Galaxy Fraulein Yuna

I liked Galaxy Fraulein Yuna...back when it was called Project A-Ko.

Galaxy Fraulein Yuna was a two-OVA set released back in the mid-90s. Though I'd never really heard of the original, it was fairly popular, enough that a sequel called Galaxy Fraulein Yuna Returns quickly followed. Now the entire series is available on a single DVD in the US, so it looks like quite the bargain. I can't speak to the sequel, but the original Yuna is totally unoriginal. It's a pale imitation in many ways. That doesn't mean it isn't cute and spunky at times, but it's been done before, and without the bizarre problem of having cast members appear out of nowhere.

At the start of the show, Yuna has supposedly already saved the galaxy from evildoers...twice. That doesn't quite fit with the way we see Yuna, though, as an airhead high school student that's desperately enamored with an idol singer and whose best friend Yuri could destroy any buffet in town. When the evil Fraulein D accuses Yuna of being a galactic menace, the Galactic Council sends Misaki to investigate the claims. Although Yuna and Yuri seem like the most unlikely cosmic threats ever, a violent attack is blamed on them, and they wind up having to defend themselves against the Fraulein's wicked schemes while trying to befriend the conflicted Misaki.

When I started watching Yuna, I immediately started noticing the similarities between it and Project A-Ko. Both involve massive destruction of property that serves no purpose. Both involve cute girls who wind up part of bizarre interstellar adventures that don't really pertain to them. Both feature the bizarre eating and cooking habits of their secondary characters. There are even some low-level homoerotic undertones to both. You could literally go on and on with the parallels. (And to their credit, after watching the show I went over to Anime on DVD and looked at their thoughts, and what do you know? They spotted it too.)

A good retread of the original A-Ko would be fine, of course, since the first one was a hysterical parody well worth the effort to watch. But Yuna doesn't go quite all out like it should with its humor. Pushed a little farther, Yuna could have been a real entertainment. But as it is, it's just not thrilling. Add in some second-tier animation and a middling soundtrack, and there you have it.

Actually, there's the other problem that I mentioned earlier. In the second episode, one character literally springs out of the ether to defend Yuna, and we have no clue where she came from. As the second episode continues, more and more folks who somehow know Yuna keep showing up to back her up. This is all well and good, but until the very end, it seems that Yuna doesn't really know who she is. It's all quite frustrating because it doesn't all add up. In fact, the longer the show goes on, the less sense it makes. (Part of this comes from the show's origins in a Japanese video game. As in all video game anime, characters can come and go at will regardless of how it screws up continuity because the audience knows the characters and wants to see them. It's a rule. Trust me.)

But Galaxy Fraulein Yuna isn't intended to be logical, it's just meant to be cute fun, which it a very basic, undemanding level. It's likeable enough, but bland if you've seen much anime at all. It's a problematic title with too many strikes against it to recommend, though it's essentially inoffensive and occasionally funny. Buyer beware.

Galaxy Fraulein Yuna -- violence, mild lesbian undertones -- C