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URSA minor BLUE

ursa-1
Genre: Drama
Company: SPE Visual Works
Format: 1 OVA
Dates: 1994

An old astronomer and his son live inside a telescope tower, watching the constellations and hunting the fish that swim within the sea of stars. When one day more and more stars disappear, the two start to investigate. Their quest, however, soon turns into a dangerous hunt when they discover the true nature of the disappearance phenomenon…

summary by Taleweaver

 

Reviewed: 03/06/2006 by
Grade: 83% av-Taleweaver

Highs: Engrossing fairy tale; wonderfully dream-like mood

Lows: Partially boring music; lacks closure

Very much like Kogepan, URSA minor BLUE is designed to look like an animated picture book, while at the same time appealing to both kids and adults with its unique blend of simple story and rich symbolism. Tamura Shigeru, one of the few artists whose manga are sold as children’s books outside Japan, has chosen a background plot reminiscent of Greek legends to tell a simple but beautiful coming-of-age story, and it works out really well.

This entire OVA is told like an engrossing fairy tale, from the simple and everyday beginnings to its dramatic climax. Virtually all of the characters fit seamlessly into the setting, and for the short length of the production, they are beautifully fleshed out. URSA minor BLUE takes its time even for little, seemingly unimportant scenes, and it all adds up to a wonderfully dream-like mood. The simple art with its pastel coloring underlines these qualities, as well, and there isn’t a single moment where I wished the animation had been better.

Even though this anime is visually impressive, the musical score is not always what it could have been. While the main orchestral themes are nothing to scoff at, some of the scene music sounds synthetic and artificial to the point of being plain boring. Also, while the story is given a few more moments to calm down after the climax, it ends on an unresolved situation and generally lacks some closure. A bit of clarity on where our protagonists are in the end would have been better.

URSA minor BLUE can be safely recommended as a good watch for all ages. It doesn’t really look like anime, so it’s going to appeal to people who don’t like the generic “big eyes, small mouth” style usually associated with Japanese animation. The innocent and dreamy mood of the story will make most people feel very comfortable with it. And best of all: at only 23 minutes, this OVA is sure not to take much of your time, even if you don’t really like it.

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