“ Actors: Jun Fukuyama, Minori Chihara, Ai Matayoshi, Ami Koshimizu, Aoi Y ki / Directors: Manabu Ono / Format: PAL / Language: Japanese / Subtitles: English / Dubbed: English / Number of discs: 2 / Classification: 15 / Studio: Manga Entertainment / DVD Release Date: 29 July 2013 / Run Time: 303 minutes „
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Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere is an anime series set in the distant future when the human race has decided to abandon mother Earth and venture forth to a new life amongst the stars. Evidently things didn't work out too well as the human astronauts subsequently returned home (perhaps a run in with some indigestion inducing chest-bursters convinced them that life in space isn't all it's cracked up to be.) Unfortunately for mankind their home planet is mostly uninhabitable, save for the Musashi region (formerly known as Japan.) Earth's remaining nations have divvied up the island amongst themselves before settling down to some Warring States era like feuding with each other.
With the setting established we move onto the show's plot, which isn't easy to recap, as it doesn't make a lick of sense. Maybe I am just thick or the cartoon is missing some important details from the light novel series it is adapted from, but I must confess to having a tough time following what was going on. Characters regularly engage in heated debates, filled with nonsensical exposition, but if you are able to extrapolate any meaningful information from the exchanges you are a better man than I. For the most part I was left scratching my head as beach ball chested animated ladies jumped up and down on the screen. Never mind, hypnotic jiggling is a fair substitute for a comprehensible plot.
In the end the story doesn't really matter as it all boils down to the heroes setting off to save a damsel in distress. Said damsel is an emotionless android named Horizon who has been kidnapped by the wicked Testament Union, who need her to commit suicide as part of a convoluted scheme to acquire a set of powerful weapons dubbed the Armour of Deadly Sins. Coming to Horizon's aid is Tori Aoi who has the hots for her, as she resembles his deceased childhood sweetheart. Also along for the ride are Aoi's ragtag group of classmates who include a bunch of super-humans, cyborgs and well-endowed spell casters.
Why Aoi's classmates are aiding him is beyond me as he is one of the most obnoxious anime characters you will ever find. He's a highly energetic dimwit who drools over perverted games and loves fondling the breasts of any female who is foolish enough to get within his arm's reach. Jeez, he's just like me. How come he has tons of friends and I don't? Anyway, his annoying antics aren't a big deal, as he has to compete for screen time with a huge cast of equally goofy characters. In some ways the series reminds me a little of the whacky Martian Successor Nadesico, which was fairly popular back in the nineties.
So yeah, even if Aoi isn't your cup of tea there's sure to be some other character you can latch onto as the expansive supporting cast features a plethora of distinct personalities. Kudos must go to the show's character designers as they succeeded in making every character look unique. The roster of Musashi Ariadust Academy students includes a mech pilot with a bionic arm, an archer who makes offerings to spirits to enhance the power of her arrows and even a couple of lesbian angel witches. Believe it or not those examples are nowhere near as zany as the naked male demon, a ninja whose eyes are on his baseball cap or the slimy guy who looks like a Puni from the Atelier video games. Oh and the less said about the show's sole Indian the better. On the two occasions said turban wearing character speaks he is offering people a curry (oh dear.)
Although I have spent the majority of this review poking fun at the series, I have to say that Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere isn't anywhere near as bad as it sounds. If you can forgive the incomprehensible plot and just go along with the spectacle of it all it can be rather entertaining. The silly humour made me chuckle, the action scenes are well put together and the voice acting/music was decent. My only real gripe is that the last couple of episodes get a little cheesy and the series ends on a needless cliffhanger, which sets up a second season. Surprisingly for an unambitious thirteen-episode anime the series is graced with some excellent artwork and animation. You cannot help but feel that the high production values are somewhat wasted on bringing such a messy tale to life. If the plot were a tad cleverer, like say Code Geass, Horizon would have gone from being an okay cartoon to something truly special.