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i-wish you were here-

a.k.a. Zaion

a.k.a. Anata ga koko ni ite hoshii

iwywh-2
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Gonzo
Format: 4 OVA
Dates: 10/4/2001 to 2/3/2002

In the future, a meteor crashes into Earth and brings with it a virulent form of life. This virus is known as M34 and attacks humans, turning them into vicious monsters. Most of the human population is wiped out, thus government agencies are formed to fight the virus. One of the groups, NOA, inserts nanomachines into the bodies of its soldiers; these machines allow them to transform and fight off the infected. Unfortunately, the virus mutates and becomes too strong for NOA to handle. Now the fate of the world rests in the hands of sixteen-year-old girl with the power to defeat the virus.

summary by Keitaro

 

Reviewed: 09/03/2002 by
Grade: 91% av-Keitaro

Highs: Unique plot; great art and music; entertaining every second of the way

Lows: Unsatisfying ending

Boy, this one really came out of nowhere and hit hard. i-wish you were here- is a low budget, independent project, and the creator’s first attempt at a sci-fi anime. It couldn’t possibly be good, could it? Well, this four-part OVA completely blew away my expectations and turned out to be among the greatest anime I have ever seen.

i-wish you were here- has almost no weak points. It excels in every category. The art is drawn with dark colors that set the ominous tone, and the progressive music always sets the mood. I absolutely love the character design and the pacing was perfect. This anime balances action and drama flawlessly; there is just the right amount at each, and I was always on the edge of my seat. One thing that bothered me a little, however, was the integration of 3D graphics into the battles. The robots and helicopters are in this style, while the rest is animated. They certainly did a good job, but it just didn’t blend well in my opinion. Then again, I never really like to see 3D graphics in anime.

Sure, the action is great, but what really makes this anime memorable is the story. It is complex science fiction, and yet I was never confused. Everything is explained well and I wasn’t left guessing. Even better, behind the DNA and science talk is a touching love story between the two main characters that progresses with the story. The characters develop well, too. When all was said and done, the story really stuck in my head. I only had one gripe with it; when it ended there were too many loose ends left untied. i-wish you were here- may have been even better had it been longer.

This anime is an example of what Blue Seed should have been. No science fiction or action fan can pass this up. i-wish you were here- is and will not be heavily advertised as the creators were happy keeping the popularity small. If you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to watch this, however, don’t pass it up. Gonzo took a real risk with this one and it makes me wish that more people would take a risk on the off chance it will end up as good as this.

 

Reviewed: 05/14/2004 by
Grade: 44% av-Eek

Highs: Cheesy fights are mildly entertaining

Lows: Braindead characters; plot is a bad joke; pathetic CGI

When it comes to Gonzo, I set my standards low. With “hits” like Samurai Girl Real Bout High School and Kiddy Grade, there’s a better chance that I’ll be struck by lightning twice than them turning out a jewel like Last Exile. Sadly, i-wish you were here- proves to be more garbage than gem.

I can think of only one rational basis for actually watching this anime: cheesy fights. With costume designs reminiscent of Generator Gawl and Guyver, nothing beats watching many of the fights turn from lightly serious to ridiculously hilarious. Granted, the fights aren’t meant to be humorous, but that’s the result when “elite” NOA soldiers get taken down by rockmen who mutate into blobs of silly putty, then mutate into poorly-rendered Generators. And when Yuuji begins miraculously gaining new abilities while in the middle of battle, you just know that Gonzo should be in the dairy industry; they’d be far more successful at making cheese but already make plenty right here.

The sad part is that i-wish you were here- could have been decent, but the weak and unsatisfying characters don’t help at all. Yuuji is the stereotypical stoic, hotheaded teenager, and Ai is an Ayanami Rei wannabe who somehow brings out his trapped emotions. The rest of the cast is packed with static throwaway characters that merely fill but never attempt to define their roles; the only notable character is a “scientist” who has a disgustingly striking resemblance to Jabba the Hut. And what horrors lie in the plot? Lots of “hi-tech” jargon that makes no sense except on a very primitive level, a virus that spawns monsters from out of nowhere, a horribly fake romance and characters that follow the script not because of any logical reasons but simply because that’s what the script says. Even I was astounded when events magically occur without any purpose behind them. Adding insult to injury, the CGI is some of the worst you’ll ever find in anime. CGI models and conventional cels stand out like white on black here, and this comes from a company that’s known for its great animation.

Even with my low standards for Gonzo material, this came as a shock. Save yourself some time and just don’t watch i-wish you were here-. This is a series any otaku would be better off not watching. Any way you slice it, garbage is garbage.

 

i-wish you were here- can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.


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