Case Number 05559: Small Claims Court

MASK OF ZEGUY

Central Park Media // 1993 // 75 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Steve Evans (Retired) // November 11th, 2004

The Charge

The Mask of Zeguy is the only thing I need.

The Case

This anime distributed by U.S. Manga Corp. covers all the bases -- violence, a bit of (non-sexual) nudity, portentous plotting -- but in a halfhearted way. Backgrounds are lush, often shimmering; characters and the objects interacting with them are mostly static.

Strange warriors blast Miki into another dimension. Escaping her captors, Miki faces monsters and madmen plotting the destruction of Earth. Only the Mask of Zeguy (rhymes with "the guy"), with its power to alter the weather, can save her. When Miki is kidnapped by wolf-like creatures and transported to another plane of existence, she discovers a plot by the evil Princess Himiko to destroy the world. Only the power of the magic winds unleashed by the Mask of Zeguy, which controls all nature, can stop the madness. Miki must face wolf creatures (that apparently ooze sawdust when dismembered) and monsters that leak purple blood. Miki is aided in her quest by Toshizo (a time-traveling warrior) and Gennai, an eccentric old man with a flying ark. The story is divided into two episodes of four chapters each.

Peter Max would be in Heaven. Indeed, an odd mélange of influences can be seen and heard in Mask of Zeguy: Day-glo colors, looping (and loopy) dialogue that would make Ed Wood lunge for the bottle, and enough synth-pop music to make viewers wonder if they are stuck in 1983.

Perhaps the greatest limitation of the anime as a narrative form is the tendency of those who create these stories to have their characters describe almost every plot point in excruciating detail. Mask of Zeguy is no exception. Like most of its ilk, Zeguy does not follow the primary rule of storytelling: show us, don't tell us. Worse, the relentless solemnity renders much of the dialogue unintentionally hilarious. A representative sample: "When the ringing bells resonate in harmony the gate of winds will be open. The moon will be full tomorrow. On that fateful day I will possess the full power of Zeguy." The anime was directed by Shigenori Kageyama, who hasn't been heard from since 1993 when this was originally released in Japan.

Mask of Zeguy would likely receive a PG-13 if it carried an MPAA rating. In practical terms this means it probably won't satisfy the hard-core anime fan accustomed to gory violence and cartoon sex, while younger viewers may find the plot impenetrable -- despite the characters' propensity to explain most of the action as it occurs. On the flip side, some parts of the plot that aren't explained still seem to be vital to the story, so several chapters are clear as mud.

Mask of Zeguy is guilty of providing sub par anime entertainment; not enough action to please enthusiasts, yet too harsh for children.

Review content copyright © 2004 Steve Evans; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 70

Perp Profile
Studio: Central Park Media
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)

Subtitles:
* English

Running Time: 75 Minutes
Release Year: 1993
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Art gallery
* Trailer
* Five anime previews

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0107345/combined