Waaaaay back when we still used videos to absorb entertainment into our eyeballs, I rented a few of the "Goldenboy" animes from a video store and took them home to enjoy. As was the custom at the time, you'd often be bombarded by a full 10 minutes of previews for other movies and/or shows before you actually got to the thing you wanted to watch (some of us were too lazy to just fast forward through all of them). Weird thing about anime previews, though; they hardly ever had dialogue. It was mostly just some track played against clips from the show. And in the case of "MAPS", the preview was simply the theme song for the show dumped right onto the "Goldenboy" VHS.
And that theme song was a big part of the draw for me. If you haven't heard it, it's quite possibly one of the greatest 1980's space opera big-machines-in-space-having-fights theme to ever grace an audio track. If you want to have a listen, you can check out this URL ( [...] ). It's a Quicktime file, and I think it was supposed to have been deleted from some random Russian server ages ago, but thankfully it's still lingering in cyberspace. Good luck trying to find an mp3 of this song anywhere else on the Internet, by the way.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, so what about the plot", you ask? Well, it's fairly straightforward stuff involving a boy who is taken into outer space by a woman who thinks that one big strip of gift wrap ribbon makes for a really neat outfit. See, the kid's got an intergalactic "map" embedded into his genetic code or something like that... even though it sounds interesting, they never actually go into it much. Maybe he's just supposed to innately know where to find ancient treasures scattered throughout the universe because of his internal map, and we're just supposed to kind of accept that that's how it works, I guess. Anyway, he's taken into space by the scanty-clad, along with his reluctant but dedicated girlfriend. But there's a cool quirk about this ridiculously proportioned space captain. Whenever her mech gets into a battle with another mech (heh, how 'anime nerd' do I sound right now?), her own body takes the hits that her ship does! The ships in "MAPS" look like the really detailed female buttresses that you'd find jutting out of old Elizabethan castles or something, and every captain in the show is a woman. There's a really great 80's anime style marking the whole thing. It's a REALLY short series of only 4 episodes in length, and while it does lag somewhere toward the middle, by the end, the story picks up again.
There's some alien stuff, a whole lot of fighting stuff, some technical jargon, and some very vague romance stuff (including one of those scenes that's totally obligatory in every anime, where some impossibly cute girl tries to force herself upon an unwilling male companion). Make no mistake, it's no "Akira", and it's not the intellectual roller coaster that "Ghost in the Shell" is, but as far as sci-fi goes, it's a pretty nice little diversion. The imagery was what impressed me the most, and there are some pretty creative ideas dropped every here and there. However, those ideas, for the most part, go unexplored. Most seasoned anime veterans will watch this and think that it's old hat, but it still holds a special place in my heart ...
And come on, that's a freaking cool theme song.
It's probably not something you'd want to spend more than fifteen dollars on, so try seeking out a cheap used copy.