Odeeeeeeen!

Odin

This film has been panned by numerous reviewers, usually as the most boring thing they’d ever seen. There are stories of people at screenings of Odin writhing in physical pain on the floor after an hour, some anime cons have even run “I Survived Odin” events with free tshirts for those brave souls who stuck it out till the end.

So, naturally, I thought it would be great to watch of a Saturday evening.

The first thing that strikes you about Odin is that it looks really good. Superb, in fact. The animation was obviously high budget fare. They’d also assembled a great cast of voice actors (Norio Wakamoto, woo!) and some talented directors are involved. But, that’s where things start to fall apart; directors, plural. No less than *three* different directors are involved in this film and multiple scriptwriters each with their own visions, whims and style. Not good. Too many cooks spoil the broth.

The plot involves a new class of “photon sailer” (laser/light powered) space ship that will be exploring beyond the bounds of the solar system for the first time. With a crew of hot-shot, MacGyver-esque geniuses who seem capable of solving any problem but spend most of their time running around the ship high-fiving each other whilst hair-metal from 1985’s chart toppers, Loudness, blasts away in the background. Shortly into their maiden voyage, they receive a distress call from a space liner in the asteroid belt that’s under attack from some kind of robotic destructo-thing which is quite hostile to any form of life. The only survivor is a nordic princess who helps decipher a data crystal she has in her posession, which may contain a map showing the way to a civilisation called Odin…or, not. Christ knows.

It’s hard to recall exactly what happens in the 2+ hours running time of this film, because you start getting a mild concussion at the 00:30:00 mark. Then everything becomes a blur of the crew pressing switches, warping, running around the ship, running around an alien ship, pressing more switches and pulling levers, warping again, running around the ship again. Rinse, repeat.

Odin is very typical of the mid to late 80s anime boom, when every hair brained idea for an OVA or movie got millions of yen thrown at it. It was also, famously and quite obviously, part of producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki’s failed attempt to restart the Space Battleship Yamato franchise in various forms. It was even dubbed into english and released here and in the US as Odin: Starlight Mutiny, albeit with about 45 minutes (mercifully) removed.

So as a historical curiousity/train wreck, perhaps the anime equivalent of the David Lynch Dune movie, it might be worth a look. Otherwise, leave it on the shelf and back slowly away.