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Anime / Explorer Woman Ray

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A fairly obscure two-part 1989 OVA series from electronics giant Toshiba (of all companies), based on a manga of the previous year by Takeshi Okazaki. Was licensed by Central Park Media for an American VHS release on the US manga corps label, but has not been released on DVD (or at all in the UK).

Archaeologist Rayna "Ray" Kazuki is in South America studying a mysterious civilization known as the Ords, who are commonly believed in-universe to worship the Sun but in fact were able to harness the power of light, a secret known to Ray and her grandfather, who left an artifact in her safekeeping which is key to unlocking this mysterious power, which bad guy (and Ray's grandfather's former assistant) Rieg Vader will do anything to possess. Into the mix come twin teenage girls Mai and Mami, who have stolen the artifact and travel from Japan to meet up with Ray in hopes that she'll help them in search of lost treasure they think exists.

The work contains examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Rieg acts this way towards Ray in the first episode, though this may be a form of intimidation. Though in contrast, it is revealed in the second episode she used to have a crush on him as a young girl.
  • Action Girl: Ray, who's also a black belt in karate and quite capable of kicking ass.
    • Mai and Mami also have their moments, such as escaping the bad guys by stealing the handle from the train's engine, jumping from the train and onto the bad guys' truck(!) in the opening of episode 1, and proving themselves pretty capable in a fight with the mooks in Episode 2.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Ray, and on the bad side Rieg Vader.
  • Big Bad: Rieg Vader, who want to harness the power of the Ords for his own ends, claiming it will benefit humanity. Never mind that it's inherently destructive and uncontrollable.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Mai and Mami.
  • Bratty Halfpint: Mai and Mami.
  • Expy: The work was apparently made as a cash-in on the Indiana Jones franchise and some reviewers see parallels with several characters: Ray as the Distaff Counterpart of Indy, Mai and Mami of Short Round from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Rieg Vader being similar to Belloch from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • Kid Sidekick: Mai and Mami to Ray, albeit reluctantly on the latter's part.
  • Mayincatec: The Ords, who are suggested as being forerunners of some of the real civilizations that inspired this trope.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Practically a plot point in episode 2, given Rieg's disregard for the safety of his men, getting several killed.
  • Plot Device: The Ord mirror which is key to unlocking the power inside their temples.
    • In the second episode, a crystal necklace Rieg gave as a present to Ray when she was a girl is used by her to sabotage his efforts to harness the Ord power of light, by refracting the beams so that it destroys the complex.
  • Plucky Girl: Mai and Mami, again. Despite being young they manage to travel all the way to South America and don't let being shot at by the bad guys whilst they're on the train deter them. In the second episode, they go looking for Ray despite having few leads.
  • Spanner in the Works: Ray uses her crystal pendant (by means of its refractive properties) as one of these on the second Ord temple in episode 2, in order to prevent Rieg from successfully controlling it.
  • Would Hit a Girl: In episode 2, Rieg's hired hands are not averse to beating up the ladies when they try to stop them dong their job. Rieg himself ends up pulling a sword on Ray near the end.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: The chief of the workers hired by Ray is this and chides his men for being violent towards women.
  • Tomboy: Mai and Mami seem pretty boyish-looking for teenage girls, if their mannerisms aren't always.