Galan is a Russian university student obsessed with samurai lore and weaponry. When a Japanese girl named Natsuo hands him a original Japanese short sword as a gift, he doesn’t think twice and accepts it. Soon, it becomes obvious that the sword is much more than just a relic, and that there are people willing to do anything in order to get it.
summary by Griveton
Highs: Galan’s character; comedy that works
Lows: Comedy works only sometimes; inconsistent quality; mediocre plot; overall cheesiness
Fan service, ahoy! Considering Labyrinth of Flames was directed by Nishijima Katsuhiko, the same person that gave us Agent Aika, I wasn’t surprised in the least when that phrase crossed my mind. What we have here is a two-episode comedy which makes full use of Nishijima’s… ahem… ability to show panties at every possible moment, thanks to the return of the infamous “panty-cam” (setting up the camera angles so that female cast members’ panties are visible most of the time).
The story is by no means great, nor was it designed to be one. However, it’s solid enough to function as the structure to support the comedy, the real focus of the series. The jokes actually work some of the time… though not always. There were a lot of times where the cheesiness and overuse of fan service in a scene made it nothing short of grating. At least Galan, the main character, is quite a lovable idiot, and his antics are always a welcome sight. Sadly, the same can’t be said about the rest of the characters; while some are passable, most are lifeless.
Visually, Labyrinth of Flames is well done, although it doesn’t stand out when compared to other OVAs of the same time period. The animation is smooth, crisp and flows nicely. The voice actors are usually passable, but some are just plain strange. The music is utterly forgettable, with the exception of the excellent Russian pieces. Sadly, these aren’t used but in a couple scenes and in the ending.
It’s hard for me not to see Labyrinth of Flames as a sort of “Golden Boy Lite”; same brand of humor, less filling… and less taste. This anime is only worth it if you’re looking for a short comedy in which to waste an hour.
Labyrinth of Flames can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.