Jul 31, 2008
YoungVagabond (All reviews)
What, that's it?

Despite not being much of a mecha fan, I decided to check this series out after a lot of strong recommendations from friends and online sites alike. I was expecting a compelling story, jaw-dropping action scenes, and decent humor. Those predictions went zero for three.

Instead, I got a series which seems to have no clue what kind of story it wants to tell. Is it a romance story framed around action and comedy? Or is it an action series with comedy and romance thrown in? This synthesis can work, as long as the director is talented enough, and as long as putting these different elements together actually makes sense. Here, it doesn't.

It's ridiculously contrived; there's no logical reason for a secret military organization to protect a Japanese schoolgirl, there's no explanation for why they would do so by any means other than kidnapping her, and there's no attempt at justifying a valuable military agent being used for that purpose. The whole pay-off here is supposed to be the humor in a naive member of the Special Forces going undercover in a Japanese high school.

Now, if this set-up was treated as something absurd in its own right, with the fourth wall being broken, it could work. But therein lies the problem. It's treated seriously, just like a 14 year old, pink-haired, cute girl with giant eyes and a soft voice being the supreme commander of our secret military organization is treated with stone-faced sincerity, also.

Then, the viewer is suddenly expected to care when the show takes a serious turn, and our Japanese schoolgirl heroine Chidori is kidnapped by an evil terrorist. It just doesn't work together; either stick with a humorous, light-hearted comedy approach, or go with a suspenseful action series instead.

Worse still, neither the comedy, action, nor the romance in this series is particularly good.

The humor was bland. A lot of canned, frequently repeated jokes from live action films, and too much of it based on a clueless military protagonist who doesn't understand civilians, a running gag which wears thin quickly. Most disappointingly, the show at no point mocks its own absurd premise.

The cast is filled with shallow, cliche characters, stereotypical and retarded anime conventions (high school girls beat up a highly trained military operative), and perplexing and unreasonable events. One can't make a solid romance in such circumstances, either.

The action was marginal at best, and an awful, mailed in job at the worst. The hand-to-hand fighting was stiff, awkward, and is worse than at least half the action anime from the nineties, let alone this decade. The mecha action was worse than any Gundam series from the mid 90's onward.

The positives of the series is that it has good pacing and at least tries to inject some comedy into the work. The animation is also nice. That's about it. Don't believe the rest of the hype.