What’s it about ?
Gen Urobuchi writing more mecha anime !
And wow, this is a convoluted premise. It’s an alternate universe where the Appolo program went on to attempts to colonize Mars… Except they found “the Vers Empire” already there, remains of an old civilization with advanced technology ; they did not take kindly to the intruders. 15 years ago the conflict escalated to the Moon being partly destroyed (wreaking havoc on the surface), with Vers breaking their Hyper Gate (which allowed fast space travel) in exchange. It’s been a ceasefire by default since then.
Asseylum, the Vers princess, is an young idealist. Despite the objections of nearly everyone else in power in the empire, she’s decided to go on a diplomatic visit to Earth to try and broker peace. There are a lot of people in Vers who want her to fail, and for some Earth extremists to try something against her.
Slaine is an Earth-born orphan whom Asseylum rescued a few years ago and made her servant/friend/confident. Everyone else hates him, and she didn’t have enough pull to bring him with her. Basically, his life sucks.
Most of the episode is from the point of view of Inaho, an ordinary Japanese highschool student, and his circle of friends. While he’s about as blasé as them about the world’s terrible situation, at least he still pays attention to his surroundings. Also, “ordinary” highschool students now have to participate in drills, piloting mecha in preparation for the rebuilding of Earth’s armies after it got crippled.
Yuki (Inaho’s older sister) and Lt Marito are the soldiers supervising their training. Marito has turned to booze because of their task’s pointlessness. Not because it’s peacetime, but because he has no doubt Vers outclass anything Earth could drum up. He was on the frontlines back then, he knows the score.
There’s a bunch of Mysterious Terrorists who fire tons of missiles at Asseylum’s limo just as she’s passing by Inaho and his friends. And if you believe she’s truly dead, I have a bridge I can sell you.
Vers take the bait, though, and start attacking Earth, doing things like obliterating Manhattan. They don’t even have a cohesive plan of attack : the many houses of the Empire are competing for who gets to “win” first. It looks like they’re going to have more trouble with infighting than with Earth’s pitiful defenses.
Wow, exposition overload ! Sure, the premise’s not exactly simple, but boy is there a lot of information to pay attention to on display here. We get every infodump cliché in the book, from TV and radio broadcasts to the students studying their history course. I hope this was just a hurdle the first episode had to pass, and that we’re going to get more time for the characters from now on ; they had very little room to breathe here.
What the show does well, though, are the big action sequences, from the attack against the limo to the Vers attacking. That’s some very impactful massive damage, indeed. On the spectacle front, this doesn’t disappoint. I just hope there’s going to be enough substance to justify it.
Still, I’m hooked, unless the second episode turns out to be a massive disaster.