This series is telling us that it will be lukewarm from the first 5 minutes. Basing its appeal on heavy-dude attitude, shooting showdowns, and pretty girls, it fails to be any more interesting than your average American action movie. Even more when you realize that the series doesn’t even try to hide its American clichés.
Animated by Ufotable, a studio with many good titles, as well as many lukewarms (this of course belongs to the later case). Directed by Nonaka Takuya of the Garden of Sinners fame. This though is a shame on his portfolio.
ART SECTION: 8/10 [Cowboys fighting goth lolis … in space!]
General Artwork & Backgrounds 4/4: Although nor original, the series encompasses four different time periods in its setting:
-A Wild West flavor, in the way the characters dress and act during action scenes,
-A modern American big city flavor (New York, Las Vegas, Detroit) in the way people live and behave in their daily lives.
-A sci-fi flavor, like space stations, spaceships and some hi-tech gadgets, just to make the action scenes flashier.
-A Renaissance flavor, in the way the bad guys dress in goth-loli cloths and scheme in Machiavellian ways. So, ok, that’s essentially a Japanese fetish, but it is still based on some time period.
All of the above are presented in a colorful, detailed and stylized way, of generally higher quality than most anime series. So, the animation is generally with a big variety and of good quality.
Character Figures 2/2: Again, very good in detail and in quality, the characters look very different and interesting. The good guys look like sci-fi cowboys, the bad guys like sexy goth-loli bitches and the neutral guys like modern day cops.
Animation 1/2: The characters move in very smooth ways during the action scenes and there is almost no use of still frames and repeating footage. On the other hand, they do not move realistically. The good guys outrun bullets and survive grenade explosions, while passing-by stunts get hit in a flash. And all of the above are excused only as “hero’s luck”. Meaning, well made battle choreographies but utterly fake.
Lightning/ Visual Effects 1/2: Oh, nothing wrong with them. Explosions, gunshot lightings, turbine exhaustions, make the battles to look cool and the world of the series interesting. Still, they are used just for the sake of attracting the eye (for external presentation) and not to give a more dramatic or imposing feeling to the characters (for internal presentation).
SOUND SECTION: 4/10 [Hollywood crap.]
Voice Acting 1/3: Since the characters have nothing much to talk about, the general feeling of everything they are saying gets unavoidably dry most of the time.
–Mister! –What? – You did this? –Yeah! –You will pay for this! –Ok! … As you can tell, the series is full of cheesy one-liners. There are some good dialogues here and there but you will feel that most characters hardly have more than two sentences. In fact, some have none (they never talk, despite being there the whole time).
Music Themes 2/4: Oh, the usual American action themes. Nice to listen to, nothing to remember about.
Sound Effects 1/3: TATATATA! KABOOM! AHHHH! ZVIIIIN! POW! CRUSH! Something along those lines. Just like the visual effects, they are used for the sake of making the action flashier but have no theatrical or atmospheric appeal.
STORY SECTION: 3/10 [Steven Seagal has nothing on this!]
Premise 1/2: A guy named Mister and his crew burst out of prison, proceed into finding his dead friend’s daughter and organize in order to find a treasure and stop a group of cyborg goth-loli assassins.
Way too reminiscent of American action movies, the story is nothing more than an excuse for cool battles and cheesy drama.
Pacing 1/2: With only 12 episodes and a typical story, the plot is quite linear and mostly predictable. Some events may take you by surprise and some flashbacks may give you an unexpected sad side to the story. But in the end, it’s a bunch of Rambo-like dudes who seem to always survive, no matter the situation.
Complexity 0/2: No side stories. All three individual groups circle around the same goal.
Plausibility 0/2: No realism. All events feel forced and convenient. Just in the first episode, an entire army of prison guards shoots pointlessly at the bad guys and gets killed like flies. The hero breaks a smile, gets a rocket launcher (although he is a prisoner!), defeats one bad guy for fun, exchanges some lame one-liners and proceeds into summoning a pack of alien beast to wreck the prison and escape without even breaking a sweat. Expect something similar on almost every episode. There are some cases where the good guys are in a pinch, but there is always some out of place solution to get away.
Conclusion 1/2: A great shoot out and then a cheesy ending. Just like an American movie.
CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10 [RAMBOOO!]
Presence 2/2: Very cool and imposing or sexy characters fill the screen. If you like heavy-dude cowboys, cool trendy men, cyborg chicks dressed in goth, and edgy lolitas, this is your abode.
Personality - Backdrop - Development 2/6: Too many characters, too little driving force. Almost all characters are there just for flavor and have no character development or even a background. For instance, there are 13 evil women in the story, all of which have a different demeanor. But they are just a collection of harem anime archetypes (a shy one, a perky one, a butchy one, etc.) and don’t actually do anything differently or individually. So, there is effectively only ONE bad guy in the story. Something similar is happening to the good guys, who are essentially just variations of Mister, and the two police officers who are just a serious one and a giggly one, doing the same stuff.
Catharsis 1/2: Since there is a simple conclusion, there is a simple catharsis but not a solid one. A sequel can pop up anytime.
VALUE SECTION: 2/10 [The safe is empty.]
Historical Value 0/3: Not famous at all.
Rewatchability 1/3: Maybe just to watch those cool action scenes.
Memorability 1/4: Way too reminiscent of most generic American action movies.
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 2/10 [Sex and violence always sell.]
The first 2 episodes and the last one had some very nice battles. Totally fake but cool nonetheless. The rest of the episodes are boring.
A Hollywood imitator with some Japanese overtones (goth-loli).
Cowboy Bebop. Same form of setting, better characters.
Black Lagoon. Same fake and extreme shooting showdowns, but with more social issues involved.