Past columns here have concerned anime that I came across in my local second-hand comic book shop in my hometown of Stockton-on-Tees, Sub-Zero Comics. This anime comes from a new business off-shoot from it, Tinker Harley, where I got a few obscure titles of which I had little knowledge of before hand to see what this lesser-known series are like.
Landlock is a 1996 two-part Original Video Anime (OVA) set in a fantasy world, an old-fashioned story about good vs. evil. The VHS release of it states on the front cover: “From the creator of Ghost in the Shell Shirow Masamune”. Ghost in the Shell (No. 83) is probably the greatest cyberpunk anime series made, and Shirow is one of the most notable manga authors. You can understand why they would boast about such a name. However, when you read the blurb at the back it says: “featuring character designs by the world renowned Masamune Shirow.” Not only is the role of Masamune being overblown by the front cover, but they swapped the order of the names around around.
Landlock is set in the land of Zer’lue, which is currently under attack by the evil Chairman Sana’ku and his Zul’Earth army. The only person who can seemingly stop him is a young boy named Lue’der, who has a magical red-eye and who can also control the wind. However, Sana’ku wants to stop him and uses his own daughter Aga’lee to capture him, and who also kills Lue’der’s father. Lue’der then discovers that Aga’lee’s sister Ansa has a magical blue eye and takes it as a sign that they should escape together. One of the other people who escapes is Aga’lee, who learns that she is not Sana’ku’s daughter. She is actually Lue’der’s brother and she has killed their own father. Together Lue’der, Aga’lee and Ansa unite to stop Sana’ku’s plans for world domination.
It must be said that Landlock is poor, and it is not just the overblown clams on the cover. For example, there is the issue with the character names. Originally there no apostrophes in the Japanese version, but when it was translated into English the apostrophes were added, something which the third edition of The Anime Encyclopedia by Jonathan Clements and Helen McCarthy describes as: “pretentious”. I describe it as: “disorientating”.
Also the plot is rather convoluted, the voice acting is poor, the English dub is shoddy, and the general quality of animation is dodgy. The only reason why this anime is notable is because of the Masamune Shirow connection. In terms of the character design, it is typical of Shirow, in that the female characters tend to be big breasted and not wearing much.
This is a title to avoid. It is not an engaging story, the advertising misleading, and even the title is misleading. There is a scene where Lue’der and Aga’lee appear to be on the coast. Landlock isn’t even landlocked!
Landlock is available on second-hand DVD from Manga Entertainment.