Title: Maze aka Maze: the Mega-Burst Space aka Maze Bakunetsu Jikuu
Company: J.C. Staff
Format: 25 episodes
Date: 2 Apr 1997 – 24 Sep 1997
Synopsis: One day, Maze wakes up and realizes she can’t remember anything about her life. Upon going outside, she discovers that her house has landed on the pursuers of a princess in a strange land. After a short while more trouble comes after the princess and things are going poorly. Poorly that is, until Maze turns into…a man?
Creativity: Very creative, yet borrows too much from other titles.
Plot: Vague; offers poor explanations for events.
Characters: Far too many, and each one of them is nerve wracking.
If Maze sounds extremely bizarre from the synopsis, that’s because it is one of the strangest anime I have ever seen. The only way to begin to describe it is Ranma 1/2 meets Slayers, with mecha. Borrowing most of its ideas from other anime, Maze is quite unoriginal, yet manages to build quite a world with all the pieces it borrows. Unfortunately, Maze is what you would get if a train carrying all the anime you’ve ever seen got involved in a huge wreck, causing the anime to combine into some Frankenstein’s monster of a show.
I’m not sure if the directors were trying to condense a huge manga into a TV show, or if they just had too many ideas to work with, but I don’t care much. The bottom line is that no less than two new characters or groups show up in every episode. Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but that is what it seems like. That might have been forgivable if even one or two of these characters were the least bit interesting, or at the very least not totally aggravating. At least most of the characters and groups disappear into obscurity shortly after they are introduced so we do not have to put up with them for long.
With all these characters being introduced, there is no time for Maze to develop any kind of coherent plot. It seems that the creator of this travesty simply picked all his favorite plot devices and situations from his favorite anime and tried to work a plot out of them. Main character changes gender and has numerous ill-fated suitors of both genders, which was taken straight out of Ranma 1/2; mecha that look a little too similar to Evangelions… well, you get the idea. Of course there is a war based around these mecha so that the Gundam franchise would not be left out of all the plagiarism. The first episode even rips off The Wizard of Oz. While events are explained, the explanations are not even good ones. There is not a single redeeming factor in the plot either.
The randomly inserted jokes manage to be funny once in a while, but Maze is anything but top quality humor. It will be extremely difficult even for fans of off-the-wall shows like Excel Saga to find Maze worth watching, let alone the majority of anime fans out there. Maze shows that it is possible for a show to be too creative and therefore lose focus. Having an interesting world and a variety of characters means nothing without substance to back it up, and since the directors did not realize this we are left with a pile of crap. Save the trees – wipe your butt with a Maze DVD instead.
The Rating: 2
Reviewed by: Kuma