May 17, 2013
pleochroic (All reviews)
my main impression: whoever came up with the original concept as well as the script writers for this anime need a really good editor, who can wrangle their ideas into something that actually hangs together structurally and makes sense. because there were plenty of ideas here, quite possibly too many, and the result is a hodgepodge of giant plot holes held together by spit and enthusiasm.

i can't remember the last time i watched an anime that was so meticulously produced, so overall pretty, so well animated and orchestrated, and found it such an unholy mess on the inside, which ultimately left me unfulfilled.

story: there are two main stories here; one consists of a high school's robotics club trying to put together a giant robot, the other is pretty much at the other end of the spectrum: saving the world from mysterious villainy. the first part is decently executed (love the battle bots!), but it soon takes a back seat to the second one, which is sadly not executed well at all. i liked the twist, which i did not see coming, but i didn't like the hurried exposition explaining it all. the pacing of this story is all over the map; IMO 22 episodes are enough time to handle it much better.

animation/art: production IG, need i say more? it's beautiful. so much detail, and characters even change their clothes and hair styles several times! backgrounds showcase tanegashima (an island off the south coast of kyuushuu), where japan's actual space facilities are located -- i want to go!. smooth animation, good cinematography. i have no complaints here; it is a joy to watch.

sound: my reviews tend to lack good notes on sound because, while i know good music when i hear it, i don't have a knowledgeable vocabulary to convey its nuances. i like the BGM here, i also like the OP and ED songs (i'm becoming a fan of itou kanako; a strong, non-cutesy female voice). the voice talent is decent -- shinichiro miki is wasted as sawada, morikawa toshiyuki does a fair but kinda bland job voicing kimijima (for which he probably should not be blamed), and nazuka kaori steals the show with her interpretation of fraukoujiro.

characters: great visual design, sub-par personalities.
1. senomiya akiho, super-enthusiastic president of the robotics club with a serious inferiority complex about her older sister misaki who first had the idea of building a giant robot for the famous anime "gunvarrel" 9 years ago.
2. yashio kaito, whose sole interest at the start is playing a giant-robot battle game, at which he excels. otherwise he doesn't seem to care about anything, doesn't want to do anything, and basically just lays around, only moving when aki drags him around.
3. daitoku junna, a moe blob with a fear of robots (she has reason).
4. hidaka subaru, megane guy with delusions of bishounen/liberace grandeur, heavily into robots, serious to a fault
5. fraukoujiro / furugoori kano, shut-in, geek, gamer, genius programmer, fujoshi, equal-opportunity lecher
6. yukifune airi, AI interface

that doesn't sound so bad, you say? well, it's not bad bad, but it's just... there isn't enough character development here. we get a bare bones skeleton for most of them, and while we might find out a secret or two, we don't really get to know these people, and they feel almost generic (except that their character design is very good). except furugoori, who is quite a unique character, albeit bordering on caricature.

aki and kaito both drive the show; everybody else feels like an extra. aki bulldozes ahead on the robot-building side, while kaito investigates the odd occurrences that start with an alleged ghost. he becomes a little more interesting as time goes on, but i had a hard time warming up to him because he is just not innately curious (unlike me, *wry grin*), and keeps dragging his feet, almost lackadaisically stumbling across serious secrets, and showing little intellectual curiosity. he frustrated me a lot until fairly late in the anime when he grows a pair. his saving grace all along is that he does care about those he considers his friends, and he will act to help them, often quietly behind the scenes. i am happy to say what little romance this anime involves is actually well done, no typical stupidity involved.

i can't talk about the villain(s) without spoilering, but that's probably my biggest disappointment -- we get no good villain. there is no proper motivation for the villainous intent, and frankly, most fights between good and evil just bore me; i prefer conflict between good-yet-flawed characters, dilemmas that make me think. don't get that here. oh, and i could have done without the parrot ex machina intervention at the convenient moment; i actually laughed -- not what i should feel moved to do in a life-or-death situation

so where the heck did the monopoles come from? is that ever explained and i just missed it?

in short, i enjoyed watching it, but the pay-off didn't materialize, and the 7 is primarily there because the production is so good, and i average all values to get my overall score. i don't think that i would recommend it to my friends.