The ZOE videogames are a good bunch of action/mecha and for some reason when they decided to make an anime out of them they chose to create this weird semi-serious adventure. I for once gladly accept for the formulas to be messed with and every time they try to create something different I am more than willing to give it a try. So here we are with a mecha title which deconstructs various elements of the genre.
1) The protagonist is not an edgy teenager with ego big enough to take on the world but balls small enough to be afraid of a girl. He is a working middle-aged man, working as a low-tier space carrier pilot. A truck driver in space to put it simply. He has no great plans in life and he has already married, already got grown up children, and already became a widower. He is a far more realistic and down to Earth character than your average mecha protagonist and his main problems is not how to train to get stronger but how to make sure his little job can support himself and his crumbling family bonds. That I must say was very interesting.
2) The lead mecha is not a monument of phallocratic empowerment. In general, huge robots are perceived as muscular extensions of their pilots and for some unconscious reasons they are perceived as male when in need to address them with a genre. Well imagine the lead robot in the series to be a pink slim robot named Dolores, with the personality of a naive teenage girl. That was definitely a first but then again… um… weird? The story excuses it as a machine programmed to learn along the way and making it act like a little girl who doesn’t know basic stuff was indeed a nice touch. But aesthetically it’s plain YUCK! I will explain that later.
3) The show is not heavy on action. It is mostly a family drama or a simple adventure with hints of mystery and sci-fi overtones. The setting of the series is mostly decoration.
So here we are with a lovely deconstruction of the formula. It sure made the series special but on the other hand it alienated most of the viewers. Seriously, this title was practically forgotten by everyone quite fast. And the reasons are mostly aesthetically.
1) This show is NOT for the fans of the games. They will be greatly disappointed with how their cool action/shooter/adventure/dark mecha was adapted into a humorous family drama with some simple action scenes here and there.
2) It is not for fans of classic Super Robot shows. The action is much undermined for drama and the characters are not cool superficial posers.
3) It is not for fans of Real Robots either. The story is not serious enough and is fooling around too much. Why are they carrying around that poor kitten like that? Is the show in such need of a fluffy mascot? Let the poor thing go free.
4) It is not even for fans of dramas or comedies. It does not excel in any of those departments *points at Dolores sitting like a girl and pondering about the meaning of life while her cockpit is in your face*.
5) It is not for fans of plamo either. Who would want to buy a robot that acts like that? And who would show the miniature to his friends without 90% being laughed at for its extended cockpit. I mean, really, the term cockpit couldn’t be more fitting for this robot. It LITERALLY sprouts out between the legs of the robot. Some say it’s actually its stomach but it’s easy to fool most to be nothing but a huge penis. I mean just look at it flying; does it look like a cockpit or half that word? And on top of it you pilot it from there? The controls are in the “lower” head? And it definitely looks like a very weak spot for incoming fire to hit the pilot. Plus the robot acts like a girl. With that thing hanging in front of it, you think Dolores is a cross-dressed robot. And you ride her in that thing? BRRR! *shakes* It’s just too messed up to work.
6) It is not even for fans of great production values. The animation and the visuals are nice but don’t excel in atmosphere or slick action. The soundtrack may feel ok but eventually becomes easily forgettable. And seriously, its OP is hard rock and the ED is a silly POP? Come on; is this really going to work?
The most positive thing in this show is its cast, which have a wonderful chemistry. Most of the conflicts in the show is forgiving past mistakes and learning to trust and give a second chance to your family members. As for the actual story, meh, weaksause. Some organization wants to aquire Dolores for shady business and she has info on the lead’s dead wife and some mystery you probably won’t care about. The action scenes ain’t bad but they are there mostly for kicks; they don’t really contribute anything to the plot. Dolores pretty much owns most weapons in existence anyway.
So what are my impressions of it? Original, yes. Enjoyable, not for long. Do you believe it lasts 24 episodes? Does it even need that much duration with this sort of plot? Sorry, this is nothing compared to Planetes or Ghost in the Shell. It messed with the formula alright but made a rather lukewarm soup instead of a new flavour. Recommended only for the curious amongst you.