What the heck is this doing here!
On the Contrary to what Kaio said a loooong time back, I am here to give a proper review of the series which is certainly more than what initially meets the eye, well if you like a mecha shounen genre with a good mixture of serious comedy that is. And since this is based on the finer thoughts of the final episode, expect there to be heavy spoilers about the ending.
So, to start things off I really have to say that it is rather disappointing to know that this wasn’t the best appreciated series out there (even though it really should have been given the latter parts). I think a big part of why this series put so many people off after the first episode, if they did make it that far, has to be because of how ugly Kouichi’s character was and this is a point I have to agree with since neither outside nor inside beauty seems to be Kouichi’s strong points. If I were to be honest, the sole reason back then why I carried on with this series has more to do with venting off steam at Kouichi rather than being interested on the story itself (and it was only natural for people to drop this if they dislike the idea of watching a jerk on screen when they have probably seen enough of them during their everyday lives). Although it was clear from the start that they couldn’t just have Kouichi stay the way he is, a lot of fear comes from not knowing when he will start to change and while that wasn’t an issue for me, others do mind it a lot. But frankly, after this hurdle I am quite pleased to say that the series becomes something completely different right after you get into the actual story (which is about half way). So while the thought of going through 12 or so episodes of fun/generic/episodic(?) fluff may not appeal to much (although I enjoyed them all the same), the return you get from the latter episodes are definitely worth it as the mood of the series completely turns it up a few notches.
And if you would just allow me to say (incoming final episode spoiler warning); this has got to be the best ending I have seen in a long while since a lot of stuff nowadays keep failing to pull off a decent conclusion. Was it a cheesy ending? It sure was, but I do believe the attracting factor of this series is precisely because it doesn’t try to hind the fact that it is utterly cheesy. The theme of the series has kept consistent throughout even with the comedy —-> serious switch in atmosphere but nontheless it still “feels” fundamentally the same as before. Effectively the ending just screams of a thing called “the power of love” which some of you might or might not know that it is something I hate with a passion (the power of love being the source of all things evil and deus ex machina) BUT while that naturally comes as a minus for me, the magic of this final episode is that this point doesn’t come across as anything nearly as disgusting as a certain other series (I think title begins with a *Mai*) which revived all their dead people, and for that some series kudos must be given to Gonzo.
Still the coolest character with the hottest mecha in the series
The sheer fact that such a cheesy, cliched, melodramatic plot worked for such an ending is an example of just how strangely (and amazingly) captivating this series is. There is certainly something here which Gonzo did right, and it is to involve the viewers into the story itself as throughout the entire final episode I just couldn’t help but cheer for the heros (as shocking as that idea may seem since Kouichi is effectively the hero here). When an anime has an ability to do that to you then you know that there is something special here but sadly I do feel that this powerful emotion only comes from people who don’t actively go out looking for flaws. To me this series is something you just can’t hate watching being of the “jump in and enjoy yourself” type of series that it is, which is exactly how I view Gundam00 itself. Why complain about something that isn’t meant to be taken seriously? I do wonder myself at times…is it too hard to just enjoy yourself watch a series that requires no more thinking than to feel and understand the characters? Or just for the action itself, which this last episode presented itself wonderfully.
Point being, this episode was just fantastic for staying true to the whole theme of the series. Oh it was serious and had a number of things which I should have felt with utter disgust with, but in the end I just couldn’t bring myself to feel any of those hatred emotions but rather I was just entirely immersed into the story itself. Of course this type of feeling can’t apply for all series otherwise there will be no critic bloggers out there but there comes a time when you feel like you are watching something which can’t possibly warrant much hatred and this is certainly one of those series. Don’t get me wrong, I did hate a lot when watching this series, especially at Kouichi at the start, but that type of hate is for a character rather than the storyline of the series and for him to completely change my opinion of him by the end of the series, I call that nothing short of a miracle.
Up to the point where we have all the heros giving up their lives to Linebarrel was just beautifully done. Hell it was cheesy how such a thing could happen in the first place but if you factor in that physics doesn’t mean crap in anime, then this was a powerful and emotional scene all the same. Not to mention how they focused on all of the character and their perspective feelings at the time together with the best choice of insert song you could ever think of, I am surprised that I didn’t end up screaming “GOOOOOOOO!!!” at the screen as if to give my own share of support to Kouichi (my mind was certainly thinking of doing so mind you).
I don’t believe that I am saying this but…Goooo Kouichi!
And while the “revive” ending could be seen from a distance away, I especially liked how they didn’t ruin the current depressive mood of everyone dying with an instant revival. No, for the time given, they actually allowed that to sink in for a bit before having some “reason” to revive them all which brings about more questions than answers (random alternate universe gundam anyone? LOL awesome!).
How they did revive is unknown but heck why would you stress about the minor details so much? Aren’t you happy that they didn’t all die? How about just seeing it as a miracle given to all of them for fighting so hard to protect the world, I’m sure that is enough of a reason. But what I am trying to say here is that there are points in certain animes where such questions are rather trivial to ask, as if you are trying to look for a reason to dislike something. At times it is necessarily to point out flaws that is out of character to the series, but in this case it remains in character to the whole theme of this series. This is supposed to be a lighthearted fantasy gone serious but the point of it being fantasy still remains (as much as it is cliched and cheesy). Instead of thinking it as a negative, I would love to thank them for giving an genuinely GOOD HAPPY ending compared to a lot of current series out there. Somehow I think Gundam00′s end will have some trouble being compared to this one but we will see when we get there.
And have I mentioned that the ending was just perfect? With the whole slideshow and a last scene showing the spot where Kouichi died and was reborn…sweet nostalgia not to mention a deep sense of metaphor that you couldn’t but feel sad that this series isn’t anymore appreciated by people for it’s beauty.
You mean this was where a gundam dropped on your head
But as a whole, I won’t say that this series is the best ever oh no. The flaw of the series is certainly because it took a while for it to go into the seriously awesome mode that we have here in the end. But certainly it is a cut above the normal in terms of pure enjoyment. Maybe I am bias because this feels “fresh”…fresh in a way where current days are dominated with romance as the primary genre rather than being secondary, or if they tell you otherwise: they are lying!.
Being nothing more than episodic with lots of fluff, comedy, fun and rage for the first part of this series, it isn’t hard to see how it so easily turned people off from watching this especially since Kouichi is an utter jerk and should very well be hated (his past self anway). While it seems that there is nothing captivating about this series for a good half of the series it was easily picked up and dropped as people naturally thought that “it will lead to nowhere” or “it’s all the same” or simply “I can’t be bothered to wait until it picks up the pace, if it ever does”. For people in the last category, damn man grow some patience!.
Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, this series can be scarily deep
In a way I agree with those statements as the truth is that the first half of the series was nothing special at all. Kouichi here being a jerk, getting smacked around by weaklings, some grunts die, the end. But this simply changed when they actually started getting into the meat of things firstly with the unexpected death of (insert someone you would know if you had watched the series or otherwise go give it a second chance). “Maybe there is a serious side to the story afterall” was a thought I had in mind which was soon confirmed with the following arcs (ie, “Mr X” coming back to cause some sweet, sweet chaos).
The whole growth of the characters (be it forced or subtle) was just lovely to see since it really made them all seem that much more human. Sure you can rage about their flaws but that is exactly what makes them human, it is when they don’t change at all which makes it awful which, gladly, wasn’t something that happened here as even with such a big cast, they had time spare to shine the spotlight on most of the characters. Romance wise as I say, remain as being a secondary genre for this series but hey, I wasn’t expecting anything other than Kouichi X Emi anyway and for a big part of the series, they have payed enough attention to the perverse fun which Kouichi always end up either slapped or beaten or called the “worst”.
I, frankly am pleased see the comedy moments being actually funny (or at times just plain eye rolling) and this is all nicely balanced out with the serious, latter parts of the series. Although I do think that having fun and fluff being the first thing that the viewers sees is a negative as it is actually something that turned a lot of people off from carrying on with this series as it seems more like a “joke” than anything else, I personally believe that this is a gem series where you need to pass through a “trial phase” for you to realise just how enjoyable it is. Just like how IDOLM@STER: XENOGLOSSIA was for me, this series started out being average to ending on an absolute high, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Episode rating: 11/10
Final overall series rating: 8.5-9/10