El-Hazard Online

General => El-Hazard Online => Topic started by: Mizfan on February 10, 2010, 01:28:39 PM



Title: So How Successful Was El Hazard Back In The Day?
Post by: Mizfan on February 10, 2010, 01:28:39 PM
Personally, I think the overall quality of the storytelling and animation in later El Hazard Series and the fact that nothing has come after the Alternative World signifies the success dwindled at some point. But one thing I wonder is how big was the franchise to begin with?

Was El Hazard one of the most successful animes when it was first introduced back in 1995? Or has it always been considered a more obscure one with just a pocket fanbase? Is it still widely remembered and regarded in Japan today?


Title: Re: So How Successful Was El Hazard Back In The Day?
Post by: Icy EyeG on February 10, 2010, 02:39:37 PM
Hi! Welcome to the forums!
I may not have an accurate vision about how big the franchise and the fanbase was, but I can give you my opinion.
I think that El-Hazard began to be successful originally (i.e. the OVA). I also think that the Wanderers TV series was also successful to a certain extent. The OVA2 and the Alternative World, however, were sequels to the OVA that didn't live up to the expectations (again it's my opinion, and it doesn't mean that I don't like them).

I remember back in the day that there were many sites about El-Hazard (both in Japanese and English), so it did have a popularity peak. However, most of the sites went offline, specially with the demise of Geocities. So, nowadays, apart from Wikipedia and AnimeNewsNetwork one of the only places still talking about El-Hazard is here at EHOL.  ;D

One problem that hinders El-Hazard popularity, in my opinion, is that it didn't follow the usual manga->anime route. Usually, anime is made from a popular manga and therefore it gets a more solid and consistent fanbase.
I don't know if El-Hazard is popular in Japan nowadays, but as for the US, there was a re-release of the DVDs in 2007 by Geneon (OVA 1 and 2 only). However, Geneon went out of business and therefore El-Hazard didn't get the attention it deserved.
I do think it can be considered "Classical/Cult" Anime at this point, and in this context it may be remastered (once again) to Blu-Ray.


Title: Re: So How Successful Was El Hazard Back In The Day?
Post by: Triple_R on February 10, 2010, 07:16:39 PM
Hype/Popularity-wise (not quality-wise, I want to point out - El Hazard is one of my five all-time favorite animes; very few match it quality-wise, imo), I would consider El Hazard a 2nd Tier anime during the mid-to-late 90s.

1st tier would be DBZ, Pokemon, Sailor Moon, and Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Then you have a few animes like Ranma 1/2 and Tenchi Muyo! that kind of straddle the line between 1st tier and 2nd tier.

Then, I would consider El Hazard a very solid 2nd Tier anime (hype/popularity-wise), probably alongside other mid-to-late 90s animes like Fushigi Yuugi and Card Captor Sakura.

In its day, El Hazard was pretty big.

Ifurita and Shayla Shayla were two of the most popular female anime characters of their time. Jinnai (OVA version; I don't think the TV version was quite as well received) was widely considered one of the best anime villains of his era. The Makoto/Ifurita romance was definitely one of the most popular anime romances of its day. Fujisawa, Alielle, and most if not all of the major cast members, really, each had their own dedicated fans.

There were a very healthy number of El Hazard fanworks, or fanworks that at least included El Hazard. 

Also, there was an anime that many would argue was based off of El Hazard quite a bit.

It was called Dual! (http://www.absoluteanime.com/dual/index.htm)

If you look at screenshots of it from this (http://www.animecritic.com/dual/anr-dual.html) review of it,  it's abundantly clear that Makoto Mizuhara and Masamichi Fujisawa's character designs were practically copied for two of this anime's main characters.

So, when an anime popular enough to have other animes designing major characters off of it, that's a pretty good sign.  ;)


The 2nd, and particularly the 3rd, OVAs were a bit of a disappointment though, at least in the wider anime fan community. Sadly, I do think that halted El Hazard's momentum a bit. It's regrettable, because I think that this anime franchise had incredible potential.

Also, it's important to keep in mind that a decade is a lifetime in the world of anime. Really, the only pre-2000 animes that I still hear talked about a lot on major anime sites are the four 1st Tier animes I mentioned above. So, El Hazard unfortunately suffers like many other pre-2000 animes in this respect.


Still, I do think that El Hazard still continues to inspire anime to this day...

Case 1: (http://rubenerd.com/uploads/anime.mai.jpg)

(http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/~alhuang/elhazard/nanamichan/nanami.jpg)


The similarity between these two anime characters is striking, I think. The character in the bottom image is, of course, Nanami Jinnai. The character in the top image is Mai Tokiha, the main protagonist of a popular anime named Mai HiME, which was made only within the past few years. When I first saw Mai, I immediately thought of Nanami. I don't know for certain, but it's certainly possible that El Hazard inspired this anime, at least as far as Mai.


Then there's this...

Case 2

(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_uj_QeQVH3-g/S0eTNxeg74I/AAAAAAAAAH0/YiDn6LICk_Q/s320/Umineko6-beatriceMwuhaha.gif)

(http://www.el-hazardonline.net/screenshots/images_4/065.JPG)


The above is downright uncanny, in my opinion. The stance, the background, the facial expressions, the laughter, everything. I'd be shocked if the top image wasn't inspired by El Hazard.

The character in the bottom image is, of course, Katsuhiko Jinnai.

The character in the top image is Beatrice, a villain from an anime that just came out this past year called Umineko. Umineko is a very heavily hyped anime, and certainly talked about a lot.


So, El Hazard is a pretty popular cult classic anime. It isn't in the 1st tier for various reasons, and due to how new-focused anime tends to be, it's not talked about much outside of this site, sadly. But, it's influence is still felt today, and that's a great testament to how popular and good El Hazard was, imo.


Title: Re: So How Successful Was El Hazard Back In The Day?
Post by: Icy EyeG on February 10, 2010, 08:25:53 PM
Just remembered this thread about Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (http://www.el-hazardonline.net/El-Hazard/forum/index.php/topic,558.0.html) to add to the mix.

So it's safe to conclude that El-Hazard lives on in Japan, since many authors are inspired by it! And it's good to know they're using the best materials for inspiration.  :)


Title: Re: So How Successful Was El Hazard Back In The Day?
Post by: Captain Southbird (EHOL Creator) on February 11, 2010, 10:52:49 AM
I agree about the OAV 2 / 3 stalling the series.  I "liked" them, but didn't "love" them as I did the original, shared by many fans (and I know of at least one who found them to be unforgivable.)  I think the biggest problem in that sense is that the original author simply wasn't interested in doing them.  The original OAV is the only "real" El-Hazard, everything else fed on its ensuing popularity.  But just to keep in mind that the only imagined story begins and ends in the OAV, that's all there was ever really "meant" to be. 

In general, when you lose the main creative force, any series will suffer, and fans will notice.  I think El-Hazard basically imploded simply because there was no one who could quite duplicate the true story quality.  Of course, another allure of the original OAV was the beautiful, painting-like artwork that also degraded quickly in the follow-ups.  Alternative World in particular had more of a comic book level of coloring.


Title: Re: So How Successful Was El Hazard Back In The Day?
Post by: Mizfan on February 11, 2010, 01:14:31 PM
Hey guys, thanks for the feedback. Some really useful information there.

It figures the original creative force left after the first OAV. Whilst the first OAV had it's typical anime elements i.e. the harem anime traits, Jinnia being the ultimate, archetype villain, it just told the story in such a style that felt unique, and the character's dialog and situation were just hilarious.

But the second OAV didn't seem to have that originality at all. I was really disappointed it was as typical as 'Jinnia finds another weapon like Ifurita, but a more powerful one'. Also, whilst it was funny to see Fatora in more detail, but her attempts at making out with the other girls was just a bit too typical, as was Shayla's and Nanami's constant bickering over Makoto which wasn't fleshed out at all.

I think the Alternative World was a step in the right direction, but as stated on this site, the plot holes, and the inconsistent flow let it down.

Anyway, thanks for that roundup. I've wanted to see El Hazard ever since I bought an issue of AnimeFX magazine back in August 1995, and spent 14 years looking in that magazine always wondering what this anime was like.

This issue really made out El Hazard to be the latest big thing, seeing as Tenchi Muyo was apparently the most lauded series at that time, and the creative force behind that was the source of EH, and this is what got me wondering 'is it hype, or is El Hazard that good'?

I finally got to watch it a few weeks back and even after watching so many animes before hand, this one has made a huge impact on me. It was worth the wait. It wasn't just overhyped like many before and since.


Title: Re: So How Successful Was El Hazard Back In The Day?
Post by: Katsuhiko JiNNai on February 12, 2010, 02:54:32 AM
I think than the first original OAV had a charm and a narrative beauty ever equalized by the following productions. When I saw it, about 13 years ago I was really impressed.
Actually El-Hazard is one of the 5 anime series I prefer, like "The Secret of Blue Water", ROBOTECH (Macross, Southern Cross and Mospeada), Excaflowne, and Saint Seiya.


Title: Re: So How Successful Was El Hazard Back In The Day?
Post by: Mizfan on February 25, 2010, 12:05:24 PM
Not only the narrative, but as mentioned, the visuals in the first OAV are really impressive. The more I watch it (went through a 2nd watch through with my lil sister) the colours and detail are nothing like I've seen in animes before or since.

Animes before seem a little bit dated (such as the first Tenchi Muyo series made previously), but everything after it (including the 2nd OAV) has slightly more faded colours and characters are less detailed. There's something unique in this first OAV. So vibrant and feels a bit more organic.


Title: Re: So How Successful Was El Hazard Back In The Day?
Post by: Icy EyeG on February 26, 2010, 07:01:25 AM
Not only the narrative, but as mentioned, the visuals in the first OAV are really impressive. The more I watch it (went through a 2nd watch through with my lil sister) the colours and detail are nothing like I've seen in animes before or since.

Animes before seem a little bit dated (such as the first Tenchi Muyo series made previously), but everything after it (including the 2nd OAV) has slightly more faded colours and characters are less detailed. There's something unique in this first OAV. So vibrant and feels a bit more organic.

Exactly!
My first El-Hazard contact was the Wanderers series, and I was already impressed. However, the OVA is just amazing. The detail and quality are difficult to be matched: a lot of efford was put into artwork, soundtrack and, of course, the story.


Title: Re: So How Successful Was El Hazard Back In The Day?
Post by: Katsuhiko JiNNai on February 28, 2010, 07:32:04 AM
Yes, I implied in the definition "charm" also the visuals and the soundtracks. There is no doubt that the first oav is better to the following productions from every point of view.


Title: Re: So How Successful Was El Hazard Back In The Day?
Post by: Mizfan on October 01, 2015, 10:51:43 AM
Old post is old, I know, but just a quick update: I'm now living in Japan (have been for about 3 years now) and, sadly, El Hazard is all but forgotten about here, naturally.

As mentioned before, 10 years is a long time in the anime world. Heck, just a year is, actually. There is a RIDICULOUS amount of anime, especially in places like Akihabara, whilst at the same time more and more stores are closing down due to everything going digital.

I actually saw a bunch of laserdiscs of the 2nd series for sale for just a couple of hundred yen (something like 5.00), and I was tempted to by them for the nostalgia factor, but I don't even have a laserdisc player, nor the room to have held onto it.

I'm going to watch the entire first series again now, the first time in years. Really excited to see how it holds up.


Title: Re: So How Successful Was El Hazard Back In The Day?
Post by: Icy EyeG on October 02, 2015, 04:00:55 AM
sadly, El Hazard is all but forgotten about here, naturally.

That would be a good thing, but I think you mean it has been forgotten due to the huge variety of new Anime that comes out, right? Also I would imagine that the popular Anime genres and styles changed in the last decade, and El-Hazard doesn't fit those anymore.

I actually saw a bunch of laserdiscs of the 2nd series for sale for just a couple of hundred yen (something like 5.00), and I was tempted to by them for the nostalgia factor, but I don't even have a laserdisc player, nor the room to have held onto it.

You should buy them. I have them just for the artwork. They are beautiful.

I'm going to watch the entire first series again now, the first time in years. Really excited to see how it holds up.

I still think it's a very original story with an art style different from what is done currently.


Title: Re: So How Successful Was El Hazard Back In The Day?
Post by: Mizfan on October 16, 2015, 03:37:29 AM
Hey there,

So I've just finished watching the first OVA again, and there's that feeling again.

I don't know how to explain it. You know when you watch a film / TV show, or experience a story and it leaves you speechless, like in a daydream. How you are just silent in pure awe? Well, this anime did it to me yet again.

My thoughts are going to be more like a ramble, but I'll try and keep it short. This anime is still great. It's not perfect, but great.

I'll go through the negatives first - the dialog in this anime (the English dub) is just terrible. Not to be confused with the voice acting. The voices for all the characters are perfect, and these guys do the absolute best with the script they've got.

But the writers and translators put in some truly awful dialog to help keep the voices lip synched. Every episode, you see characters repeating phrases and plotpoints, because they can't think of anything original to fill in the lip movements in places. You also get awkward pauses between sentences because of this. One such inconsistency is how Miz mentions to Fujisawa about the pair of them having a wedding, for which Fujisawa thinks little of her words. She mentions them marrying at least one other time and there is no reaction from him. Despite this, when she's in her bed recovering with Fujisawa by her side, mentioning the two of them getting married suddenly causes him to go ape. It's clear this is an inconsistency brought about due to the translators either having a hard time writing a script, or being liberal with changes, which made such affects as this.

The story does sort of drag down at around the middle. The 4th episode, where they're awakening Ifurita, is by far the most boring part for me. It's still good, but I just can't help but feel it drags on a bit.

But then, towards the end, everything goes at breakneck speed. Too fast perhaps. I was expecting them to keep the intensity going a little long i.e. when the bugrum have almost conquered all of El Hazard. But maybe it's better if they leave the audience wanting more.

Final thing; is it me, or does the animation and detail take a hit at the latter half of the ova? The first episode looks absolutely beautiful, but as the series goes on, the animation gets choppier, the detail loosens, and they just seem to be cutting corners.

Well, that's about it. That's the only negatives I can think of with this anime right now.

As for the great things, where to begin.

The story is just fantastic. It can't be appreciated until watching the final episode, where certain things come together i.e. the motivations behind the shadow clan, how Ifurita suddenly becomes a nice persona, and of course, explaining the casual time loop and how the earthlings got to El Hazard in the first place.

As an aspiring writer myself, I really understand and celebrate how very well the plot of this anime is put together. It's complex, but not to the point of being overbearing to the audience, where they can't understand what's going on.

The characters are so well defined here. Their character traits, although somewhat typical, are presented so fantastically. Fujisawa dropping his alcohol and crying "don't blame me, I'm just weak", how Miz constantly goes on about the wedding. Ifurita is the best example. If you really study this story, her character is barely fleshed out at all (not surprising as a robot), and yet, damnit this anime finds a way to make you relate and feel for her with so little. And that's really it. This entire anime seems to achieve a level greater than the sum of its parts in many ways.

I like how it sets things up for the sequel. The shadow clan vow to be back, and Jinnai maintains his ambitions to become the world ruler. Such a pity the OVA2 doesn't take advantage of this, and just creates some terrible fanservicy sequel for those who loved Ifurita.

Despite what I said about the animation taking a hit, this anime is still beautiful. El Hazard is the kind of place one dreams of experiencing. I think I mentioned in a very old post, but I found out about this anime from a 1995 issue of Anime FX. I remember seeing screenshots and being mesmerised with how beautiful and fantastical this anime looked. 20 years later now, and nothing has changed. This anime, during its best moments, is like a dream.

The main music themes are still beautiful. It's a shame the OST is inconsistent though. Some great tracks mixed with a number of forgettable ones.

I still love this anime. I also really liked the alternate world, despite the various anomalies. I guess I'll watch OVA 2 now. I remember being really disappointed with that one. Whilst I'm blown away by this first OVA, it also makes my heart sink how this series' fate went the way it did. If only they'd have jumped straight to the Alternate World as OVA2 (but had written it more coherently), and then created a third OVA to finally explain how Makoto found his way back to Ifurita.

One final thing. I don't know about you Mr Icy EyeG, but I'm a huge video gamer, and I suddenly realise my love of certain games comes from my love of El Hazard. For instance, some of my favourite story driven games include Final Fantasy XII and Nier; the former of which in particular has that Arabian Nights quality sprinkled with Japan's unique influences.

I own El Hazard a lot. It introduced me to anime which in turn caused me to move to Japan many years later.

Quote
That would be a good thing, but I think you mean it has been forgotten due to the huge variety of new Anime that comes out, right? Also I would imagine that the popular Anime genres and styles changed in the last decade, and El-Hazard doesn't fit those anymore.

Well, it's a good and bad thing. For instance, there are anime shows out there that aren't around anymore, but still get frequent praise. Evangelion or Cowboy Beebop for instance. They don't make anymore episodes of those, but they're still vividly remembered by many, and continue to be watched by newer generations. El Hazard, sadly, falls into the category of those that are truly forgotten, and not even mentioned in passing.


Title: Re: So How Successful Was El Hazard Back In The Day?
Post by: iminzc on August 31, 2016, 02:23:12 PM
i plan on making a  3d fan game for free that's how impressed i was

if you want to see some of my work  goto iminzc.deviantart.com