a.k.a. Chikyu Shoujo Arjuna
Ariyoshi Juna is a typical, carefree high school student who enjoys archery and spending time with her friend Tokio. Her life is abruptly ended in a motorcycle accident, and she is offered a second chance at life if she agrees to become The Avatar of Time and protect the planet. She says yes, wanting nothing more than to see her family and friends again, and suddenly she feels the pain and dire condition of the Earth. Guided by the strange being Chris, she must fight the Raaja and save the planet Earth… from ourselves.
summary by Madoka
Highs: Stunning visuals; score; worthwhile message
Lows: Convoluted story; some characters could use more attention
I think it’s safe to say that anyone who watches Arjuna will come away with a sense that the Earth is in trouble. Strong and emotional images show the planet in pain from waste and pollution. While the ecological theme is powerful and worthwhile, this series seems so intent on broadcasting moral lessons that it loses the actual story and characters in the mix.
The first thing any viewer will notice is the impressive animation, including high quality computer graphics and unique character designs. Although some of the graphics reminded me a little too much of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, they are nonetheless striking and of a caliber rarely seen for television. Just as notable is another great soundtrack by Kanno Yoko, whose score perfectly sets the mood for both action and drama.
It’s a pity that the story doesn’t hold up to the high standard of the visuals and music. Although it begins with a good premise, the story veers from action to drama to documentary to romance. With all of that crammed into one series, it’s no wonder that most characters can’t get the attention that they deserve to flesh out their personalities. Juna and Tokio at least receive due consideration, but others such as Chris, Cindy and Theresa are still a mystery. More time spent concentrating on Juna’s family would also give her more background and complete their presence in the story, but her character development is still well done.
Instead of focusing on all characters, Arjuna concentrates on the theme it is trying desperately to present: the Earth is in trouble if we don’t change our ways. Scene after scene reinforces the idea, but those scenes are so often repeated that they lose some of the impact. Other scenes are confusing and probably too philosophical for casual American viewers, but all carry this theme solidly. This show is rooted in Hindu beliefs and ideals; Arjuna is a Hindu mythological being. Knowledge of these beliefs and myths would lend more understanding that the viewer would lack otherwise. This isn’t an easy series to understand, but viewers who are willing to use their brain will definitely find it worthwhile.
Earth Girl Arjuna can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.