A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist (Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai)

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a light novel series going for political satire.


This is set in an impossibly sanitized Japan where have been outlawed dirty words and any public display of obscenity ; every citizen wears a collar detecting forbidden words and calling the Public Morals shock-troops on them. It goes without saying that it’s a very oppressive dystopia.

Okuma, our protagonist, is mostly trying to lay low (what with his father being an indecent terrorist), wishing to lead a normal life and attend the purest high-school in the country. Okay, his motives may not be entirely pure ; he’s very admirative of…

Anna, the student council president of said school, who makes big speeches about upholding morals and stuff. She’s a charismatic figurehead, I’ll give her that. And she does invite him to help out ; since he comes from a low-morals background, he could be better at identifying terrorist acts. Because yeah, she’s so sheltered that she has little clue what obscenity actually looks like. Which makes it hard to fight the likes of…

Blue Snow, a major indecent woman, who wanders around half-naked while giving out tons of naughty pictures and spouting out dirty jokes. Also, she’s obviously Ayame, the quiet vice-president, avenging her falsely-accused father with the help of a device jamming the cuss-word-detectors for three minutes a day that he gave her.

She outs herself to Okuma, thinking he infiltrated the student council like her. When he refuses to help, she just blackmails him to do it anyway. (And hey, it’d be a massive scandal that could damage Anna’s reputation if the truth became known, eh ?)

Blue Rose’s point, beside the free speech argument, is that education (and entertainment) has become so sanitized that the current generation of teenagers (who’ve lived their whole life under the law) have no clue how sex and reproduction even work anymore. They still think and gossip madly about it ; they’ve just lost the vocabulary and practical knowledge. And that’s how she wants to help them, despite lacking actual picture references herself.

Other characters include Fuwa, a very obsessed biology student who searches madly for any clue of how reproduction works (even Ayame finds her creepy), and Gouriki, the treasurer, whom Okuma saves from being falsely accused as a train molester (and is heavily hinted to be gay).

Production Values

Decent enough. And given the subject matter, the fanservice level is quite moderate.

Overall Impression

Wow, someone has a bone to pick with the Tokyo Youth Ordinance. And, well, there are less deserving targets of ridicule, so why not.

The big question if whether the writer has managed to channel his outrage and contempt into satire that’s actually funny. And, er, I’m not sure it works. It’s got some interesting ideas and clearly something to say, but the hit-or-miss ratio of the jokes is lower than I’d like. (It doesn’t help that most of the dirty jokes don’t carry well from Japanese, however valiantly the translators are trying to convey them.)

Still, it’s not often you see actual political satire in anime, so I’m willing to give it some rope to find its legs.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Summer 2015 – Page 2


(12ish episodes ?)

What’s it about ?

Er… A weird science-fiction/work-com/school thing ?


So, the future. Like many other countries, Japan has set up a colony on Mars where they focus on building awesome stuff. “Tokyo-4” seems to be mainly administrated by the Kirishina Corporation. They own an elite technical Campus called A-TEC, where they’ve gathered the most promising youngsters and seems to function as a glorified R&D lab.

Nagisa, a new transfer student to A-TEC, has been kidnapped by terrorists before he even showed up. The Kirishina board scramble madly to find a way to get him back. The 7,5 million ransom is of little concern, given that this guy is apparently more important than it seems, but the deadline is very strict indeed.

Under the guidance of their mellow teacher Kaito, the A-TEC students start looking into a way to mount a rescue operation. And since this is going nowhere soon, matters are taken into their own hands by…

Iris, the daredevil of the group. The kind who drives to school on a bike that can’t be street-legal and disregards any safety advice. She “borrows” the small shuttle prototype A-TEC had been working on, and gamely aims for the terrorists’ hideout. There’s little left of her vehicle by the time she gets there, but she does reach the place mostly unhurt.

The punchline is that there were never any terrorists ; Nagisa merely wanted to prove a point. Namely, that A-TEC spent about a billion on a rescue mission (to say nothing of wrecking a 15-billion prototype), despite the ransom being several orders of magnitude lower. In other words, the Kirishima Corporation is wasting billions on a money sink that’s far from delivering anything in proportion. So, as a member of the board and a relative to the CEO, he’s here to downsize A-TEC, or maybe even shut it down entirely.

Since there would be no story otherwise, I presume we’re going to get a “Save Our School” narrative next.

Production Values

I’ve never heard of studio “Lay-Duce” before, but they do a good job here. The opening scene with the board’s panicked meeting being intercut with scenes of Iris driving to A-TEC is in particular very well-paced.

Overall Impression

Well, this is certainly trying something different. And it does have its good points, such as the well-structured opening scene, or the final reveal. The problem is what’s in between : Kaito is asked to carry the plot, and his utter lack of charisma drains a good chunk of energy from the show.

I’ll be honest : without the sudden twist, I would have been too bored to continue. Nagisa’s impressive villainous scenery-chewing buys it another episode. Don’t waste it.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Summer 2015

#27 : NieA_7 (NieA under 7)

(13 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a doujinshi manga by Yoshitoshi ABe (Serial Experiment Lain, Haibane Renmei). It seems a lot of the Lain staff worked on this to cool off.


Mayuko, our protagonist, is a teenager who can barely make ends meet. She lives in the attic of a bath-house she works a bit at to pay the rent. She’ll spend much time and effort looking for discounted food. And that’s why she’s more than a bit annoyed by the antics of…

NieA, the freeloading alien who lives in her closet. (Aside from the pointy ears, she’s mostly humanoid.) She’s one of the many aliens whose mothership crashed on Earth some years ago ; most of which are now living in ghettos. Obviously they have no clue of how to get home, although NieA is technically proficient enough to scrounge together a working small flying saucer out of scraps… It’s just too bad it needs to be connected to a ground line for power.

Chiaki, a classmate of Mayuko’s. Now, the latter’s not big on socializing (even having a drink is a luxury she can’t afford), but Chiaki is persistent enough not to care. She’s an UFO nerd who’s delighted to learn about NieA.

Production Values

Despite being subtitled “domestic poor @nimation”, this looks great ; tons of little details in the animation and the background that makes everyone look like real people. Yes, even the aliens.

Overall Impression

This is a great little show. It’s clearly a blatant metaphor for “immigrants are just people, too !”, but there’s nothing wrong with carrying a strong positive message. Especially when the series is built on fun characters whose hijinks have great comedic timing.

This is every bit as good as I was hoping for given its pedigree, and I’m definitely planning on watching it in full soon.

Source: [In Which I Review] Anime series from 2000 – Page 7

#02 : Candidate for Goddess (Megami Kouhosei)

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Unfortunately, the protagonist isn’t actually a candidate to become a deity ; that would just be too interesting. This is is instead a run-of-the-mill space opera show, where the mecha are called “Goddesses”.

Adapted from a manga series. In typical fashion, I’m told the anime ends on a cliffhanger and never resolves the plot.


In the Star Year 4084, the only thing preventing the annihilation of humanity at the hands (?) of the Victim (sic) is a 5-strong team of mecha defending our last planet. Unfortunately, while the current pilots are quite good at it, it’s acknowledged that they won’t last long due to the toll the task entails on their bodies, and so the system needs a constant input of fresh bodies.

Said five current pilots don’t get the occasion to rise above their archetypes : the casanova hounding the one girl of the team (who’s said to be by far the best of them), the nearly-mute one, the philosopher, and the jerkass. They’re all teenagers despite being veteran fighters, because of course.

Zero, our protagonist, is one of the candidates to replace them eventually. He’s lucky one of the main requirements is some genetic predisposition, as it’s certainly not his brains that qualified him. Nor his personality, as he’s more than a bit of an obnoxious twat. As these things happens, he immediately gets lost in the training facility and stumbles into the mecha hold… and then into the first cockpit on sight. Totally an accident, seriously, he’s just THAT clumsy. (Also, sick in zero-gravity.)

There is some suggestion that the Goddesses are somewhat sentient, with this one explicitly leading him to itself (and allowing him to bypass security). The process of synchronisation doesn’t look too pleasant, even accounting for the fact he’s not the official pilot.

Also seen early on are a few other teenagers who are obviously other Candidates : the sullen dude who takes every word as a personal insult, and the guy in glasses who speaks only in exposition. But then, that seems to be a plague affecting everyone in this world, from the jaded instructor who’s seen too many youngsters put to the grinder, or the mysterious figures in shadow running the show.

The OP/ED sequences showcase a much larger supporting cast, with the suggestion that each pilot gets a thematically-appropriate technician partner.

Production Values

The mecha and spaceship scenes might have been the cutting edge of CG work at the time (I have my doubts), but they certainly look clunky and dated by now. And they jar quite a bit with the pedestrian character designs and animation that make up the bulk of the show.

Overall Impression

This was a dreadfully unpromising first episode. (Technically “Curriculum 00”, but seriously now.) It accumulates the mecha & S-F clichés at… well, not great speed, as the constant exposition makes it look even more uneventful than it actually is. None of the characters shown so far are much likeable, and certainly not our protagonist.

There’s literally nothing here that’d make me come back for a second episode : it just feels uninspired through and through.

Source: [In Which I Review] Anime series from 2000

Fall 2014 capsules

Hmm. For some reason Karen Senki wasn’t even on my checklist. I can’t even find any hint it’s actually airing in Japan. But hey, it’s at the very least a Japanese co-production by the creators of Sakura Wars, and Crunchyroll is streaming it, so close enough for a token mention in this thread.

This is quite an odd series. For one, it’s 12 half-length episodes. For two, it’s full-CG. And for three, I can’t tell whether the plot being so disjointed and making no sense whatsoever is intentional.

It follows the adventures of Karen, who wages an essentially single-woman war against robots, who have taken over society and killed her cute young sister. (Or so she claims ; the flashbacks show nothing of the sort.) But the robots’ rule doesn’t seem that drastic, as everyone else seems to be carrying on normally, aside from whenever they have to deal with the collateral damage of Karen’s battles. Her being randomly attacked by killer-bots seems to be the exception, not the rule. One of her associates seems perfectly fine having a robot lover. And frankly, Karen just doesn’t sound entirely sane.

Or this may just be because the series as a whole is an excuse to string along elaborate action sequences. Now, they’re quite well-directed ; the problem isn’t so much that they’re hard to follow, but that they don’t fit with their context. But the real issue here is that the actual character animation is goddarn awful. People don’t move that way ! They can emote decently, but just about anything else about them is awkward. This is massively distracting, and doesn’t help the series’ case.

I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt, and a second episode. But I dread it’s going to test my patience quickly.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2014.


Anyway, let’s say a few words on I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying (Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken). It’s a series of shorts adapting a 4-panel gag manga series. Basically, it’s about a wife being flummoxed by her husband’s ultra-otaku ways. It’s mildly funny, but most of these jokes have already been done to death, and you often wonder why those two even got married in the first place. (That’s actually addressed immediately, but her reasoning is more than a little evasive.) This is a perfectly inoffensive show, but I doubt it’ll hold my attention for long unless it gets significantly better soon.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2014 – Page 2.


As it turns out, I just can’t make a proper review of Fate/stay Night – Unlimited Blade Works. Too much of my viewing experience was influenced by my foreknowledge from the DEEN series & movie, as well as Fate/Zero. It’s not like I can remember exactly who’s a Master (and of which Servant), especially as we’re in a different route and things might change around a bit, but I still know more than a few incoming twists that make it impossible to offer a “virgin” preview. (And I do have doubts on whether the series is aimed at anyone but people who’ve already seen either or both of these previous shows.)

Still, this is a good start. Way less infodumpy than Fate/Zero, and with some actual impressive battles right off the bat in this opening double-length episode. It helps a lot that it features Rin as a protagonist ; as someone who actually has a clue what’s going on, but not the details of who she’s fighting, she offers a more interesting and proactive perspective than Shirou did the first time around.

So far, so good. I was wondering whether I had lost interest in the franchise, but this looks fun enough to be worth watching.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2014 – Page 2.


Mysterious Joker (Kaitou Joker) might be at least partially to blame for my sleepiness. It’s a kids’ show about a quirky Gentleman Thief… and if you’re wondering what’s the difference with Magic Kaitou, it’s the targeted age group : this show aims much lower. All the characters are highly annoying and SHOUTING all the time, the jokes fall flat, and I literally couldn’t follow the plot because I was falling asleep every couple of minutes. Something about the protagonist recruiting a “ninja” fanboy kid ? I don’t care at all, and it really doesn’t help that another show with similar themes which is superior in every way is airing concurrently. Pass.

Also falling flat : The Circumstances in My Home’s Bathtub (Orenchi no Furo Jijo). Now, this type of series of shorts based on 4-panel gag manga often have the problem of only delivering the same joke over and over, never really amounting to anything. Here, the issue is that I can’t even see the joke. Dude brings a merman to his bathtub by mistake, and that’s pretty much it. They don’t even have much banter. I just don’t get it.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2014 – Page 4.


Sometimes I’m baffled by weird gimmicky series of shorts. Such as Hi☆sCoool! SeHa Girls, where anthropomorphic personalizations of Sega’s consoles enter a bizarre dedicated school ; it’s mostly an excuse to string along “nostalgic” allusions that most often fly completely other my head (as I was more of a Nintendo fan). It’s a better use of full CG animation than we usually get for these, but it’s still a niche gag series where I’m not part of the audience.

Oh, and since I’m pressed for time, I’m going to quickly skip over Gundam Build Fighters TRY : long story short, it’s very promising, doesn’t require any knowledge of the first season thanks to a time jump and a different cast (although Mr Ral still makes a cameo), and I’m pleased to see it has the girl as a true fighter and the leader of the team.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2014 – Page 5.


No full review for Ronja the the Robber’s Daughter, as as I fell asleep watching the first episode and don’t care to give it another try. This Ghibli adaptation of a Swedish fantasy book is just very, very dull, and the uninspiring full-CG animation doesn’t help. (Those characters emote way too exaggeratedly for my tastes.) Don’t care, won’t watch any more.

Bonjour Sweet Love Pâtisserie has a completely different problem : it’s a generic shoujo “male harem” romance show that barely gets to breathe in the 5 minutes or so of screentime per week it gets. As a result, all the characters are walking clichés, and the “glamourous baking academy” setup feels completely artificial. Not really worth your time, this one.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2014 – Page 6.

Cross Ange : Rondo of Angel and Dragon (Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo)

(25 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Mecha vs dragons… well, at least that’s the pitch ; the actual series’ content is way more trashy and exploitative than you’d expect. We’re talking Freezing levels of bait-and-switch.


Angelize, our protagonist, is the First Princess of the Mizurugi Empire. She’s basically the MVP of the Imperial Family : wildly popular among the people, star player of her school’s sports team, and admired by all. She’s also completely drunk the official Kool-Aid : she’s in favour of a zero-tolerance policy against the Norma, the rare mutant girls who not only can’t use Mana (magitek telekinesis) like everyone else, but are actively destructive of it. Imperial policy involves snatching them as young as possible from their families, and detaining them in special facilities where they’re thoroughly dehumanized.

Julio, her older brother, resents her fame… because he knows it’s all a lie : she’s actually (unknowingly) a Norma. He exposes her in the most spectacular fashion possible during her coming-of-age ceremony. Obviously, it’s a huge scandal. I’m sure he’s terribly broken up that their parents get thoroughly discredited for covering it up for 16 years, and he thus has no choice than taking over as the new Emperor. (That his most prominent potential political rival gets summarily gitmo’d is a terrible shame, too.)

Angelize, now renamed “Ange” and stripped of any rights as a human being, is sent to the Norma detention facility where she’s to be trained as a soldier, presumably to pilot mecha against dragons like shown in the opening fast-forward. But because this is a classy series, let’s first spend way much more time than necessary on a gratuitous cavity search.

The OP & ED sequences showcase, among various future members of Ange’s team, a baffingly-prominent male character. Since there’s little chance he’s a Norma (described as a female-only phenomenon), I presume we’re due for some creepy Stockholm-Syndrome-type relationship.

Production Values

Just in case the above synopsis had you confused over what kind of series this is, the opening flashfoward proudly asks the question : how many different angles can we show Ange’s cleavage from as she’s piloting her mecha ? (Six under three minutes, plus three for her buttcrack and a couple more for her crotch.) And to dispel any doubt, the OP features exploding clothes, because of course it does.

Which is a bit of a shame, as Sunrise’s mecha battles are as impressive as ever, and the main segment of the series is perfectly alright and non-fanservicey.

Overall Impression

This is a truly infuriating show, as it wastes a decent premise by applying it to a creepy fanservice series. It really feels like two completely different shows welded together ; unfortunately, I have little doubt which one is going to win out.

I almost gave the series the benefit of the doubt until I got to the gratuitous prison rape scene, immediately followed by obviously-traumatized girls fondling each other. Fuck this crap, I’m out.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2014 – Page 2.

Terra Formars

(13ish episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a science-fiction manga series.


Akari Hizamaru, our protagonist. His childhood girlfriend got infected by a deadly virus, so he’s participating in underground death matches to try and raise money for some sort of cure… which turns out to be completely bullshit. Oh, and by the time he realizes this, she’s already dead.

Shoukichi Komachi & Michelle Davis are heading a unit who do have a clue on how to cure that virus : their plan involves going to Mars and harvesting the necessary materials there. They got to Akari slightly too late, but he can still help : you see, one needs to endure some radical surgery to be space-worthy, and he’s one of the few people whose genetics mean that his survival chances aren’t crap. (So were those two, by the way.)

We meet a few of the other candidates for the unit ; they’re so carefree I’m pretty sure at least one will die in surgery.

Now, obviously going to Mars is more trouble than just the trip. Back in the 21st century, we tried to terraform the place by sending some algua and cockroaches. The latter have evolved drastically, and are very hostile indeed. (This is at least the third recent Mars mission, and both of the others got wiped out.)

Production Values

Dark, dark, dark. This show is very devoid of colour, and quite murky indeed. It’s also got some heavy censorship for the ultraviolent scenes, making them pretty much unwatchable. It’s not too bad here, as it only affects a gratuitous underground wrestling match where the details don’t really matter, but this doesn’t bode well for the inevitable future “slaughtered by cockroaches” scenes.

Overall Impression

The manga has quite a reputation of the cockroaches being horrible racist caricatures. Well, it’s too early too tell how the anime fares on that front ; the bad news is that it’s got other prominent issues already. The exposition is very clumsy (so many infodump scenes, and the narrator still needs to barge in at the end to explain the premise properly ?) ; the characters are either quite bland or already annoying ; and the overall attempt to build atmosphere just doesn’t manage to raise enough anticipation for the main event.

By the end of this first episode, I still don’t really care about any of the characters, or the overall premise. The series may manage to salvage this false start later on, but the signs are unpromising. I’ll pass.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2014.

Summer 2014 capsules

But before all that, a few words about Sword Art Online II : well, so far, it’s not doing a bad job of not rubbing me the wrong way, like Alfheim Online did. The writing is still pretty poor (go, go, tepid exposition !), but the setup of bringing in Kirito to investigate a bizarre murder spree in a new game setting is a decent one. (Also, anything that marginalizes the absence of chemistry he’s got with Asuna is welcome.) I might still watch this after all.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Summer 2014 – Page 3.

A couple of shorts before moving on to the full Monday shows…

Mobile Suit Gundam-san is yet another of those comedy SD skits Sunrise puts out occasionally. (This one adapted from a 4-panel gag manga.) It starts off by an Austin Powers-style naked dance by Char, which should give you an idea of the high level of humour we’re dealing with here. It’s mildly funny, but nothing to go out of your way for.

Secret Princess Himegoto adapts a manga about a pretty boy being blackmailed into crossdressing by the student council. It’s got a main character called Unko (“Poop”). That kinda sums up my opinion of it.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Summer 2014 – Page 4.

So, Persona 4 The Golden Animation. I reviewed the original series back in 2011 ; this is a weird spin-off that adapts an updated rerelease of the game.

The selling point here, apparently, is a new character being added to the main cast, Marie. The script thus chooses wisely to fast-forward through a very bare bones version of the plot (skipping all the business related to Konishi), so that Marie can get 5 minutes or so of screentime after the end credits. To say that her introduction feels very forced an unnatural is an understatement ; she’s just dropped in without any explanation by the gamemaster. The core problem here is that this series is at its best with deadpan weirdness, and Marie’s way too melodramatic to fit in. So, well, it doesn’t quite work.

(By the way, the whole thing seems to have been reanimated from scratch, with a somewhat higher budget ; every single scene is slightly different from the previous series.)

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Summer 2014 – Page 5.

Black Butler – Book of Circus spends its first episode re-establishing the premise with a “Day in the Life of Sebastian Michaelis”… Not that there’s anything wrong with that, as it’s a charming setup, and the script does get to play a bit with clever ellipses. I’ve got no clue where this would fit in continuity, but it’s not like this franchise ever sweats this kind of fine detail.

Anyway, this is good fun, and I’m glad it’s back.

(Also, no Grell whatsover for now, which is a definite plus in my book.)

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Summer 2014 – Page 5.

Hey, someone finally fansubbed the first episode of Fran♥cesca : Girls Be Ambitious, more than a week after it aired !

… Having had a look at it, I can easily see why nobody bothered to do it for so long.

The high concept is that this is a series of 11-minute episodes built around a recently-created mascot character for Hokkaido, the titular Francesca. Who happens to be some sort of undead idol or something. But she barely shows up at the end of the first episode ; in practice, it mainly features the head of the anti-undead Hokkaido forces (of course a cute sassy girl) investigating killing the shit out of a recent surge of zombies rising from the ground. Also, tons of jokes that probably make sense to people who know of Hokkaido’s culture, but are completely impenetrable to me.

As far as promotional vehicles from tourism boards go, this one at least has the merit of originality. But that’s pretty much it ; it looks badly-animated (is this Flash-based ?), and at its core it’s comedy where I don’t get most of the jokes. (Which don’t look that funny, anyway.)

I’ll pass.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Summer 2014 – Page 8.

DRAMAtical Murder

(12ish episodes ?)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of visual novel which seems to have some explicit boys’ love content. I’d kinda guessed from all the pretty boys in the main cast.


Aoba, our protagonist, works in a junk store called “Mediocrity”, which immediately sets the tone. Er, let me rephrase that, as this just sounds too mean in retrospect. It sets a relatively playful tone, really. Aobo’s relatively well-adjusted right now, although he does have tragic flashbacks of being called a girl because he had (and still has) long blue hair. Er, yeah.

A big thing in this setting is the AI helpers everyone has with them ; Aoba’s is called Ren, and takes the form of a black cat. (It’s a popular new model ; some other people have them as different kinds of animals.) Those are really nifty, and the world as a whole has tons of augmented reality.

Aoba’s got many handsome friends (or “friends”). The hairstyler who’s a bit too touch-happy is instantly memorable. The gang leader who stops some hoodlums from attacking him is okay. After that, they grow progressively more forgettable.

Nobody gets murdered here, nor is there any sign of such a thing being about to happen. The worse that happens is a racketting attempt, and the cops shutting down a rave party.

Production Values

Actually quite nice ; there are tons of interesting visual ideas that contribute to the world-building and make this very fun to look at. The techno beat permeating the whole soundtrack’s quite fun too. The character designs are ridiculous, but they kinda fit in this highly-modded world.

Overall Impression

I feel a bit cheated. For some reason, I expected the start of a murder mystery ; but nothing of the sort seems in the offing, and instead the main character ends up challenged into some crappy AR fighting game at the end. This might work as a visual novel ; here, it feels like all the world building is being swept off down the drain.

By the end of the episode, I had lost all interest. Nice try, though.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Summer 2014 – Page 3.

Knights of Sidonia (Sidonia no Kishi)

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a S-F/mecha manga.


Nagate, our protagonist and point-of-view character. He’s spent most of his life scrounging for subsistence in the dark maintenance tunnels in the underground of the Sidonia space colony ; out of desperation, he’s ventured outside and got caught stealing rice.

Amazingly, the authorities not only treat him well (after some initial confusion), but immediately invite him to the military upper class : they want him to be a mecha pilot. You see, his father figure had him train for hours each day in an old simulator, and even after his death he kept at it. They’re aware of this (who was this guy, really ?), and want him on board. He’s not too good on his first try, as the software has evolved a bit by then, but he can manage. Especially on that older machine which has the right control scheme for him.

Notionally, Sidonia is at war with some squid-like aliens. Protesters see this diffuse menace as a way for the rulers to stay in control forever (genetic engineering may have been involved to keep them alive), as it’s been decades since the last sight of the enemy. Of course, that’s the kind of talk I heard last in Attack on Titan, so yeah. No way that routine ice-mining mission would have gone fine.

The other mecha-piloting students have various reactions to Nagate’s arrival : some are snobbish of the upstart newbie, some are curious, some don’t care. Presumably we’ll get to know them better in further episodes.

Production Values

This is a fully CG-animated series, and maybe the first time I’ve seen it work on a TV budget. The characters move and act like human beings, and their faces emote properly. The action sequences are well-directed and enthralling, and can even manage slapstick.

The one problem here is that, with everyone in similar uniforms, and designs that aren’t big on facial details, it’s a bit hard to tell all the characters apart. I’m pretty sure that’s intentional for the multitude of pink-haired clones all voiced by Eri Kitamura, but it’s still an issue for a good chunk of the cast.

There’s some minor fanservice at a few points, which falls a bit flat with that artstyle.

Overall Impression

Oh, nice, a proper S-F show. There’s clearly a lot of SCIENCE! weirdness going on in the background here (a functional third gender ? WTF ?), and it’s already hinted the show is willing to deal with the social impact of it all. Sidonia certainly feels well thought-out as a setting, and still the heavy exposition manages to give enough room for the characters to breathe.

This has the potential to be spectacular.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2014 – Page 7.