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

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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  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Aug 21. 2014 02:43 PM)
    @Bam, did you honestly compare anime production to slavery? Slavery was an ethical issue. Shitty entertament is not an ethical issue. As Raggers said, you can whine and bitch all you want but unless you plan to brainwash the entire consumer base ain’t nothing gonna change.
  • Raggers
    (Thursday, Aug 21. 2014 02:14 PM)
    The main problem here isn’t the producers but the consumers of anime. The money is with the fanservice and shitty shounen, and anime is expensive to produce. Far better that we get a few great shows each season, paid for by the rubbish ones, than we get middling mediocrity everywhere.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Aug 21. 2014 01:56 PM)
    You can justify your call to indifference, after all it’s much easier than doing anything.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Aug 21. 2014 01:56 PM)
    That’s fine, let them have their pandering shows and whatnot, just don’t squander the ones that have potential. I’m sure there are a lot of people that told the blacks that “whining is futile” and just accept slavery as a way of life. And they were right untill someone did something about it. Animation as a medium was deemed as for kids only, again till a few did something about it.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Aug 21. 2014 01:52 PM)
    As for why they aim for teenagers most of the time it’s because it’s the time where it will hit the most demographics. Aim for kids and you knock out the adults. Aim for adult and you knock out the kids. Aim for teenagers and you get both as Kids look forward to being teens and Adults generally have a nostalgia for the golden days(So to speak)
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Aug 21. 2014 01:47 PM)
    The greats are great because they are rare. Whining about a lack of quailty is a futility. Because these things arn’t made using creativity, they are made using money to get money.
    Besides, Pandering entertainment can still be entertaining in its own way
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Aug 21. 2014 01:43 PM)
    @Bam, somehow I think you don’t get it. We arn’t almost near anything.
    Being a fan is always a matter of wading through the garbage to find gold. A film fan must put up with the michel bays, amercain pies and that one romantic comedy movie that they keep remaking to get the kubriks. Music fans need to put up with those songs that sound like 50 other songs to get the greats. Video game fans, the sequels and knock offs to get the Okami’s. It’s the same.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Aug 21. 2014 01:14 PM)
    It is indeed human to rebel against what we cannot accept, but in this case specially, because it feels that we are almost there but somehow we keep getting further. We get the talents together and then they bomb. Most unfortunate.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Aug 21. 2014 01:11 PM)
    My advice is, stop being in denial. It’s all well and good that you believe that if the public demands intelual shows, they will get them. Thing is if they did we would not be getting a third season fo dog days. Face it man, we are lucky to get even a Mushishi.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Aug 21. 2014 01:10 PM)
    Yeah but psgels’ taste is closer to ours so we should be able to hub here and share our love as well as disdain of shows freely here.

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