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Superdimensional Romanesque Sami – Missing 99

Sometimes while watching OVAs one gets the sense that the show was written by committee. Just a room full of chain smoking executives barking out aspects of whatever anime has recently been released and is doing well. “We need a cute female lead!” “It needs to be in space!” “Kids seem to like the word ‘Superdimensional’ so we better use that!” Before long, a Frankenstein creation has been brought to life, a patchwork of otherwise good ideas that, in their current state, are actually a hideous monster. Superdimensional Romanesque Samy – Missing 99 is one such example of this.

Right out of the gates the show’s name is a mouthful of buzzwords. Superdimensional Fortress Macross was popular, so let’s use Superdimensional. Romanesque sounds sophisticated, so we’ll use a bit of that. Samy is our heroine, so naturally she’ll get a mention. 99 sounds almost like three nine, so that should turn some heads. It’s just a mess of meaningless jargon with no real connection to the actual show.

The closest thing to a connection that the name might have is that the plot is just as confusing. Basically, there has been a war between demons and holy beings since the dawn of time, and the demons regularly look for a chance to seize control of existence. However, there are warriors of light that always thwart them. This is where Samy, the main character, comes in. She’s a Japanese school girl living her life, but is actually the reincarnation of one of these warriors. Somehow, she gets pulled into another dimension, and wanders around for a while before finally being taken to the other warriors, they fight the demon army, she turns into a giant buddhavista and ends the battle, before being returned to Japan with no memory of what happened. It’s weird, and makes very little sense outside of there being some long-running conflict between good and evil. This is the sort of show where people will watch to see what random nonsense happens next more than because they actually care about plot continuity.

Meanwhile, Romanesque is visually just barely on par with the average televised anime. The production values are actually quite poor for an OVA. Looking at the character design, most people are very average looking. If there’s any one ethos that seems to have been emphasized in the art direction of this show, it’s that all of its male characters have massive chins. This is something that really stands out. There isn’t a single handsome man in this show because they all have huge chins. It’s as if they’re all related to the Habsburgs. The environments aren’t too terrible, but they’re a haphazard mish-mash of fantasy settings offset by high tech warships, power suits, and lasers. So, again, it feels like the show’s producers are throwing everything under the sun at viewers in hopes of something catching their interest.

OVAs were really popular at video rental outlets in Japan during the 1980s and 90s, so there was fierce competition for people’s attention. With that, Superdimensional Romanesque Samy – Missing 99 comes off as a cynical attempt to tap into all things popular about anime at the time without really understanding why it was popular. This is more of a show for people curious about how bad some anime actually was in the 1980s rather than something that can stand up on its own merits.

- IroIro
April 22, 2019

Hidemi Kubo

Art Director:
Geki Katsumata

Episodes: 1

Superdimensional Romanesque Samy Image 1
Laser Disc Cover

Superdimensional Romanesque Samy Image 2
Samy meets the team

Superdimensional Romanesque Samy Image 3
Samy in her human form

Superdimensional Romanesque Samy Image 4
Villains with massive chins