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Favorite Scene
I love the part where Suzuko sneaks Shukumaru back into her bedroom. She never really gets around to showing him the wonders of modern-day Japan, though. She has to dress his wounds, resist his advances because she believes that they are siblings, and then rush to save Shu again, because they came back a few hours before the momentuous gas explosion happened. But then, as she is dressing Shukumaru's wounds, she discovers that he has a small, neat, almost faded scar. When she asks him about it, he responds with, "Oh, that's my apple-citis." It is exactly the same term that little Shu used at the very beginning of the movie, when he showed off his then-new scar to Suzuko.


Fire Tripper
Synopsis | Review

This anime is a trip. Seriously.

First of all, who would've thought that Rumiko Takashi is capable of creating a relatively short story? For that matter, whoever thought that she can create a story that has a real ending? Sorry, I am still sore about Ranma 1/2 and Inu Yasha.

Fire Tripper is one of the stories in Rumic World, which is a series of relatively short stories by the incomparable Takahashi-sensei. It runs for 50 minutes.

This anime is an oldie but a goodie. It was released in 1985. It's not so hard to imagine that this is probably a huge precursor to Inu Yasha. Both anime have a time-traveling schoolgirl and a good-looking hero to protect her.

Synopsis
A village is under siege. The invaders set the houses on fire. A girl is trapped in one of the houses. As her brother tries to save her, a burning beam falls down from the ceiling. However, before it hits her, she disappears amidst the tinkling sound of a little bell.
The little girl appears in a strange world, which is modern-day Japan. A couple finds her and later adopts her.

Fast forward several years later. The girl, Suzuko, is now seventeen. She totes around a little bell on her schoolbag. She knows that she is adopted, and that her adoptive parents found her with the little bell.

On her way home, she finds her neighbor's son, Shu. She gently chides Shu for playing outside with his friends because he recently had an appendectomy. Then she takes Shu by hand and leads him home. However, they were caught in a massive gas explosion. The impact threw Suzuko 500 years into the past.

When Suzuko came to, she found herself in the middle of a battlefield that was littered with corpses. Then she narrowly escapes being raped by bandits. A young warrior named Shukumaru came to her aid. Shukumaru's job is to protect a nearby village and to salvage food, weapons, clothes, and any other goods from casualties of battles.

Shukumaru brings Suzuko back to the village. Unbeknownst to her, he already told the other villagers that she belongs to him. He even told his little sister, Suzu, that Suzuko will become his wife. As Suzuko is getting settled, she discovers a shirt that is identical to the one that Shu was wearing. She panics, thinking that Shu is wandering around the battlefield.

For several days, she and Shukumaru search the battlefields for Shu to no avail. Then, one day, the village is attacked by bandits. Houses are set on fire. Before rushing to fight enemies, Shukumaru proposes to Suzuko.

While the battle is underway, Suzuko attempts to rescue Suzu. Shukumaru arrives to help her, but it is too late. Suzu is trapped inside a burning house. Then, as a falling beam is about to hit Suzu, she vanishes.

Suzuko realizes with horror that she is actually Suzu, and that she and Shukumaru are siblings. But before she can further think about this new development, Shukumaru is thrown into a perilious situation and is about to be killed by fire. Suzuko throws herself over him, and the two of them are transported back to modern-day Japan.

While nursing Shukumaru's wounds, Suzuko discovers that he has an appendectomy scar. She realizes that Shukumaru is actually Shu, and that the gas explosion threw him as a little boy ten years further back. With a bittersweet pang, Suzuko realizes that she belongs with Shukumaru back in feudal Japan, and that it is time to part from her adoptive parents.

Review
For a 50-minute long OAV, this is really good. The storyline is short, simple, and twisted enough to keep you guessing. I found myself still calculating "Well, if Shukumaru is really Shu and Suzuko is really Suzu, then are they really related?" And it has none of that anguished crap about past loves, playing games, heartbreak, long-winded quests, and sudden girlfriend appearances.

And if for some reason you don't like it, it's only 50 minutes of your life lost, as opposed to, say, 24 30-minute episodes of a series.

Even though this is older than Ranma 1/2 and Inu Yasha, I really didn't get around to seeing this until I had seen several Ranma 1/2 and Inu Yasha episodes first. So when I watched this OAV, I recognized Rumiko Takahashi's distinctive artwork and distinctive humor. They're very comforting, since I haven't seen her works in a while and I have to watch a number of unattractive anime characters along the way. Her heroines all resemble each other, and her heroes all resemble each other. Her heroines all think the heroes are obnoxious, and her heroes think all the heroines are uncute.

Yeah, this anime is an oldie but a goodie. Unlike other old anime with unattractive characters (which probably looked attractive back in the day), the characters were drawn in Takahashi's timeless style. The storyline is primarily about adventure, which is a nice break if you've been watching nothing but drama anime. And it's only 50 minutes long! So go watch it. Now.

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