Posted by psgels on 17 August 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



Sunrise and mechas go together like cheesecake and… well, cheese. They’ve been producing their mecha-epics for decades now, ranging from the immensely popular Gundam and Code Geass to the lesser known Overman King Gainer and Zegapain. Still; call me crazy, but out of all their mecha-epics I’ve seen so far (barring Escaflowne, if that one also falls under the genre), my favourite is this rather obscure game adaptation of the Zone of the Enders.

I’m surprised as well to see how well this series turned out. It’s in no way the most sophisticated series out there, but it really does a lot of things right where a lot of the other Sunrise shows have fallen horribly. It’s some good old-fashioned entertainment that hardly ever has a weak or dull moment, never drags and provides plenty of interesting situations, action and characters.

What stands out the most is the cast of characters. Anyone who has been bothered by the immense amount of shows that star whiny teenagers will rejoice: FOR ONCE we have a series in which the lead characters isn’t in his teens, twenties or even thirties! James Links is 49 years old, and even his kids are fully grown adults with their own careers now. I believe that the amount of series that can boast the same can be counted on one hand.

The creators really make use of this opportunity to develop the lead cast into a varied and lovable cast of characters. The story here is about a bunch of characters who are involved into the main plot because they were dragged into it, but because they all had different jobs at the start of the series, they all stand out in their unique talents and the series really makes use of every characters’ specializations and experiences. The lead cast, because they’re all adults, also have rich and inspired backgrounds and this makes it very easy to relate to them in the decisions they make throughout the series.

This series also has a lot to offer in terms of science fiction. This show takes place in a setting in which Mars has been colonized, and the creators don’t forget to spend enough time to flesh this setting out a bit, like explaining how the politics work between the Earth and Mars, how people grow food, what’s up with the atmosphere, the smaller gravity and how people travel between the two worlds. It’s not ridiculously complex, but it is believable and really gives this series a great backdrop to work with. And really, this was the first series I’ve seen that took care to address the matter of deceleration when it comes to high-speed outer-space travel. That definitely was a nice touch.

And the soundtrack! While the OP is a bit… weird (DANGAAAA! Give me more DANGAAAAAA!), the rest of the soundtrack is truly excellent. It was composed by Hikaru Nanase, who most people will probably recognize as the woman who made the soundtracks behind Noein and Requiem of the Phantom, and she again works her magic in this series, with especially one of the best EDs I’ve listened to in a long while. The animation is nothing special, but it does enough to bring the characters alive and not get in the way of anything.

There are a few small flaws here and there, but nothing that really should get annoying. The creators did a wonderful job of keeping the cheese under control, but there are a number of minor scenes in which the cheese becomes a bit too aggravating. A few of the characters are a bit too stereotypical and lack depth, but these cases are mostly about minor characters and scenes. The main storyline is a strong and entertaining one, and even the final battle is a very engaging one, rather than your typical dull Sunrise ending. Zone of the Enders is yet another example of why game adaptations don’t suck.

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

5 Responses

  1. Camario says:

    I’ve never heard of this one, but you’re certainly doing a good job at seeling it. I’l check this one out.

  2. Elvenwarrior says:

    Oh man, I really enjoyed this show when I watched it a while back.

    The characters were just so much fun and the mecha action and drama was good so I also enjoyed the action.

    I really liked all of the characters especially the main family and Rebecca and the main character in the trucker father is still one of the most memorable characters out there given his age and the unique type of story they can tell with him due to it and still make him a cool lively action character.

    The scenes where he’s got the parenting book that reads like one of those old Goofy instruction manual cartoons (like the ones for driving used by a lot of driving schools, or the ones that aired during cartoons for all sorts of activities or multimedia system setups) were classic and utterly hilarious.

  3. what's this says:

    Excellent series. Made me cry. *sob*

  4. tazman0208 says:

    Haha I can see what you mean about the cheese. In episode 23 the cheese gets a little out of control, heck if pople knew all it took was a badass speech to stop a war they would be teaching military commanders how to give’em at the academy.

  5. weez says:

    I almost quit after ep 4, but the prequel to 5 showing that tool of a son finally getting his head caved in kept me watching. Basically was that way the whole series rooting for the badguys to kill off a family of borderline retards. Also, cop cars and sewers in an orbital space station really? I mean seriously this isn’t TMNT in NY it’s a freaking space station…Most of the robot fights involve the bot expositioning exactly whats going on and the moron in the driver’s seat parroting the computer like he’s playing jeopardy or something and the viewer wondering if that guy is def/blind as well as retarded.

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  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 03:32 PM)
    An anime original that wasn’t an adaptation of some manga, LN or VN gave it a certain charm and unpredictability, which is absolutely a welcomed addition. Now I’m not gonna deny its plateura of problems, but it’s hard to sit back and hear people call Casablanca shit because it doesn’t have the flair and optimism of Age of Ultron.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 03:29 PM)
    Misanthropy in anime is old, cliched and boring. But that wasn’t the case when Eva did it. Plus it features characters like Misato and Kaji that are very hopeful for the future, going as far as planning to filter the ocean and regrow vegetation for society. There is definitely a bigger focus on misery, but as explained that was a mirror to Anno’s deteriorating mental health, which in itself added an angle of intrigue to the show.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 03:22 PM)
    Now does it look old? Does it seem overdone and unoriginal? Absolutely. But that’s no th fault of the series for not accounting for viewers who are watching it 20 years later, after getting exposed first to all the stuff that have heavily borrowed from it.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 03:19 PM)
    It also perfectly explained what the instrumentality looked like for people that were in the process of assimilation, so it was a fitting end; albeit admittedly a weird one. Episodes 25 and 26 just chose to show the stream of consciousness of how the process was perceived by someone inside the sea of LCL. It made sense if you cared to pay attention along the way, so to call it completely nonsensical is unfair and entirely reliant on personal misinterpretation.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 03:14 PM)
    Also End of Evangelion is a masterstroke of the animated medium. That’s not just my opinion as a fan, but an opinion that’s been echoed in the circle of critics, many of whom don’t even care about anime. Even the classical conservative critics on IMDB gave it an average of 8.3, that is far from shabby.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 03:05 PM)
    Discounting the influence of a show is an arbitrary parameter that you’ve just come up with to undermine the series- nobody agrees with such restriction. And again, the genre deconstruction, the great cinematography, the slick character design, the music, the unconventional plot and creative ending, are all points that stand on their own regardless of how influential Eva was or wasn’t.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 02:58 PM)
    And no, Archer hated Shirou’s childish ideology, and he heartheadedly stuck to it, knowing we’ll what suffering he has gone people (including the future version of himself) thru. A World where nobody cries is an absurd goal, that is as illogical as it is unattainable.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 02:56 PM)
    @Aidan: nothing exists in a vacuum. The year the show got released is an extremely important factor, and a horrible show would never leave such a mark on the industry.
    Plus I spoke plenty about the reconstructive elements of Eva, that has nothing to do with its influence. Everything from SAO to Fate has copied exact scene compositions from Eva; just Google it.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 02:47 PM)
    Two last things. Shirou in that timeline has very little chance of becoming Archer.
    And the end of the TV series wasn’t Annos fuck you to the audience. End of Evangelion was Annos Fuck you to the audience. Thing is instead of getting pissed off, they cheered.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 02:42 PM)
    Either way Mario said he might do a review of the First Eva tv series. I am curious to see if he will be quite so enthralled with it seeing as it’s his first time watching it and he hasn’t been deluded with years of it’s “influence”

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