Glass Fleet is studio GONZO’s attempt to make its own version of Legend of Galactic Heroes. That is the same as expecting from a monkey to write something close to Shakespeare, so you know right away it will not end well. Although the basic theme is the same (trying to unite the galaxy under a new, fair leadership) the way everything happens is one big mess. Every single event in this show is based on the rule of cool and not on some sort of strategy or reasoning.
But it’s not like it doesn’t have its merits. The setting is quite catchy on a superficial level, as you basically have humanity living on scattered asteroids and each one is ruled by nobility. Each time a war or a marriage takes place, the asteroids merge to represent the total space a family rules. And of course each side has its own space fleet to wage war if needed. The decorations on ships, buildings, and uniforms are also very eye-catchy and interesting to keep looking at. All that sound cool and fine in theory and if there was proper handling we would have a masterpiece on our hands.
But as I said, this is a monkey named GONZO we are talking about so it ain’t gonna happen.
- The animation is subpar for the time the show was made. Very frozen or stiff motions, along with some bad CGI stuff GONZO is so good at making them ugly.
- The detail on character figures is usually very crude. They usually have vague facial structure and thick outlines.
- Unimpressive soundtrack and voice acting. This is supposed to be a serious tale regarding the unification of space and they throw in j-pop garbage and high-pinched voices. Space operas go with epic chorus you fools!
All the above can somewhat be forgiven if the directing and the storylines are at least decent. And nope, in just the pilot episode alone you can already find stupid scenes full of ludicrous bravado and events that happen for the sake of retarded coolness. Here, let me give you a few examples from the first two episodes.
- The first episode begins with a space battle. One side wins but we are never told how. Something about attacking the enemy from the rear but we are never shown how they did it or why the other side didn’t see it coming.
- The second scene is about a wedding being interrupted by a rebellion. We already had a battle a moment ago and instead of focusing a bit more on that they just threw in another battle??? That takes gravity out of both events.
- And aside from that, the choreography is simply horrible. So much over the top ridiculous stuff happen that you just can’t take it seriously. The funny thing is that it’s not supposed to be comical and it tries to pass as very serious.
- The priest performing the ceremony is in fact the rebel leader. Instead of just attacking the nobles right away, he prefers to first memorize and perform the whole thing before revealing himself. As if it would matter somehow.
- Then the nobles perform an ambush and start bombing the place. The funniest part is when the hit the main square and there is no one there when two seconds ago the place was full of people.
- The rebel leader decides to fight back. For that reason he drinks tea served by a bimbo maid, boards a horse wagon that jumps out of nowhere (which was totally out of place in this setting), and with that goes to his spaceship.
- Said spaceship was all this time disguised as a huge glass building. Why the devil didn’t anyone notice a huge building appearing in the middle of the colony?
- Then he lures the noble fleet by driving them inside a space storm. Specifically his radar officer spots it as they are getting surrounded. He even says “we have a problem, there is a storm ahead” (which is completely retarded since that was clearly the least of their worries at that moment). So they just move towards it and none of the enemy ships detects the storm. Which is simply impossible since the damn thing was big as a planet and they were heading towards it.
- So anyways, the whole space storm thing fails and thus we realize this was nothing more than a cheap way to waste a few minutes.
- But worry not as a magical super transforming spaceship arrives and saves the day. So much for tactics and strategy; all it takes is to have the magic super ship on your side.
And the show goes like this all the way to the end, with everything playing out as the scriptwriter thought it would be cool at the second he was writing it down. Typical crayon-drawing GONZO kids… Of course and the ending is a far fetched fairy tale and of course we get lots of gay vibes in a poor attempt to keep us interested.
So after all this mess do you think the characters are any better? Nope, they are all one-dimensional comic book villains and heroes. Most of them are goofing around while dressed like they are going to a bondage party instead of trying to rule a galaxy. They are all so simplistic, straightforward and dried up, you end up not caring about any of them. Plus they are desperately trying to be funny and fail miserably since they simply are out of context with whatever is going on around them. Like penguins in a desert. And seriously, I am not into all this pretty boy gay stuff.
In all, this is an insult to anyone’s intelligence and an example of how a great premise can turn to shit if it’s given to the wrong people. Avoid at all costs and stick to good old Legend of Galactic Heroes, the one and only emperor of all Space Operas.
p.s. Calling this thing space opera is a bit off, since there is no actual vacuum anywhere. That shows how much they cared about physics while making it.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 5/10
Analysis: General Artwork 1/2, Character Figures 1/2, Backgrounds 1/2, Animation 1/2, Visual Effects 1/2
SOUND SECTION: 6/10
Analysis: Voice Acting 2/3, Music Themes 2/4, Sound Effects 2/3
STORY SECTION: 4/10
Analysis: Premise 2/2, Pacing 0/2, Complexity 1/2, Plausibility 0/2, Conclusion 1/2
CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10
Analysis: Presence 1/2, Personality 1/2, Backdrop 1/2, Development 1/2, Catharsis 1/2
VALUE SECTION: 1/10
Analysis: Historical Value 0/3, Rewatchability 0/3, Memorability 1/4
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 1/10
Analysis: Art 0/1, Sound 0/2, Story 1/3, Characters 0/4
Right, it's confession time for me. If you have been reading my reviews than you may have noticed that I tend to rip the anime a new one. There is a reason for this though and it has to do with the fact that I can't turn my brain off when watching anime. I can't ignore the stupid shown in the anime and this is a problem as most anime are very stupid indeed.
In this case I'm not talking about a 90 pound girl catching a multi-ton cruise missile and throwing it back. Yes, it is stupid but it is a stupid that I'll allow. It's anime. Things like this are normal here and I'm pretty much fine with it. It annoys me to be sure but I will not rant about it.
So, having explained this lets rip into this anime shall we? Just a heads up: There will most probably be spoilers. The more I hate an anime the more spoilers there will be.
ART: Pretty good actually dispite the use of a lot of CGI. Any fleet or ship that you see is either pure CGI or heavily assisted by CGI. For once I'm OK with this as it isn't that jarring. It reminded me a lot of Last Exile, which has a similar style.
SOUND: Decent enough I suppose. I rarely pay attention to the music and when I do it is because it is either horrible or very good. I have really no complaints. Voice acting is excellent and I must make a special note of the VA for Michel.
CHARACTERS: Main character is Michel. After Vetti overthrew the old king and put himself up as emperor he has been fighting him tooth and nail. As the leader of the resistance he is the only one left opposing Vetti.
Vetti is current emperor of the known universe and he rules supreme. Utterly ruthless he will do anything to achieve his goals. He takes special interest in Michel as he is the only one to ever give him a hard fight.
Cleo is an enigma. He is the captain of a glass ship that carries the royal crest and is near indestructable. He does whatever he wants but a chance meeting with Vetti changes everything for them both as they hate each other with a fiery passion.
STORY: In a galaxy far away, humanity is trying to survive on small pieces of land floating in space. During a coup, vetti, now controls a large piece of it all and has crowned himself emperor. The one thing in his way is Michel, who is leading a revolt against him. Sadly, Michels' forces are no match for Vetti and his armada. This changes when Michel runs into Cleo, with his glass ship bearing the royal seal. With this one ship and its crew of misfits things may very well change into Michel's favor. If he can get Cleo to agree to joining the fight that is.
RANT: At the time I was very pleasantly surprised by this anime. The story itself is pretty straightforward and simple but that is fine provided there is enough interesting stuf going on to keep you interested. It is here that the anime truly delivers.
There is a lot of intrigue and backstabbing going on, mainly by Vetti, but at no point are you confused by the characters actions. Everyone does what they do for a reason and this is actually shown or explained in the anime.
Nothing pisses me off quicker than having a character go against everything extablished just because the writer fucked up and needed a quick fix to solve it.
I namedropped Last Exile as it reminded me a lot of that anime, both in art (read CGI) and in storytelling. Last Exile was also very character driven and it is the main reason why I like this anime so much.
Abviously this will not be for anyone as the other reviews alreasy showed me with one giving a 4 while the other gave a 8. My guess is that if you liked the first Last Exile serie (the second can burn in Hell!) then you'll probably like this one too.
I found this on youtube and needed something to watch while in a airport, and low and behold it was a good series, very diffrent. but worth the time to watch it.