Good Morning Althea

If you've read many of my articles or columns, you'll know that I have never been a fan of the one-shot OVA. Popular particularly in the mid-80s, these short direct-to-video anime films tell a brief story in an hour or so and exist almost purely for simplistic entertainment. Although certain one-shot OVAs like Appleseed have a basis in a manga (comic book), most were made by companies looking to make a quick buck. Good Morning Althea is not the worst of the lot, but it falls into the large pit of mediocrity where most OVAs from the time period now reside. It's never been licensed in the US, and unless you're a big fan of mecha fights, you won't be missing much.

Good Morning Althea is set in a far future where two different races of humanoid beings have been fighting each other for some time. The wars are over, but the animosity between them all is still clear. In this background, we meet Galory, a young man whose space cruiser is nearly destroyed by a warship that was abandoned long ago and is run by an automated system that believes the conflict is still on. With the help of his cyborg sidekick Nikolai, he attempts to take down the battleship, but he first has to awaken the long-sleeping Althea, a member of the enemy race but also possibly a key to finding and destroying the systems that have overtaken the enemy vessel. Although the threesome have a hard time getting along, they find that the computer-controlled craft is by far the most important enemy; if they are to survive, they must put the past behind them. (In admission, the copy I have of this show has no translation, so I can't give more specifics. However, this is not the show that lives or dies on dialogue anyway.)

Althea still looks reasonably good for a show that's now fifteen years old. Although the designs are dated, it wasn't poorly animated, though it can't compare to most modern anime. The music is OK, the concepts are all right...the problem is that there is nothing here that hasn't been done better elsewhere, even in 1986. The show is a cliché, where enemies find out they aren't so different after all and no one important ever dies, even when mortally wounded. The battle scenes are entertaining, but there's no meat here. There's so little time for character development that we don't develop any relationship with our heroes. The mecha themselves have some unique design work, and the spider-like robots that the automaton uses to patrol the spacecraft are pretty cool, but there's no depth otherwise.

Unless you happen to really enjoy mecha shows regardless of character development, it won't hurt you that Althea is virtually impossible to find. I had to search for an immense amount of time to find any information on the show whatsoever, and even The Anime Movie Guide has barely four lines about it. It's just disappeared over time, and perhaps that's best--it's not bad enough to be remembered as awful, and it's not good enough to be remembered as special, so perhaps there shouldn't be any memory of it at all.

Good Morning Althea -- violence, non-sexual nudity, profanity -- C-