Monday 7 April 2014

First Impressions: Captain Earth

Captain Earth

With the more juvenile series out of the way, let's get talking about one of the REAL mecha shows making its debut this anime season. Captain Earth is the brand new show from Bones, written by Takuya Igarashi and directed by Yōji Enokido - both of whom worked on Star Driver. Those two aren't the only Star Driver staff returning, with artists Shingeto Koyoma and Takayuki Yanase (both of whom also worked on Eureka Seven and its sequel Ao) handling mecha duties. Mentioning these two series is pretty important, as prior to airing some referring to Captain Earth as "Eureka Seven meets Star Driver". With those being two of my favourite anime series of all time, Captain Earth was probably my most anticipated show for this season.

The first episode of the show didn't really give a whole lot away, but it follows 17 year-old Daichi Manatsu, who's father was an astronaut who was lost in space and declared dead. After seeing news of a mysterious circular rainbow floating over Tanegashima island, Daichi remembers an event from his childhood where he met a mysterious purple-haired boy named Teppei who could do a similar thing. After returning to the scene where it all took place, Daichi soon finds himself in front of the giant robot "Earth Engine". After being asked "Are you a Captain", Daichi finds himself in the cockpit of the robot flying through outer space to take on an enemy threatening the Earth.

First episodes aren't usually one for explaining things very well, but Captain Earth makes a point of setting up as much as possible in 25 minutes with plenty of questions to be answered over however long this show is to run. The episode itself is still easy to follow (although I'd argue it may require a little more attention than other shows), so it's more a case of the mystery being a hook to keep you watching.

And of course, the Eureka Seven and Star Driver inspirations really show. The characters look like they jumped right out of Eureka Seven, right down to their hip fashion sense. Throw in a mysterious boy with strange coloured hair and a giant circular rainbow it couldn't be any more clearer. As for the Star Driver comparisons...Earth Engine looks like Taubarn after it hit the gym. But while it is much beefier than the Star Driver cybodies, the opposing mecha (which from a quick google search I think are named Machine Goodfellow, but I don't remember catching that in the first episode itself) look like they may have just jumped straight out of it. So while the designs all obviously look like they came from the same place, there is already a nice contrast between the two sides which hopefully will be even better when the two actually meet face to face.

Beautifully animated and featuring a protagonist that certainly shows potential (there was nothing outstanding character-wise this episode, but nothing notably bad), Captain Earth is definitely a show to keep an eye on this season.

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