Amon Saga (1986)
Amon Saga is classic sword and sorcery in anime form that is definitely up front about its influences – obviously via tropes common to the genre, but this revenge story might also bring to mind Schwarzenegger-era Conan too.
Elsewhere, there’s an interesting mix between what I think of as hints of Elric of Melniboné and ‘D’ from Vampire Hunter D.
And maybe that’s partly due to the character designs by Yoshitaka Amano?
The OVA also has a few exciting sequences and some memorable moments and characters (for me, it’s Alcan who almost steals the show) yet what I think what I enjoyed most was the visuals – especially the use of colour and shadow. Some older films, especially those that pre-date modern CGI techniques, spend a lot more time on composition, on shadow or colour, and while my screencaps probably don’t back up my claim, it’s definitely there.
I really enjoyed Amon Saga but it’s probably not one I’ll watch annually, despite the visuals.
There’s a lot to like there but the story didn’t match it, I think, whether because of what I thought was a bit of missing world-building or the sense that Amon rode off into the sunset simply ‘because’, or the fact that I didn’t really get to know him enough.
However, if you like retro anime, fantasy and adventure, then this is still going to satisfy on some levels at least, even if it probably won’t end up your new favourite.
Thanks to Josh for bringing this to my attention too 🙂