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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  • SuperMario
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 04:09 PM)
    @Bam: just watched it and yes, I dig it. Quite a lot. Can’t wait to see his new film “Aquarius” (which from what I heard was cutting back from 6 hours raw material)
  • SuperMario
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 12:46 PM)
    @Bam: yeah, that sounds good. I will watch it and tell you how I think (hope my taste is not that weird ^^)
  • SuperMario
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 12:45 PM)
    @Bam: for some weird reasons I prefer Inherent Vice as it as, if the film was better or the plot was tigher I would think Anderson as a more calculated director. This version of Injerent Vice is wild and more crazy that actually make me think more fondly of him.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 12:27 PM)
    @SuperMario: Neighbouring Sounds was great. Judging from what I gathered of your taste, my money’s on you digging it as well.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 12:23 PM)
    @SuperMario: as I said I really liked the tone and the atmosphere and the atmosphere in Inherent Vice, but the overarcing plot is thin and True Dtectige season 2’s level of self-importance. A lot of scenes serve as mere venues for the great actors just cheering the secondary. A.tighter script and a little less directorial indulgence would’ve made it a lot better. Punch-Drunk Love is one such great example.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 12:16 PM)
    @Kaiser: the Master is brilliant, and I liked Boogie Nights, but others have much more love for it than me.
  • SuperMario
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 11:59 AM)
    Btw, in preparation for Cannes, I plan to watch Kleber Mendonça Filho’s previous work Neighbouring Sound. Have any of you watched the movie yet?
  • SuperMario
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 11:31 AM)
    I think P.T Anderson is one of the rare director who doesn’t go wrong with his works. There will be blood and the master as his masterpiece but I do really enjoy the tone of Inherent Vice and Punch drunk love actually keepps getting better for me
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 11:19 AM)
    There was a found footage horror film with a hunter s Thompson inspired character, had a lovecraftian element to, Banshee chapter, utter hokum/nonsense but in an interesting vein.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 11:14 AM)
    Paul Thomas Anderson must be one heck of an director of actors though, given he actually managed to make good use of Adam Sandler…

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