Green Legend Ran
Frank Herbert's vision, strung across the Dune books, is a crowning science fiction acheivement that most modern writers owe at least a passing nod in homage. Barren postapocalyptic landscapes are nothing new to anime, but Green Legend Ran owes a far greater debt to the novelist. The episodic story follows the story of Ran, an idealistic ruffian, whose world comes straight from Herbert's imagination.
Three generations ago, a series of monoliths crashed onto the Earth, sucking up the water and making a wasteland. Populations sprung up around the monoliths, as near them were the only remaining vestiges of water and vegetation. A religious group sprung up as well, laying claim as the monoliths' keepers; opposition to them rose up in the form of a rebel band known as the Hazzard. Ran believes that the cultists killed his parents, and he plans to join the Hazzard as soon as he's old enough. His adventures start when he meets an enchantingly beautiful young lady who turns out to have a far greater connection to the monoliths than one might think...and he soon finds his world turned upside down as everything he has believed comes crashing down on him.
Green Legend Ran is an entertaining show, animated in the same style as Tenchi Muyo, though the backgrounds and such suffer from a lack of detailing. The setting lifts liberally from Dune, enough so that listing the similarities would ruin parts of the show. Nevertheless, Green Legend Ran is enjoyable enough that it transcends its stolen background story. I recommend it to science fiction fans and those who like epic-style shows.
The original program was in three parts; the American DVD release combines them all together, though the disc is lacking in that it has no menu feature. Sadly, though the disc was pressed back in 1998 at the start of the DVD craze, no special edition has come about since. My ranking is a little lower than my first impression only because of the unoriginality; if you are unfamiliar with the Dune books (and shame on you if this is the case), then raise the ranking a notch or two.
Green Legend Ran -- violence (some graphic), nudity, mild language -- B+