Aoba is a young girl who loves to build models of robots. She lived alone with her grandmother until her grandmother passes away. Shortly after she is kidnapped and brought to a secret base where she discovers a huge robot. The piloted robots fight against Ancient-Jinki in The Grand Savanna, but the true meaning behind the fights is hidden. Aoba works hard at the base so one day she can pilot one of the robots and discover these secrets.
I really wanted this show to work. At the time of me watching this, I had yet to see someone try to make a mech show that has a female lead. That was the primary reason for me to watch this show. Within the first four minutes, I was interested. Tokyo Tower getting destroyed (as usual) and some psycho chick in a robot is about to kill some other chick in a robot. I got a bit confused as I was watching the show the first time. I ended up watching the show again just to see if I missed something and to do
this review more properly.
The story is simple as most mech shows are. The show tends to take a few pages from other shows.
“Oh look, a convenient manual for the robot happened to fall on my lap.”
The thing that may confuse some people is how the story is being told. The show itself is more or less based on two mangas: Jinki and Jinki:Extend. Jinki, being the prequel of the latter, occupies most of the spotlight during the first half of the show. While the initial story is going on, the story of the sequel, Jinki:Extend, is also being told in between scenes of the Jinki story. You will notice when there is a bright white transition the scene suddenly changes to character you met in the beginning suddenly are in Japan for five minutes, and then transition back and they are back in Venezuela. I think it was meant for the viewer to notice the transitions on their own, but sometimes when people are not paying attention (which was the case for me the first time) you tend to lose track on what is going on. You may end up thinking that the Extend manga scenes are flashbacks of the Jinki story. During the second half, the events of the Extend manga take over as the leading story. Though, the show picks up from here, it still felt a bit rushed. You get a few “OH SNAP!” moments during this part of the show, but it felt a bit forced due to lack of development.
The show is twelve episodes, well technically thirteen. They more or less tried to make a show that could have worked a lot better as a 26 episode show into 12 which forces the viewer to take in all the information quickly. The manga was still running during the process of the show which could explain some gaps in the story and the ending which left you wondering, “What the hell happened?” I guess this show was meant for those reading the manga. A good amount was actually skipped from the manga to tie both of the stories together. This show had a lot of potential, but the creators screwed up by making a shortened version of an unfinished manga.
The characters unfortunately did not get enough time to develop. At first, you get a lot time with Aoba and then the second half starts and you have to already know who the new characters are, because they do not spend much time on them. The villains of the show somehow worked though. Most of them are just plain evil, especially Shizuka. The dub for this character was on point. She acted so well I wanted to stab my monitor.
I didn't mind the mech designs that much. The Moribito itself looks a little bulky, but it made up for itself towards the end. Some of the later suits actually look good too. I can’t say much about the mechs since most of the story centers around the characters not the mechs.
The show has been licensed for a while, so I have to talk about the dub a bit more. It can be hit or miss at times. It is an ADV dub, so you can expect the usual staple of people doing the show. I have bit of a bias since I love most of the cast, most not all. One of the pilots from the Extend story just did not work for me. For me, the best part is Vic Mignogna playing a shape shifting, psycho, child rapist. Hilarious. As a side note, don’t play this show too loud on whatever it is you use. Brittney Karbowski, who plays Aoba, can scream like you can’t believe, which I commend her for doing. Final things about the dub you should know, is the previews for each episode were…it would be best if you just listen to the Japanese previews and see for yourselves.
Overall, I thought the show was not as bad as I thought it was and I didn’t think it was terrible before, just confusing. Again, had each manga were given enough screen time, it would have worked out. As a side note, for those who are tokusatsu fans, you can compare the way the story is being told to Kamen Rider Kiva. That show has a story being told in 1987 and another in 2008. It would be the same, except in Kiva they do a better job at the transitions between times. It even gives both stories equal screen time. Ah, but I digress, I think that people should try this show out. Even with its flaws, it is worth a watch. It’s short and you can bang through this show in one day. Just make sure you pay attention. If you are given the choice of the sub or dub, I would go with the dub. I think the cast did a good job. They acted all over this show and for that I thank them. It’s not perfect I know, but this is one of the few shows that are giving equal opportunity to leading mech pilots.
By the way, the opening and the ending sequence is a homage to Mobile Suit Gundam and Mazinger Z respectively. Just in case you didn’t notice.
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Mecha shows with female leads aren't really that common (the other one I've watched is Rinne no Lagrange. Not sure if Kannazuki no Miko counts considering the one who piloted most of the time was the guy character) so I decided to give Jinik: Extend a shot. That and it's OP is a reference to the OP of Mobile Suit Gundam. Really. View Jinki Extend's OP, then MSG's. You'll see.
Jinki Extend would have worked better as a longer anime, or one with two seasons. there are two storylines- one starring Aoba, and the other one starring Akao. Chronologically, Aoba's arc occurs before Akao's, but the
anime shows them both at the same time, making it quite confusing. To save you the trouble, if there's a flashy scene transition it's probably going to shift from one arc to the other.
This showing of two arcs at the same time is not a good idea-the show gave us a lot of time in the first half with Aoba, then it suddenly shifts into focus into Akao in the latter part. However since you have not been given time to "bond" with this new cast, you may not care for them as much.
The mecha design is okay-nothing stands out, really. Music is very good- it gets you pumped up for the battles. Especially in the Akao arc, with it's city setting. Expect lots of collateral damage.
Overall however it's not too bad- I still enjoyed the series, especially near the end since both storylines merged and we get too see characters from both arcs fight together, which was great.
This would have been better if it had two arcs-or at least, if it showed everything in chronological order. As it stands it's just an average anime-still enjoyable, but don't expect it to be really good.