So, mechas and sports. I tried to watch this formula in the past and I didn’t like it one bit. Sports are generally a boring genre and mechas that don’t blow things up look weird to watch. Well, surprisingly this series is not really just about sports or mechas. It is more about wacky characters, boob ecchi and awesome ShoesTM advertisement. So, don’t drop it on first impressions alone.
Animated by Satelight studios, which has made several anime, yet only Noein amongst them is worthwhile for me. Directed by Kawamori Shouji (he made the cool Macross - Do You Remember Love ?) and Itagaki Shin (he made shitty shows like Devil May Cry, Mayoi Neko Overrun, and Ben-Tou). Thus from the production team, you are not made to expect something good. And indeed you don’t.
ART SECTION: 9/10 [Moe pop idols with gigantic boobs, playing basketball by riding awesome ShoesTM mecha… WTF?]
General Artwork 2/2: Ok, if this ain’t eye candy nothing is. There is a huge amount of detail given to everything and the style of animation itself is not entirely that commonplace. It gives off a slight western feeling to it. For a series that is supposed to be about sports and mechas, the animators gave a lot of detail to city buildings, visual aesthetics and perky movements that make this one a wonderful thing to watch. So the artwork in general is very pleasing to the eye… amongst other things.
Character Figures 2/2: Ok, they look perky and lively and their body language is wonderful. As the formula goes with this sort of series, males are drawn to look like little weird punks full of angst who want to take on the world and females as ultra busty bishoujos that go all fuzzy and lovey dovey over the punks. Yes, sounds corny and silly but this sort of treatment fits the elements of the show so it actually isn’t some irrelevant thing glued there just as extra. The characters look as they should under the basic premise of the show. Perky, funny, punky and busty. So, they are fine as they are. Even the silly looking Bigfoot mechas.
Backgrounds 2/2: The setting: An Earth-like planet where the poor live on the surface on American ghetto-like cities and the rich on the ultra luxurious, full of neon glow and fireworks moon. And boy, they look marvelous. The backgrounds fit the mood of its inhabitants and are as I mentioned already full of details and vivid colors.
Motion Fluidity 1/2: Perky and lively as they may look to be, the characters still have crude movements and not fluid animation. The 3D mechas more specifically have little to none regard to physics. So, having the Miyazaki films as a rule of the thump, the movements are funny and lively but not smooth.
Visual Effects 2/2: Feels like they overdo it at times but the entire series is full of explosions, semi-transparent advertisements and fireworks. It’s like the circus came to town. Very pleasing as well for this sort of series.
SOUND SECTION: 5/10 [Sounds sporty but it is actually giggly]
Damn, I rarely find something to write about this section… Anyway, the music score is ok if you like j-pop and semi-rap pieces. Not memorable but contribute to the wacky theme of the series. Voice acting is ok too as everyone talks perky, sexy, idealistic and/or funny. And sound effects are dynamic, aiming to excite you about the sport… or the boobs… or the occasional drama it tries to depict rather amateurish. An ok overall.
STORY SECTION: 4/10 [Cheering a sport with bouncing boobs.]
Premise 1/2: Ok, the story is not original by miles. It is not even complicating. It’s just that they combined elements from different genres and created a likable blend. So, the story is about a spunky teenager out to get rich and famous by being a rebellious sabotaging punk and trying to help his sister heal her feet by playing Basquash (basketball with mechas) and heading for the moon. Sounds corny? Well, it really is. He is a misfit punk, siding with a lot of other misfit punks, cause havoc, train to get better and are accompanied by a bunch of brainless super busty chicks who fall in love with them because they promised to get married as children or find sexy their dribbling while playing or have a foot fetish… Yes, it is that retarded…
Beyond all that, I was really pleased to see that the story is NOT just about sports. Also, since it was sponsored to advertise a shoe brand, all mechas actually wear those type of shoes. Yet, they are NOT blatantly advertised nor does the show try to deify basketball… that much…
Side Stories 1/2: So, it is actually more of a wacky comedy with a rather high amount of boob fan service rather than some run of the mill boring sports story about a boy with high dreams training and playing sports as he steadily gets towards the championship… Actually it is all that but not just that. It is also about social problems, personal dramas and boob jokes. And none of them are presented seriously (especially the last one). Still, every character had something to contribute… Not much but he had.
Form of Development/ Pace of Plot 1/2: Up until the first half, I was generally pleased by the way the story was unfolding. Every episode progressed by introducing more characters, more goals, more Bigfoots and more bigboobs… I mean girls. It was not really letting you get bored. Unfortunately the second half was way less exciting despite becoming more epic. Because you can tolerate THIS much boob jokes and improbable basketball matches before you get fed up. Yes, the Basquash matches are not really exciting and the jokes kinda start repeating, while the pace of the story becomes a mess of random events with erratic pace. So, it does get boring after a while and it ain’t that interesting anymore.
Believability/Reasoning/Realism 0/2: Eh, no, it makes little sense at first and none as it goes on. Despite being a comedy, it still involves a story that needed some proper planning and realism as not to pass as lame. And it failed bad. It is a series where little kids level entire buildings and nobody minds much and when they do they just send them to prison for a few days. It is also about random encounters, random humor and lots of boob shots that distract from the already simple story.
Conclusion 1/2: Ok, since the second half became far worse and less interesting the whole deal ended in a cheesy, lukewarm, forgettable ending which really did not fit the initial premise of the show. It actually became the deification of a game which can save the world, like YuGiOh and its bunch of children’s card game. So, no, the ending is very boring despite trying to make it idealistic, dramatic and flashy. They should have stick to the boobs…
CHARACTER SECTION: 6/10 [Lunar Bust…When boobs are so big, they get their own special name…]
Ok, there is little to write about the characters, being the archetypes they are, so I will not bother to split them into categories. As far as personalities go, they are the usual bunch you meet in practically every shounen series. The idiot lead with high dreams out to help someone, be the best in something, accompanied by a bunch of misfits, angst males, lame looking comic reliefs and lots of pretty busty chicks who love him just because he is the lead and the viewers must identify with that and like the series. Meh, it wasn’t something we haven’t already seen a thousand times already. Simple backdrop stories and little to none development and catharsis for all. Still, I give them a bit over average for being likable thanks to the humor and the lively movements they all perform.
VALUE SECTION: 6/10 [Buy the awesome ShoesTM ]
Historical Value 1/3: Meh, just another mediocre anime that was made just to advertise a product.
Rewatchability 1/3: The initial episodes are great to watch again. As the story goes on, many things feel repetitive or dry so there will be a lot of skipping.
Memorability 4/4: Definitely! The style of the animation, the wonderful visuals and the really weird blend of sports, comedy and ecchi make this one unforgettable (albeit not that enjoyable).
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 4/10 [Like walking on a hill, after the midpoint comes the downhill.]
If there is something wrong with this series, that would not be the weird combination of sports and ecchi. It would be its bad planning and directing. Although the story was nothing much to begin with, the pace of the plot was very good up until the first half. For this sort of series, the target audience would be pleased up to that moment. But in the second half, each episode goes either too slow or too fast, some scenes feel missing and others rushed too soon. As if the animators lost track of what they were doing and focused too much only on how to advertise the cool ShoesTM . Also, the whole premise of the series was nice while it was still fresh and unfolding in the first half. After all the main characters were introduced, all the main themes were shown and the objective goal became clear, the second half which was supposed to wrap all that failed to do so. It reverted to a run of the mill silly show of wacky action and ridiculous plot. The ecchi was not enough anymore and the sudden switch to a world threat that basketball can prevent actually damaged the general image of this series, which was supposed to be wacky characters doing silly things and not destined heroes out to save the world. So, all I can say is that this series needed either 12 episodes less in length or 12 more in order to make amends for that lame second half.
Down to it, I half liked this series. Although I dislike childish stories, sports and blatant ecchi, the wonderful animation and the wacky characters were very pleasing to watch … for a while. For as long as sports and ecchi were not the main focus, I liked the breezy style of it. But then it got all “let’s play basketball, show boobs and save the world, while sponsoring the amazing mecha ShoesTM. “ So, no more fun for me. Yet I must make it clear that it felt far more interesting to watch than most silly sports or children’s adventures or run of the mill ecchis.
Good start, bad driving, awful parking. Driving license revoked…
Oban Star Racers
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