Urda: The Third Reich (ウルダ, Uruda?) is an original net animation written and directed by Romanov Higa. The story takes place circa 1943, during World War II. Facing a losing war, the Nazi Party discovers a marooned spaceship capable of time … see full wiki
In 1943 it becomes obvious to the Third Reich that they're indeed going to lose the war. An officer in their ranks named Glimhild Kurtz is determined to prevent the inevitable outcome by focusing on a secret project called URDA. A special operative for the Allies named Elena is sent to thwart Kurtz's plan. Her mission was to bring in one of their officers, but she instead ends up saving a girl named Chris who reveals she's actually from the future, 2112 to be exact. What's the connection between this girl and URDA? -summary
During the last 4-5 years or so, my interest in these anime shorts by independent anime producers have grown. Now of course, Shinkai Makoto has a whole lot, in fact, everything to do with that. You would sometimes see the most intricate stories packing far more depth in a few minutes, than these 13+ episode series having more time to work with and tell you almost nothing. Which brings me to this old one from back in 2002 put together by Romanov Hige, Urda: The Third Reich.
Urda is by no means a masterpiece nor is it unwatchable either. Hige put some effort into this, and despite it clocking in at about 25 minutes, it tells a decent enough story with plenty of action to go with it. The plot follows Elena and Chris as they try to fight off Kurtz, and prevent her from gaining the technology Chris brought to their time. Kurtz plans to use the ability of time travel to prevent the outcome of the war. Along the way, there are various shoot outs and fisticuffs to keep the action fan entertained. The main characters Elena and Chris are developed pretty well for the most part, and parts of Elena's past is delved into. For the most part, Hige attempts to make sense of what's going on and this is some of what helps keep the title above water.
The creativity is there, in an attempt to provide some very stylish action scenes, and some of them really do look cool with rocket launchers taking out vehicles and dogfights. Unfortunately, the animation and artwork feels very weird, as the characters move with a mechanical like stiffness, and it just really doesn't do the CG any justice at all. The character designs, especially in regards to the faces are tough to look at. The characters possess almost no features, as their faces are lacking the necessary lines to keep them from looking so pale and bland. The lighting doesn't help here either, which is a shame too, because the anime does utilize some good camera work. I'm also not very thrilled by the voice acting; Mami Maynard as Janet Hunter grated on my nerves with such an annoying high pitched voice, that I literally cringed whenever she spoke.
The story and plot is decent enough, and things are wrapped up rather well, but I feel that the WWII setting was completely under-developed. This story could have taken place during any other war, and there was just nothing in the story to justify it taking place in this particular era. The story kind of feels like wasted potential.
Urda: The Third Reich isn't a horrible title to me. At the same time though, I also wouldn't consider it essential viewing either. There would be no harm in skipping it altogether because there's far better action oriented anime out there. If anything, a rental will be perfect if your curiosity is running that deep.
Pros: -Mild character development
Cons: -Under-developed story, issues with animation and artwork