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Strange Dawn

Characters correctly scaled. Yes, the high school girls are giants in this world.

Strange Dawn is a 13 episode TV series from 2000, of which only 7 episodes appear to have been translated.  Naturally, the borrowed DVDs cut out just as the story is getting interesting.  

The trope of the high school student(s) summoned to another world to be saviours is a well trodden path [1] that Strange Dawn takes to some new, and often disturbing, places. 

For a start the girls Yuko and Emi do not embrace the world they find themselves in, or become instant friends. They are more of an odd couple: staying together out of necessity rather than choice.

Yuko is brash, Emi is shy, and both are struggling to deal with the world, each other, and their apparent status as “Great Protectors” in the middle of a war.

The summoning of the “Great Protectors” was justified by a nasty civil war that was either in progress or looming at the time.  This means that there are a host of factions trying to manipulate or use the more than slightly confused Emi and the aggressively disinterested Yuko.

This aspect was more than a little off putting in truth: very few of the little people [2] are all that nice.  Some are downright evil.  In episode 7 being openly told that they would be deceived until it became true [3] was possibly the closest to honesty that Emi and Yuko had seen for a while.

Strange Dawn also addresses other aspects of the Trapped in Another World trope that are usually overlooked such as being unsure of the food, lack of toilets, and not having spare clothes.  Doing the laundry was a significant part of one episode.

Another unusual aspect is that as of episode 7 the plot coupon needed to return home appears to have been shredded.

Strange Dawn has the potential to be a strong series, depending on how it ended. It had some novel elements and was moving in an interesting direction.

However I was watching it not knowing that it was a 13 episode series and so the sudden stop is incredibly frustrating and I won’t be in a hurry to ever watch this again.

[1] Off the top of my head: Fushigi Yugi, Magic Knight Rayearth, Leda: The Fantastic Adventure of Yohko, The Vision of Escaflowne, and Twelve Kingdoms. And those are just the ones that I own.

[2] And I mean that literally. See image.

[3] The Big Lie in other words.