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There really were no lack of forgotten ancient civilizations and / or ancient evils in anime of the late 80s and early 90s. One has to wonder if it was the RPGs influencing the anime with this, or the anime influencing the RPGs because it was super prevalent in both. Ellcia is one such example of this. It follows the adventures of a group of pirates as they fight a militaristic empire in a race to seize control of a 1,000 year old warship capable of singlehandedly taking over the world.

Taking place in the world of Eija, the Kingdom of Megaronia has become the dominant power thanks to having unearthed technology from an ancient civilization. Now the king is getting old, and is generally feeling pretty good about himself having conquered much of the world. Unfortunately, one of his advisors stumbles across a prophecy about a mysterious ship (the Ellcia) that destroyed the ancient civilization whose technology the king reclaimed. The king dismisses it as silly nonsense, but his daughter is intrigued and goes about searching for the ship.

Meanwhile, Eira, a young pirate girl, is sailing the high seas with her friends looking for unsuspecting merchant ships to raid. After making a nice haul and picking up supplies, she and her friends head to their home island. Here, they encounter the king’s daughter attempting to force the local population to reveal the secrets of the ancient ship. One thing leads to another, the shaman of the village being attacked releases the ship, and Eira and her friends wind up getting a hold of it. Before long, Eira discovers that she’s the Chosen One who must command the ship after it laid hidden for 1,000 years. With that, adventure ensues as she travels the world to remove the seals over all of the ship’s special systems. All the while, the king’s daughter and much of the Megaronian military are in pursuit. There’s also an ancient evil lurking about waiting to make its move and reap all sorts of havoc.

It’s all stuff that was popular at the time, so expect plenty of mystery about the ship and the ancient evil. There aren’t any major revelations, but there’s enough of a mystique in the air to keep things reasonably exciting. Also, the OVAs have quite a few action scenes with sword fights, explosions, and naval battles, so the show moves at a brisk pace with a lot of action.

Visually, the show almost has a Western style to the character design. Some characters have that more traditional anime look to them, but most are more akin to what one might find coming out of a North American or European animation house. They all look quite nice as well. Eira and her friends are all kids who were orphaned and had to become pirates to survive. As a result, they look more like a bunch of street urchins who happen to know how to operate a large sailing ship. On the other hand, everyone from Megaronia have garb that is a mix of old and new, reflecting that they are an old kingdom that has recently become technologically advanced. Meanwhile, many of the machines are quite unique. There are sailing ships that have been modified with technology, bizarre flying contraptions, and then there’s the ancient ship of legend itself. They all have interesting designs to them that add a lot of flavor to Ellcia.

While the show looks nice, the same can’t be said for the music. First there isn’t a whole lot, and when it does come into the picture, it’s very typical orchestral themes that are meant to add flair to particularly dramatic scenes. The soundtrack is sparse and not at all memorable.

On the whole, Ellcia is a fun series of OVAs. It gives viewers an enjoyable adventure, albeit it with a story that has been told many times over the years. People that are okay with themes revolving around powerful ancient civilizations and super weapons combined with a healthy dose of swashbuckling action will do alright with this show. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but does provide a fun little distraction when one wants to turn off their brain for a bit.

- IroIro
April 8, 2019

Other Anime Reviews We've Done Related to Pirates:

- The Enemy's the Pirates! Anime Review

Director: Yoriyasu Kogawa
Studio: JC Staff
Episodes: 4
Released: 1992 / 93

Ellcia Image 1
Eira and her crew

Ellcia Image 2
Eira, the happy-go-lucky captain

Ellcia Image 3
Crystal, the anime's villain

Ellcia Image 4
Uncovering the history of the Ellcia