Synonyms: Brain Powered
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 8, 1998 to Nov 11, 1998
Duration: 25 min. per episode
Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or olderL represents licensing company
Score: 6.441 (scored by 963 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
Popular Tagsaction mecha
Dec 21, 2010
When Tomino promoted this film, he claimed it was “even better than Evangelion”. This is an extremely brash statement for any director to make, but in a sense he’s right. It touches the same issues as Evangelion at many parts, but ultimately it’s better for the soul. It is an uplifting defense of the power of love at its core, and thus while I would *not* agree that it’s higher quality, it might be better to watch and enjoy.
So what exactly is this show that defends love against all? Brain Powerd is about biomechanical living mechs fighting for or against Orphan, a ship that will sail to the stars, but requires draining the energy of all life on earth to succeed. On both sides are troubled teens from broken families, who struggle to overcome their hangups as much as their enemies.
What makes this show a masterpiece is the characters. I’ll grant that they aren’t by any means easy characters. They are difficult to understand, and some of them are almost impossible to relate to, such as the antagonist Jonathan. The way the characters behave is complex, and they hide a lot of their feelings. This is what underlies many of the complaints about this show. Without their hearts on their sleeves, sometimes a character will do something “random”, such as Yuu’s defection in the first episode. But once you piece together the characters, everything they do makes sense. Until then, trying to read them is like trying to read real humans. And it’s important to note that the characters are weird. They aren’t weird in the sense that they are incomprehensible, but rather that they have unique modes of expression that don’t conform to stock anime archetypes.
This show, basically, refuses to ever pander to the audience. It requires your full attention to understand. It’s no secret that that which demands the most out of you gives the greatest rewards. I could talk about the plot and characters all day, there’s plenty to chew on in those regards. Instead, I’ll give a brief word to the other aspects of this work.
The animation is interesting, though maybe not conventionally beautiful. This especially applies to the fights, which function in a specifically non-fluid manner. The antibodies (mechs) sort of “blink” short distances, giving the whole fight a surreal vibe. They often take place over water, specifically utilizing these two mediums in an interesting manner. I really think the fights over water are quite elegant, some of the more memorable mech fights out there. The character designs have been criticized as rather bland, but I never got that impression. I especially like Hime’s design.
The music is the only thing about this series that is universally acclaimed, and that’s with good reason. Yoko Kano, famous for Cowboy Bebop, is the one on charge of this front. The opening by Eri Shingyoji, “In My Dream”, is one of my favorite openings of all time.
While we’re on the topic, this is another key gripe about the show. The opening features every character naked for no apparent reason. It’s a bit abstract, but my interpretation has always been that when they are stripped bare, at their core what they need is love. Of course, the clothes represent the revealing of their emotions, and the lyrics are what implies that it’s about needing love. This fits in because it is, arguably, the key concept of the show.
To sum up my overall impression of the show; Brain Powerd is a drama of the most intriguing characters whose outside conflict mirrors their inner struggles. It’s a bit hokey at times, and it’s not as philosophically deep as it thinks it is, but Tomino directs cheerfully and with a good sense of humor, leading to a show that is downright inspiring. It is basically the optimistic version of Evangelion. I can’t recommend it to everyone, only a few viewers will “get it”, but for those who do this is a fantastic and sublime show. read more
Feb 21, 2009
The concepts behind this story are not bad, not bad at all. on the contrary, biotechnology concepts are sound science fiction concepts, best used on Babylon 5 for instance where you see Vorlons and Shadows with huge living ships...
But my, something basic to any story is continuity and coherence...and those two are missing here.
The story begins with one premise...then turns into boring mecha action...then turns into a try-to-be psychological drama, then try to be again a science fiction story...
It tries a lot of things but fails short to every goal.
The very first premise is lost at the end...weren't they trying to stop the enormous ship to rise or all life on Earth would perish? But the ship ends in space...and nothing much happen aside tidal effects.
And there is no real end to the whole story...
And they began to display something interesting on episode 25 (the memories inside Orphan, depicting it locked in battle over Earth with another ship like it...and then explaining that Grand Chers are from Orphan and Brains are from the other ship...and then nothing else is said about that...and the fate of the other ship...or why they were in battle...
Good ideas, good overal concept but a mediocre execution, failing to make the story work...
A pitty...this could have been in concept something better than Evangelion...but ended being a really haphazardly made series... read more
Jun 12, 2010
Man, was this one a drag! It gives you the impression that it will be an interesting and weird series but in reality it is totally boring and simple.
ART & SOUND SECTION: 5/10 [Awesome intro, lukewarm viewing.]
Hell, the intro was full of naked chicks and weird imagery. And the song was catchy too. It really managed to make me interested in the series. And then the series begins… And it’s nothing much to look or listen to. Where is the nude? Where are the weird / spiritual backgrounds?
-The general artwork is just your average looking mechas, military bases and rural countrysides.
-The character figures look very generic.
-Motion fluidity was kept at minimum.
-Colors and details are done in simple ways. And the visual effects are very crude. Just laser beams and energy barriers for a few minutes per episode. Even the funky disks that were creating meckas wore off quite soon.
-On the flip side, voice acting was decent. And the context of the dialogues was full of science, metaphysics, teen angst and more. Too bad even that was ruined by repeating words. Terms like ORPHEN, BRAIN and BIO-ENERGY were spoken at least 20 times per episode, making the dialogues quite repetitive and tiresome.
Final saying: Although not bad, the graphics and sounds are quite distasteful for their time.
STORY & CHARACTER SECTION: 3/10 [Interesting story, snoring plot.]
The story? Alien powers threaten the balance of the world and a team of teens piloting mechas tries to salvage bio-energy disks and prevent the destruction. In the same time a secret organization plans to release an alien ship that will devastate the world, save for its chosen few believers to the cause. It’s not a typical “one-eyed monstrous aliens vs kind-hearted humans” story. It’s selfish people vs selfish people, so it is quite dramatic at times. The alien part is a plot device rather than the main story. The main theme is not really “saving the world”. It’s more like “mommy doesn’t love me” and “my family is obsessed and lost its way” kind of story. The several flavor details concerning science, philosophy and mystic powers help to create a very good founding for an interesting story… But what was built atop that founding was without an architect’s supervision.
-The characters are cardboards. Stereotypes that you can find in most mecha series. Undeveloped to the point of not caring about them. With generic looks and movements. There is no reason to remember any of them.
-The story is so slow-paced that could easily be summed up in 6 episodes. It really didn’t deserve 26 boring episodes.
-The battles are awfully simple and short. I skipped them without missing a thing.
-The conclusion was sudden and rushed. The producers must intended to create a movie sequel to wrap things but eventually didn’t; leaving us with a completely vague and dry ending.
Final saying: This could easily be made into a fine mini series. Dragging the story with repeating words and boring battles only managed to ruin the show.
VALUE & ENJOYMENT SECTION: 2/10 [Low, even for my strict tastes.]
I find no value in this series. Characters aren’t there, story is an illusion, ending sucks! It is boring, slow and anti-climactic. The only thing I really enjoyed was the one and a half minute opening song.
VERDICT: 3.5 / 10
Quick! I hold him, you bring the tar and feathers.
Successful mix of Mecha with Religion and Metaphysics series: Neon Genesis Evagelion, Ghost in the Shell, Zegapain, Ergo Proxy, Argento Soma, Betterman, Soul Taker and Rahxephon. read more
Aug 6, 2008
Brain Powered is a anime with big ideas. The problem with it is it's execution. First the story is in the earth's near future. Where a strange ruin, known as Orphan, has begun to surface from Earth's oceans. Orphan first appeared from under the tectonic plates, and all signs point to it surfacing and causing a world wide catastrophe when it reaches its destination above the waves. This activity from Orphan has created earthquakes, seismic waves, and tsunami's, which have battered the land regions of Earth, producing wide spread floods and destruction. The humans inside Orphan plan to change the earth drastically by raising Orphan out of the ocean. They also use ant-bodies, giant robots created from Orphan. The story follows Isami Yuu who flees Orphan and Hime a member of Novis Noah a huge ship build to batttle Orphan.
Now that I gave the basic story of Brain Powered let's get to the review. Like I said earlier the show had big ideas trying to reach the height of other anime along the lines of RahXephon and Saikano and it generally does. The story I would give a 10 it kept me interested. The characters I'd give 9, they weren't cardboard cut outs and made you care about them. The animation was a 6, it was granny and looked like it was made in the late 80s. Also there were the giant robots that looked terrible. Finally the music I'd give a 7 on, there wasn't anything special but was still good. Overall I'd give it a 8. It wasn't a classic or great like the anime listed above, but it was still very good. read more
May 25, 2011
Understand that I'm writing this review from the perspective that none of the current reviews represents my perspective of this anime.
Normally this means a show is either worse or better than what the overall reviewers have portrayed since I'm not the type to write a review without looking and considering the rest of the reviews that's been written. Brain Powerd is this one exception.
Let's get the bad out of the way first: Is this as horrible or cookie cutter as many of the bad reviewers have written?
In many ways, it's worse. I'm telling you right now I didn't finish watching this show and I simply watched the first and the last episode.
If you're wondering then how I can review this show without going through the pain of watching this horrendous series, well...here lies the merit of Brain Powerd.
As a show: it's horrendous. Mecha designs that try to have that Tekkaman or RahXephon look but fail miserably.
Plot that jumps right at the gate yet fails to be exciting.
Even the characters given some positive light are truly merely simplistic even by classic mecha standards and yet in some ways it's made more horrible because it doesn't follow a prototypical theme.
However Brain Powerd is also more of a failed classical music piece than it is a train wrecked.
For those who can't tolerate drudging up a horrible anime to find that jewel within, I sincerely advise you to check out Super Robot Taisen/Wars Judgement for the GBA. Really with the English patch and it being for the gba (low specs for PC emulator), there's really few excuses to not go that route when trying to consume this show.
However you're probably asking: Does it still count as an anime review IF you aren't talking specifically about the anime even?
This is really were Brain Powerd's quality reveals itself - plot-wise.
Normally when it comes to Super Robot Wars as a series, it's known to resurrect interest in lesser known shows by simply showcasing and adding the plot into the overall story of the series.
Brain Powerd, however, actually does something else. It's like within the format of SRW J - it's qualities shine. This is credited both to Brain Powerd's overall theme as well as this version of SRW focusing specifically on Brain Powerd's plot.
This doesn't mean the anime itself has no superior qualities over it's adaptation but in many ways: the adaptation becomes superior to the anime and I'm not just talking about design or coolness factor or because the robots actually play well. I'm talking literally plot-wise, the arcs in Brain Powerd is never the same after you finish the Brain Powerd route in SRW J.
Why is this?
To begin with, aesthetically, the SD format really makes the Brain Powerd look and feel better and more fluid than the anime does.
The major part however lies in that the central plot of Brain Powerd, it's central premise, relies very hard on certain "vagueness" as well as the threat posed by the synopsis actually feeling like a threat.
One could even use the classic Enemy per Episode Super Mecha plot line as a basis for why it's needed. Even as the threats in those series get killed every episode and the whole thing feels like the main mecha is invincible - it has a certain old school feel that attracts many anime lovers who've lived watching those eras.
Brain Powerd's plot is on one hand nowhere near that level of "suspense" yet at the same time it's central theme is based around that "suspense" as an over-arcing plot. (Really hard to explain without spoiling many of the actual twists in the series.)
The anime fails heavily towards this element though because most of it is based around...how should I put it...dry horrible lackadisical pacing with no additional threat on top of the whole threat. (Plus the so-called antagonist is really mostly a static statue.)
Because the SRW J version however contains tons of other threats - the result is that every twist in Brain Powerd because this sort of nostalgic "heavy" event when you're rewatching the anime AFTER you've played the game. This doesn't necessarily mean the videogame adaptation is a perfect copy of the anime (one major character specifically is overlooked by the adaptation for example) but rather with the threat contextified, with the characters sort of formed and with many of the ugliness of the anime versions stripped away - Brain Powerd's one main quality is magnified and many of the positive reviewers have tried to highlight this quality but really I think on average even on a critical level - Brain Powerd is hard to "get". It's below love or hate. It's a series that's just...dull or cookie cutter...until you see it as a whole and then the whole puzzles and forms itself into what the anime becomes.
The closest analogy that comes to my mind is to compare the great movies of the past that are really just over-retelling romanticized version of events. Cameron's Titanic for example is basically a ship wreck that becomes one of the most memorable love stories in film history. A news casting of a Tsunami far outweighs the movie version of it. It's this really important distinction that is needed to appreciate Brain Powerd.
What is especially masterpiece worthy about it is that I don't know any anime that has that type of quality. Someone for example could point to that SRW adaptation of Evangelion's Shinji and say...that's how you do it right but it's still the same series. Brain Powerd post-SRW J versus pre-SRW J is not the same series. Especially the ending where without the SRW perspective it becomes sort of "trying hard"/"ok I get what you are trying to pull off but it's still silly" into something much closer to a "OMG this is something big!"
Nonetheless, I still wouldn't say Brain Powerd is a good anime even with the SRW J adaptation. I actually hate that route in the game and I hate the mecha - they really weren't anything special and they don't have that good of an overall pull but "intrigue" - they have that in spades and although the curiosity wasn't really done well - it's this element that separates Brain Powerd from being just a crappy mecha anime and it's worth retelling the anime as such otherwise it seems criminal to the canon like if you're watching Getter Robo and yawning at the bad mecha without knowing what Getter Emperor is or you're watching Evangelion and then missing out on End of Evangelion. The key is not so much the quality of action or the portrayal of characters but instead the overall symbolistic enjoyment that is missed without reaching those context.
As far as what the anime has over the videogame adaptation? The opening song even if you hear it in the game is not as haunting as the anime series and really it's one of the things cementing Brain Powerd's charm and uniqueness as a series. Normally you wait until a climactic moment or the actual ending before you get something good but Brain Powerd's opening is both the ultimate ending/climax as well as being able to pump you up as a first time viewer however without knowledge of the entire plot it is also something of an acid trip especially the original opening theme scenes. All in all it's really a series that is more of a puzzle that adds layers upon rewatching if only if it was that good or the characters were really that well designed or well formed. I would even go so far as saying a direct remake - with no changes in plot but character design, pacing, execution - is on par with Serial Experiment Lain but with Mecha. That's how unique Brain Powerd is IF only it is able to make the right order of settings and it really should go down as that type of anime instead of a either you love it or hate it one because either extreme opinions doesn't do respect to what this anime offers it's viewers that other mecha series don't or extremely rarely deliver. read more
Jun 18, 2012
Perhaps I missed it, but one of the greatest flaws in this anime is how it has several core concepts it relies upon that it gives a lackluster explanation for. "B-plates" are mentioned many times throughout the anime, but are never given a real definition. Likewise, "organic energy" is used to explain practically everything, when even the characters in the show don't completely understand what it is. Sometimes it's life force. Sometimes it's emotion. Sometimes it makes a shield or shoots lasers, and sometimes it lets you teleport. Sometimes it's literally what makes plants grow. It becomes a bit more bearable if you remember that the antibodies are super robots and not real robots, so their explanation doesn't *have* to be perfect, but it certainly could stand to be better.
Further, while the story remains *mostly* internally consistent (assuming you can accept their loose definition of organic energy, that is), the ending leaves much to be desired, not really explaining *why* things worked out the way they did. Prior to that point, even though some plot points may not have immediately made sense, they were at least given some attention later to clear them up, or in some cases, made sense just after rewatching the scene. Unfortunately, while I can admit certain aspects of the ending were alluded to earlier in the show that might work toward explaining it, it still feels somewhat like an ass pull, with the results not quite matching up with what you expect their actions to do.
That all said, if you have a good willing suspension of disbelief, I think you can enjoy this anime. If living robots powered by a poorly defined energy force bothers you, you should stay away. The characters are at least interesting enough to keep it going, and there are some things they did that really served as a nice touch. It's just a shame they wasted it with a mediocre overall plot. read more