Relic Armor Legaciam is a one-shot OAV from 1987. As was common for 80’s science-fiction anime, the plot and setting were very detailed and imaginative. Humans live on planet Libertia which uses energy from 3 giant mirror constructs in space. Society is divided into three classes of citizens with the ruling elite using the Guild to keep the situation in check. The Guild is searching fervently for Dr. Grace who is in hiding finishing adjustments on Legaciam, a high-tech armor he found. His granddaughter Alcia is the only candidate small enough to fit into the cockpit properly.
The Guild captures Dr. Grace but Alcia and Legaciam escape and meet up with friends. This small team of five people manage to rescue Dr. Grace and evade the Guild long enough to learn what’s really going on. The Legaciam was discovered by a research team using a special heat-resistant vehicle to tavel to the fringes of their civilization. There lies a mysterious tower built long ago that is surrounded by dangerously high temperatures. The tower is emitting a loud sound that is steadily increasing and may spell disaster. Alcia and her allies steal a similar heat-resistant vehicle and head once again towards the tower to solve the mystery and possibly save their world from a catastrophe.
Legaciam shows its sophistication not just in its setting but also in its plot. There are no cookie-cutter, stereotypical bad guys in this film. Felmis Reek, council member and controller of the Guild, is the one trying to thwart the heroes’ efforts but she isn’t the villain you’d think. She argues with the council to send another research group out to the tower to investigate. She actually constructed and outfitted the special vehicle that Alcia’s team stole towards the end. If the story had been allowed to develop I think we would have seen more time given to Felmis Reek – perhaps even making her into a supporter of Alcia’s team.
Judging from the incomplete story and the words “See you again!” in the ending credits it seems this was planned to be an OAV series but funding never worked out. Even as a stand-alone OAV Relic Armor Legaciam is a great science-fiction story. Great mecha action, a mysterious and creative far-future setting, interesting characters – it really deserved at least one sequel episode.
If you can find a subtitled version to rent or download I really recommend it. It’s just one more piece of proof that the 1980’s was the heyday of Japanese science-fiction anime. I wish the current animation studios in Japan would take notice of the work of their predecessors.