Archive Post: Captain Earth (10/5/14)

Hello and welcome to the newly rechristened Anime Chop Block where we put anime under the lens and see whether they are worth your time or are to be chopped from the reel

image

Today, we will be reviewing Captain Earth, a mecha show made by Bones, the studio behind RahXephon and Star Driver. Now, I like these shows to some extent (RahXephon being a Mu-style interpretation of Evangelion and is better at some part and Star Driver being a visually creative show that does putter at the end but mostly gives you a fun ride) and when I saw Captain Earth, I thought “this could be fun and whimsical”. The result, well, this took longer than I expected and I will explain.

Story/Writing:

High school student Manatsu Daichi is a kid who lost his father in a space mission and formally lived on Tanegashima near the space center. He becomes interested in his old home however when a circular rainbow appears over the space center and reminds him of a friend he made back then named Arashi Teppei and a time they found a girl named Mutou Hana floating in a liquid sphere. His memories have faded so he decides to go to Tanegashima to find out more and gets more than he expected. It turns out his father died protecting the earth from a “Kill-T-Gang”, a large mechanical being able to feed of human “libido” or life force and who have started to reappear. Daichi decides to pilot the “Earth Engine Impacter” to stop the Kill-T-Gang from killing all life on earth.

Now this is a very basic outline of the whole thing because the show actually has a few symbolic ties to “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” that I sadly comment on too much. This, however, gives the show and its proceedings an ethereal feeling that often makes it dreamlike for better and worse. On the one hand, it gives the show a unique visual style and interesting character dynamics. On the other hand, it also makes finding the themes and symbolism of the show a bit hard to do though this could be my lack of knowledge of Shakespeare. The writing also doesn’t help matters since it can feel very distant and indirect which works for symbolism but during important scenes and conversations can leave people wondering what is going on. It also doesn’t help that terms get thrown around a lot and most aren’t elaborated on or are only explained very late down the line. The plotting of the story is ultimately serviceable for moving the plot and having characters do things; it doesn’t really stop or speed up too much but it didn’t hold my full attention even at the end so remembering the whole show is difficult (which is why it was hard to write this review). It never offends or makes people angry but it doesn’t excite that much either.

Characters

Now, this is the hardest part of the review to write for two reasons. One is that there are a ton of characters here and unlike in Aldnoah, when most of them could be ignored, almost all of them contribute in some way to the proceedings of the plot and even if they are only one-episode characters, they still impart something on others to drive them. The other reason is that there really isn’t an arc for some of these characters. Most of them stay static and the few that do have an arc have one that doesn’t really change them too much. So I will talk about the four characters in the image and the slight arcs they have.

First is Manatsu Daichi who is the titular Captain Earth of the title and the focus of the story. He is a person of integrity with a fun personality outside of combat and wishes to follow in his father’s footsteps of being a hero after being named captain. As a character, he does learn the responsibilities of his title but I found that he already embodied them in the beginning; he was already a person willing to put his line for his friends and protect the people. He ultimately doesn’t really grow as a character but he isn’t objectionable or someone I dislike. He also does interact with the three other people really well and tends to have some light-hearted moments with them with nice comedic gags here and there really resonating because of his connection to the cast.

Next is Arashi Teppei who was Daichi’s childhood friend and the reason for the circular rainbow since he has the ability to generate them. I will have to spoil something in order to fully discuss his character but it’s kind of an obvious point and reveled in the first 3 episodes. Teppei is actually the avatar body for the Kill-T-Gang Albion but doesn’t share the same feelings as the others due to his interaction with Daichi. He is useful to the team with his knowledge of how the Kill-T-Gang work and what they seek to do. While the story does talk about his feelings of isolation due to his nature, it really doesn’t amount to much since he still lives a normal person’s life and doesn’t feel issues being with the cast. Personality wise, he is the somewhat emotionless person, he has emotions but really doesn’t express them until he interacts more with the team. He and Daichi bounce off each other well as friends trying to one-up each other and generally serve as a tsukomi to a lot of the antics of the crew at times.

Moving to the female cast, we have Mutou Hana. She was the girl floating in the liquid sphere that Daichi saw as a kid and, after the time skip, is shown to have connections to something called the Blume. She sadly has no arc; there is an episode where she has internal doubts about her connection to Daichi but this gets resolved within 2 episodes. She is the most uninteresting of the cast due to having a very base personality but that personality is that of a person who is very kind and gentle but is able to fight and defend as needed. She is also the fanservice of the show so expect a lot of images of her meant to appeal to a more base instinct.

Lastly is Yomatsuri Akari. She is a hacker that works with the team and even helps analyze and defeat the Kilt-T-Gang at times. She is also the weirdest of the characters since she seems very different personality wise. While the rest of the cast are fairly normal in how they express personalities, Akari is basically a Manic Pixie Dream Girl with a loud personality and a few quirks: she styles herself as a Mahou Shoujo, loves deserts to the point of seeking them out during patrols and is generally a light-hearted character meant to lighten the mood. That being said, the seiyuu, Rina Hidaka, does a good job projecting the manic energy of the character and it helps to make it appealing instead of annoying. She also isn’t always fun and light-hearted and is able to be serious and convey the severity of a situation so that helps blunt a lot of the loudness.

Art/Animation

This is a Bones production so the animation quality is very high. The mechs move smoothly, bodies don’t seem very dissonant in movement and facial expressions are varied and emotive. The art of the show is also top notch. It is a bright and colorful show with even darker scenes looking like they have some sort of life in them. The designs of the mechs are very stylized and creative and the varied colors help compliment their designs.

Sound/Music

Sadly, there isn’t much to say about the music compared to the animation. The openings and endings are nice and happy but they really don’t stand out to me and the BGM of the show does it’s job well but doesn’t really impress.

Conclusion

The best way to describe this show is “Pleasant but unmemorable”. The show’s charcters are nothing to really write home about but they bounce off each other very well and aren’t the type you would detest. The fights in it are short and well animated but really don’t have anything besides the colors and creative mech designs. The plot does move forward at a reasonable pace but neither hits you with something huge or putters to a dead end; it just sort of stays it’s own course and ends at the same level as the beginning.

This show is the type that you will enjoy while marathoning it but you won’t really have much memory of it after it ends and you won’t really have an emotional response to it

If you are interested, Captain Earth is available on Crunchyroll

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s