Posted by psgels on 23 May 2014 with categories: Captain Earth

Captain Earth had a really good first episode, so I was psyched to coninue with it, purely based on storytelling reasons: it knew how to deliver its plot in an interesting way by throwing in many flash-forwards, flashbacks, hints and whatnot. Now that I’ve seen about four and a half episodes of the series I’ve got a bit of a better image of what the actual storyline is about, and I’m dropping it. There are many reasons for this, and I did feel compelled to write about them.

First of all, the self-referencing? The hints? Well, they’re gone. Like, completely. Episode four was very straightforward and didn’t really leave anything to your imagination: the aliens want their kin back, purple-haired kid is part of their kin, and the main kid has this really powerful robot that can kick their asses. Where the presentation was so interesting in episode 1, I felt myself getting really bored here.

What was the straw though, was the underlying story which became clear to me about halway through episode four. When you ignore the mood, then Captain Earth is really a cross between Eureka Seven Ao and Star Driver, and its underlying themes are a combination between the two: on one hand we have the focus on childish innocence: children should be protected, and on the other we have the themes of adolescence and sexuality in the way it talks about libido and all.

When I started to think about them, they just didn’t mesh. One one hand this series wants to be like Eureka Seven Ao, in its themes that no children should be forced in adult situations, and when you do you had better take responsibility. The thing here though, that the themes of parenthood are much better explored because of how good the characters of Ao’s parents are. What do we know about the main guy’s parents at this point? Heck, has the existance of mothers actually been alluded yet? If it did then I totally forgotten about it, which is a bad sign for both my memory and the series itself.

Also adding to the themes are the villains here, who feed off the libido of humans. Okay, so this could mean that this show is a social commentary on how children are way too often sexualized and the main characters are trying to fight that idea. I actually really like that because they do have a very big point… only the show completely screws that up with the lame bellybutton joke and sexualizes their children anyway.

So with that my only conclusion is that the villains represent adolescence: the characters are young and they are about to change majorly and experience sexuality and stuff. So yeah, it’s a coming of age series. It’s a theme that’s been done many times before, and by series that had much more interesting first four episodes. Take Utena for example, Enokido there actually wrote a setting that’s interesting, imaginative and full of symbolism that wasn’t overdone. I know that we’re fifteen years later, but even by those standards Utena’s opening episodes stand out as unique while Captain Earth combines many things that have been done to death now.

I’m a fan of the mecha genre because it offers intelligent series, if doesn’t matter how old the characters are:
– Bokura no is a fascinating story about putting huge weapons in the hands of children.
– Patlabor is a hilarious and personal look at the police in a day in which mechas are standardly used.
– Fafner in the Azure actually asks the question of who you should fight for
– RahXephon explores coming of age with actual human characters who talk at least a bit normally.
– When you really want an over the top series, go for Giant Robo, the New Mazinger or Star Driver which are made to be flashy and over the top and enjoyable to watch.
– The good Gundam and Votoms series are good for a realistic look at war (War in the Pocket, Turn A, the Votoms TV-series)

You can do a lot with the genre, and you chose the most boring one. That’s a problem I have with a lot of anime nowadays. You can do better than this, I know that of everyone involved in this project.

41 Responses

  1. Ed says:

    Take a look at Knights of Sidonia, if you wish.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Second Sidonia.

  3. O.Nunes says:

    Eagerly waiting for yous Summer Preview psgels! :D

  4. AidanAK47 says:

    Third Sidonia.

  5. CRT says:

    Fourth Sidonia :)

  6. VyseLegendaire says:

    I dropped that show after 3 eps. Can’t believe you stuck it out this long, lol l9

  7. Gordon says:

    Fifth Sidonia!!! :D

  8. Emma says:

    I’ll also put my name down for suggesting sidonia , however would be aware that the CG, the slice of life parts, characters are a bit weak and can’t really carry it. That said there is more than enough in the action scenes, background events to keep you invested and make the shortcomings more worth getting through.

  9. Tom says:

    Sigh. You like many people are confused by the word ‘Libido’. The Japanese word ‘Seiyoku’ in this context directly translates to ‘Libido’ but it means ‘Spirit’ ie life force, not the sexual libido English tends towards.

    The shows main theme is about strength of will and spirit (Seiyoku) and growing up and nurturing that strength.

    • Argentus says:

      Aren’t you mixing up 性欲(seiyoku = libido) 精力(seiryoku = energy, vitality, life spirit) by any chance?

      Going by the individual kanji: and 情(gender, inner essence, basis) 欲 (desire, wish) and 精(spirit) 力(strength), I thought that might be the case.

  10. Litho says:

    I dropped Captain Earth the minute I saw that pink haired chick doing some stupid bunny-hop while piloting her mecha.

    As for all those recs for Sidonia, I think you should just skip the anime and start reading the manga. It’s bleaker, the humor works better, and it’s prettier without the CG. Only thing you lose is the excellent sound/BGM from the anime.

    • Bam says:

      Or maybe skip that and go to Nishi’s superior materials such as Blame! Or better drawn such as Biomega. As a matter of fact we should pick one best anime and then drop all other works and just close this blog. Very flawed logic.

      I read Sidonia (yes that is how it is spelled in English) but still find this adaptation quite bold, daring and amusing. Different mediums create different experiences and as to which is better I quote a certain Great someone who once said:”That’s just like … your opinion man”.

  11. nodbgp says:

    I dropped this one after the first episode, there’s nothing that bores me more in anime these days than the whole “a small, naive kid will save the world” plot.

  12. m says:

    I think I disagree completely about the theme of this work. I would say that it actually has nothing at all to do with protecting children–least of all from adult situations. I would claim instead that it is actually about change, represented here by the youth, triumphing over stasis, which is represented by the immortal Kiltgang, by avoiding the mistakes of their mostly-useless elders. It is, I think, ultimately what lived behind Star Driver, only I think that it is done much worse in this work, because this work seemingly jettisons any focus on maturing at all, leaving it as little more than pandering to the conceit of youth. I suspect that there is actually some additional idea here meant to justify all of the reference to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” since it is as ham-fisted into the work as it could be without preamble before every episode indicating that the author has read Shakespeare.

    In Star Driver, the preceding generation’s desire to retain control of the world, and ultimately freeze it around its identity, required Samekh to devour the “libido” (essentially used to refer to the life force in general) of the entire world, and here the Kiltgang, who exist as digital lifeforms, need to devour the “libido” of Earth to power themselves and their spaceship. The chosen one (where before marks were passed by family members unto their preferred descendants, an exterior force simply decides who will save humanity) arrives who, through the power of friendship, will prevent the consumption of the world’s libido, preserving the cycle of life and death, and vindicating the virtue of change. Presumably, all of the Kiltgang will eventually be converted into humans by the same external power that selected the chosen one, as they experience the realization of the failings of immortality, and the leader of the faction that wishes to control the future of humanity will be made into a big boob for the ending.

    I think the series is pretty terrible, but I think it’s terrible, because it’s Star Driver as a more typical mecha formula, without any of the symbolic meta-wanking, and takes itself much too seriously for how very not clever it is, which is the downfall of the genre as a whole.

    I would also say that it looked pretty bad from the first episode. There were hooks, yes, and there were call-backs to Star Driver, but there was also a lot of time wasted on robot transformation, and plot elements that could have been called Gundam Anything.

    • happio says:

      ^similarly thought captain earth looked mediocre episode 1… it just isn’t as smart as it wants to be and tbh, became painful to watch after a while. I think i lasted until episode 2-3. and then yeah.

  13. m says:

    I’d warn that eventually about half of Cydonia devolves into harem material, though I couldn’t deal with the rigging of the anime to even hazard a guess as to how far it will get before ending.

  14. Ellixus says:

    This was expected.

    One thing was clear from the start: this series was going to be boring; no need for in-depth analysis…

    On the other hand, series like Knights of Sidonia or M3: the dark metal seem to have taken more risks, and who knows, they still may fail, but at least they are keeping the interest…

    In fact, even a series like Break Blade, which is ugly to see and has a lot of flaws has provided a more interesting background…

  15. BetaCris says:

    Sixth Sidonia.

    Give it 4 eps too, see how you like it.

  16. Eric says:

    Sidonia. No question..

    And good riddance to Captain Earth. In all honesty this show just felt so unnecessary. I dropped it after the first 2 episodes, because it just felt like a worse E7 .

  17. AFGM says:

    He’s already said he would be watching Sidonia and if he is no longer watching it, it would mean that it has lost his interest enough to justify it.

  18. starry says:

    I dropped it three episodes in, so good to know I’m not missing anything.

  19. luffy_holic says:

    I dropped Captain Earth too, it started strong and just got progressively worse. For about the last four years I have been happy getting two great new shows every season. This time there is Ping Pong and Mushish. So I hope you continue with them.

  20. Firechick says:

    If you want to check out anything new, try Happiness Charge Pretty Cure. Sure it may not be as good as Heartcatch, but I’m certainly enjoying it immensely.

  21. Elsi says:

    I can’t remember if you’re watching Hitsugi no Chaika or not… I’m still keeping up with it and it’s not doing too bad.
    This aside, yeah Sidonia is quite interesting. Mostly the world building is nice, in my opinion. The matter of CG graphics is a personal preference. I know that it reminds me of some games graphics and that’s actually something I really like.

    • Tanz says:

      Watching it too. It’s not too bad but I’m getting the harem feels, so I hope it keeps focusing on the plot and chars.

  22. Jay says:

    I gave up on Captain Earth after three eps. It’s a decent series but it ended up boring me.

    If I were you, I wouldn’t pick up Knights of Sidonia. Though, in its favour, it’s a perfectly okay series with worthwhile world-building. At present, its characters are its weak point. I’d pick up Baby Steps or Hitsugi no Chaika instead. Baby Steps is a really solidly written sports anime, though perhaps you would find it suffering in comparison to Ping Pong, and the risk is that there wouldn’t be enough to comment about every ep. Hitsugi no Chaika, on the other hand, is a solid fantasy series with some good fight scenes. It suffers very slightly from LN cliches, but by and large it’s good, and there would be enough scope to write about each ep. Still, there isn’t really an outstanding, obvious anime to blog this season which is on the level of JoJo or Mushishi or Ping Pong.

    • Bam says:

      So he should go with yet another cliche LN adaptation then the series that is trying something new? You must’ve not paid attention to his many rants about getting cynical and tired of repetitive works and his high praises of anything original. And whether you agree or not NoS is trying many new ideas, not the smallest of which is its cell-rotoscoped CGI animation. (Don’t mistakes tropes with cliches, as every single anime is replete with tropes)

      • Jay says:

        I’m only suggesting the options I think would be best out of the current season. I think those two are the best ones that Psgels isn’t blogging. If you think Knights of Sidonia is the better choice, or that it’s an outstanding series like Mushishi or Jojo, you’re totally free to, but personally I don’t think it’s at that sort of level. If Psgels tries it and finds it’s that good, then hey, good for him.

        If there’s nothing worthwhile in the current season, maybe he’d be better off picking something old, or perhaps even a manga? I wouldn’t be surprised if many people have a backlog of series they meant to try but never got around to.

        • Bam says:

          He has already blogged on it the show before and mentioned that he liked it. He might’ve dropped it at this point tho. Just as you say everyone has backlogs of shows, sometimes few episodes of currently running ones, but trying to eventually get to them. Not finishgng series that had potential but are backlogged is so unsatifying and disturbs my thoughts.

  23. Avalon says:

    Yes Sidonia!

  24. Nic says:

    Knights of Sidonia is very interesting but No Game No Life is far ahead in terms of pretty much everything. It’s bolder, funnier, more shocking, and a lot more original. And the artistic direction is gorgeous. To me, it’s like recommending a 8.5 anime when there’s a 10/10 masterpiece staring you right in the face.

    • Avalon says:

      I am really enjoying No Game No Life as well, but I know it does not mesh with psgles taste right now…and I doubt it ever would have. I’m not trying to speak for him, but it seems like the kind of anime he just wouldn’t get into.

      Sidonia on the other hand IS something I could see him giving a shot and finding out he likes.

    • Bam says:

      Giving NGNL a 10/10 is almost laughably generous considering the great animes that were produced throughout history that transcend the medium and become works of art, or even within the animes of this very season such as mushishi. It might be one of the better ones this season for a younger age-group but that’s as far as it goes. (I’m actually still being pretty generous)

      • Avalon says:

        Can’t deny this. NGNL is fun, but not groundbreaking.

      • Nic says:

        Just because it’s not a drama doesn’t mean it’s not near perfect as a comedy. And the suggestion it’s for a younger audience is insulting, I’m 28 and it’s one of the most original animes I’ve seen in a long time. Drama does not have a monopoly on quality.

        I wouldn’t compare it to Mushishi because they’re completely different genres, even if I consider both to be 10/10 overall. And no, 10 does not mean perfect because there’s no such thing as perfection in this world.

        • Bam says:

          First of all you should not be offended, as I am also 27 years old ,and as I mentioned earlier, DO enjoy NGNL. But that is exactly why I say it’s for the younger (early seinen 17-21, clearly young compare to the both of us) crowd. Any anime that has the hikikomori phenomenon as a theme is primarily for that age group, as someone who has graduated and moved out on their own and has to work does not have the privilege to recluse from society and still be able to go on living.

          Secondly NGNL is considered primarily a fantasy adventure, even though it utilizes a good amount of comedy. To say that it should be judged only based on its comedy is stretching it a bit too far. Yet even then groundbreaking series such as Great Teacher Onizuka eclipse it in pretty much all criteria regarding its comic elements.

          Of course everything is subjective and nothing perfect, that should go without saying, but a 10/10 score should be reserved for the best of the best that have pushed the envelope of the medium and are exemplary in most regards. You will find that most people will agree with me that NGNL, although watchable and fun, is not such a show and I can guarantee that will never be placed among the “masterpiece”s of anime industry.

          • Bam says:

            And you cannot use the “different genres shouldn’t be directly compared” argument as you yourself are guilty of this by initially saying that NGNL should be favored over KoS when they are clearly very different from one-another. To use that reasoning and then retreat back to the position of segregation is an informal fallacy known as Inconsistent Comparison.

  25. Tanz says:

    Same Psgels. Was psyhed at the first episode, then it just went falling down. Dropped it already. Sidonia’s really good so yeah, obviously you’ll watch that with everyone commenting on it already.

  26. meow says:

    Just took a look at Space Dandy season 2. Fun. Actually managed to make me laugh. Really curious to know if the same cast voiced all the characters in this episode. XD Cos if they did, seriously, BRAVO!

    SAO Season 2. FINALLY Sinon shows up. Salivating for episode 2. VERY, INCREDIBLY CURIOUS if xxxxxx’s new avatar gets it’s own seiyuu. Seriously doubt it but…hm…there’s no way I can mistake xxxxxx’s standard voice for a xxxx’s. No way.

    Rail Wars. Fun. Really sweet visuals but…a lot of suspension of disbelief required. >.>; You really got to turn off half your brain for this one. But kids should love it. Reminds me of Servant x Service, which actually fell closer towards the realm of plausible to me, robot teddy bear and all. Still some cool trivia about the Japan Rail system, which is probably real.

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  • K-Off
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 09:34 PM)
    My palette is cleansed after Legacy. I think I can make a push and finish Mirage Sessions by Monday.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 06:25 PM)
    Altogether there is no good explanation as to why Berserk has been on the fringes for the last 20 years. The silver lining is that it looks like things are picking up for the franchise- with a new series, two new games and frequent manga releases- so here’s hoping we get a much bigger budget for the next cour, and god willing maybe even a studio change. And I’m getting greedy, but gimme that From Software Berserk game! That would be an instant cash mine.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 06:18 PM)
    @Vyse: I was actually thinking of that, and the dark mature content is definitely a factor. Yet looking at what’s trending at the moment, with AoT and Kabaneri, it seems that the more violent stuff are bankable now. And it’s not like anime is stranger to adapting material that hasn’t finished yet. So I’m guessing that Miura is hard to work with probably, and maybe he’s tight about giving studios the license.
  • Rusty
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 05:16 PM)
    I like it better when animes are different then the manga because normally i know how everything will end after reading the manga.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 05:07 PM)
    And I’m more than open for an anime to do things a bit differently from the source, I mean look at the new berserk they included an action scene that wasn’t in the manga, I liked that.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 04:59 PM)
    @Mike: Makoto Takahashi! Makoto Takahashi! I know who he is, I spent a while looking at his art, best example of good oldschool shoujo style. He also is credited with kickstarting the shoujo-ai genre I think…
    @Bam: flowers of evil both improved on and took away from its source material.
  • reaLjustified
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 04:16 PM)
    Furthermore, it’s not as if Berserk is so special by itself that a decent adaptation is automatically impossible. You’re watching one right now. If you think otherwise than it boils down to personal preference.
  • reaLjustified
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 04:13 PM)
    @Vyse It’s obviously not trying to cater to children, the studio knows its audience. I wouldn’t automatically assume that just because it’s an anime adaptation that it’s an attempt to please everyone.
  • VyseLegendaire
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 03:45 PM)
    Because the story is so dark and so violent, its hard to cater to a middle ground audience that includes kids or maybe even adolescents.
  • VyseLegendaire
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 03:45 PM)
    Hey Bam, the reason for Berserk’s neglect is how unadaptable it is to other media. As a manga it stands as a monolith. but the thematic and graphical content -as well as the long and rather convoluted presentation – don’t lend well to either anime or games.

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