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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  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 05:18 AM)
    Oh, awesome, dark horse is releasing volume 10 of black lagoon in April, its been nearly five years since the last complete volume…
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 03:56 AM)
    @Aidan: I think theres something seriously wrong when theres the actually possibility of there being a good PA works anime but we all have our opinions =P
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 03:13 AM)
    @Raggers, I will go into detail when I review it. But I think something is seriously wrong when I get a far more satisfying ending out of shirobako than Death parade.
    Looking forward to writing a review of shirobako too.
  • Raggers
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 02:56 AM)
    @Aidan: it wasn’t bad though. I think it suffered from too high expectations and lack of focus (or overreaching).
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 02:29 AM)
    Well. Death parades ending was quite underwhelming.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Mar 28. 2015 11:21 PM)
    Waiting between releases for this will be a good thing, its the sort of manga you pick up and put down, then go back to with breaks in between.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Mar 28. 2015 11:13 PM)
    13 volumes into dorohedero, I’ve found it good enough to buy now that I’ve caught up with the official English releases. While the plot meaders and is kind of messy, isn’t up to much, I love how crazy the gory action is, the gritty artstyle/world and the black comedy more than well make up for it. It works best when focused on those masked gangster magician guys and also the main character, the others are only alright.
  • Raggers
    (Saturday, Mar 28. 2015 02:19 AM)
    @Aidan: true, but I don’t think the level is anywhere close to a true shounen. And once the basic rules are established it’s strategising and straight out fighting.
    I’d be more inclined to call it seinen with shounen elements than actually shounen.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 09:59 PM)
    Good all action finale to cap off Garo there, went out with a bang, though thing is I have no idea where their going to go with this when the movie, second season comes along, this seems like a pretty good point to finish.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:35 PM)
    I think that just about all the manga serialized in ultra jump feel less seinen than those serialized in other seinen magazines.

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