Cluster Edge Academy isn't just any school; it's THE school, where the offspring of the elite come together to prepare for their roles running a world where artificial soldiers and religious sects are major factors in the battle for total control. Which may be part of why new transfer student Agate Fluorite doesn't quite seem to fit in. It's not just that Agate's enthusiastic attitude stands out among the somber, brooding balance of the student body. There's something about him that demands notice, even from jaded honors students like Beryl Jasper, and from the moment of arrival he's been at the center of a series of mysteries that not even Agate understands. Because Agate's not just another student, he's part of a something so momentous, and dangerous, that the world that built Cluster Edge may not survive its passing.
Cluster Edge is a pretty good anime if you are into shows like Gundam Wing and/or any other type of action oriented, bishonen anime. Contrary to popular belief, this show is NOT shounen-ai regardless of the fact that all of the central figures in this series are male. It does seem to go a little overboard with the flashbacks but that's just the narrative style of this series plus it really doesn't interfere with the overall pace of the show. The art is pretty bad in some places but it actually gets better—or maybe you just forget about it—as the show moves along.
Cluster Edge, visually speaking, at times has the look of an older anime. Sometimes 5 years....sometimes 10 years older, like it's an anime from the mid 90's. Now if you take a good look at some of the characters, you can see it's a newer, more recent series.....but the other half of the characters, especially the side characters, they look 'flat'. They don't have that polished cell-art look and the background/scenery is equally flat looking.
The motion isn't too bad. I'd say it's on par with most 90's anime, meaning, you will see the odd or stiff movement every once in a while and also those fight scenes comprised of a couple still frames with the with the sliding lights FX in the background. But even with the oldish looking art and animation, I still loved it because the objects being represented were all new and fresh or what I should say is that it re-invents what is known and old...into something new and fresh.
This anime is one of those 'hybrid' animes.....I call them Hybrid animes because they like to take vintage objects, namely machinery like cars, planes, boats, etc and then hybridize them with futuristic mecha. There are quite a few of them out there, Last Exile is probably the most famous for this hybridization technique though.
If you thought the art looked dated, wait till you get an earful of the music!! SUPER old school synthesizers from the 80's I tell ya! The only difference is that now you have the luxury of digital sound technology so you don't get any of that pesky static laden noise of a phonograph needle moving across the vinyl disk during audio playback.
The 1st OP theme song, Fly High, is of the POP/Rock variety, it's not too bad sounding and it actually fits the overall theme of the series. A couple of episodes further in, they added sound FX of glass breaking and bullets to go with the visuals of the OP credits....it also made the song sound better too.
Same can be said for the 1st ED theme song which was more or less on the same line as the musical score for Weiss Kreuz with it's boy-band flavor.
You'll get an even more super caffeinated,sped up boy-band flavored music for the 2nd OP song 'Keep on Dreaming' and then for your 2nd ED there's a somewhat average sounding ballad [male vocal].
The BGM used for this series I'm pretty sure was basically recycled or revamped Gundam Wing background music. I also watched this show in Japanese so I really had no issues with the voice actors, I think they all did a great job, no one sounded to old to be a teenager...well except for maybe Beryl, he sounded kind of too old to be only 15.
The best thing this series has got going for it has got to be the actual story. Now, I will admit that I was first interested in this show because it was presented to me as a shounen-ai piece....and some people even still say it's shounen-ai or “shounen-ai lite”. I really don't know what the heck is that supposed to mean and frankly I think a lot of people are letting their fantasies get the better of them cuz this isn't shounen-ai....not even shounen-ai lite. Just because an anime features an all boys school or a predominantly male cast [even if they are all bishies] doesn't automatically equate to shounen-ai...sorry but even without the shounen-ai element to the story it is still it's best selling point for this series.
The actual theme or plot that Cluster Edge offers is nothing new really: young boys flying around in big machines shooting things and blowing them up + you got some magic powers thrown in the mix...all pretty much standard issue within the mecha-fantasy shonen construct. The real enjoyment comes from their particular brand of the storytelling, which to me was artistic and innovative. Many might disagree with that point and just say that the story moved too slowly or that it was over-burdened with way too many flashbacks and that may be true but I enjoyed it nonetheless because while I like might like a good anime with a lot of fast paced action, I also whole-heartedly enjoy an anime that offers little or maybe just one action then switches focus on to everyone's subsequent RE-action.
That's how Cluster Edge is narrated, it gave you a bit of action and then focused on everybody's reaction and how the felt, like how the death of one affects the life of others...but it didn't just focus only on that one morbid concept. It touched on broader, more philosophically poignant themes such as the casualties of war and the importance of life, also how technological advancement can yield dual consequences and finally, human suffrage and equal rights [eventhough it's for a bunch of clones].
The way the characters look or I should say rather that its their physical appearance and design that is one of the more fundamental criterion I'll use to evaluate a show and decide whether I'll watch it or not. It's been said by other reviews, both here as well as on other forums that just one look at these characters and you'll most definitely recognize some Gundam Wing characters in there. Now some people automatically go *BLEECH!* to there mere suggestion of Gundam Wing much less the idea of an newer anime series that's more or less kind of a throwback to the former series. But I don't really care! I LOVE IT!!! I am a sucker for a good bishonen anime series.
I especially love Agate's physical appearance with his dark hair and dark eyes...very few animes give their lead characters black hair w/black or dark brown eyes. I love the expressions on his face especially his mischievous yet at the same time still good natured smile. With Fon, it should be pretty obvious that his character parallels that of Quatre Winner from GW with that cluelessly sweet and empathetic do-gooder personality of his. I also loved Chrome and his renegade crew of automated soldiers--I thought the triplets were funny. The character I disliked the most was probably the teacher Hema-sensei....for an adult he was pretty wussy and indecisive, the most redeemable quality about him was that at least he knows it. He'd often say how much stronger and more driven Chance and Vesuvia were compared to him. He really was a wuss.
The main thing that bothers me about the characters' design has got to be the way the artist tapers in the boys' waistlines....it's too small and that makes the hips too much like females' hips. It's one thing to have long hair or a girlish face but it's another thing to have that long hair + a girlish face + girlie body.... it's too much! When the draw boys overy girly like that, there's nothing to say—animation wise—that it's NOT a female we're looking at and that the [male] voice actor wasn't just 'mis-casted' to play the role. Actually their whole body frame was too small, then the whole small waist/wide hip thing...it became even more apparent whenever the boys wore their school blazers buttoned up. I'm not saying boys can't have small frames, Vegeta from DBZ was small framed...but he was built like a man, and even all the bishonen pilots of Gundam Wing, though each were small in stature, were all built like boys.
Worth it or NOT?
This show doesn't really have any collectible value and while it was a pretty captivating story while I was watching it....it's not something I would watch again because I know the ending already. Plus there weren't too many funny or memorable moments prompting me to rewatch it and lastly, I've already had all the key scenes engrained in my memory due to all the flashback scenes and re-cap episodes so that even if I were to watch this show again it would feel more like I'm watching it for the 8th time instead of only the second time around.read more
When I finished this anime then overlooked this page again all I could think is: "Wow, how does this series only have a 6.64 rating."
The plot covers a lot of very hard hitting topics in today's society. War, discrimination, human cloning(basically.. except they made them with superhuman and supernatural powers). They mix in comedy very well while keeping the seriousness intact. My favorite are the triplet artificial warriors. Their actions are brilliant, like when they tied the flowers back to the broken stem after they got told it was a waste to pick them if they were just going to smell them.
The only thing that gets me down with this anime and many other animes that involve organizations is that I can't believe humans could be so cruel. For some reason I'd like to think even evil corporations would have good guys in them as well but I guess that is too childish. :-P
I'd recommend this anime to anyone. It is one of the best overall animes I've seen recently.read more
I have to be honest - I don't understand why this has such a high rating. I'm hard-pressed to think of a show with poorer execution than this one, which managed to take some decent elements and squander them utterly by being one of the dullest shows I've ever watched.
And, really, that's the problem - this show is obscenely boring. Yes, the planes are really cool, yes, the politics should be interesting, but the pace is awful and the main character, Agate, is rendered about as well as a 4 year old's self-portrait. Its really quite mind-numbing.
A big disappointment. I really wanted to like it, because, like I said, the planes are really great. But its an exercise in boredom at best.read more
I found the story to be very interesting and unique. I tried to think of something similar to put in as a recommendation, put even with all the anime I've watch (which is a lot), I couldn't think of anything remotely similar.
The main character, Agate, had an interesting personality, and the flashbacks to early in his life added a lot to the story. The supporting characters helped tie the whole show together and each had their own habits, personality, and style as well.
It was a great anime, if only it had been condensed into fewer episodes. Practically every four episodes was a recap, which got rather annoying, but I felt like I had to watch the recaps in fear of missing vital plot information. My suggestion: watch the show. It's good. But if you get to a recap, skip it. Nothing new happens in them. Enjoy.read more