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Goo-oogle!

Favorite Episode
This series keeps you guessing until the very end. In the last episode, you don't even know at first if Ai survived, and then if Yuuji survived, and then whether they actually got to stay together. But fortunately, all becomes clear in the end. The first episodes were too early and too convoluted to like... even though it's really nice how the relationship between Ai and Yuuji developed. I especially enjoyed watching the last episode because it helped bring closure to the whole "Will they end up together?" question.

I Wish You were Here
Synopsis | Review

Everytime I think about the title of this anime, I keep thinking of the song "I Wish" by Gabrielle.

Now where was I? Oh yeah, the anime. This is one of the first dozen or so anime that I got my grimy paws on. It took me four or five years to get around to watching it. Damn, all that wasted time! I don't really know why I never watched this earlier. I mean, the storyline is exactly the type of storyline I like: girl lead character falls in love with a strong, solid, dependable guy. No harem, no ecchi, no sudden girlfriend appearances, no fanservice... just good old shoujo anime where girl meets guy. Well, okay, in this case, the girl has super-psychic powers, and the guy is a special soldier with superhuman strength.

Despite the wistful title, this anime is considered science fiction (with romance). It is a four-part OAV and was released in 2004.

Synopsis
A deadly virus called the M34 reached Earth by a meteorite. Humans who are infected by the M34 mutate into rock-like monsters and go on a killing rampage.

To combat the M34 epidemic, the Japanese government established the NOA organization. It is composed of outstanding soldiers whose bodies are enhanced via nanotechnology. Through nanotechnology, they can immediately cover their bodies with armor, which enhances their strength, makes them immune to regular attacks, allows them to fashion particular weapons, and enables them to fall from great heights. NOAs are deployed to locations where there are M34 outbreaks. Their task is to contain the outbreak by killing the mutated humans. It is a very risky job, and often not all NOAs return alive.

Yuuji Tamiya is considered the ace of the NOA team, and he is portrayed as withdrawn and reserved. The deaths of his comrades affect him deeply. When he hears that a new weapon is being developed to combat the M34 outbreak, he eagerly demands to know what it is, perhaps hoping that it will keep anymore of his comrades from dying on the job.

In-between deployments, Yuuji meets a mysterious girl named Ai. Later, he and his comrades discover that Ai is the new weapon. She has the ability to eradicate the M34 virus through some sort of psychic energy, which is amplified by holographic projections.

Ai finds herself drawn to Yuuji, and he feels the same way for her. However, it is hard to get any sort of relationship going when they are always dealing with the M34 epidemic and when everybody is fiercely protective of Ai.

To complicate matters, the M34 virus appears to be adaptive. It can merge with the nanobots that are in the NOAs' bloodstream and mutate into a stronger strain. Consequently, NOAs mutate into the very creatures that they are supposed to destroy. Also, Ai is unable to unleash her powers if her state of mind is unstable, which is what happens when she is away from Yuuji.

This OAV is essentially about how the involved organizations dealt with the virus, how Ai and Yuuji struggled to be together, and how people around them were affected. It ends without a resolution to the virus.

Review
I like this OAV a lot. At four episodes, it's very bare-bones. You can probably argue that the storyline is not that original, but at least it's short and sweet, and it ends before you get tired of it.

The graphics are okay, although part of me wishes that the producers kept it simple and did not render the robot gunners in 3-D. The effect just wasn't pleasant. Ai is very pretty in an ethereal, haunting sort of way, and Yuuji is good-looking in an unconventional way. Yuuji has one of those unusual faces that do not look attractive at first, but later you get used to it.

Some parts of the anime are still unclear to me. So why did Yuuji run off with Ai? What happened to the virus? What happened to the other NOAs? But still, I'm happy because for me, the most important question (what happened to Yuuji and Ai?) was answered by the end. But I can see how some people may argue that the storyline is half-cooked. I can also see some people grumbling about how gooshy the storyline turned out to be. But come on, it's science fiction + romance, and it's four episodes long. How much can you cover in that time?

Anyway. If you want a short and sweet OAV, this is worth checking out. Actually, those are the two exact words that I think fit this OAV: short and sweet. Of course, you probably won't think amputated feet and melting human body parts are sweet. Oh yeah, and if you're looking for hot and passionate love scenes, you won't find it in this OAV, either. I mean, come on. It's four episodes long. And it's not hentai.

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