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
    (Wednesday, May 6. 2015 09:29 PM)
    @Aidan: yeah I know that’s one of the main complaints, but honestly a modified version of ZOE2 would suffice.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, May 6. 2015 02:12 PM)
    I think the main problem with the mecha game genre was that we never really found a control setup that worked well enough for it.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, May 6. 2015 01:37 PM)
    Although more than once during the episode I instinctively reached for my game controller, which made me think how feasible a new gen ZOE-like Sidonia game would actually be. With the technology that we have at hand the mecha game genre is in need of a revival now.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, May 6. 2015 01:35 PM)
    Sidonia 04 was pretty good. I think this was the most dynamic battle yet, and there were some frame-rate drops here and there because of it. They really captured a good sense of scale and find ways to keep the stakes high every time. The threat of the enemy grows just as they improve their arsenal.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, May 6. 2015 10:17 AM)
    Feck…it looks like fuwanovel stopped hosting visual novel downloads…
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, May 6. 2015 08:40 AM)
    Basically some kind of romcom slice of life thing that isn’t too ecchi/H filled….
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, May 6. 2015 08:32 AM)
    I think I’m starting to feel a bit weird about myself in regards to some of the dark/violent/macabre stuff too separate from that…need to start balancing things out with some lighter series/film related stories…
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, May 6. 2015 08:29 AM)
    Alright…fuck, seriously I’m putting some distance between myself and hentai/fetish anime/manga porn for a while…seriously need to stop with so much of it, keep finding myself getting distracted/bored/losing attention and its taking up too much of my time now and I’m buying too much of it as well…
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, May 6. 2015 06:20 AM)
    Arslan ep05 was pretty disappointing. This episode confirmed my suspicions that this will end up being a pretty mediocre show, which continuously drops in all the known pitfalls of modern Shonen series. The animation quality also dropped, not like it was that stellar to begin with, and the CGI puppets now distract you from every scene that they’re placed in. It feels as if the producers’ hearts is just not in it.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, May 6. 2015 05:21 AM)
    While a new actor taking on the joker is an understandable concern, I’m more bothered by Ben Affleck as Batman, the man is a great storyteller/director, but a crap actor…

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