Posted on 27 July 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews, Kaiba


Welcome and say hello to one of the best anime of 2008, and along with Haibane Renmei and Hi no Tori, my favourite anime of only 12 or 13 episodes long. Kaiba is the product of director Masaaki Yuasa, who was the one behind Kemonozume, Cat Soup and Mind Game and it shows the result of when an already excellent director learns from his mistakes.

Kaiba is very much an experimental anime, which tries to be different from the stuff you usually see. The character-designs may look childish and simple, but make no mistake: this storyline isn’t afraid to show adult themes at all, and the perfect example of why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. It’s about a futuristic world with the fascinating concept in which people’s memories can be stored in chips and placed from one body to the other. The series smartly spends its first half fleshing out and playing with this concept, so that the viewer feels at home inside the setting, only for the second half to kick in with the real meat of the series, where the storyline keeps spiralling to the point of going out of control. The final episode is indeed one of chaos.

The setting may be already an incredibly imaginative one, what really won me over for this series is its sense of storytelling. It’s hard to explain, but if there ever was some kind of x-factor for anime, then Kaiba would have it. This is one series that knows exactly how to progress a mystery-storyline: lots of random flashbacks, in order to flesh out both the storyline and characters, a back-story that goes way beyond the “person x killed person y in the past” and lots of different hints to keep you guessing.

This also really helps fleshing out the characters, and the interesting twist that they keep changing bodies (made possible because of the setting) puts them in interesting different spotlights. The romance can be incredibly sweet when it’s in its element and even the villains get their own piece of development.

Overall, Kaiba is definitely recommended if you’re into experimental, mystery or science fiction anime. The only bad thing about it is that the plot isn’t the most solid one, so don’t expect everything about the setting to be fully explained by the end. Nevertheless, Kaiba is an masterpiece that makes excellent use of its limited time of only twelve episodes, and it has been my top pick of the past spring season ever since it started.

Storytelling: 10/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 10/10
Posted on with categories: Kaiba



Short Synopsis: Neiro tries to tell Kaiba his secret as Kaiba and Warp go out of control.
Highlights: Not all questions answered, but this series somehow gets away with it…
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8,5/10
And so it’s unfortunately over. It was to be expected that not every question would be answered (like, what’s up with the planet that Kaiba lives on? It turns out, only the memory of Popo got killed, but how did that happen? and in this episode Kaiba also pulls out a number of random powers that would have been better if they were introduced earlier, so I think that one extra episode would have been sufficient to answer these questions, but still this was a pretty awesome episode.

Masaaki Yuasa clearly intended this episode to go out of control and become something surreal, in a way, it’s in the same style of the ending of Kemonozume, which also came from out of nowhere. It was obviously not the best episode of Kaiba, but at the same time it was very much fun to watch. The surreal parts in this episode were definitely worth watching.

So, in the end, the thing that Neiro discovered about Kaiba was that his mother’s memory was stuffed in the ostrich, as a punishment. At the same time, probably the cutest thing about this episode was this unexpected romance between Hyohyo and the memory-guy. ^^;

At this point, I’m not sure which series to call better: this one or Shion no Ou. They were both absolutely fantastic in their own ways, and without a doubt the best series of 2008. They both had fantastic storytelling, while Shion no Ou had incredible characters, while Kaiba had an incredibly imaginative setting.

Posted on 19 July 2008 with categories: Kaiba



Short Synopsis: Popo continues his plans to overthrow the heavens.
Highlights: This is what you get if you build up properly…
Overall Enjoyment Value: 9,5/10
Holy crap! This episode was utterly utterly incredible. The best episode of Kaiba yet, and with an already incredible series, that HAS TO SAY SOMETHING. I’m still baffled at all the plot-twists that bombarded the screen for the past twenty minutes. Obviously MAJOR spoilers follow. DO NOT read this entry if you haven’t watched this episode yet.

Oh my god, I’m still pretty speechless about this episode. The entire first half of the episode develops Popo further into insanity: the strange purple mist first caused Cheki to lose most of her memories, and he then lost his mother’s memory-chip. He already thinks that he defeated Warp, so he didn’t even bother to confirm whether or not Kaiba was really dead. He first claims to love Sate, but then betrays her by showing his affections for Cheki, and with the prospect of soon ruling the entire universe, his personality keeps moving out of control.

This guy was an excellent example of a great villain. He clearly is the villain in this series, but at the same time his desires kept spiralling out of control.

But the craziest thing about this episode was definitely the domino-effect-killing scene. I repeat: MAJOR SPOILERS IN THE NEXT PARAGRAPH:

Inside the main control room of Popo’s ship, Sate kills Popo. Then the body-collector kills Sate, who turns out to be a cyborg. The three older Kaibas then gloat over their victories. Fake Warp (who turns out to be alive) then kills the body-collector and the three older Warps. As an added bonus, we also learn that the memory-guy and Sate were sisters, and they grew up watching Neiro, Popo and Cheki play together.

There were a few things I didn’t understand, though. What was up with the fans, wiping out the purple fog? Who activated them? Why did fake Warp erase the collection of all the memories, which basically meant the entire history of the world?

In any case, it’s amazing to see how much Masaaki Yuasa has learned from his mistakes. I remember how the pre-ending episodes of Kemonozume were a big mistake because the huge contrast between the light and extremely serious final episodes was way too big. For Kaiba, he made sure to build up as much as he can, he kept throwing in flashbacks, foreshadowing and different hints that all came together in this episode. This episode was dramatic, sure. But it WAS SO WORTH THE WAIT. It’s a definite candidate of the best episode of the year for me, along with episode 21 of Shion no Ou. I’m really curious as to how he plans to end this series. Kemonozume’s final episode was absolutely nothing like its other episodes, but on the other hand, Kaiba is absolutely nothing like Kemonozome, so I’m very interested, and at the same time very sad that the goodness will only last one more episode.

Posted on 10 July 2008 with categories: Kaiba



Short Synopsis: Thankfully, the hiatus “only” took two weeks. This week: Neiro’s background.
Highlights: Kaiba’s back! Kaiba’s back! Kaiba’s back!
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8,5/10
Okay, this time I didn’t care about the raws. I just wanted to watch Kaiba again as soon as possible, so I just settled for a horrible one. For this episode, we were promised Neiro’s background, and it doesn’t disappoint at all. This anime very cleverly wraps up about 50% of the questions that the previous episodes left hanging, while keeping the vital questions still a mystery, for the final two episodes to answer.

As it turns out, my theories were wrong. Kaiba is the real Warp, and he got the name Kaiba for no particularly important reason: Neiro gave it to him, because when the two met, he again had lost his memory when he met Neiro for the first time. Therefore, he didn’t know his name, so Neiro named him after the legendary plant, and only later he started to remember again. How this exactly works is unknown, but Kaiba possesses some sort of power that unconsciously erases and recovers his memory, which gets activated with either a huge mental of physical shock. Every time this power gets activated, the hole in his body increases in size.

Also, the fake Warp didn’t shoot Neiro at all, it was the real Kaiba, in order to protect her from that AI-manager who we’ve seen bothering the fake Warp a few episodes back. He properly revived her and brought her back afterwards. And as it turns out, Warp never killed Neiro’s parents in the first place. That too was just some alteration by Popo (or the memory guy, on request by Popo). That AI-manager also turned out to be one of the villains in this series. It used the fake warp to prevent Kaiba from finding out information about his parents, whom he thought he killed himself. Kaiba turns out to never have been evil, but this image was just spread by this AI-manager.

We now also know why Popo didn’t kill Kaiba when he had the hance. I can imagine how the guy needed to get a weapon strong enough to destroy Kaiba’s indestructible body, and failed to get there on time before Kaiba woke up. The shot he fired was indeed aimed at Kaiba, and not at the enemy. This gave the memory-guy the chance to escape with Kaiba, and with the help of that girl in dress (forgot her name), they managed to smuggle Kaiba away from Popo.

Now, the question remains: how did Kaiba get his first hole. Before he crashed in front of Neiro, he already had a hole inside of him, which suggests that he lost his memory due to some sort of shock before that. Also, what role is the plant Kaiba going to play in the end? And why did the memory-guy alter Neiro’s memory, if he was on her side? Was it to fool Popo?

Aagh, only two more episodes to go. I demand a second season. Or at least a series in the same style that goes on for longer than just 12 episodes! This series is too good for the treatment it’s getting.

Posted on 21 June 2008 with categories: Kaiba


What can I say? This episode was just incredible, no question possible. Spoilers obviously follow.

As it turns out, the memory-guy plays a vital role in the entire story. He never was aligned to Popo, but made it believe like he was. Popo probably ordered him to use the plant Kaiba on Neiro, in order to mask all of her memories and change all appearances of Warp/Kaiba into Popo. Behind his back, the memory-guy put the remains of these memories into Hyohyo. The ostrich was also a servant of the memory-guy, who indeed helped out Popo back in the first episode. That’s why he secretly let Hyohyo join Kaiba without Popo knowing about it.

And Heck, only now I realize that in Neiro’s memories, Warp’s images are also blackened out! We only saw the evil Warp shoot Neiro, but the rest of it are all images of a black-on-white caricature. I’m getting some strong urges here that Popo was the guy who really ended up killing Neiro’s parents. Why would he want to mask them otherwise? Especially since this episode shows how easily he can just kill people.

A few questions remain with this, mostly: who was the Neiro that evil Kaiba shot, and why is Neiro still alive. In this episode, we also get confirmed that Kaiba wasn’t the Warp that killed everyone, because Neiro addresses him as “Kaiba”. That leaves the biggest question that still needs to be answered: where the heck did Kaiba come from? What also seems strange is how the memory guy seems to think that Warp changed after he met Neiro, because it obviously conflicts with Neiro calling Kaiba Kaiba…

I must say that my biggest fear for Kaiba would be the episodes before the finale, simply because Kemonozume screwed up so badly at that point. It dived way too deep into melodrama for it to remain believable. Still, thankfully Kaiba has managed to avoid this flaw entirely, and this episode really used the building-up of the previous episodes wonderfully.

Posted on 14 June 2008 with categories: Kaiba


It’s been a long wait, but finally my beloved Kaiba is back. And what an episode does it return with! For once, Kaiba doesn’t appear in it at all, and instead it’s all about Popo, and how the bastards killed off his own mother to keep up his appearances. As it turns out, she once changed his body, which is against the rules of the organization Popo works for. That does make me wonder why Neiro was just allowed to change into Ger and all…

In any case, we indeed learn that there is another Warp besides Kaiba. This guy probably was the one who shot Neiro. If I understood things correctly, then Neiro’s body was shot, and she ended up in Hyohyo. It seems that her memory got split in two: one part works for Popo, and the other one went along with Kaiba.

That still leaves the question to: which Warp is the real one? What we know is that the body that Kaiba was in in episode one was the genuine indestructible body of Warp. I believe that the Warp we see in this episode is the real Warp who killed off those hundreds of people. Then at one point, he ran into this “Kaiba”, which stole his body. Kaiba then met Neiro and the two fell in love. Warp then tracked down Kaiba and destroyed Neiro’s body, though what I suspect is Popo’s meddling, Kaiba escaped him, somehow causing Kaiba to lose his body and get that hole through his body, after which episode 1 started.

What interests me the most is the real link between the plant Kaiba and the human Kaiba. We know that that plant has a lot of an appetite and that it eats memory, but what I want to know is how such a plant ended up being turned into actual memory. What I also want to know: who are on Kaiba’s side in this story, and most importantly: why? Why would the ostrich be working for such a plant? What’s the connection to the memory-guy to all of this?

I must say, that this series knows EXACTLY what makes a good mystery-series. I totally forgot about this, since 2007 was a bad year for mystery-series, but a good mystery-series doesn’t just ask questions, but it forces its viewer to form his own theories about what happened. This is what sets the genre apart from series that have to rely on some obscure side-story that you can only understand if it’s spelled out in front of you.

And indeed, even though I originally thought that Crystal Blaze would be a mystery-series, its mystery turned out to be just a simple back-story and the story focused on storytelling and characters instead. Instead, Shion no Ou’s mystery-plot was simple, yet it knew how to make its viewer guessing about the identity of the murderer, and most viewers already knew exactly what happened when facts were finally revealed. Nijuu Mensou no Musume is about to do the same: the simple question is: what happened to Nijuu Mensou, and there are several theories possible, and enough clues to keep you guessing.

Another great approach to mystery is the one used in Himitsu: it offers you the pieces of the puzzle for each episode, and they only really fall into place when you connect these pieces. Ergo Proxy and Boogiepop Phantom are yet another story: they just provide a few clues here and there and apart from that they make no attempt to help the viewer figure out what happened.

I now see that the series that just feature a huge setting, but withold some of this information at the start aren’t necessarily good mystery-series, and rather use the appeal of the unknown to create tension. I personally loved Dennou Coil, but it was excellent because of its plot, characters and the amount of imagination that was put into the setting. Not because of its mystery, and I’m surprised it took me so long to realize this.

At the moment, I’m wondering whether Real Drive will be able to pull off good mystery. Right now, it relies a lot on the appeal of the unknown, and it’s definitely got my attention about its concept, but interestingly enough, it hasn’t started asking focused questions yet. When this’ll happen, I wonder whether it’ll allow the viewer to speculate about the setting, or whether it’ll just carry the viewer along with its revelations.

Posted on 23 May 2008 with categories: Kaiba


This episode was absolutely incredible. There’s probably no better way to say it. It’s one of those very rare episodes that just blew me away due to its sheer awesomeness. Everything Kaiba has been building up to has come together perfectly. Seriously, Kaiba right now has actually a chance of surpassing Haibane Renmei as my favourite 13-episode series, if it continues on at this pace.

Seriously, in seven mere episodes, Kaiba did what other series usually takes other series 20. When I first learned that Masaaki Yuasa would direct this series, I had my doubts, seeing as Kemonozume, Mind Game and Cat Soup were all good, but seemed to lack something, though Kaiba really shows that he’s evolving as a storyteller, and Kaiba is the work of a genius.

Vanilla, sacrificing himself for Kuroniko indeed had it coming, and I haven’t forgotten the horrible things he did in the first and second episode, and yet his end was so incredibly sweet. The guy knew full well that Kuroniko didn’t like him, and he only got this confirmed with her disgusted look after he kissed her, after which he planned to send her away, back to the planet where it all began in the first episode.

And then Neiro’s past. Her memory is a bloody mess, and it’s especially interesting to see Hyo-hyo being so shocked about it. We now know that it’s got something to do with Neiro, but it wasn’t aware of what exactly was done to her. There are also more Hyo-hyos than just Hyo-hyo, so I guess that it was just assigned to do a simple task: keep an eye on Warp, and I have reason to believe that that ostrich was also part of the complot.

I suspect that, assuming that everything Kaiba saw inside of Neiro’s memory came in chronological order, Warp once got attacked by Kaiba, and got his memory copied of some sort. That’s how Kaiba was born, and Kaiba was the one who got close to Neiro and fell in love with her, at the displeasure of Warp, so he tried to shoot her, like we saw in this episode. I have no idea how Neiro managed to survive, but if I had to guess, then Popo came to their rescue. He then messed with the memory of both of them, in order to manipulate them. I’m not sure what kind of purpose Kaiba has in his plans, though.

Oh, and I HATE TENNIS. Two freaking weeks without Kaiba!? $#!!$#$!@!@!!!

Posted on 17 May 2008 with categories: Kaiba


Really, is there no end to this series awesomeness? This was quite possibly the best episode of Kaiba yet, for very obvious reasons. For the sake of spoilers showing up in the blog-aggregators like animeblogger antenna, this sentence is meant to fill up space. This one is meant to fill up space as well. So, this should be enough.

Kaiba finally meets Neiro! Although under very strange circumstances. She spends this episode in the form of a huge male cyborg without any hands. The thing that made this so awesome was that both of them were struggling with the feelings of being in the body of another gender. Kaiba has his first period as well, while Neiro has trouble with the male hormone-impulses.

As it turns out, Warp was the worst kind of king. He killed Neiro’s family, imprisoned thousands, and he was also probably responsible for the huge gap between rich and old, and several of the memory-clouds we see in space. That makes me even wonder why Neiro fell in love with him in the first place, because right now she seems to consider him as an enemy.

What’s more: in this episode a strange plant appears, which sucks out the memories of nearby persons. Neiro calls it a KAIBA!!! Could it really be that Warp fell victim to one of these Kaiba, and that’s how Kaiba originated? Oh boy.

The case in this episode looked a lot like the episode with the old couple in Kemonozume. Both couples have been travelling for decades now, and both suffer a huge loss as the episode went on. I must say that I prefer the Kaiba-version. This might be a small spoiler, but the problem with Kemonozume was that the ending had no point whatsoever. The two of them just turned into monsters and killed each other due to the big bad guy. This episode in Kaiba has been very deep, though. This time, just the old lady gets her memory sucked out, and as it turns out, she has been cheating on her husband. And yet the husband doesn’t matter, and he’ll just continue to travel with her memory-less body.

With this episode, I know for sure that Kaiba is my favourite series this season. The 26-episode series really need try their best in their second halves if they want to trump this series.

Posted on 9 May 2008 with categories: Kaiba


This episode was surreal, even for a Kaiba-episode. I think it has to do with a guy named “Jamie Vickers”, who was listed in the end-credits. His previous work includes a few episodes of Kemonozume, and the animation of the ED of Tokyo Tribe 2. This guy’s sense of style is even messier than that of Masaaki Yuasa.

This episode was all about bodies, and how they’re discarded once they die. The previous episodes have never really shown what happens to a person if he or she dies from a natural reason, but I suspect that the mind and body die together, and the body can’t be used anymore by another mind, so it is discarded and destroyed. In this way, Kai’s body also gets destroyed accidentally. Oh, and Hyo-Hyo mysteriously disappears in this episode without any clue whatsoever as to where… “it” went, apart from the fact that it saw a huge load of Neiro-like bodies with “Neiro” written on them.

Kaiba this time runs into a designer of bodies, who has become quite famous. He’s of the opinion that people shouldn’t walk around with dull bodies, and his vision seems to catch on rather well. Nearly everyone walks around with some kind of strange body. His own body seems to be actually powered by electricity, and his servant, in the body of a dog, just needs to be re-winded once in a while. This dog seems to be a former woman who took care of the… “cat”, though she got too old at one point and separated her mind from her body, just as she was about to die. The two of them also share the same eyes: the designer can only see what the dog sees, and nothing more, and therefore he’s really dependant on the dog, and they’re always together. The dog also takes care of powering this designer.

In this episode, I also noticed a huge difference between this series and Himitsu ~The Revelation in terms of privacy. In Himitsu, Aoki is very much bothered by the fact that he’s intruding the privacy of others, and yet Kaiba just peeks into the minds of others without any second thoughts, in order to find out their stories.

I also have a theory. In this episode, we learn that Kaiba’s original body was some sort of hero, famous enough to warrant his own statue, though at the same time, nobody knows who this guy actually was. I didn’t totally understand the explanation, but it seems that we’re dealing with a king here. My theory is that Kaiba and Warp are two different persons, and Kaiba was just meant to protect Warp’s body as something happened to him, involving the terrorists and Popo. That still makes me wonder what Hyo-Hyo’s purpose was, because the mission of protecting Kaiba’s body clearly failed. Heck, we have no idea where it is now. Or is there more about the locket that it just being a pretty picture?

Posted on 2 May 2008 with categories: Kaiba


Okay, so while the introduction of weird accents didn’t exactly help my ability to understand this episode, I still loved every bit about this episode. Really, I’m trying to think of one part of this series that doesn’t stand out, but so far this series couldn’t have progressed better. I absolutely LOVE the pair of Kaiba and the guard (I think his name was Vanilla) as they travel through various world. They stand so incredibly far apart from your usual travelling-companionship. The two of them are without a doubt my favourite characters of all new shows this season, apart perhaps from xxxHolic.

I originally thought that Kaiba would switch bodies with every new episode, but this episode proves us wrong. He just has two bodies: one of the stuffed animal and one of the girl. Both bodies are very different from the Kaiba we saw in the first episode, and it felt especially weird when the stuffed animal suddenly started talking. It turns out that normal rules don’t really apply when you’re into the mind of a person.

What’s also interesting: we see Vanilla into Kaiba’s mind this time, and there, we saw the body he was in when we found him in episode 1. The thing is also that this doesn’t seem to be his original body (because yes, this episode also gives us a small shot of Kaiba when he still had his memory). There’s nothing of that fancy outfit we saw. And really, what the hell has happened to Popo? He hasn’t appeared for four episode, and yet he seems like a vital character in all this, after the previous episode showed some hints that he was connected to Neiro.

In any case, this episode is about an old woman, who refuses to share her dead husband’s “treasure” with her two sons. They may be poor, but they’re always causing trouble for others, and don’t ever pay attention to their surroundings. Of course, the “treasure” turns out to be an ordinary memory-box, but still. The interesting thing is how this episode went into this old woman’s mind, as she’s still trying to forget her deceased husband. He fell off a lighthouse, but she never knew why. Inside her memory, she then finds out that he was just trying to pick a flower, in the hope of making his wife smile again. I probably missed the important point of this episode again, though, due to the above-mentioned dialect.

The art this time was also different from usual. It looked much more like Kemonozume than ever. While it’s usually not that good of an idea to have an episode with a different animation-style than usual (just take a look at Gurren Lagann 04), for Kaiba it works surprisingly well. Perhaps it’s because the changes are there, but not quite radical.

Shoutbox

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  • Friend
    (Sunday, Oct 26. 2014 05:50 AM)
    @Bam Do you try to make your own game designs from time to time? For fun of course
  • Friend
    (Sunday, Oct 26. 2014 05:49 AM)
    @ninja That sounds really awesome actually. I don’t see many people majoring in things like that and especially not because of a true passion for it. Usually, people go into those studies because they have no other option.
  • k-off
    (Sunday, Oct 26. 2014 05:40 AM)
    @Bam If I was reborn as a person who didn’t have a deep interest in politics, I’m sure I would've gone into graphic design.
  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Oct 26. 2014 05:32 AM)
    @Friend I always wanted to be a writer but it took me a while to decide on which major would best suit that goal. After a life-changing study-abroad trip to Tanzania I decided to major in the History of Africa. I also minored in Journalism and Creative Writing, which also obviously tie-in with the writing thing.
  • k-off
    (Sunday, Oct 26. 2014 05:20 AM)
    @Friend I took a microeconomics class in the second year of community college and took interest in economics.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Oct 26. 2014 05:00 AM)
    @Friend: I was always fascinated by graphical design and got into the computer science field with hopes of becoming a game designer. Over Time those aspirations matured to a more reasonable and opportune focus of database design.
  • Friend
    (Sunday, Oct 26. 2014 04:21 AM)
    How did you guys get an interest in the areas you’re studying right now?
  • k-off
    (Sunday, Oct 26. 2014 04:16 AM)
    @Bam “The government doesn’t guarantee anything, it gives opportunities” my ass.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Oct 26. 2014 03:58 AM)
    @Ninja: That’s what you get where education is not free and instead the government makes fat money on student loans. What we have is a culture of debt.
  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Oct 26. 2014 03:50 AM)
    @Bam Land of the Free? More like Land of the Nickel and Dime.

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Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]

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Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

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Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

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Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]