Zone of the Enders – Dolores, I

(26 episodes)

What’s it about ?

A space trucker finds out that the dodgy shipment he’s carrying back to Earth is a hotly sought-after experimental mecha.


James, our protagonist. A war veteran (or so he claims) stuck into a dead-end space-trucker job, he’s at least well into his forties and got a not-so-loving family waiting for him back on Earth (at the very least, his teenage daughter wants nothing to do with him, and his son doesn’t even return his calls). The series goes out of its way to depict him as a washed-out loser, miserably failing at flirting with girls half his age, and drowning himself in booze. He does get some sort of epiphany halfway through the first episode, although given that his idea of reconnecting with his family involves purchasing an overpriced cat for his daughter and burying himself into self-help books (with his cabin increasingly looking like a pigsty as he does so), I’m not too optimistic on his chances of success.

Laia, James’s up-to-no-good contact who sets him up with his shipment. It’s hard to look more shifty than this dude, and James has enough history with him to know better than taking the gig. But overpriced cats cost money, so he eventually relents. (It helps that Laia’s backup trucker wound up mysteriously shot dead mere hours after taking the job – although Laia’s not telling this to James, of course…)

Dolores, the cargo. A fifty-foot-tall mecha that behaves and speaks like a teenage girl. No, seriously, she’s even shy about having a man “down there” (into the cockpit).

There are of course some shady people looking into taking hold of Dolores, with enough connections to infiltrate the UN space patrols.

Production Values

Perfectly watchable, and there’s been a lot of care put into background details to make the setup feel grounded in reality. The score is a bit dated and MIDI-ish, but it does the job.

Overall Impression

Wow, that was fun. I don’t know if it’s the novelty of having a “mature” dude as a protagonist, but I really enjoyed this. It’s not exactly deep or subtle, but this looks like a madcap romp in a relatively grounded space sci-fi setting. Despite being a loser, James is a compelling protagonist, and he’s already got lots of chemistry with Dolores.

Google tells me this is a sequel to an OVA that itself spun off a videogame franchise, but it seems to stand perfectly well on its own.

James in his natural habitat.
James in his natural habitat.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2001 – Page 7.

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I've been kinda blogging about anime for years... but mostly on forums (such as's Tangency) and other sites. This site is an archive for all that stuff, just in case.

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