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Photon: The Idiot Adventures

Sometimes the title of an anime very clearly sets out what viewers expectations should be, and Photon: The Idiot Adventures certainly does this. This is a show riddled with people leaning heavily toward the dopey side of things. Expect plenty of gags and general silliness in this science fiction adventure from the creator of Tenchi Muyo, Masaki Kajishima. This is a very enjoyable OVA series with lots of laughs and a decent amount of action.

The overall premise is that there is a massive galactic rebellion going on and one of the rebels, named Keyne, is looking for her grandfather’s device that will give her faction a major advantage. However, she is being pursued by Paparachino Nanadan, one of the empire’s greatest commanders. After a brief space battle, Keyne’s ship crashes on a sandy desert planet (conveniently named Sandy Planet) where Keyne lays dormant in a stasis pod. This is where viewers are introduced to the other major characters of the show: Aun and Photon. They were born and raised on the desert world and through a set of circumstances, Photon discovers Keyne’s ship, awakens her, then one thing leads to another and the two become married. From there, they team up to find the device Keyne is looking for along with any attempts by Paparachino to capture them. Luckily for Keyne, Photon possesses super human strength, which makes her quest a whole lot easier.

It’s a very straightforward story fuelled by gags and fan service. Most of the silliness comes from Paparachino because despite being a decorated commander, he has no lack of character flaws. He’s arrogant, parties too much, and is an aggressive womanizer. As one might expect, these traits get him into no lack of trouble. Meanwhile, Keyne provides much of the fan service seeing as she’s quite a well-endowed young lady. She also has quite a few back and forths with Aun, Photon’s very tsundere childhood friend. More than anything, though, the show’s characters are largely vehicles for pushing the plot along. They don’t really grow. At most, two of the supporting characters that show up later experience a tiny bit of growth. For the most part, though, characters function as tools to provide laughs and push the story along, and that’s about it. The jokes are nothing new, and depending on the person, mileage will vary. However, Paparachino actually does a lot to carry the jokes between his voice actor's performance and the animators' ability to create expressive faces. He really comes to life and helps to sell the jokes.

Unsurprisingly, the art is very similar to Tenchi Muyo what with Photon being by the same person. As such, character designs have Kajishima’s flair to them which is especially apparent when looking at their faces and hair. He’s always had an affinity for large-breasted women, so expect plenty of those to show up as well. Meanwhile, his ship designs are quite interesting with vessels looking more like they have an exoskeleton than an actual hull. On the whole, Photon’s visuals will appeal to fans of Tenchi Muyo. Those who didn’t particularly care for that series are unlikely to have a change of heart here.

Interestingly, Photon was voiced by Junko Takeuchi, who also does the voice for Naruto. Meanwhile, Aun was voiced by Yui Horie, who has also taken the roles of Charles in Fairy Tail and Anna Kushina in K. Yuri Amano even makes an appearance as Princess Lashara, having taken the role of Kiyone Makibi from Tenchi Muyo in the past. Finally, Paparachino was voiced by Kouichi Yamadera, who as also performed the roles of Zenigata in more recent incarnations of Lupin, Yuta in Mermaid Forest, and Ryouga Hibiki in Ranma 1/2.

Photon: The Idiot Adventures is definitely worth spending some time with. The show is a nice, quick comedy. While Photon may be the hero of the show, it’s largely Paprachino that makes the series worth watching. The way the pendulum swings between extreme arrogance and realizing that he’s screwed up is something to behold. People looking for a 90s anime with a healthy mix of naughty gags and fan service would do well to check this OVA out.

- IroIro
August 18, 2019
Directed by: Koji Masunari
Studio: AIC
Released: 1997-1999
Episodes: 6

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