First Impressions: Captain Earth


Longest gattai sequence ever

I secretly loved Star Driver.

The ridiculously over-the-top posing, flashiness, strange imagery, and the beautiful animation; it all came together to make for an entertaining whirlwind of confusion and glee. That shouldn't come as too much of a surprise when it had such a strong team working on it. With names like Yoji Enokido (writer of Revolutionary Girl Utena), Takuya Igarashi (Sailor Moon), and a host of others attached to the project, it was bound to at least be intriguing...even if incomprehensible.

Enter Bones' new project, Captain Earth.

Sporting a host of alumni from the Star Driver project, this new giant robot anime is Bones' latest attempt at striking gold.

Is the first episode any good? Are the robots appropriately robotic? Do things go boom?

The answer and so much more, after the break.

Daichi Mahatsu is a second-year high school student about to enter summer vacation. Friendly and pleasant to be around, he's not without friends or people that care about him. School isn't exactly his forte though; he just doesn't care about class and would rather read books, play games, or surf the net. Daichi's life changed dramatically when his father, an astronaut, died in space during an accident of some kind.

One day while hanging with some friends, he sees a news report about a strange circular rainbow floating in the sky above Tanegashima, his old home. This phenomenon is more than just familiar: Daichi once saw something similar when he was but a child. Digging deep into his memories, he remembers the day he met a mysterious boy named Teppei, and the time they spent together at an old, sealed off facility on the island. Filled with a sense of foreboding, Daichi heads back to his hometown, breaking into the old building in the hopes of figuring out what exactly is going on. He meets a young girl, some crazy things happen, and eventually he finds himself piloting a giant robot called the Earth Engine. Hurled into space against an incoming enemy of unknown origin, it would appear as though fate has something great in store for Daichi.

Well that was a packed first episode.

The pacing of the first half wasn't so hot, but it nonetheless did the job of delivering important information to the viewer in a timely fashion. Much to my surprise, Captain Earth didn't hold back on dumping mysterious plot elements all over the place right off the bat. Weird circular rainbows, children who definitely aren't normal, a naked girl in an energy sphere; all this and more, and in flashbacks no less. Hell, even the antagonists (?) get some screen time, applying a face to the enemy super early in the series. Shout outs to their odd greeting which, while nowhere near as good as "kira boshi!', still managed to elicit a smile from me.

Of course, like any giant robot series that takes itself too seriously, the dialogue is wrought with eye-rolling cliches. In some ways though, that's part of the charm. It feels like Bones is out to make a traditional mecha show, and whether or not that succeeds, I can at least respect that they seem to be diving in head first. I'm not really sure how I feel about Daichi as the protagonist as of yet; his aloofness bothered me in the first half, but his goofiness made up for a lot of that toward the end of the episode. I gotta love Bones rolling with the old school "boy pilots giant robot for the first time to defend Earth without any training" trope and not giving a damn.

Plot zaniness aside, this was another lavish opening episode for studio Bones. Not unlike Star Driver, Captain Earth features a very lush art style that really does justice to the island setting. There's wasn't a whole lot of action to speak of this week, but the tantalizing bits and pieces of robot animation were great. In particular, the Earth Engine gattai sequence was great fun, combining the look of a super robot with a grounded, almost analog-esque formation sequence. I imagine we're probably going to see that scene a whole lot in the coming episodes.

Musically, Star Driver alumni Satoru Kousaki heads up the score, and it's as big and booming as his previous work. I was amused to find that the first episode of Captain Earth already featured an insert song, and I'm hoping that the musical elements are as tied to the core narrative as they have been in this team's prior works.

Captain Earth's first episode was an enjoyable robot romp, despite the sometimes cringe-inducing dialogue and weird pacing. I'm always down to watch a Bones mecha anime, and with so many strong veterans working on the project, I can only hope that things go up from here. 

If nothing else, I'll settle for more pretty insert songs and long-as-hell gattai sequences. 

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Elliot Gay
Elliot GayContributor   gamer profile

Elliot is an associate editor for Japanator and can be found contributing to Destructoid on occasion. He lives in Japan and can be found on Twitter @RyougaSaotome. more + disclosures



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    Filed under... #anime #BONES #feature #First Impressions #japan #mecha #robots #top stories



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