Tag Archives: Mecha

Mobile Fighter G Gundam

Type: Super Fighting Robots!

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Synopsis: So what do you do after your Mecha series has gone on for 15 years with waning popularity? Some people would double down on what brought them to the dance in the first place…but screw that! Who needs introspective war narratives when you could have Giant Robots beat each other up real nice!!

Pros: One of the most interesting things about Mobile Fighter G Gundam is the history surrounding it. The anime premiered on the 15th anniversary of the Gundam series. It was a franchise reboot, and the first to diverge from the original “Universal Century” timeline. This newest entry into the Gundam franchise moved away from military stories to a outlandish martial arts story. And it worked! Fighter G did revive the Gundam franchise. I know that it was the first Gundam series I watched. It’s had clear influences on other media, from Gurren Laggan to Pacific Rim. And funny enough, Neon Genesis Evangelion would premiere a year after. The premise, which is very Shoen inspired, is that each nation now lives in orbiting space colonies. Every 4 years, they hold a world tournament where national representatives fight one another in Gundam Mechas. So you wind up with things like the Canadian Gundam fighting the Russian Gundam, and etc. This was the funnest aspect of the show, seeing what each nation’s Gundam looked like and fought. It may not sound very intellectual, but it was very fun.

Cons: This was very much a “boys manga” anime (even if it wasn’t based on any manga). There’s only one Female pilot in the entire show. The story is exactly what you think it is. A passionate protagonist enters a fighting tournament to help his family. He finds 4 rivals; a cocky American, a Posh Frenchman, a Stoic Russian, and a care-free Chinese teenager. Hmmm, America, Russia, France, and China, where have I head those names put together before….(also: sorry Britain, someone had to go!). The story will not blow your mind. It mostly goes from fight to fight. Tonaly, it’s a complete 180 from the rest of the Gundam franchise. So traditionalist won’t really enjoy it. And the animation hasn’t help up in the strictest sense.

Watch it?: Great Fun (4/5)

MVP: Domon Kasshu

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Pilot of the GOD GUNDAM

Best Episode: Ep45. “Farewell Master: Master Asia’s Last Breath” (master vs student)

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Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet

Type: Like Battlestar Galactica, if it was about boats and was more chill

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Synopsis: One culture’s a military based futuristic space alliance, the other culture’s a community based sea faring people. Their the original ideological odd couple!

Pros: This show has really strong first two episodes. The anime opens with the large, if slightly generic, space battle, but quickly transitions to rustic sea based setting. The protagonist, Ledo, is a pilot of a mech who crash lands on a ocean planet. His mech is discovered by the scavengers of a large ship fleet community. When he wakes up, both he and the ship’s authorities are wary of each other. But, in perhaps one of the more mature moments I’ve seen in anime, the chose communication over violence. So the first two episodes are simply each side trying to get a bearing on each other. The commentary on community and social groups presented in this anime is fascinating. One one side you have Ledo, a member of a clearly technologically superior society. But his society is also highly militant, having been in a very long war, so his outlook is very singularly focused. If something does not benefit the community directly, it is useless. This applies to things like fun and games, to things like Families, as families aren’t efficient enough to produce soldiers. On the other side you have Gargantia, another community based society, but one that is more flexible. Instead of efficiency they focus on balance. Both sides have good and bad outcomes. Ledo’s community have little patience for emotion or the weak, but they have made extraordinary advances in technology, while Gargantia’s community clearly have more freedoms, but they also have crime and poverty. The majority of the show is basically Ledo having to integrate into Gargantia’s culture, right down to having to learn their language and trying to apply his specific cultural skills into Gargantia’s. So this show has a secondary immigration theme as well. It is in these aspects that Gargantia is the strongest in.

Cons: While the show has a strong opening, it has a very weak finish. The last 3 episodes turn into a generic action-drama, where the protagonist is met with a person from his past who forces him to reevaluate his beliefs. It falls short of the show’s quality story up to that point, and feels way off based given the show’s slice of life tone. It’s also superfluous, as a revelation in earlier in the plot already made Ledo question his beliefs. In fact, the entire last story arc felt more like it belonged in a second season rather than here. Maybe the writer’s wanted to tie everything up? Ep5 had a similar problem at the opposite spectrum, trying to be the “funny episode” with some fan service and stereotypical transvestite shows.  Hardy har. On a more subjective note, I had a problem with the show’s overall ideological argument. From my perspective, the show strongly argued for cultural assimilation. Everyone always tells Ledo to learn the language, follow their rules, get a job, and adhere to their customs. Which is fine, whatever, their house, their rules. But no one ever asked Ledo about the cultural knowledge he can contribute. The boy is literally a space man with a talking robot! But no one ever asks him what he knows about technology, battle formations, the local solar system. His machine has a unimaginable amount of information, but the people of Gargantia have it move boxes and catch fish. The commander of the fleet doesn’t even meet with him (which is an incredible security lapse if you ask me). The show is not unbiased in comparing Ledo’s society with Gargantia’s. Gargantia is great, and Ledo’s filthy space savages can teach them nothing. Ledo is forced to join the Melting Pot, but a Melting Pot only works if all aspects fuse together. If one aspect overpowers the other, you have a recipe for a bad soup and a bad society.

Watch it: Everything up to Ep.10 (4/5)

MVP: The Setting

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I love a Fleet Communities in Anime. Quarians, the 13 Tribes, etc.

Best Episodes: Ep1&2 “Castaway” and “The Planet of Origin”

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Mobile Suit Gundam-San

Type: Will this horribly cute war never end!?

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Synopsis: Gundam is about the horrible ramifications of was on the human spirit…but it can also be about a moron’s escapades in space!

Pros: Mobile Suit Gundam-San is a parody anime. It makes fun of the original Gundam series in small 4 minute segments. Great for Gundam fans with busy schedules. There’s plenty of fan service, juvenile jokes, and a weird subplot involving a bird dressed like Char.

Cons: It’s pretty stupid [I mean, I loved it, but lets be real]. You also really need to have seen the original Mobile Suit Gundam series to get any of the jokes.

Watch it: It’s only 4 minutes a piece. It’ll take about 30 minutes to get through. (4/5)

MVP: Char

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Is he really the red comet?

Best Episode: All of it (its really short)

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Full Metal Panic!

Type: Plus Second Raid

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Synopsis: A child soldier named Sousuke Sagura is sent to Japan school to guard a possibly magic girl named Kaname Chidori. Weirdly, the international peace keeping force that sent him neglected the fact that he has not espionage skills, or that he would fall in love. Because of this incredible oversight, his cover in blown right off the bat, putting himself and his charge in constant danger. On the positive side, this does mean the two get to go on the occasional date/counter-terrorist mission.

Pros: This show is the more serious parent series of Fumoffu, which is considered one of the funnier anime series around. For those wondering, yes, during the less action packed episodes, Full Metal Panic! can be just as funny as Fumoffu. The series itself is a military themed action-drama in which the Sausuke Saguar and the counter-terrorist organization “Mithrill”  fight Cobra, I mean the bad guys. Both season one and two have respective big bads, though I’d give the nudge to Season 1’s bat-shit scary Gauron. That man was frightening. The show has really strong characters, each feeling like they have depth and personality, even if they only show up for one scene. Tessa, for example, was portrayed a competent military officer, despite having a jealous crush on Sagura and being designed like the typical “pure” character. The fact that she came off as a “real” person speak volumes for the character work in the show (that one scene in S.2, Ep. 8 was so good!).

Cons: This show ebbs in its pacing. It has really intense action arcs, but then really mellow episodes in between. So it goes really fast, then really slow. The first season was particularly guilty of this, being 25 episodes, some being clearly filler. Season 2 less so because it was only 13 episodes. In fact, Season 2 had a lot less high school scenes than season 1, though Fumoffu had premiered in between, so it sorta balances out. Full Metal Panic! is based on Light Novels, meaning that in classic Light Novel Anime fashion, we don’t get the full story. We don’t know what the “whispered” are. We don’t know about Amalgam. And we end on and open-ended finale. The anime itself is also pretty violent at times, veering from PG-13 to R regularly during the action episodes.

Watch it?: As far as military/high school anime goes, its pretty good. (4/5)

MVP: Tessa Testarossa

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Honestly, even I underestimated her

Best Episode: S.2, Ep. 8 “Jungle Groove” (honestly, S.2 Ep.7-13 are must watches)

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Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere (Season 1 & 2)

Type: I think I’m in Love

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Synopsis: Let’s try to keep this simple, shall we? In the distant future, Earth has become uninhabitable except for the islands of Japan. The country has been divided between outside nations, while the native population is forced to constantly travel on the ship Musashi. In addition, in order to restore the world’s civilizations, every country has decided to reenact history. Oh, and there’s also magic, ghosts, mechas, a perv that tries to save a robot that’s being inhabited by his dead girlfriend from future pope, a ninja that fall in love with Bloody Mary who may or may not be an actual fairy, and a Spain that seems to have a baseball-based military. It’s basically amazing.

Pros: I did mention that this was amazing right? This anime is visually vibrant, it’s action packed, it’s funny as hell, and knows the right ways to utilize music cues to get you hear racing and fist pumping. Seriously, I almost always to energized after watching an episode. It’s fun from the word go. The pilot is a battle-race that does an inspired job in introducing the rather large cast. Every character has their own personality and fighting style, and you honestly can’t wait to see one of them in a fight. I was also very cool to see how different historical figures where interpreted. Shakespeare was a particularly interesting choice. The first season focuses on rescuing the titular character Horizon from the Pope and Spain, while the second season focuses on the ninja Tenzo falling in love with a very blonde and very ample Bloody Mary, plus fighting England and Spain. It’s also has a tremendous sense of humor, with one of the characters straight-up being naked for the entire second season. I truly, truly hope we see more entries in this franchise in the future.

Cons: No matter how much I enjoyed this series, I cannot overlook the quagmire that is the plot. Seriously, I double checked on Wikipedia and still  cannot for the life of me tell you what’s going on. There’s just too much thrown at you to remember. The actual politics of the world itself are what lost on me. Like, why create doomsday weapons from the emotions of a dead girl? And why is society being run by student governments? And why repeat the bad parts of history at all, because you’ll really be wanting to skip all of 1913-1945. I can’t really say this was perfect if I didn’t understand what was going on half the time. Some of the girls also have what I like to call “balloon breast” that just came off as silly (though that may have been the point).  On a personal note, I know that there’s a game based on this show, and it sucks so hard that it’s only been released in Japan.

Watch it?: The most fun I’ve had watching an anime in a while (4/5)

MVP: Tenzo Crossunite

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Where can I get that hat!

Best Episode: Ep.1 “Those Lined Up Before A Horizon” (I don’t what’s happening, but I love it!)

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Guilty Crown

Type: Lost Christmas

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Synopsis: In this timeless holiday tale, Japan has all but become a colonized state due to an outbreak of a deadly virus on December 25th, 2029. Skip 10 years later, where this kid named Ouma Shu is caught up in this firefight between the terrorist group/early 2000’s garage band “Funeral Parlor.” The battle results in Shu getting awesome heart based powers (suck it Planeteers). Shu’s then tricked into joining the group with promises of smooches from pink haired girl Inori by the leader Gai. Then a bunch of stuff happens, Shu kills his incestous sister, he becomes “King” of his school (but not in the fun way), and everyone does a bunch of crystal. God Bless Us Everyone!

Pros:  This anime is beautiful. The animation was top quality, and the cinematography was awesome. And the music! I usually don’t notice these kinds of things, but whoever composed and directed the music deserves a raise. The actions was pretty cool too, especially the personality-based void weapons, and I always looked forward to a new one beings introduced. Story wise, the show can be split into two. The first 12 episodes were a mecha-like anime, right down to the outlaw group, quiet girl, and emotionally immature protagonist. The next 10 episodes were more of a political thriller, only with high school kids. You really get invested in the characters, especially in Shu. I won’t spoil anything, but lets just say, someone sorta becomes a prostitute. Plus, it has the one of the better wheel chair bound characters, possibly in all media.

Cons:  Firs off, screw Gai. That guy’s manipulation of Shu really bugged me, so much so, that it was hard for me to ever trust anything he said. Though, given that we’re supposed to sympathize with Shu’s point of view, this was probably intentional. I also thought that Shu’s and Inori’s relationship was never earned, especially when it was suggested early on that it was all a fabrication by Gai. Once again, screw Gai. The show’s main problem was that it was too short, so some story beats were glossed over. People go from friends to enemies and back again a bit too quickly. I also still have a few question: Like how did Inori meet Gai? How exactly did Shu’s sister turn evil? What was the deal with the serial killer and Daath kid? Why should I give a crap about anyone in the Undertakers? and is Inori just a famous pop singer on the side? I wish Guilty Crown would have have gotten at least another season worth of episodes. Other than that, some of the finer details of the plot are a bit convoluted, and on a rare occasion, the show gets too Nationalistic (though as an American, I’m not one to talk).

Watch it?: Best Christmas story since Rudolph. (4/5)

MVP: Ayase Shinomiya

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I wish we had gotten more of her

Best Episode: Ep. 15 “Confession:Sacrifice” and Ep.16 “Kingdom: The Tyrant” (I can’t believe they did that)

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Neon Genesis Evangelion

Type: You know the one

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Synopsis: Giant robots. Whiny teenager. Dick Dad. Alien (?) Invaders. Complexes. Whacky ending.

Pros: It’s pretty good. I mean, what more can I say? It has good design, good music, worthwhile characters, a surprising amount of humor. It’s hard to write about Evangelion because so many people know about it, and so many anime have been influenced by it. As a late initiate, all I can say to any newcomers is that the show is not as intimidating as you may think it is. In fact, the show has quite a bit of traditional anime gags to balance out some of the more serious stuff. The action scenes are also amazing, as each invading “Angel” look and act in radically different ways. Every fight means somethings, for the narrative at large and individual characters.

Cons: The Ending. Whoa, did I not see that coming. I’ve seen a lot of sloppy and confusing anime endings, but this one took home the grand prize. The show used a pseudo clip-show to get all Freudian on the characters, seemingly forgetting that it had an actual plot to resolve. What’s up with Lilith? What was Gendo’s ultimate dickish plan? Why only 14 year olds? Did Asuka ever get out of her funk? Why were the angels attacking? I also thought that Shinji was a bit too much of a wuss, but considering his circumstances and horrible father (who never redeems himself), I gave him a pass. Seriously, what the FUCK was with that ending!?

Watch it?: A classic. Just pretend Ep. 25-26 don’t exist. (5/5)

MVP: Misato Katsuragi

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I’d follow her fine behind into battle any day.

Best Episode: Ep. 19 “Introjection” (Personally, I wouldn’t have come back)

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Infinite Stratos

Type: Mecha Girls School

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Synopsis: So apparently, the trick to a female dominated world and universal peace is creating mecha suits that are incredibly powerful and can only be piloted by women. This will lead to a world wide non-aggression treaty, and make all other modes of warfare obsolete. All potential mecha pilots are then trained in quasi-military schools to keep that balance of power intact. This will of course all shatter when a man is finally able to use mecha suits, as his manly manness will distract the female pilots. Because girls, right?

Pros: I really liked this show, and could easily image myself watching it on main stream TV. I was able to get into this show relatively easily. Maybe I just really like the concept of “battle schools,” since that’s basically what this show is. Well, to be honest, its a harem love-comedy with a battle school as the background. But the actions is pretty good. If I was younger, I could easily see myself buying toys or playing games based on this show. I also really liked the pairing of protagonist Ichika and Charlotte. I thought they made a cute couple.

Cons: This is a somewhat quick harem. By this I mean that every potential love interest gets 1-2  introduction episodes, and is then set aside to the background. The only girls Ichika properly bonds with is Charlotte and his childhood friend Houki. If the show ever gets a second season, they may expand on Ichika’s relationship with each girl, but as it is, your left feeling a little rushed. I also felt that Ichika was a bit dense, even for a harem protagonist.

Watch it?: Yes, I thorougly enjoyed it (4/5)

MVP: Charlotte Dunois

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France’s Best Export

Best Episode: Ep. 9 “Ocean’s Eleven!” (not the movie)

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Eureka Seven: Good Night, Sleep Tight, Young Lovers

Type: Alternate Retelling

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Synopsis: Renton and Eureka are two kids raised together in a secret lab. Their peace is broken when soldiers kidnap Eureka and cause Renton to piss himself. Shamed by the weakness of his bodily fluids, Renton joins the army to make a man out of himself. Then he finds Eureka and runs away. He joins up with Gecko State, a group of terrorists who are actually terrorists in this universe. Did I mention that this was a parallel universe to the original Eureka Seven? Because it is. Eureka talks more and everything.

Pros: It was nice to see the Eureka Seven crew back together again. Renton, Eureka, Gecko State, their all here. This being a rehash and all, the plot was obviously sped up. What the original series covered in 50 episodes, this movie covers in 90 minutes. A lot more focus is put on Renton and Eureka as a couple. I particularly liked Eureka more this time around. This version of Eureka had more personality than the original, which was nice.

Cons: The problem with the movie was that you really needed to know what happened in Eureka Seven to like it. It kinda had an extension pack feel to it. Viewers unfamiliar with the cannon might feel that the movie’s plot is rushed. Gecko State was also kinda weird in this. They act a lot more whiny, especially Holland. Eureka Seven always had purposely awkward moments, I don’t think Holland’s dialogue was supposed to be one of them.

What it?: You know what? Nah. Some of the Eureka-Renton moments were nice, but that’s not enough.

MVP: Eureka

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I think she looks good with long hair

Best Moment: Renton telling Holland that he’s going a date with Eureka

 

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Linebarrels of Iron

Synopsis: Champions of Justice

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Synopsis: One day this kid get incredible powers and becomes a real asshole about it, but he learns that with great power comes great responsibility when his Uncle Ben…oh, wait, that’s a different story. The again, this story does have an outrageous boss. And the main character does join a team of earth’s mightiest heroes. And there are a number of super model level hotties that seem to like him. Well, at least his best friend never died….wait a minute!!

Pros: The best thing about this show is the character growth of the protagonist, Kouichi Hayase. Kouchi starts as a very weak person, being regularly bullied and resenting having to be rescued by his best friend Yajima. When he becomes the pilot of the Lineberrel mecha, he becomes arrogant and drunk on his own power. He only starts to snap out of it after Yajima dies. We then see a gradual change in Kouchi that ends with him becoming the kind of person others would follow and admire. He essentially goes from an immature kid to a respectable young man. This type of growth usually happens in the span of one episode or superficially, so I’m glad this show took its time with it. On a side note, I also love the boss Kunio Ishigami. He’s soo cool!

Cons: O.k. First off, this show uses the term “Champion of Justice” way too much. It’s like the writers paychecks depended on it or something. Second, I wrote above that Kouchi becomes an admiral personal, and that is true. But the sheer amount of trust this kid was given seemed a bit forced. I’m was kinda bummed by the 3-D mechs they used too. They weren’t bad or anything, but I personally don’t like when 2-D and 3-D animation to mix. The first half is also better than the second, mostly because Kouichi’s personal faults get more or less resolved by the halfway point. The last few episodes in particular were lack luster. They were your average final battle episodes, where the mysterious baddies finally show up and we get a big duel in space. I’ve seen it before, and I’ve seen it done better.

Watch it?: If you like Peter Parker, you’ll like Kouichi Hayase (3/5)

MVP: Kunio Ishigami

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I want this guy to be my Father and my Uncle and my Brother

Best Episode: Ep.4 “The Price of Justice” (this is how men do therapy)

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