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Earth Girl Arjuna
Earth Girl Arjuna
Earth Girl Arjuna
Earth Girl Arjuna
Earth Girl Arjuna
E A R T H   G I R L   A R J U N A
Reviewed in December, 2001 by Mark Vallen, Jeannine Thorpe, and John Lentini . Screen shots generously provided by John Lentini.
(Comments by John Lentini) What would happen if you ever crossed over the threshold between life and death? You may want to ask the main character in the series Chikyuu Shoujo Arjuna (Earth Girl Arjuna). Ariyoshi Juna not only crossed this line, but came back again with a new sense of purpose... as Juna was given a unique look at the world unlike you or me. You see, after her short trip back from the afterlife, Juna had this tremendous sense of the world around her. It may be hard to explain, but trust me, when you look into the first three episode roller coaster you'll see what I mean. It's quite a ride from the start, the story is so high paced you can get lost in a hurry. Chikyuu Shoujo Arjuna can make Serial Experiments Lain look like a nursery rhyme at times. However the story will give you and the characters time to catch up, to make a tremendous mix of story, animation and music.
Juna-san
Juna-san

With the right mix of CGI animation and music from the ever popular Kanno Yoko, you can't go wrong with Arjuna. Of course Kanno-san's music fits this series perfectly, as you'll notice some of the songs are sung by her choice performer, Sakamoto Maaya. Also you'll want to keep an eye on the unique array of characters. Kris, who's body may not be well, but his mind can blow away the best of them, literally. His cute sidekick, who can play some mind games as well, Cindy. There's even a domestic rival for Juna later down the series named Sayuri, voiced by the ever talented Hisakawa Aya.

However the character that is most intriguing to me is, Ooshima Tokio, who is very much interested in Juna. Tokio is voiced by another talented seiyuu named Tomokazu Seki, known for his roles in Vision of Escaflowne (Van) and Fushigi Yuugi (Chichiri). Tokio may not have the privilege of riding a Dragon or being a Mage, but Seki-san does a fantastic job of delivering all the emotion that needs to be behind this character. So we hope you like this series as much as we did. It's probably the most well rounded television series I've seen come out of Japan this year, so enjoy, and remember, your perception of life can tell you all you need to know about it.
Juna transformed into Earth Girl Arjuna
Juna transformed into Earth Girl Arjuna
Juna-san watching a Dragonfly
Juna-san watching a Dragonfly

(Comments by Mark Vallen) This is one of the most amazing works of animation I've yet seen, and to think it was a television show in Japan! Earth Girl Arjuna will first stun you with it's incredibly lavish animation, but the knock out punch comes with Arjuna's intense environmental message. Not since Hayao Miyazaki's, Princess Mononoke has an audience been confronted in such a direct way with the issue of environmental destruction and the role each of us play in it.

The Arjuna anime goes beyond "Mononoke" in terms of driving it's message home. While viewing Miyazaki's period piece, audiences can easily distance themselves from the film's characters... who so easily destroy the natural world around them. "Arjuna" on the other hand, places the audience inside the story. When the character of Juna tries to take a bite from a fast-food Hamburger, and instead has mad visions of all the deforestation, pesticide use, and animal slaughter that went into the Burger, every viewer becomes acutely aware of their own place in the Earth's fragile ecology.

The mental giant, Kris
The mental giant, Kris
Tokio and Juna
Tokio and Juna

Not hamstrung by being over serious or preachy, "Arjuna" instead wraps it's message and profound moments in a highly watchable anime full of mysticism, spirit creatures, and incredible animation that will hold you spellbound. The CGI effects in this series represent some of the best of what's possible in animation today, and the show's high production values are on par with that of a full budget animated movie. Thoughtful and thought provoking, Earth Girl Arjuna is a delightful series you need to see!

(Comments by Jeannine Thorpe) As one who's always believed that Art was meant to expand people's minds and perceptions of the world, I fully embrace Arjuna as not just one of the best anime I've ever seen... but some of the best Art I've ever seen put to film. Just when the unbelievably smooth and realistic animation and perfectly composed music score sends you over the edge, the profound environmental, social, and philosophical issues that the film addresses literally grab you by the throat and won't let you go. Don't let the title of the series deceive you... this is not a silly hybrid of Sailormoon and Captain Planet.

Earth Girl Arjuna
Earth Girl Arjuna

On the contrary, Juna's new powers enable her to see the essence of life and death all around her, and grants her the ability to see the world through the perspective of any living thing. Simple acts such as stepping into a puddle or taking a bite of a fast-food hamburger give her overwhelming visions that she cannot control. Her normal teenage life is changed forever, for exactly how can one block out all of the horrors and suffering of the world? Juna's true struggle is the struggle of the modern age: the loss of traditional lifestyles versus the convenience of civilization, and how everything and everyone, from the tiniest insect to the entire planet, is affected by mankind's actions.

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