Throughout history, the Mask of Zeguy has stayed safe from the hands of those who would misuse it with the help of two Time Warriors named Gennai Hiraga, and Toshizo Hijikata (leader of the Shinsengumi). For centuries they have traveled through time to protect it, but are now faced with a powerful adversary: the evil Himiko, who has stolen the Mask for its power. Meanwhile, two young girls have been sucked into Himiko's world through a dimensional gate, leaving them stranded! Little do they know they may be the key to saving the world -- and all of time -- from destruction…
StoryNow, before those of you who have seen this already scoff at what might be a high score for the story section, hear me out. Although poorly executed, Mask of Zeguy has one of the more unique plots I’ve seen in a series, and definitely is an odd mix of technologies and times. In Mask of Zeguy, a legendary mask (guess what it’s named??) which supposedly gives its wielder great power (and can open a huge gate that controls nature or something like that) has been kept safe through history due to people called the Time Warriors. They travel through time, keeping it safe from baddies... from the time of the samurai (Hijikata IS one of the Time Warriors, you know!) to modern times, there’s always a bad guy from a different time or dimension after it. The story is sort of two fold to begin with. First of all, with the help of one of her henchmen, the evil Himiko has gotten her hands on the mask and wants to use it to open the gate and gain ultimate power. Though not explained very well, it’s apparent that Himiko lives in another dimension or world, not Earth. Meanwhile, a secondary story comes into play when for some random reason that also isn’t explained well, two high school girls get sucked into Himiko’s world on their school bus, and are caught up in the action. One of the girls is destined to be a priestess who will help save the world from evil, but which one? Luckily for Miki, one of the girls, she has help from the two Time Warriors themselves. Confusing? Watching it doesn’t make it much better. Although the premise is quite interesting (the fall of the Shinsengumi, for example, is tied in with the Mask), the short length of the OVA and lack of development of the characters (or explanation at who many of the characters are, for that matter) really make it lose points. Most of the mythical or weird stuff going on is never explained, or is explained in such a vague manner that it almost would have been just as coherent to watch this with some sort of blaring metal riff over the top of the animation. Combine this with a weird mix of everything from samurai to helicopters, to androids and magic spells (Crystal Triangle, anyone??) and you have a very weird, very interesting anime. I’d give high marks just for the sheer strangeness of the plot, but also have to knock it down quite a bit as well for its poor pacing (super fast, since it’s trying to explain way too much in way little time), over the top combinations of characters, places, and things, and generally cheesy feel. Luckily there’s a decent ending, so it isn’t too much of a waste of your time. AnimationThe animation is decent, but nothing to scream about. The thing I enjoyed the most were the designs of the ships and contraptions, which were detailed and looked like something you’d see in an old Ghibli movie. On the other hand, other elements of the animation were a little inappropriate. For example, Hijikata, who is supposed to be a complete badass, looks like an extra from Charles and Charge and also wears garish bright purple clothing. Uhhhh.... Also included in the not-so-great category are various monsters that fly through the air instead of moving gracefully, which could have been a lack of a budget. Things sometimes looked a little choppy in general. I think the thing I definitely disliked the most was the color, but in general, fairly average animation besides those few points above. SoundGeneric synthy beats with absolutely nothing memorable to them. For the period of time that this OVA was made, I suppose the music was acceptable at best; but now, for this day and age, seems very old and outdated. It stayed in the background as it should, but wasn’t anything special enough to warrant a higher than average score. I must say though, the dub was hilarious. Every time I or anyone I know saw the title of this movie, they’d embrace a bad French accent and exclaim "ZE GUY!" Imagine my surprise when the very first character that starts talking dons a very bad sounding French accent and pronounces it EXACTLY like I had thought it would sound! The funny part is that you’d assume it would never stoop to a MST3K level like that, but it did! I literally was laughing out loud. Keep in mind, too, that this guy is a samurai, but talking in a French accent and shouting "ZE GUY". How much more hilarious can it get?! CharactersIf there ever were a diverse mix of characters, it would be in Mask of Zeguy. First, there’s Miki and Sayaka, two girls from Earth. Sayaka really doesn’t matter at all as she’s unconscious for most of her screen time. Miki is fairly generic and uninteresting on basically every level. The real wackos of the OVA are people like Leonardo da Vinci with his puppet that looks exactly like him, purple-clad Hijikata, the red and orange androids (what the hell, who came up with this idea?!) and generally wacky and ridiculous-looking monsters. I don’t think they were going for the funny concept when they created Mask of Zeguy, but I couldn’t help but laugh at the strange mix of people that were shown to us. If I had to choose a favorite it would definitely be good old Leonardo because his character is just so strange looking. In general, Mask of Zeguy failed on the character front because of how many it introduced, and how few it developed (zero). It would have been nice to have more of the story revolve around the characters and their interactions, or to have had an explanation for things like, why is Himiko so evil in the first place? OverallMask of Zeguy is worth watching for its unique and strange premise, and not-on-purpose laughable cast of characters. Oh, and watch the first five minutes just to hear the character say "ZE GUY" in a French accent. Other than that, though, Mask of Zeguy doesn’t have much to offer an anime fan... unless you like watching rarities. Mark my words: this is a weird one.
Story: Let's say I didn't read the synopsis, or the back of the cover of the VHS box. Lets say I went in knowing that there was a mask of a guy called Ze-Guy, or The Guy, and judging by the front cover or poster image of this... thing, it's about a girl, a clearly evil hot chick in the background who pulls the strings and that is actually all I registered at first. Nothing else seemed important. Actual plots, it's about the Mask of Ze-Guy. And... it does stuff. Combined with the Heavenly Gates or "The Gates of Wind", which is a giant ass Shinto gate in the sky, it grants one immortal, supernatural cosmic godly powers. Why it does that? How? Why a gate? I have not a clue, because for shit like this, plot is not only shit but doesn't make me give shits about what it's about or why on earth that school girl didn't see how clearly evil that handsome looking man was. Seriously, he looked so evil that he made his cyborg werewolves look evil. It's kinda hard to imagine the cyborg werewolves looking not evil because they're clearly evil and bent on kidnapping high school girls. It's kinda nonsensical and like a good number of 80s/90s OVA I've watched, goes into compelte buttfuck mindshit insanity nonsensical plot dumpings in the final quarter, 4th down, 9th inning and the ending, while not as fucked up as most, is fucking stupid. But you should suspect that, because this relies a lot on deus ex machina, plot-mandatory plot armor, WTF is this shit, the fuck is that and my favorite, the facepalm of "I don't even know what the fuck is happening". My point is, there were cyborg werewolves firing arrows on choppers. Motorcycle choppers. But Apache Choppers would have been fucking awesome. Seriously, sand bleeding cyborg werewolves on choppers. Best shit in the OVA. Animation: Actually decent for something from the 90s. Imagine I'm grading it as if I'm in the 90s but judgemental with the mind of a guy who likes his boobs shiny, the butts glorious and gave 10s to shit like that OVA with the doggy girl with the tits bigger than watermelons with more milk than Seikon no Qwaser, a show about milking magical breast milk by sucking it out forcefully from unwilling high school girls. Oh, and 5 is average. All things considering. Evil gal Himiko (Close enough) should have been hotter. Like Apocalypse (Badass) Zero main villain hot. Sound: Music is good, but could have been better but the English dub is predictably the only way to watch a 80s/90s OVA. It's so bad it's terrible, but hearing the name Ze-Guy, so worth it. The sheer lack of emotion, the collective shits ungiven, bored VAs, phoned in, an annoying main, a main villain who tries to be evil and it all adds up to an English Dub that respects the 80s/90s era of shitty dubs. But seriously, the dub is terrible. And you should watch it dubbed. Characters: I have no business talking about the characters. But Toshiro is a scrotum wrecking flex nuts badass. Overall: I've seen worse, but I've seen much better. Nonsensical plot that explains jack shit, 4 fucking minutes devoted to a fucking recap where 2 minutes was the exact same fucking ass shit in the first fucking episode, rampant deus ex machina shit, a shitty dub, I don't know why the girls fought, that fat cat was a total plus and even the teacher wasn't giving a shit. "Settle down kids, there is still a week of school left". Once more, no shits were given by anybody, them nor I. Watch MD Geist instead, that's some badass shit right there.
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