I watched the Sentai Filmworks English dub of this show via Netflix streaming. Visually, this show is absolutely gorgeous. The artwork is breathtaking, the ships in particular are very eye catching, especially the ocean scenes.
The voice acting is good; It's so nice to hear Hilary Haag (Mari) playing a lead role in an anime again. Hilary plays opposite Monica Rial (Hagino), who is my favorite English language voice actress of all. Tiffany Grant is good in a supporting role as one of the upperclassmen (and daughter of the Director) at the girls school. I love it when Tiffany voices characters that have that brassy New York accent and matching attitude...
This show is all about the characters and their inter-relationships.
It's not something to watch for the military/sci-fi aspects of it; The military/sci-fi aspects of this show are incredibly disappointing. As a ship commander, Hagino is pretty incompetent. Lucky for her the other commanders in her fleet are even less skilled than she is.
Ship#5 runs just fine on a skeleton crew (captain/first mate), having seemingly no deficits for lacking a full crew compliment, the way they SHOULD (taking much longer to effect repairs, for starters) if the shows creators actually cared about getting the military side of the story correct or at least believable. Hagino shows incredible lack of judgement, letting a rogue officer who blames Hagino for her lover's death have free reign of the ship. You want to do a *head-desk* when...gosh, sabotage?...who DIDN'T see THAT one coming, a few nautical miles away??
This reminds me a little of the show Starship Operators, which I did love, but was maddening for the same reason...the characters would do these incredibly stupid/naive things and then being surprised by the obvious results and I would be left doing a facepalm going "what the HELL did you THINK would happen???"
The story is interesting, and draws you in, but it does leave several mysteries open and unexplained at the close. I won't reveal any spoilers directly, but just know that the casting of Hagino as Joan of Arc in the school play isn't coincidence but foreshadowing; Art imitates Life, etc.
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