In the year 2059, the earth has been plagued by aliens for several years. In an effort to learn more about these aliens, Dr. Noguchi and his assistants Maki Agata and Takuto Kaneshiro try to revive the professor's experiment, a large Bio-Mechanical alien named Frank. During this process the alien comes to 'life' and the lab is subsequently destroyed leaving Takuto the only survivor and the alien disappearing into the wilderness. While Frank roams the wilderness he meets Hattie, an emotionally distressed young girl whose parents are killed in the first 'close encounter' war. Oddly enough she is able to communicate with Frank and soon after they are taken into custody by a secret agency known only as 'Funeral'. Meanwhile, Takuto wakes up in a hospital bed with his life in shambles, and his face disfigured. Motivated by vengeance and heart break, Takuto accepts an offer from the mysterious 'Mr. X' and receives a new identity as a ranking Funeral officer named Ryu Soma.
When a show is described as a "hidden gem" or "obscure title" it immediately brings to mind something that you've stumbled upon by happenstance with no prior expectations. These are the titles that come in and out of focus partially thanks to the presence of much more all-encompassing shows made around the same time period. It's a common occurrence that spans across every medium but perhaps most notable in anime, where only a handful of shows per year are thrust into the limelight, while the rest are left to gather up dust and become yet another mortared in brick to support the weight of the
Juggernauts on top of it. These "hidden" titles were at the wrong place at the wrong time. Like 2015's superhero show Concrete Revolutio, which unfortunately had to compete for the views from the much more popular One Punch Man that aired that same season, or even self-indulgent pandering titles like Sword Art Online which ultimately received a far bigger viewer base than the other 2012 title made by the same author, Reki Kawahara, Accel World. Had these shows aired at a different time, the chances of it receiving more attention could have been amplified, for better or for worse.
And when it comes to being at the wrong place at the wrong time, Argento Soma could not have picked a more unfortunate release date; being produced during a time period where many titles with even the slightest implementation of bio-mechanical robots and distressed pilots were quickly dismissed as "Evangelion clones". With titles such as RahXephon, Fafner of the Blue Sky, Gasaraki, De:vadasy, Brigadoon and much more that received that label for either legitimate reasons, or simply for the sake of grouping anything remotely similar under the same umbrella, Argento became another statistic with this title forced upon it. But does Argento's dismissal have any merit? Well, sort of. It does pattern things similar to Evangelion with bio-mechas, an ominous mystery being draped over them and an eerie tone that carries a familiar ambiance. But that's where the line is drawn, as Argento doesn't stay under the thumb of Evangelion and quickly blossoms into its own entity. To quote the words of the infamous ThatAnimeSnob, "Argento Soma, is to me, a deconstruction of Neon Genesis" and honestly, that serves as a fitting description. Instead of following the trendsetter at that time, it instead challenges it in a way not seen before. Argento Soma is a "hidden gem" if there ever was one.
Starting off in a semi-episodic structure, we're introduced to our protagonist and residential edge-lord, Takuto Kaneshiro, who, like many others, find themselves involved in a lifestyle where the military's far-reaching hand becomes a part of everyday life, thanks to an ever-present threat of alien invaders. After a series of unfortunate events, he found himself in an officer role for a sub-group of the military called 'Funeral', which was formed as a defensive group against the invading aliens.
The biggest precursor that should be brought to your attention before watching this is the show's pacing. Argento Soma is a methodical show that doesn't rush its narrative but slowly builds upon it before reaching its penultimate third act, where all its careful planning exfoliates into a much bigger concept. It's a slow burn that takes its time putting the pieces of the puzzle together before unveiling the bigger picture in store. If the idea of a slower paced brooding title something you can't get behind, I suggest watching this at another time when you're in the proper mindset to do so.
The benefits of this slower paced first act of the show can be seen with the metamorphosis of our protagonist, as well as the side characters that make up his surrounding environment. As already stated in the synopsis, Ryu Soma is motivated by vengeance, which gives way to a main lead that's enveloped in a lot of mental grief and suffering due to his circumstances. He's possessed by this idea of getting even with the aliens that robbed him of normalcy and happiness, and it's seeing this mindset mold him that brings a great deal of intrigue to the show. While the first half of the show is dedicated to a "monster of the week" formula, it never plays center-stage to the characters involved. In fact, it could be argued that the first half is merely there to flesh out the world, give weight to the increasing alien threat, and more importantly, to add dimension to our cast of characters, in what is a case study that helps reveal what makes them as individuals tick.
And while screen-time is evenly distributed to most side characters in order to add layers to their personality, the primary focus was always about Ryu Soma. Seeing his slow metamorphosis and growth as a character was quite rewarding. His brash and somewhat pigheaded persona never felt like artificial drama but was branched from a place of genuine angst. There was a poignancy there, something that many shows fail to grasp. He's driven by his need for redemption and lashes out, not because he's justified in his actions, but because the moment he seeks for the answer through introspection, the truth is far crueler than the scapegoat he designates for his revenge. He's drowning in self-pity, searching for any means of resurfacing. And seeing his struggle, contemplation, and eventual catharsis was something well worth the price of admission.
But despite the need for a slower paced first half to weave this personal tale, it's still a case where cutting off a bit of excess fat wouldn't have tampered, but improve the show's overall value. This isn't to suggest that the show had filler, but rather it lets the narrative operate organically for far too long at times. And while this organic free-flowing narrative benefits from the time dedicated to making everything from the plot to the characters have merit, it also works as a double-edged sword for those that simply can't be bothered with a show that moves at a pace far slower to what is commonly expected. This as a result has caused the few that have heard of it to either dismiss it altogether or shy away from it after getting wind of the unwarranted "Eva clone" mantra. This anime suffers not because of the actual content but because of the jaded anime audience that surrounded it. As condescending as this statement may sound, this anime is intended for a more refined viewer, someone that understands the fundamentals of proper storytelling and the need for carefully planned build up to give later events more substantial impact. This is the difference between a person taking the time to appreciate the fragrance and taste of aged wine, as oppose to simply swigging it with apathy and the intent of getting shit-faced.
The show never views things through an ideological lens but instead allowed the content to speak for itself. This made the decisions on the part of the characters to hold greater meaning. No one was "good" or "bad" but simply being human and making whatever decision they deemed to be the best one. This sense of moral ambiguity wasn't limited to the main character but also those around him as well. And since the characters were primarily made up of adults, it lends way for far more nuances in the way these people played off each other than what you'll get from a show with a plethora of teens for a core cast. Adults weren't simply nowhere to be found while bishounen adolescence ran around "saving the day", this show had enough integrity and common sense to realize that the inclusion of adults in the decisions taken added a more grounded element to the situation. There's no red head tsundere or detached loli running the operations of the military, but grown competent leaders that think before they leap. Sadly this is something mostly lost in the clutter of anime tropes of today, where teens seem to be the only characters of relevance... but in a way, it's because of tropes like these that the cast of Argento feels so refreshing by default. Of course, this isn't to say there aren't any teens involved, but that the closest thing to it is young adults with exception to one other character.
The art and animation for Argento held up surprisingly well, with fights that have oomph to them and individual movements that don't feel hokey. You feel the weight behind each action, from the swing of an incoming punch, to gestures characters make under certain circumstances. While there are instances where the show's age became apparent, its strengths far outweighed the weaknesses. But perhaps the most memorable inclusion is the striking character designs themselves, which looked like a hybrid of the sleek model build of Casshern Sins and the stone-faced lengthy appearance of Gundam Wing's characters; which isn't much of a surprise, given that both Wing and Soma's character designs were handled by Shukou Murase. To be more specific, the appearance of the main character was, for the lack of a better word, cool. He's aesthetically appealing to those who are fans of the more rugged vogue look. Where the character designs lost points for creativity was with the aliens themselves, which lacked variety, being that it was relatively the same design with exception to the one known as "Frank". It could have greatly benefited with a few more distinct aliens than the carbon copy lineup presented. While it could be argued that that decision to keep them, all the same, was done to correlate thematically with the show's latter half reveal, it would have still been more inviting had they taken more creative liberties. Another issue that would immediately jump out at you is their noses, or should I say, the lack thereof. If Escaflowne is infamous for its Pinocchio schnozzles, then Argento stands as its antithesis, sporting the Michael Jackson look when they're facing the viewer. Thankfully it isn't a jarring feature for long, as the problem subsides the more you view it, in the same way, you do with Escaflowne's introduction.
The show's soundtrack is a mix-bag of melancholic songs that synchronized well with the looming feeling of dread constantly painted over the series. There was also action song pieces in places for more 'intense' moments. While the OST served its purpose, tonally the genres were scatter brained. They were unified under the sense of dread each had but that's it. The opening theme captured the essence of the title quite well, having a bittersweet swooning vocal carried off by the swelling rise of the instrumentals. The same cannot be said about the ending theme, however, which was quite jarring and far too bushy-tailed for the sobering tone the series gave off. It was like if someone started playing the Bee Gees "Stayin' Alive" during a funeral session.
The show does have a fair share of issues outside of pacing (for those bothered by the idea of slow buildup) and that's honestly the choice to name things in a manner that does nothing but scream CAPTAIN OBVIOUS. You see, Argento Soma was Sunrise's not so subtle attempt of trying to pattern certain name and events after a classical novel, and in this case that was Frankenstein. But outside of the first episode, simply naming the found alien revived by a mad scientist "Frank" and having facilities and organizations named "Morgue" and "Funeral," there was very little that paralleled the classical novel. Instead, it's safe to say the show only superfluously borrowed these titles and it could have easily replaced it with something else without thematically affecting the significance of anything. In short, ignore the relevance of these titles, it's just as irrelevant as Evangelion's pointless theology symbolism and was only there to add flavor to the show and therefore shouldn't be analyzed beyond that. But what the show did have that was thematically resonating was the true concept that it opened up in the 3rd act but I'll save that bit of information for the spoiler section.
Perhaps the biggest issue the show has comes with the involvement of a character simply introduced as Mr. X, which is something that I will also save for the spoiler section given that my gripes with him can't be expressed without letting the 3rd act be spoiled in the process.
So with the 1st half of the series being dedicated to character and narrative buildup, it's the 2nd half that Argento Soma really struts its stuff. With carefully foreshadowed clues and moments that exposed new layers to the plot, everything comes together to a reveal that places the show in a league of its own. It stepped out of the realm of usual anime fodder and instead takes cues from cinema, more specifically one film in particular that I'll address in the spoiler section. It's like the slow climb up a roller coaster for the adrenaline filled drop to follow. It took all the mysticism that was hanging over the aliens and people and pulled that curtain away to finally present the larger concept at hand.
(Scroll down to enjoyment section to avoid)
What made the 3rd act so great was what it manage to do. Everything that it basically setup, in the beginning, resulted in the last few episodes being what I could only describe as 2001: An Eva Odyssey. It took the ingenious vision of Kubrick's film and pushed beyond its ending point by introducing a prologue that showed the genesis of mankind as a species, and the exodus of a new stage of human evolution into a grander sentient being. It literally and figuratively showed our limited understanding when brought face to face with an advanced species. Where humanity saw a brutal, uncaring race of otherworldly creatures, in reality, it was us humans that were the uncultured simple-minded species incapable of comprehending or understanding something beyond our current intellect. It's like a 2D person trying to grasp the idea of a 3D object. This plot twist even paralleled the journey of Ryu Soma as well, which made it a multifaceted reveal that serviced both the narrative and the characters. It's an idea that could have easily crumbled under its own weight but somehow manage to pull it off with such gravitas. And since Argento had already committed to making the show as grounded as possible, it was far more potent as a result. This isn't to say that Argento tackles the idea to the pedigree reached by Kubrick's magnum opus, far from it, but the fact that it manages to take and run with that idea is very impressive within itself. It's truly one of the most spectacular latter halves I've seen from any anime. But outside of this achievement, the show does have a major plot hole that hurt it towards the end, and that was the involvement of Mr. X.
David "Mr. X" Lawrence is by far the worst part of the show because with him brings a plot hole that I felt was a result of poor planning and split decision making by the studio and writers. Earlier on in the series, he was introduced as a sort of "devil on the shoulder" character that seemed to only exist in Soma's head. With his red hair, devilish features and constant consumption of apples (obvious forbidden fruit reference), we as an audience was meant to believe that he was, in fact, a figment of the protagonist's imagination. But due to what I could only describe as poorly executed retconning, this character was introduced as a flesh and blood human being that existed all along. Where the problem lies is that throughout the show he seemed to have the ability to appear and disappear without anyone else outside of Soma acknowledging him; so when the reveal is made that he could have been seen by anyone, it rendered many instances of him appearing out of nowhere (from what we were shown) to be bullshit. One could argue that because of Soma's borderline delusional state, he simply saw Lawrence at times when he couldn't fully follow his movements and that Lawrence's high-tech skills allowed him to evade cameras and personnel, but that still leaves the question as to how and why others weren't aware of his presence. This was sadly a plot hole with close to no proper explanation given, but one I dismissed given everything else the show was executing so well in regards to the "Space Odyssey" 3rd act as well as Ryu Soma's character arc.
***END OF SPOILERS****
I've never been one to care about the average scores accumulated by MAL users, but a 6.9 for this show is criminally low, perhaps the most underrated and sadly unwarranted score given to any series I've stumbled upon on MAL. Sadly misunderstood, a show with so many layers it effectively deafened itself to the general populace. And rather than take the time to decipher it, the quicker solution was to subject it to semantics and label it as an "Evangelion clone". I saw this at the right time in my anime viewing experience, never being bothered by the episodic first half or the methodical pacing. With intriguing characters and a plot that slowly revealed its hand, the more I watched it the more engrossed I became. The protagonist was one I've seen done wrong so many times that finally seeing his type done right was quite rewarding. Very few protagonist struck a cord with me the way he did. This was a show that only grew on me as it went along, and after episode 16-18, it became an addiction I couldn't stop watching. It was modest and always felt honest about its intent, and that's a quality I actively seek out in titles I watch. Argento Soma won me over, flaws and all.
This title is a methodical one that requires patience on the part of the viewer. For those that enjoy titles that slowly crafts and builds upon its end goal, the payout is satisfactory. Anyone seeking instant gratification shouldn't watch this. I don't like advocating the saying of "you're not ready for this show yet", but in all honesty, it's something that could only be appreciated by those past a certain threshold with their experience with anime. This is a title only accessible to those well versed in the medium. Until you as a viewer personally feel ready to commit to this series, I suggest keeping this tucked away for a later date. I can't promise the same payout I received, but I can assure that those fully aware of its intent would appreciate the ambitious piece of work before them.
The anime was fantastic, yes the main character may might have been a bit villainous, but he shows his true self in the end. The anime is very mysterious, and it does have its fun moments, but it is a serious type of anime. I personally thought this was a masterpiece, and beats all the junk. Yes it was a bit repetitive in the middle, but it was all in the plot.
Overall 10/10 and it is a must watch, if you think the main character is too "emo" like the other review, then DON'T EVEN bother watching this.
Upon finishing Argento Soma, I finally understood why mecha+philosophy anime fans don't talk about this show often beyond them many simply assuming it would be another Eva-clone. Once you understand the core premise, see the introductory episodes and realize what the show wants you focus on, it's clear that, for better or worse, Argento Soma is actually a rather humble endeavor.
The Premise's Promise:
You wouldn't think so at first. In reality, Argento has one of the more gripping opening episodes I've seen in the post-Eva mecha genre. It has all the right ingredients to be spellbinding: Our main character, Ryu Soma, who already struggles to understand
those close to him, the villain alien enemies are appropriately mysterious, and enough mysteries are set up to hook anyone who enjoys their drama to have build-ups, moments of calm/reflection, rinse and repeat.
The setup features a highly intelligent and adaptable main character who suffers from a wide range of emotional issues anyone can relate to, ranging from Empathizing, Narrow-minded conclusion making, and an unhealthy amount of Self-Absorption. Normally such a character would be deemed "dangerously unstable", but since the first few episodes take the time to be delicate with presentation, it's actually not too far of a stretch to say that he becomes our sole motivation to finish out the show. Several of my colleagues, ZephSilver and ThatAnimeSnob, have labeled this show a deconstruction of Evangelion (TV series); when it comes to its utilization of the protagonist I couldn't agree more. Shinji Ikari's docile, reactive nature has always created enmity and controversy in Eva across anime fans, and even fans of Eva itself, thus having Ryu Soma just as damaged but amazingly more attractive (both aesthetically and behaviorally) is impressive.
Thus, the greatest aspect of Argento Soma is in his plight for revenge; revenge for preventing him for closing off one of the greatest opportunities he was so dedicated to see through. Ryu Soma, who would otherwise be a disposable sub-villain in another show deemed to be killed off because how obsessive he otherwise is to higher serving plot, actually grows in this show. Nuanced, self-learned, growth. Watching such graceful attention-to-detail for this take on revenge is not just welcome but inspiring and a definitely worthy enough to recommend the show all from this merit alone.
The Price of Admission:
But what causes the most gripes after these introductory episodes? Patience with the rest. You see, Argento Soma is not the first Eva-inspired anime, let alone the first who managed to tweak the approach successfully, but it does take the longest for it decide and stand sturdy on its own identity - the surrounding world building and mythos the show has; by the time we realize what the show wants to actually say, it simply happens too soon for the maximum effect to hit the audience as it should.
Indirectly, this is because of how loose the pieces are put together. Unlike the more recognizable mecha anime like Eva, RahXephon, Macross, and Escaflowne, there just isn't a sense of culture to the setting. For example, the supporting cast; They are looked into of course thankfully, but not nearly to the same degree as Ryu. Not even into the main heroine. We see a bit of their past, but not nearly enough to clue us in as to why they live how they are in the present or possibly where they want to go in the future; an effect not unlike a bait-and-switch fashion. A general who might seem career-oriented then has an episode specifically built around painting a more sensitive side that otherwise throws her initial persona out the window instead of building on top of that.
This creates a huge void of conflict between the characters when this post-apocalyptic, military-minded setting would suggest otherwise. Everyone other than Ryu it seems has it all together compared to him; not only does this create this odd air of naivety in how the writers want to portray secret alien fighter's mentality, but it reduces clash with Ryu and his journey - at least, to a degree where we realize they simply don't have as much interest or impact.
And this applies to the setting too. Even though this does take place in the Unites States, certainly interesting alone. You would never think so while watching it. There is nothing indicative of American culture rubbing off on this in any way. They don't visit any cities, discuss or bring up any stereotypes (even if just for sake of using the culture), nor do any characters have any traits that can identify as such. This is eventually touched upon as serving the plot more later on, but again this is assuming someone has the patience.
Is it Worth Watching?:
But enough of about the composition, let's talk about the rewards for finishing Argento Soma, the outcome, the part where the show does decide to take its pieces and decide an outcome: Is it a successful venture? Ultimately, yes. In deciding to gamble a simple approach in the post-Eva world - something that benefits from merging together multiple plot threads and character motivations, Argento Soma's thematic delivery resonates as would a fairy tale: Pure hearted, earnest, hopeful... but ingrained from an anticlimactic standing.
It resonates upon main character Ryu Soma's long-standing conflict beautifully otherwise mitigating the anticlimactic timing in how late the big answers are given. My heart accepted the message, but my mind could only lament in how this show was created ill-timed. Such a fairy-tale rendering of its conclusion would work better in a pre-Eva mecha world, but at least the creators did not let that hinder their ambition to see their vision through despite the lack of polish.
Now onto some aesthetics. Sunrise did a pretty respectable job in animating the combat scenes, the plot mostly uses episodic monster-of-the-week battles but definitely does not skimp on the numerous ways the heroes combat them. You won't be watching this show for the action, but at least you won't be bored during battles either. What is rather boring are the alien designs... or should I say "design". There is pretty much one design used for the entire array of encounters. Yes, the later episodes do excuse it, but I could otherwise complain that the writing polished up everything in the planning stage.
Animation is generally consistent; for moments of extreme intensity - detail is improved to strengthen.
Actually, the biggest hit to the art are the character designs themselves. Although Shoukou Murase is a hell of a director (Ergo Proxy), his designs - especially here are warped and lazy. When characters look straight on, nose detail is just abandoned; hell sometimes mouths are just streamlined. Given that the show stems on its character drama, this is a huge distraction. I'm not usually one to harp on technical polish, but it's especially bothersome considering his designs in Gundam Wing are rendered and animated with 10x more fidelity, over 5 years before this show, from the same studio, with practically DOUBLE the episodes. Just saying; done now.
On the whole, Argento Soma, when seen today, is something of an artifact, a dinosaur. Made in an era where most mecha shows had two seasons worth of airing whether they needed them or not, it also came from an era that used established and recent conventional storytelling to accomplish a serious-minded journey about restrained human angst, personal development surrounding anger and hatred, all capping off to a meditation on the quiet but undeniable power that is the human potential to understand and forgive. When I realized this anime was made by the guy who helmed The Bio O - a heavily Western-drenched atmospheric show that also dabbled in the pained, bruised human condition - this mecha anime is definitely a raw gem worthy of seeking out. Its sincerity and impact will definitely range from person to person, and double could be said about its plot structure's appeal, but when you're done you are left with an indelible memorable impression that can only humble the spirit inside you.
Story: 6/10 - The Eva-inspired "mysterious aliens invade earth for unconventional reasons" are second to the personal journey of Ryu Soma. While the alien plot is addressed, the revelation's credibility simply strains the foreshadowing led up to that. Nevertheless, the plot holes do not damage the core appeal and power of the thematic resonation so the end result is bearable.
Art: 5/10 - Definitely not the worst looking show, however it soon becomes clear as day that the production was definitely more concerned with aesthetics than polished rendering. Quality will dip and rise which with whatever is needed for at the time. Infrequent switches like this will be jarring so it's important to bring this up.
Sound: 5/10 - Serviceable yet uninspired, the soundtrack uses simple tracks mostly for delivering a scene's importance or mood. Thankfully, it doesn't dominate over the character drama (letting them carry the show) so it becomes a case of where the OST does the job and clocks out when done.
Character: 8/10 - While everyone gets an even-handed treatment, the real star of the show is main character Ryu Soma's character arc which is so magnetic, nuanced, yet eminently attractive that it bleeds out to every part of the show. Everyone else has their part to play but I couldn't help but feel that it was mostly in relation to his conflict and not their own.
Enjoyment: 7/10 - In viewing this show back-to-back, I will be the first to admit that the show's pacing was hindered by the monster-of-the-week format. Almost every episode has some sort of value so I can't readily dismiss any episode as filler, but at the same time, I know full well that this didn't need to be made with 26 episodes. Good news is, from a point on, enough plot details are dropped to have the show gripping again so when the show gains momentum it generally shows effort to uphold it.
Overall: 6.5/10 (rounded up to 7 on MAL) - An imperfectly realized gentle and graceful tale of all the positive hopefulness the creators have for humanity, part of me respects the entire show for never stooping to outright silliness to see this through. There are certainly more polished, gripping, complex, and even rewarding mecha dramas like this out there in this diverse quirky medium, but few play the humble card, and even fewer conclude with it resonating with such conviction. To that end, Argento Soma is a worthy experience in my book.
This Anime was almost dropped. There are some problems with this show and they mostly revolve around the primary character Ryu .... err sorry Takuto is his name in the beging and this guy is an exreteme emo! He is a victim and he wallows in it. I won't go into his reasons for victim hood, but I will say that he starts as a emo and ends as one and I get the feeling he would be a wife beater. Needless to say, I greatly dislike Ryu. Fortunately, he is not the only character, more on that later.
Aside from Ryu, there is another annoying
aspect of this show, the music. Music was by Katsuhisa Hattori, a famous and accomplished composer / conductor. Argento Soma is a military show, based in the US, so they used military style music, kind of. It was more like music from a military graduation ceremony. Maybe in Japan, that is what they think of when they think of American military music. I don't know, but it didn't work for me.
But wait, the show is based in the US? Well, that is different and I like different. Also it is a military show, meaning adult characters, something else I like. In fact there is only one child, Hattie, in the show and she truly acts like a kid. Wow, an anime that realistically portrays the characters! Now, don't get wrong here, all is not peachy with the characters. Yes you already know I dislike Ryu, the others are likable but a bit shallow. After a few episodes they become fairly predictable but there are some surprises toward the end, so yeah, it's okay. They really take the edge off of dealing with Ryu and any one of the characters can carry a single episode with ease.
There are more things to like fore this is a Giant anime. Giant Mecha, Giant Aliens, and a Giant Robot. Yeah, the Mecha are pretty cool, the design is nice, and I really like the flight conversion, they are pretty unique although a bit underpowered. The Aliens, well they all look the same, but react differently, too bad they have no personality. The Giant Robot, Frank, I think he is the real star of the show. Frank is just a big bruiser, to fix things you just run up and hit it. If that doesn't work, hit it Harder! He also has a thing for young blonds, go figure.
Now the story. You have Giant aliens landing on earth for an unknown reason. The military is helpless to combat them. A special force is formed with advanced mecha to fight the aliens. The name of this force is NERV....... no no no it's Funeral.... Heheh, okay so the basic story is pretty much a rip of Evangelion without the religious overtones or teenage angst. But there is Ryu, he is full of angst! He is Shinji all grown up and he is still a whiner! Still the story does heavily borrow from Evangelion, transplanted to the US with Pilgrimage Point replacing Tokyo. It's okay though, there are no EVA's attached to extension cords, at least not really, there are no cords and the Mecha are not really EVAs , for the most part that is. Oh, yeah, and the ending is completely unlike anything in Evangelion, in fact it's pretty different and unique. Which is why I am glad I did not drop this anime.
Over all, it's Okay. Ryu is nauseating, the music is bad and the story is formulaic, yet I held out to the end and that is saying something.
Put on your helmets and prepare for the explosions. This is a collection of the 20 best war anime from the thrilling 2D battlefield! So what exactly separates them from the rest? Explosions? Drama? Political intrigue? You name it, they've got it.