AD. 2058, on the Clayad which was the 3rd planet of the Ypserlon system, which was 43 light years away from Earth, suddently aliens raided the planet.The emigrants on the Clayad had to escape from the planet. Because of the confusion during the escape, the children were strayed from their parents and got in the training space ship, Janous. With a lot of sacrifices, they managed to arrive at 4th planet Belwick. However, the Belwick had been already in the war. Therefore, the 13 children had to go to the Earth by themselves.
This is a quick review to let people know that this anime is terribly underrated. Not a lot of people have watched it so I guess it’s only recently been subbed. But I seriously recommend it. For a 1983 mecha, it features the best animation and characterization of the genre for years to come. In that decade, the flowing animation and clear character designs were rivaled only by OVA's and movies. I kept googling it and double-checking just to see if I wasn’t watching a 90’s/00’s remake by accident. You’ll watch this and wonder how Macross (slightly earlier) and Zeta Gundam (two years later) managed
to look so unappealing. More so considering this is apparently also Tomino’s brainchild, though he didn’t seem to be involved in production.
The premise doesn’t sound that original at first. A group of kids are stuck on a spaceship, somehow managing to survive constant alien attacks. The spaceship getting hounded by aliens thing has been around since Space Battleship Yamato, but the new thing is that the main group of characters are really just teenagers and mostly very small children. Suddenly your parental instinct kicks in and the stakes are alot higher. They wouldn't kill off a 6 year old main character right? Right...???
The other new thing is that it works. It’s light hearted, fun but exciting and suspenseful, very consistenly so, for 46 episodes. If you like the first couple of episodes, you’ll like all of them. Even my favorite genre series so far had boring filler episodes or flaws that stuck out like a flamingo at a funeral.
At the very least it wins the prize for least flawed mecha series of the early 80’s.
Being an obscure title from the 80s, I didn't have high hopes for this series, however, I found myself pleasantly surprised.
In the future, Humanity has reached out into space and colonised two other planets. The story begins on the most recently colonised planet, as it falls under attack by alien forces. The civilian population proceeds to evactuate and amidst the chaos of battle, the training ship Janus takes flight across the galaxy. It's crew number just over a dozen, most of whom are children.
Essentially, this is a story about 13 children, their travels across the galaxy, and the effect they have on the war. It's
a fairly light-hearted tale, watching the characters learning to cope in space, and learning to defend themselves, while they grow together as a group.
There is a fair helping of humour in the way the characters go about there task, but the series is generally a serious one. The scenario is also well crafted, with lots of little details as to how and why. I didn't really notice any loose threads.
The series weighs in at a hefty 46 episodes, but there's plenty of story to tell, and it keeps going at a fairly nice pace.
From the worried leader, to the excitable-military-nut, to the laid-back-jokester, the characters are solid, if perhaps a little simple, with a good variety of personalities.
For an 80s anime, the art is well done. The characters have lots of personality, and the battles are decent, with little noticable re-use of clips.
No complaints. The characters seem well-voiced. Hearing the little ones ask when they'll meet their parents will likely tug at a few people's heartstrings.
In short, it's a good series that doesn't really deserve to be overlooked as much as it seems to be. Sure, being from the 80s, the art is a bit dated, and scenes are paced a bit slower, but it's still a well-made series. I'll recommend this to people who like sci-fi, and think the characters should be more important than the mecha.
PS. It probably deserves an 8, but my bias against 80s anime says only 7 :P
Vifam can be best described as a show that settles upon simple concepts and focuses on executing them as well as possible. The show has a simple premise: humanity has expanded out into the galaxy and has come into contact with an alien race, over time war broke out between humanity and them, a group of children( from ages 4 to 15) got separated from their parents in the fighting, and we follow them as they go on an adventure through space to find them again. They learn to defend themselves, make hard decisions, and grow up a lot along the way.
These children and
their development is the focal point of the show, with the ongoing war and enemy attacks providing the background needed to facilitate their growth. The children really do feel like children, and there is a prevalent slice of life element present that connects you with them all as characters. Their trials are almost as much about learning proper social interaction and dealing with their own personal challenges as it is fighting off enemy mecha and managing their spaceship. The two intertwine constantly. All the characters are well developed, and in a stroke of brilliance the show delivers a story about how children – through their need to be protected and loved by their parents, a definitive trait of children – end up maturing into heroic, independent and reliable individuals who tend to do just fine without them.
Visually this show delivers, the art is rarely if ever off model and the mecha are well designed and tend to just look plain good. At times it looks as good as you would expect an OVA to. Even the grunt units tend to be well shaded and rarely are brought about via stock footage. What is especially interesting is that the mecha are incredibly plain – just about every unit has the same set of weapons and have similar capabilities, and yet every battle is dynamic and engaging. The choreography is extremely well done, especially considering how plain the mecha and their capabilities are. They pull this off by making battles multifaceted, adding in more elements than just the mecha combat, and by having a good sense of how to keep a battle visually engaging in general. Just like with the general themes and character development in this show the mecha element is simple and effective, focusing on high quality execution and not worrying about novelty or flashiness. The music is well done and achieves what it needs to. The main antagonist’s theme is really satisfying to me personally and is one of my new favorites in anime.
Vifam is an underrated gem from the golden age of mecha anime. It isn’t a flashy show at all. If anything it is the epitome of “substance over style”. If you like 80s mecha anime this is a must see.