The story of the anime is set in the year Mobile Century 8013. It has been over seven millennia since humanity was wiped out on Earth, but the surviving military robots continue to wage war with no end in sight. The war has embroiled the Rebellion Federation that controls Europe and the Principality of Shin centered in Asia. Three young robots stand up to put an end to this futile war.
So, let me get this out of the way first, Chokkyuu Hyoudai Robot Anime: Straight Title is absolutely NOT what it seems to be at first glance, and even MAL seems to have been mistaken. Straight Title is NOT an mecha action anime, it is a comedy anime through and through. Now that's out of the way, onto my review.
When I first heard of this show, I immediately went “Cool! A mecha anime with lots of action using MMD? Sounds awesome!” However, after the action-packed opening sequence, I learned that I was sadly mistaken as the line immediately after the title stated “This anime is
made for the viewer to enjoy the cuteness of robots, while enjoying a hardly noticeable, inoffensive investigation.” I just got trolled pretty hard by an anime... Did I rage? No. Did I immediately drop the anime because it wasn't what I expected? No. I simply took it in stride and, in the end, ended up enjoying what the show had to offer.
The basic story of Straight Title (or as I like to call it MMD Robots) involves three robots in a world where humans have gone extinct. Mori, Katou, and Fujii are on a quest to end the ongoing robot war (shown in the opening) by finding out how to cause laughter. Sounds stupid, right? Well, it is. But, just throw that all out the window because no one really cares about the story in an anime made solely for the purpose of comedy anyway. Episodes are generally divided into three skits: 1) a skit where the robots introduce and attempt to imitate a style of Japanese comedy, 2) a skit where the robots make something random happen to the opening sequence, usually altering it in some comedic way, and 3) a locale-themed skit where the robots take items from an everyday locale such as a school or hospital, and try to imitate some sort of behavior using the items. The third part is my personal favorite because I honestly don't know if it's scripted at all, rather, it may be all improvisation and the seiyuu (voice actors/actresses) are all doing exactly what the characters on screen are doing. The seiyuu really seem to enjoy themselves and have fun while doing the third part, even going so far as to seemingly fall out of character and laugh, which the show plays it off saying “The noise that resembles human laughter is due to the robots receiving interference from the archives, and is temporarily affecting their external speakers.” While others may see it as being “unprofessional”, hearing the seiyuu and seeing the characters on-screen seem to have fun made me enjoy the show even more.
I've heard complaints that the animation “sucks” in this show and my response to that is “It's MMD, what were you expecting?” For those of you who don't know, basically, MMD is short for MikuMikuDance and is a freeware program originally made by one guy so that he could make the Vocaloid character, Hatsune Miku, move and dance. Since then, it has receive numerous updates but is still notoriously hard to use properly, especially for the inexperienced. For MMD, the animation is pretty good, so much so that I think it could be submitted to an MMD competition if it was more than just robots head-bobbing most of the time. The character designs manage to avoid some of the bigger issues that plagues MMD and most parts are large and/or immobile on purpose.
All in all, I thought the skits are fine and even somewhat educational, teaching me about different styles of Japanese comedy; though some of the skits managed to really cracked me up at times. The animation may seem bad but, if you really know about what was used to make it, I find it fairly impressive. Give it a shot. You'll probably never see anything like it again and you might even enjoy it, just don't expect much.
It seems that even a pure comedy series needs a premise with some weight, to anchor itself down; Robot Anime is much stronger in this sense than the similar GdGd Fairies. Put another way, stories need a reason for existing, in this case the quest of the three robots to discover laughter, providing a few laughs and a couple of very poignant moments along the way. The characters of the three robots are quite middle-of-the-road, but very well defined and distinct. Their humour (and most of the show is humour) might tickle a Japanese audience nearer the funny bone, but is still quite good. I
doubt it would be laugh-out-loud anywhere, but the clever analysis of humour itself is something to be quietly appreciated in any country. The physical comedy of sequences where our heroines simulate cross-dressing robots, or a roller-skating headmaster, to end the war, loses nothing in translation. Perhaps this isn't the funniest show in the world, but it is unique, and certainly worth a look.