Posted 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

4 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.

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  • Nyangoro
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 03:12 AM)
    Before the internet, critics filled the role of reviewer for both the medium and for the layman. Now, the layman are given equal opportunity to play the role of “critic” to those of their own sensibilities. In a sense, because the layman may not be so interested in the depth of more critical analysis, the traditional critic is rendered merely another voice among a myriad of other, less-knowledgeable voices.
  • Nyangoro
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 03:10 AM)
    I rather like the idea that there’s a way to distinguish a critic from the average person with an opinion. Usually, to me, it seems to come from the person’s wealth of knowledge about the subject, leading them to better understand a piece on multiple levels. That being said, for the layman audience, a layman interpretation may be all they need.
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 03:05 AM)
    Course, reviewer is synonymous to critic nowadays, but that’s what I understand as separating a critic from the layman.
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 03:04 AM)
    I’ve been told that you can’t just be a critic by having seen a lot of the medium. You have to dig into its history and understand the work’s place in the whole of the medium. Because then you’re getting as comprehensive a view of the work itself as you could reasonably get.
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 03:03 AM)
    To distinguish a critic from the average person now who can just pawn info from the Internet, it’s someone whose views are consistent because they’re grounded in a certain foundation of knowledge and understanding. Now, those foundations can certainly change over time, so maybe consistent is the wrong word. But to put it simply, they can put reason to views rather than just echoing others. Of course, there are plenty with flimsy reasoning, but yeah.
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 03:01 AM)
    They’re exposed to information, but for a good part, the general audience might not understand what information to be looking for. They’ll certainly pick up patterns and they’ll expect to see that in quality works. But that’s also where you get that discrepancy with evaluations. Since if a set pattern could automatically pump out a high-quality work, we’d have machines do all of that.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 02:57 AM)
    Good answer =)
  • Nyangoro
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 02:50 AM)
    I think that the internet has, to an extent, weakened the influence of critics. Now, everyone with enough spare time can be a critic. In this deluge of people with their own opinions, it’s hard to figure out who’s opinion is, for lack of a better word, better. Rather than look at any one critic, they may look at a conglomeration of critics. Even still, with the wealth of info about any given thing, they may just decide to see it for themselves.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 02:47 AM)
    I guess I’m curious as to how effected people are by the professionals reviews when they decide to see a film.
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 02:45 AM)
    well, critics are part of the audience too. they’re just more “knowledgeable” about the field.

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