Johji Manabe was well known when the first wave of manga sprouted up in the US during the late 1980s. Among those few comic book style releases was an energetic little title called Outlanders, a tale of a barely-clothed sword-wielding girl from another world and the lech who winds up in love (or lust) with her. Although not the best book by far, Outlanders had a cute, perky style that made it stand out from the crowd (though I've heard little good about the OVA made from that series, which I haven't seen). Much of the style evident in Outlanders is also true of Capricorn, the only other Manabe title I've ever found. It's a short OVA that packs every last second of its 45-minute running time, and it's an enjoyable lark. It's so energetic that I almost forgot about characterization, back-story, or rational plot. Almost.

Slaphleeze is a world of anthropomorphic animals who are in the midst of turmoil. Their king is just a puppet of the evil cat-like general Zolba, and Zolba plans to conquer not only his world but another. Slaphleeze's sister planet is Capricorn--or what we like to call Earth--and at certain times, a link between the two worlds is possible. Zolba has plans to use the Infinity Anchor to bridge the gap and to invade Capricorn, despite the fact that the Anchor's use will almost certainly result in mass destruction for both planets.

Into this mess falls Taku, a human who has somehow been pulled to this world. He winds up rescued by a bunch of creatures who know that Zolba's plans are dangerous and believe Taku is there to help protect their world from devastation. Meanwhile, Taku runs into a strange winged girl, Mona, who is apparently the last of the race of Yappi. Taku's taken with her, and as his adventures continue, he teams up with Mona to stop Zolba, save their worlds, and discover his true identity.

Did all that make perfect sense? If it did, perhaps I didn't give you enough information. Let's just say that Capricorn plays fast and loose with the details of its plot. In fact, fast is how Capricorn handles everything. Although the animation isn't particularly fluid, most scenes fly by so fast you won't notice it. Since all but a couple of the characters are morphs of cats, moles, ducks, and so forth, it's not like they have to look human, so detail is not a big deal.

I enjoyed Capricorn as a quick, breezy romp through this new world. I thought it was good-natured and funny in addition to its action roots. If I just wanted a short adventure that would involve lots of laughs and some nice explosions, this would probably be a great choice. However, from the perspective of depth, this show is like a pothole waiting for rain. From the show's point of view, these characters might as well not have existed before the events in the video take place. Without even a hint of world building or personal development, Capricorn is at best a popcorn adventure along the lines of Independence Day or Armageddon...but even in those movies, you spend enough time with the characters to develop a faint affection for them. Here, that's absent.

Capricorn is standard "brains-off" entertainment. I liked it. However, there's not enough depth to consider it anything special.

Capricorn -- violence, brief nudity, brief language -- B