Well, well, well, what do we have here? A fully computer generated anime series, based on an incomplete manga by the creator of Blame, with a premise that is basically Attack on Titan in the far future. What could possibly go wrong? Let’s analyze the above elements, one by one; shall we?
1) Fully computer generated. Major disadvantage. CGI sucks ass unless the budget is over the roof, and in this case it isn’t. It does make the sceneries and the aliens to look creepy, which adds to the atmosphere of the series, but when it comes to character designs and battle choreography, it looks terrible. Unless you have an extreme tolerance to choppy motions and robot-like characters, you will drop this show in less than 5 minutes.
2) Based on an incomplete manga. Major disadvantage. You are left with an incomplete ending, or an anime original one, which will contradict the manga, and nobody will like.
3) By the creator of Blame. That sounds like a plus, but it ain’t. Although he excels in mindfuck stories full of machinery and bizarre monsters, this is his most mainstream work, and thus his least good. The damn thing is a step away from light novel level.
4) A premise that is basically Attack on Titan in the far future. That sounds like it doesn’t mean anything, when in fact it does. Because of the undeserved praise AOT got, everybody and their cat is now making shows with the same premise, just to milk the addicted to shock factor and bad storytelling casuals. Meaning, this show is in effect a cashgrab, made on a tight budget just to run to the casual oasis before other shows like Black Bullet or Arpeggio of Blue Steel dry up the money well.
Well done anime, you already failed before you even began. But for the sake of argument, let’s give it the benefit of doubt and assume the eye-cancer visuals, the knowledge you won’t get an ending, the awareness that this is a mediocre script, as well as the show being a shameless cashgrab are not enough to drive you away from enjoying it. Ok then, let’s roll with that.
It’s still terrible. Let me tell you why.
5) Shock factor. You know the drill. The series is full of gruesome deaths, which destroys the characterization of its cast. Some of you may think that this way the characters get depth or are more serious for having to deal with all this tragedy but you will of course be mistaken. All you get is identical-looking robot-like creatures that move on the screen and get deactivated (some would call that dying but come on, they are robots) after about 20 minutes worth of screen time. Try to calculate how much character development they will get or how memorable they will be. That’s right, they won’t be. As for those who survive and live to fight another day? Don’t they flesh out and get all that weird stuff I was talking about? Nope, because everybody will be too busy gasping at the gruesome deaths or the creepy sceneries to give a damn about those generically-looking robots that some call characters. GASP! LOOK, HE IS DEAD! GET OUT OF THE WAY LIVING THING; YOU ARE HIDING ALL THE GORE!
6) Wish fulfillment. For a show that is supposed to be about humanity trying to survive against alien monstrosities, you get some off-putting fan service moments. It is not done to death but it is more than enough to not take the show seriously. The protagonist feels like he was transferred there from a harem comedy. He is weak, and passive, and bumps into naked women, and feels like he is incompetent in everything. But as soon as things get serious, he will be a super pilot who will be single-handily wiping out aliens that not even elite groups could scratch. And then he will be cheered by everybody, before reverting to his useless mode. All this pandering makes him look like yet another Jesus for introverts.
7) Unused concepts. There are lots of interesting sci-fi concepts that either don’t fit the setting or are not used in any good way plot-wise. There is a bear woman with a hook arm that is supposed to be some sort of genetic hybrid. That’s so out there; it is never explained, never used in any way and it belongs to a school comedy. There are people who photosynthesize instead of eating, as well as hermaphrodites; again part of the genetic engineering going on in the future. Those are again not relevant to the plot and they are there mostly as comedy or excuses for fan service.
8) Weak mystery. Not even the mystery of what the aliens are, what they want, or what are those alien hives means anything in the longrun, since by now we all know it is always some variation of Soylent Green.
9) Bad plot twists. Not even sudden twists are done properly. For example there is a scene where is a guy gives the protagonist an inappropriate command, just to fail and be accused of being useless. Everybody indeed accuses the protagonist and doesn’t even attempt to verify what exactly happened, especially when the whole communication was recorded in the robot he pilots. That’s plain bullshit. There is another scene where the protagonist bumps on a secret facility by complete chance and it turns out he is already chosen to be a test pilot there. Couldn’t get faker than that.
Thus you get a good premise that is ruined by lots of bad presentation. But what else is expected from a modern anime that is ass-kissing AOT and is done on the run? How about you just go watch Blue Gender? It isn’t a cashgrab, it is serious, and it doesn’t have a harem lead or a bear woman with a hook arm. Or how about you watch that wonderful song by Muse, which happens to share the same name? It doesn’t have pitiful CGI and it actually has a cool space western vibe. By the way, both of them are retro. FUCK MODERN TRASH!