Yume Jigen Hunter Fandora (Dream Dimension Hunter Fandora), directed by Kazuyuki Okaseko. 35 minutes. September 21, 1985.
Fandora is arguably the most successful (ha!) of Hiro Media Associates’ OAVs, because it lasted for three episodes, and it was created by Go Nagai and his Dynamic Pro. It shows Nagai’s art design, and a storyline with Lovecraftian influences which Nagai often used. (Although by this time Nagai’s Dynamic Pro was large enough that he may well have given Fandora to some of his assistants to create in his name.)
Fandora was obviously aimed at the new adolescent anime fandom rather than at children, the previous market for anime, with brief, mild drunkenness and nudity. It was a mashup of comedy, horror, and s-f, with a turquoise-haired ditsy, mini-skirted teenage bounty hunter saving the universe from the evil Yog-Sogoth (a Lovecraftian name), with the aid of her comic-relief assistant Que, “a mighty dragon disguised as a nerd”. Que was a nickname for Question Dragon, though what the question was was never explained. (He may have been a nerd, but Fandora had to get all of her information from him.)
Since Hiromasa Shibazaki wanted American anime fans to buy his OAVs (at around $100 each, plus air shipment to America), he had some of the first Fandora videos dubbed into English for American sales. Unfortunately, none of those are on the Internet. The dubbing was laughably bad; so hilarious that American fans played it for the comedy value. Presumably Shibazaki got some American tourists visiting Tokyo to supply the voices. He certainly didn’t get anyone with voice-acting experience. It had amateurish attempts to imitate refined British and American deep-South accents, and celebrity voices such as W. C. Fields’.
The three OAVs, all produced by short-lived Kaname Production and released in Japan by Nippon Columbia, were “Lem Fight Chapter”, 35 minutes, released on September 21, 1985; “Deddlandar Chapter”, 43 minutes on March 10, 1986; and “Fantos Chapter”, 46 minutes on November 21, 1986. All were credited as written by Koichi Minade & Takashi Yamada. The three showed a sharp drop in quality after the first, indicating that Hiro Media Associates or Kaname Production (or both) were running out of money. This is probably why nobody has considered putting #2 or #3 on the Internet.
Lady Fandora & Que, and evil Gyaram, are chasing each other through space in their ships. (Note the smoke-trail in the vacuum of space.) They crash-land on a planet. Gyaram gets into what Que calls “a classic battle suit”. Fandora calls on her Lupia power and gets a shield and really sharp sword to cut open the battle suit and behead Gyaram. The Lupia power makes Que grow his dragon’s tail, which he is embarrassed about.
On a big space station (which has plants), Fandora is congratulated by the Dimensional Police Chief for bringing in Gyaram’s head. But when she asks for the reward on him, the chief says that it’s already been deposited to their bank account. Que has already spent it on spaceship repairs, fuel, and other expenses.
Back in their spaceship, Fandora is tired of all their rewards going to expenses before she can spend them. She claims their next bounty to spend as she wants, and proposes to go for the largest: ten billion dimension dollars for Yogu-Sogos (which should be Yog-Sothoth, a Lovecraftian reference that Nagai had used before). Que says that he is a man of mystery with nothing known about him except for three scars on his cheek. Que advises an easier target; Red-Eye Geran in the Kingdom of Lem. (The OAV apparently uses “dimension” and “planet” interchangeably.) He’s only worth 300,000 d-dollars, but Lem is a lovely vacation spot. But when they get there, it’s anything but. It’s completely ruined, with listless men and young children but no women. When men try to capture Fandora, Que uses his Question Power to turn into a giant saber-toothed tiger.
A bartender explains that Gilsburg, the pope of the Kadath Church, has murdered King Parallel III and forced everyone to join his religion. All women have been sacrificed or sold into slavery. Princess Leimia, King Parallel’s only child, has become Gilsburg’s willing assistant. Fandora insists on going to Gilsburg’s Grand Maten Cathedral, a,k,a. the Temple of God, to free Lem’s people.
Gilsburg is holding an orgy in the temple. (Note the fan-service nudity; also in Fandora’s shower scene.) As Fandora and Que approach, Fandora sees that the red jewel in the center of her tiara, the Jewel of Lupia, is blinking. Que says this means that the blue Jewel of Endora (a reference to the Biblical witch of Endor?) is close; undoubtedly in the temple. If they can unite the two jewels, they can end all disorder across the dimensions; but if evil unites the jewels, the universe will be thrown into absolute darkness. Fandora and Que are drinking in their spaceship while Que reveals this, and he becomes thoroughly drunk.
Fandora goes alone to the temple since Que has passed out. She is captured by the temple guard, led by Princess Leimia who takes her tiara. Leimia gives the tiara to Gilsburg, who puts it on to complete his power, but it reacts violently, almost knocking him out and falling off. But Leimia puts it on safely. Fandora knows that her tiara has rejected Gilsburg because nobody evil can wear the Jewel of Lupia; but Leimia’s wearing it means that she isn’t really evil. Gilsburg and a priest theorize that only a woman can wear the red Jewel of Lupia, while he can use the blue Jewel of Endora that he has mounted on a sword. Gilsburg tells Leimia that they will rule Lem together, with her wearing the tiara.
Que uses his Question Power to turn into a rhinoceros beetle and fly after Fandora, then into an inchworm.
Fandora is thrown into an arena surrounded by a spike-filled pit, to fight the giant, green Red-Eye Geran. They are watched by Gilsburg, Leimia wearing the Jewel of Lupia, and all their followers. While all attention is on Fandora and Red-Eye Geran, the Jewel of Lupia breaks Gilsburg’s mental control of Leimia. Red-Eye Geran turns into a giant spider and immobilizes Fandora with his sticky webbing, but as he is about to pull her clothes off, Leimia kills him and shoots his webbing off Fandora. Gilsburg throws her fatally onto the arena ramp, but she returns the tiara with the Jewel of Lupia to Fandora before she dies.
Fandora with the Jewel of Lupia in her tiara, and Gilsburg with the Jewel of Endora on his sword, fight so violently that it destroys the Temple of God. Gilsburg turns into a giant horned wolf. Fandora reveals him to really be Yogu-Sogos. The power of the Jewel of Lupia transforms Que fully into the mighty but goofy-looking flying Question Dragon. Fandora cuts off Yogu-Sogos’ arm holding the sword with the Jewel of Endora, which flies free of the sword and disappears. The Question Dragon rescues Fandora and flies out of the crumbling Temple of God with her riding his head, as Gilsburg disappears under its ruins.
With the Jewel of Endora gone, the Kingdom of Lem returns to its paradisiacal state. Fandora doesn’t recognize the Question Dragon as Que, who says that it was the Fantastic Dragon who is her guardian. The OAV ends with them flying off in their spaceship to hunt for new bounties, and assuming that they’ll run into the Jewel of Endora again some day. In a final scene after the closing credits, a disembodied arm appears and snatches the Jewel of Endora from space – presumably Yogu-Sogos’ arm.
In “Deddlandar Chapter” (“Deadlander” is meant), which isn’t on the Internet (I’m describing it from thirty-year-old memories), Fandora and Que go looking for Hellcat, a female dimensional criminal again with a lower bounty. Their search takes them to Deadlander, where Yogu-Sogos happens to have relocated. This time he’s the high priest of the “Blue God”; the Jewel of Endora again. The plot involves two lovers, Soto and Fontaine, and Yogu-Sogos tricking Soto into stealing the Jewel of Lupia from Fandora by claiming that she’s preventing it from being reunited with the Blue God. Fandora stops Soto, but she’s trapped in the Temple of the Blue God; Yogu-Sogos’ lair.
I never saw the final OAV, the “Fantos” chapter, so I’ve never known whether the overall story was wrapped up or if Fandora and Que are left endlessly pursuing Yogu-Sogos and the Jewel of Endora. All three OAVs were later released in Italy, and the three were combined in a single DVD in Japan by Columbia Music Entertainment in 2001.
Next week: Forgotten OAVs #42: “Explorer Woman Ray”