Posted by psgels on 22 October 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews

The thing with Bones is that their works are either excellent or complete flops. The Mars Daybreak is a flop; probably the biggest flop they’ve produced. Still, at least it’s a fun flop… sometimes.

In any case, it takes an entire washing-list to fully summarize all that’s wrong with this series, so here we go:
– It’s got a bad main character-syndrome (without any prior experience whatsoever, the guy only needs ten seconds to fully master the complex machinery of his personal super-mecha, for goodness’ sake!)
– There’s hardly any character-background whatsoever (we never know how the crew of the Aurora joined the ship in the first place)
– The background that’s there doesn’t make any sense (if Gram, said lead-character, grew up in the slums, then where did he learn to cook so well?)
– Junior will make people punch their screen out of annoyance.
– Vess will make people toss their screen out of the window and burn the remains out of annoyance.
– It fails to flesh out the setting well enough (why are people living underwater if they can also do that above? Where do these people get their food? How come it never rains?)
– It fails at properly introducing its characters (one particular crewmembers of the ship that most of the series takes place on take twelve episodes to get mentioned)
– It’s got a “screw the plans I’m impulsive/horny/whatever”-mindset.
– There’s an incredible amount of plot-holes through the entire series.
– Trivial plot-points are never explained (how did Gram get his necklace? Where did his super-mecha come from? Especially that last one is just jarring. It’s just… there.)
– Characters behave inconsistently (I’m looking at you, Kubernes; we also never learn exactly why Yagami got his nickname. He’s freaking useless throughout the largest part of the series)
– The overall storyline is shallow at best, and the end reward is uninspired.
– There’s a pointless love triangle in which Gram managed to conquer the two daughters of the most influential men you can imagine.
– The show thinks it’s good at drama while in fact the drama sucks with the power of one thousand vacuum cleaners.
– The setting has so much potential and yet the series never uses it.

So, with all these flaws, is there really anything left on this series that’s good? Well somehow through some kind of magic, the light-hearted chemistry between the characters ended up pretty nicely. It’s not always the case, but if the stars are aligned in a particular way, the scriptwriters feel inspired and they’ve gotten their coffee, then this show might actually be able to deliver an enjoyable and fun episode to watch. Especially the cat and the dolphin are great side-characters. In fact, this series would have been much more enjoyable if the focus fell on the side-characters a bit more, but instead someone on the production-team found it a good idea to turn this series into “The Adventures of the Almighty Gram (and his Crew)”. Gram’s just too perfect, for goodness’ sake.

Through all the flaws, the biggest one is that this series doesn’t know what it’s good at. At heart, this is a fun-filled adventure to search for treasure on a fantasy-version of Mars. Unfortunately, it too often lapses into pointless drama, gets way too serious or puts too much attention on Gram, rather than letting the entire crew get involved into some exciting chase-sequence or something. The episode where the crew meets Enora is a good example: it was light-hearted, fun and creative. If only the rest of the episodes was like that… In the end, this series biggest strength now is that it doesn’t ask anything from the viewer. You can just watch it and turn your brain off, without being forced to sit through anything difficult. That’s nice and all, but you can achieve the same effect by watching paint dry.

Storytelling: 5/10
Characters: 5/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 6/10

3 Responses

  1. Avatar Chris says:

    Wasn’t this a kiddy cartoon which would explain the shallowness of the story? I could be wrong since it’s been years since I saw this and I can’t remember clearly the circumstances of this show’s broadcast. Anyhoo, I still loved the Gramm and Vess scenes. ^_^

  2. Avatar dm says:

    Throughout, I found myself thinking, “This is incredibly stupid”, yet, I kept watching, when a new disk arrived (from Netflix) it would go into the player immediately, and, instead of watching only one or two episodes a night as usual, I’d watch the entire disk through.

    I don’t really know how that happened.

    Drying paint may have esters, but it doesn’t have Esther, so that’s one point in Mars Daybreak’s favor. Also, Enora’s voice actress (Akino Murata, who also played Sochie in Turn A Gundam) needs to get more roles.

  3. Avatar Zee says:

    A few of those are explained tho, not in detail but mentioned in passing.

    The necklace almost certanly came from his parents, he had it on when he was found as a baby (explained in the mars natives ep).

    Grams various skills in cooking, fighting, handling machinery is mentioned at several point to come from the wide range of jobs he has been doing trying to make a living.

    Yagamis “Shinigami” nickmane is a thing from a battle in his past.

    Kabernes, well he’s just Kabernes :p

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