In a future where the world has become a desert and oceans are sand, humans cling to survival in remote oases. Sand pirate Sam Coin seeks to bag an Ozma, the gargantuan sand whales that lurk beneath the surface. Instead, he comes across a woman being pursued by the Theseus military. He rescues her and brings her back to his home of Port Oase, and aboard the ship he serves on, the Bardanos. After a tour, Theseus ships return in force to collect Maya. Maya surrenders, but Bardanos Captain Bainas refuses to give her up, and orders the ship to dive into the sand using its Quantum Transition (QT) drive.
We’ve been watching sky pirates and space pirates, so why not sand pirates? The sci-fi world of Ozuma is bleaker than Aquarion, Lagrange, or Moretsu. When we first saw Sam Coin on his flying contraption, we immediately thought of Princess Nausicaa on her jet-glider. His hometown of Port Oase, with its windmills, is similar to the Valley of the Wind. The huge Ozuma, well, they’re like Nausicaa’s ohmu; mysterious and awe-inspiring, much like ocean whales. Sam Coin’s a archetypal good guy; if he sees someone weak being bullied by the strong, he’s going to help. Doing so nets him a beautiful but potentially troublesome fugitive in Maya (voiced by none other than Lacus Clyne), and irks his childhood friend Mimei (who also voices Aquarion’s MIX and Bakuman’s Iwase). We also like the tough Captain Bainas, who decides to protect Maya – who may have important info. It’s also a chance to thumb her nose at authority.
Frankly, we don’t have a problem with Ozuma’s borrowing of elements from Nausicaa, along with Gundam and Dune. Its character design and score are decidedly, unapologetically old-school. Side characters come in every shape and size, while the core characters all have different color eyes. It looks and sounds like the eighties, only the picture is crystal clear and in widescreen, adding majesty. Whether the nostalgia is intentional on the part of the producers, they’ve regardless crafted a wonderful setting and a fun and colorful cast. The throwback aesthetic is the icing on the cake. Ozuma will only run for six episodes, and this first one was also very efficient and got much of the introductions out of the way. We’re definitely looking forward to whatever comes next.