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Mask Of Zeguy

Aug 8, 2005

Now, 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.
The 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.
Generic 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?!
If 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?
Mask 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.
6.5/10 story
6/10 animation
5/10 sound
5.5/10 characters
5.5/10 overall

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ixPilfer Aug 15, 2011

Sounds to me like Majora's Mask.

skankfish Sep 17, 2010

Yeah I remember this being kid of crap. I watched it more than a decade ago but I still remember Leonardo's amazing little clone puppet and the poo bombs.

Pretty standard characters for the time. Not worth me writing my own review for!

Assiman Oct 31, 2009

Well, this one looks interesting. I like the style (even though I've seen only these screenshots, but still, it looks nice). Maybe I should try this one out. Even though it probably isn't mind blowing, I can forgive a lot of faults if the story is unique and this seems to be very unique.

It's nice to see someone reviewing this "rarities".