I didn’t have the opportunity to see this when it first aired because it premiered through Sony’s PlayStation video service, something I don’t have. I was fairly disappointed by this, given the promising trailer and the studio responsible, Bones, who, as addressed in my previous review, have consistently impressed me with their releases, both in script and production. Furthermore, the director for this series, Masayuki Miyaji, has co-directed, supervised and story-boarded for Ghibli and Bones, along with contributing to ‘Blood+‘ by Production I.G, another series and animation studio I’ve taken to. The series also bears similarities to Eureka Seven, a series I was thoroughly impressed with and remains a firm favourite of mine (another series Miyaji also co-directed on). It’s also worth noting that Bones have developed a very distinguishable animation style in recent years, which has been employed in both series.
The first episode covers the necessary ground for the series, where our main character is shown leaving for school, introducing his mother and father (of whom have divorced – this is glimpsed at) and his childhood friends. The character design, akin to Eureka Seven, or any recent Bones production for that matter, is rather neutral, bordering on realism over style. Moreover, the movement of the characters is fluid, taking into account even secondary characters and/or objects in the scene. This is something most other studios would choose to ignore (an example would be the old lady taking out the rubbish in the background, while our main character is rushing to the bus). By the by, the series also focuses on the renegade group, all of whom are introduced briefly, heading toward the island in their aircraft, where our main character is based. The surroundings of this ‘island’ are of a small town, while the sky is filled with military ships. Clearly, the calm, peaceful island is governed by a much larger force that has yet to be unveiled. Without derailing any further, the opening episodes were interesting. Unfortunately, the proceeding story line, while moderate, failed to deliver that extra ‘something’, resulting in a series that was somewhat unconvincing, but not necessarily bad. The plot line wasn’t disjointed, as such, nor did any of the revelations seem spondaic, it was just uneventful. I kept feeling like I should be enjoying this series, given the wide array of characters that were all developed sufficiently, more or less, with their own background, which explored their problems, relationships and motivations. I think the main problem resided in the fact that the premise was strong, the characters had potential and were developed appropriately, but the plot itself, while competent, lacked momentum or drama. I can’t really fault it, it just didn’t deliver enough. It was almost like watching a ‘slice of life’ series where the circumstances were surreal. This might be deemed a good thing on first glance (especially if you liked the series Hanbei Renmei that had this quality), but this wasn’t the intention nor objective behind this series. Even so, I would still consider re-watching this series again and would recommend it.
Overall, it’s a good series that, comparatively speaking, is one of the better series of its year, certainly within its genre. For that and taking into account its production, character development and ‘reasonable’ plot line, this series is a solid: