Anime Reviews:

Roots Search

aka Roots Search: Life Devourer X

(Hiashi Sugai, 1986)

Life for the scientists on board the Tolmekus Research Institute satellite becomes both traumatic and deadly when an unknown space ship passes by. The incident causes all the satellite alarms to go off, so a psychic on board the Tolmekus scans the strange craft and has visions of terrible and violent deaths. An alien force then invades the Tolmekus and begins tourturing its crew with painful memories before slaughtering each of them, one by one.

At only 45 minutes, this OAV can do little more than quickly set up a scenario for a series of bloody death scenes. The attractive colour palette used reminded me a little of the look of Silent Möbius and the story (seen before in several places with slight variations) is virtually a straight anime remake of Tarkovsky's Solaris. I was initially flumoxed by the title - would this be about a black man tracing his family history? - but the full Japanese title is more explicit: Roots Search: Life Devourer X.

Although thankfully retaining the original language with English subtitles, all of the characters have western names: Moira, Scott, Buzz and Norman! Annoyingly, for one so brief, the ending is oddly inconclusive. This title was part of Kiseki's licensing deal with US Manga Corps who released the title in the US in 1992. 6/10

Rob Dyer

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