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.
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.
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.