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Cosmic Fantasy: Ginga Mehyou no Wana

People who played console JRPGs in the early 90s will remember how hit-and-miss Western releases were at the time. Not a single Dragon Quest came to the SNES, Final Fantasy releases were inconsistent and the numbering was all wrong, then there were the series that were making waves in Japan with no sign whatsoever that they’d come West. One such example of this was Cosmic Fantasy. It was a series of JRPGs that came out on the PC Engine CD. There were five instalments and only the second had a Western release. The game was well-received in Western magazines, with a lot of praise heaped on how long it was. Unfortunately, that’s all that non-Japanese would experience of the game, as the rest were never translated. It doesn’t really come as a surprise given how few people had the TurboGrafx CD-ROM add-on. The peripheral was nowhere near as popular in the West as it was in Japan. There haven’t even been fan translations of the games in the series, so that goes to show how hard it is to find English versions of the games.

Nevertheless, the games were popular in Japan, so much so that they received an OVA anime based on them. Thankfully, this actually did get a fan translation, so English speakers can at least give it a watch if curious. It came out in 1994, shortly before the release of the fourth instalment in the series, and is a standalone adventure that basically introduces viewers to the characters from the games and the sort of hi-jinx that they get up to. The show largely acts as a primer for people unfamiliar to with the games, and a fun little side story for those who have already played them.

Taking place in the future, space travel is common, but with it has come an explosion in crime. Pirates and crime syndicates are everywhere, and would be running a muck if not for the Cosmic Hunters, an organization created to maintain law and order. The show and games both focus on a particular team of hunters lead by Yuu and his partner Saya. They’re quite young, but very good at their jobs, and it would appear that they have a thing for each other. They are joined my Monmo, a mechanical flying squirrel who acts as their spaceship’s engineer, as well as Nyan, a space merchant who is always looking to make a buck, but doesn’t exactly sell high quality merchandise. Meanwhile, they are on the hunt for an up and coming space pirate named Belga. She wants to take down Yuu, as he is by far the best hunter around. Doing so will allow her to claim leadership of most other space crime organizations because of the feat.

As one can probably surmise, it’s a very straightforward story. Yuu and Saya get involved in a few minor scuffles with Belga before a final showdown and winning the day. Meanwhile, characters are basically enjoyable, but fall heavily into RPG archetypes here. Viewers really need to be into that genre of game to enjoy the characters in Cosmic Fantasy, which makes sense given it’s based on an RPG.

Looking at the environments, they do a good job of bringing to life some of the areas of these games, especially when Yuu and Saya are on a date wandering around a space station. There are a lot of domes and orb-shaped futuristic buildings, with people movers everywhere. It shows that these stations are happening places. Unfortunately toward the end of the show, one has to wonder if the studio was running out of funds because it was a showdown between Saya and Belga on a barren rock of a planet with minimal detail. It’s also worth mentioning character design, as it’s pretty decent here. Each character’s uniform is unique and suits them well, and their overall appearances is in line with popular designs from the late 80s and early 90s.

The OVA isn’t very long, so people can zip through it in half an hour or so. It’s the sort of show that aficionados of 16-bit RPGs will likely enjoy as they try to absorb every morsel of information from this chapter in the genre’s history. It also makes for some nice advertisement for the Cosmic Fantasy games, which is actually pretty frustrating given the lack of instalments to be translated for the West. Nonetheless, it’s a show worth investing 40-ish minutes in. JRPGs of the 16-bit era were pretty great, and this OVA provides a nice anime-inspired window to these games.

- IroIro
May 3, 2019

More Anime Based on Video Games We've Discussed:

- Xanadu Densetsu Dragonslayer Review
- Psychic Force Review

Producer: Tokuma Shoten
Studio: Nihon Telenet
Released: 1994
Episodes: 1

Cosmic Fantasy Image 1
VHS Cover

Cosmic Fantasy Image 2
Yuu piloting his ship

Cosmic Fantasy Image 3
Nyan getting up to no good

Cosmic Fantasy Image 4
Belga piloting a cat mech

Cosmic Fantasy Image 5
Life on Yuu's space station