Elf Princess Rane

I'm not senile...at least not yet. Grumpy? Yes. But addled? Not quite. Proof of it lies in my recent viewing of Evangelion 1.1: You Are (Not) Alone, which I can't get out of my head. While I'd seen Evangelion before, the new movie captivated my attention in a way the series never did. Between that and the brilliant Inception that I caught at the theater yesterday, my brain's been pretty busy.

Maybe that's the reason that Elf Princess Rane got shoved out of my mental space. While I watched this show just a couple of weeks ago, it is a distant memory at best. I'm having to rely on a few notes to get through, but I've rarely found a show disappear from my cranium this fast. Some might just think I'm having a lapse, but that's not the only reason. Even while I was watching it, Elf Princess Rane was melting from my synapses. I've seen so many hyper-comedy anime over the years that one more just doesn't do anything for me. And Elf Princess Rane, while amusing in fits and spurts, is now nothing more than a blur.

The show starts with Go, a treasure hunter obsessed with finding the Salamander treasure. As he goes on his adventure, he comes across two fairies, Rane and Leen, and they cause all sorts of trouble along with a cast of crazies (including Go's sisters) that come and go as the plot needs. There's a bit of wandering around looking for treasure, then a hot spring. Hijinks ensue, yada yada yada.

What I found infuriating about Elf Princess Rane was not that it wasn't funny, but that it was more often just nonsensical. At times, it got up to speed, and there is a comedy bit that did find a warm spot in my brain about a guy trying to spell out a message to his love in flowers that keeps getting trampled by all the other players. But the plot itself made no sense, and rather than just abandoning it altogether, the OVAs kept going back to the storyline. Why bother? Just when I thought things might be amusing, the inane narrative reared its ugly head. And since it was unnecessary anyway, it didn't stick with me.

I should also say, I guess, that I liked inspired silliness. I've become a big fan (along with my 7-year-old) of The Penguins of Madagascar. Some of the episodes are better than others, but playing at peak performance, that show is wonderful madcap lunacy. Many of the throwaway lines are smart. They aren't there "just because." In comparison, one character in Rane has a gibberish line he says, and it is so out in left field that it does make you chuckle. Once. But it's not actually comedy. It's goofiness for its own sake, and in this context, it didn't work.

I suppose if you like occasionally naked fairie-like elves and madcap antics, you might like this. While the ratings on Anime News Network are so-so at best, other reviewers I respect seem to have gotten more out of it. Justin Sevakis, Carlos Ross, Chris Beveridge, Pete Harcoff -- all long-time reviewers I respect -- really enjoyed it. I got the references, I understood the wild overacting...it just hit me with a big pile of meh. I've had half a mind to watch it again just to see if I missed something. Sometimes you just have to be in the mood for comedy to really work. But you know? Maybe I'm right and it's just not very good after all.

Elf Princess Rane -- comic violence, nudity -- C-