Thursday, June 5, 2014

Spring 2014 Anime: Captain Earth

I don't usually watch ongoings.  In fact, before this year the last time I kept up with an ongoing anime was probably Gundam 00 back in 2007.  A few months ago however, a series of events led me to end up giving Buddy Complex a shot.  I was glad I did, so starting with Spring 2014 I decided to look into some other weekly anime.  Most are now about 6-7 episodes in, which is the halfway mark for a single-season show.  Here's what I checked out.

Captain Earth
Earth is being threatened by a race of aliens who are stranded near Saturn and want to drain humanity of all its libido so they can fuel their spaceship.  Standing in their way is main character Daichi, who unwittingly finds himself in the pilot seat of the Earth Engine Impactor, a humongous space robot built to fend off alien attackers.  He's joined by his longtime friend Teppei, a cute girl named Hana with a mysterious past, and the Logical Magical Girl Akari.

Captain Earth comes from the same dudes that made Star Driver, and it shows. The above description may have sounded like some kind of silly mecha comedy in the vein of Nadeisco or Vandread, but the writers play it completely straight.  Just like Star Driver--which you'll recall was a show that managed to have its MC go by the title "Galactic Pretty Boy" and avoid ever acknowledging how absurd that is--Captain Earth is actually fairly grounded despite how frivolous it seems on the surface.  Even though they have their fun times, these kids realize the gravity of the situation, and as of this writing Daichi has come quite close to being killed every time he's deployed in the Earth Engine.

Again, just like Star Driver, Captain Earth is in a strange juxtapositon where on a moment to moment basis it's enjoyable and easy to follow, but on the whole it uses such an incredible amount of jargon (even for a mecha show) that its overall plot can feel impenetrable at times.  Get this: the aliens are known as Planetary Gears, and infiltrate Earth using genetically engineered bodies called Designer Children.  As Designer Children, the Planetary Gears take on their true form (known as Kiltgangs) using a cockpit machine called a Machine Goodfellows.  Both the Earth Engine Impactor (which Daichi commands using his Livlaster) and these Kiltgang are powered by Orgone Energy, which is connected to libido.  As long as the Planetary Gear's Ego Blocks aren't destroyed, they can essentially live forever.

Did you get all that?

Technically, this is a problem; Captain Earth is stuck way too far up its own butt.  But to be honest, I don't really mind.  Because at the end of the day, Captain Earth is still an enjoyable and entertaining show if you just roll with it.  The cast shows a lot of potential; Hana is one of the more endearing characters of the season, Akari's constant attempts to steal the show are fun to watch, and Daichi can be surprisingly unpredictable at times, in a good way.  The assembly sequence for the Earth Engine is super exciting, and the animators seem to know it, as it is present in in the opening and is always shown without fail when Daichi deploys.  If you've seen Star Driver, this is nothing new; Tauburn's dazzling entrance should be etched into your mind.

Overall, this is a recommendable show.  Its pacing is a bit slow at times--which hurts this series in particular because there are so many unknown terms and concepts thrown at you from the outset--but that allows for strong character moments.  And with 26 episodes planned, they've got time to spare.

1 comment:

AshiSnow said...

I'm starting on the show and I agree it's a bit slow right now. but so far it's a good anime.