Posted by psgels on 23 October 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews



Houlgrave recommended this series to me, which really intrigued me. A few years ago, I watched its first episode, and at that time it seemed like nothing more than standard “boy meets mecha”-fare. After watching the entire series, though, I’m glad to see that this series is much more than that, and definitely a product of Good Gonzo.

The series starts out as something that Mars Daybreak should have been: a fun adventure series, in this case following a delivery-boy who doesn’t mind dangerous jobs that involve a few mecha-fights here and there. The interesting part about the mechas in this series is that you can’t ride them, and instead you have to control them from outside. The cast of characters is varied and interesting: there basically are more children who found themselves such a mecha, and the series explores them as each of them is trying to act out his/her own sense of judgement.

A huge theme in this series is taking responsibility, and it goes further than you might expect at first sight. This series doesn’t merely preach “thou shalt take responsibility for thy actions”, it also critically asks when and why one should do that, and whether it wouldn’t be better to just go into your own way. This is where the diversity in characters comes in again, because of so many different viewpoints at this issue, it’s really able to explore these topics.

The big criticism against this series is of course that the plot doesn’t always flow as smoothly as you’d like. If during a big action-scene you suddenly see two characters pop up from out of nowhere, you’re going to have to assume that they were worried about some other character, and came to check it out, even though this is never directly said. This can also be a good thing, depending on the way you look at it. On one way, it’s indeed a bit lazy, but on the other hand it’s a series that doesn’t assume its viewers to be stupid, and the creators assume that their viewers are able to conclude that two plus two equals four, without having to spoon-feed it to them. Unfortunately, this mindset does not always work: there are a few very rather jarring convenient coincidences, which just serve to push the story into the direction the creators want it to. That’s indeed a bit lazy, but at least the results of these plot-twists make up for it.

Because what especially impressed me in this series was the completely different way that the plot evolves into during its second half. For a while, it really seems like it’s building up for a straightforward climax, but instead the mood of this series completely shifts and instead of focusing the climax of this series on lots of action and drama, the series finale instead aims to give a lot of depth to the series’ setting.

Overall, this is a series with a lot of diversity: not just in the characters, but especially the mood of the series can take on lots of different colours: from calm slice-of-life to a number of solid action- and comedy-episodes, to powerful drama, heart-warming character-development and mystery in the second half of the series. I think that that’s something typical of Good Gonzo, as you see that effect in a lot of their better series. The plot’s a bit jiggy, but because of that sacrifice Gonzo managed to put down a very nice series. Not to mention that this really is the first series I’ve run into that correctly understands the principles of Karate. Take that you generic shounen-series!

Storytelling: 7/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 9/10

4 Responses

  1. Cody says:

    plus the show has niffty music

  2. Houlgrave says:

    Hehe psgels, told ya so! I only recommend series that go above and beyond typical/typical well-executed anime. :P

    Great review!

    Cody: Yes, the music does own. I have the OP on my IPod in the jazz playlist.

  3. Chris says:

    There’s a reason this is one of my top 10 anime, I agree the story isn’t the best but the characters and the slice of life moments are wonderful and the ending is excellent. I really enjoyed the hip youthful art style and the music was awesome jazz.

  4. Jebadiah says:

    At first I thought ‘meh, just another robo-anime’ but then I realised that this is Gonzo’s work and ‘you’ should judge how it will end by the art style (its a stupid thing to say but when it comes to Gonzo stuff its hard to disagree unless you think of Gantz and how the final 6 eps destroyed how it was supposed to happen… curses I wanted to see the kappi alien)… where was I? Yeah, Gad is going on my top 10 list because I like psycological animes.

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  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 11:14 PM)
    Synecdoche is incredibly rich in detail, and keen return viewers can find a lot of things they missed the first time thru. Kaufman didn’t have a single teacup in a shot that didn’t mean something. Pacing is a bit of an issue, but if you notice the passage of time you can see that was deliberate as well. The movie could’ve been livelier, but for a movie about death and decay that would’ve been a bit of a sell-out.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 11:01 PM)
    @Emma: Birdman and Synecdoche have a lot of thematic elements in common, and given that Synecdoche was released in 08 makes me realize that Alejandro González borrowed quite a bit from it; although in the end they are different enough to justify Birdman’s existence. Where Synecdiche was a better written movie, I feel that Birdman was the better directed one.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:15 PM)
    And I’d go as far to say this beats out birdman for me by miles.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:14 PM)
    The film is a solid mood piece thanks to the in tone cinematography, a great performance from Hoffman that along with his characters drama makes for an emotionally investing film. And before it gets TOO sad theres all those bits of dark humour fitted in there that work out pretty well. This is probably my favourite work by Kaufman currently.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:14 PM)
    Well Bam, I had a go of synecdoche there. A bit of a slow burner, near the end slightly drawn out, however that last stretch was forgiven by that bonkers ending.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:23 PM)
    The voice of the main character got kind of annoying though, the dub wasn’t all that good either.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:22 PM)
    This was based on/was a homage to a series by the Gigantor creator and having grown up with gigantors 90s reboot this felt like a nice throwback, plot is fairly simple but used effectively. It’s a shame that it feels like there was more to tell but at seven episodes I suppose it avoids outstaying its welcome.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:20 PM)
    Decided to marathon Giant Robo, I think this was mentioned by someone on here before. I guess it was fairly entertaining, great action direction, looked good for its time, you don’t notice the hour long episodes go by, adequate characters, nice retro artstyle also, not sure if I got excited over this as big O and Mazinger however but still fun enough nonetheless.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:10 AM)
    Seeing Hoffman in before the devil knows your dead and his character being dependent on drugs, that was another thing that hit me a bit knowing the circumstances of his death. Watching most wanted man I could also see that he was wearing out physically.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:00 AM)
    This is not Anno bitching about otakus jacking off to his characters and turning around and selling Rei panties, this isn’t the idiots at Shaft throwing around meaningless camera angles and the oh-so-symbolic teeth brushing scenes, this is a human being looking you in the eye with fear and telling you that he’s dying; morbid, honest, moving and remarkable.

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