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!