up or sometimes diagonally the wrong way, it truly is fantastic!

On the other hand, some scenes were better than others. The occasional shot of Dallos from above, shots of the city, or other backgrounds seemed detailed and interesting, but most of the time, simple and boring.

The colors used were also quite "interesting", being mostly pink (for the ladies, of course), brown, puke-yellow, puke-green, or orange. I sort of wonder if the animation director had eaten shrimp in some form of orange sauce the night before, vomited, and then based the color scheme on what was in his toilet.

sound 3/10

Before I slam the dub, I'll say that the 3 is only for the background music, which was ridiculously cheesy but occasionally fit the mood. It sounded like early 70s music, pretty much. The title track always had the uncanny timing to be played loudly ANY time the word Dallos was mentioned, which was hilarious for sure.

And now, the dubbing... the glorious dubbing. Dallos had the worst dubbing of anything I've ever seen, period. First, let's start with the cast. Let's assume that the first character that talks (a random punk in the desert-like wasteland), the English VA's name was John Smith. The way I see it, if you were to check out the list of the English VAs in general, you'd see this: John Smith. No, really, that's it. Besides two other unique voice actors I could count (the girl, and Shun's male actor), ALL THE VOICES WERE EXACTLY THE SAME! Seriously, I highly suggest ingesting a large amount of alcohol and then watching this, because it makes it downright hilarious instead of annoying. Literally every voice, from semi-main characters to random secondary ones or one-offs, had the SAME VOICE, but perhaps lower, higher or rougher. Who did they think they were kidding? It's pretty obvious it's the same guy trying to sound more feminine or gruff. Then, there's the pacing of the speech. Some series sound scripted, Dallos sounded just ridiculous in every way. The one VA that did all the damn voices must have had Captain Kirk as an idol, because it sounded like that style of pacing in each sentence, but even more mangled and silly sounding. It was almost like the guy was reading a cue card, but only one word at a time, and some words took longer to figure out than others (maybe he was illiterate partially?), so it spewed out in a garbled fashion. Gee, what next? How about the fact that the 3 voice actors are all concerned with making up their own accent which sounds like no country ever? It was like a cross between mental retardation, British, and 27 other countries combined (that, or just a lot like Terence and Philip from South Park). And they all had different accents, even! But of course, the guy who did most of the characters always used the same one, which was a dead giveaway to his recycled voice. And finally, the background music was about 1.5 times louder than the actual dubbing, which meant 30-40% of the time, you didn't even understand what the characters were saying. Sweet! Seriously folks, this is definitely something to watch while intoxicated, it will make you laugh so hard you cry.

characters 3/10

We are introduced to a rash of characters that aren't developed, and are about as 2-dimensional as an old-school RPG. They have their roles, sure, but they aren't fully delved into or developed in general, and you have no empathy for any of them. Again, the dub really overshadows any potential any of these characters have, since you are too busy laughing at them. It doesn't help that many of the characters look the same, or seem to be totally useless (such as the blond girl from Earth). Bad character development and bad characters make for a bad characters score.

overall 3.5/10

Dallos might be famous (coined as the first OVA released, and by Mamoru Oshii, no less), but it sure is famous at being mediocre as well. The storyline is unexciting, the characters boring, the music hilariously bad, and then the dub is... well... i explained that above. The only people I can recommend this to are those who are drunk, are planning to be drunk, or can pretend they are drunk, since then, you'll have a grand MST3K time on the comfort of your own couch. Otherwise, unless you really want to hear a bad dub, stay away!

Anime Info

Decades ago, the moon was colonized and turned into a mining colony whose profits benefited Earth and its people. A generation has passed and the workers are now treated as slaves -- forced to work in the mines under the rule of earth-born men, with many of the young people having never been to the land of their heritage. The time has come, however, for a rebellion to take place: to command Earth to hear their pleas; and afterwards, the moon and Dallos, the moon's god-like structure who silently sleeps and protects its inhabitants, will never be the same...


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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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wickedwinds avatar wickedwinds
Nov 10, 2010

I incredibly rarely leave comments but felt that for the good of you all, I must rouse myself from my apathy and chime in with a further warning about this act of unspeakable stupidity. Unfortunately I have just suffered through the entire four-part (120 entire minutes) version of this execrable, ill-conceived, badly executed pile of crap and wish to save you from experiencing the same horror as I have just witnessed.

Furthermore, I should add that I actually saw the subtitled version as opposed to the dubbed version that at least entertained sothis with it's awfulness. Sadly, it appears that the full length, subtitled version can not even offer that meagre compensation: it is quite frankly irredeemable. Nonethless, all of the warnings sothis has given you still apply regarding the woeful animation, incomprehensible 'storyline' and contemptible dialogue. Incredibly, it seems as if the English dub was probably actually being faithful to the original Japanese soundtrack because every criticism above still stands: all of the voices are essentially identical.

I sincerely wish I could go back in time to Mamoru Oshii's animation studio as he was planning this debacle and punch him in the face.

For the love of god, if you are thinking of watching this: DON'T.

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