Anime Meta-Review




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Title Info

  • seen: 1-3 of 4
  • type: OAV
  • grade: flawed
  • genre: mecha
  • Series state: Don't intend to watch more.
  • made: 1989
  • Review created: A while ago, i'll revise it eventually.
  • mod: none

This is the most painful sort of flawed anime, in that it has no flaws, what it does have is far too few strengths to justify the money spent on making it or your time in watching it. The story considers a fairly strange alien invasion of earth. On the Earth side is the required giant robot, ARIEL itself, which is modelled after the dead wife of earths foremost mad scientist (voiced by Sakaki from Patlabor, good casting). They really have to worry about this guy, because his 40 meter tall robot has lovely long hair, an attractive face and a pink leotard. In another design quirk it is piloted by his three young daughters, the older athletic type, the young and enthusiastic type and the serious middle who would love to study for university entrance tests rather than pilot a giant robot. The aliens, in their orbiting battleship, have the ability to drop monstrous creatures but have a severe problem. No, its not earth's brave defense, its the fact that the ship needs an overhaul and they're way over budget. Watching the alien commander order an attack and get over-ruled by the finance officer is a unique experience. Still you have all the requirements, young girls wanting to live their life, aliens wanting to subjugate earth and a wily mad scientist.

The main problem is it is all amazingly lifeless, with what pacing there is being very uncertain. The environment looks like it might have been intended as a vehicle for humor, but it is all played very straight. In between the very rare giant robot combat (which is fairly dull, Ariel is not particularly agile) there are some scenes of normal life, but even this lacks focus and excitement. There are no suprises, no great sense of personality and even the crisis's just don't seem to matter that much. I guess if the blame were laid anywhere it is that the show does not have a focus as to what it is going to be, and the writing and direction simply go through the motions without solving this problem. The animation is a bit older, but more than sufficient to tell this story. The technical design is acceptable, but not always logical. In general the voices and production quality is better than the story deserves. Plot holes are frequent, such as the reason why these three girls are the only pilots, or the complete absence of conventional military response. Other irritations are a super-powerful renegade alien who ends up solving every crisis and some horrible `extras' such as the chorale themesong, karaoke version of same and cringe-worthy english languages trailors (ouch). If nothing else comparing this to Evangelion, and how it got a lot right, is an interesting experience. Super negative points for one of the `saves' which defies any sort of logic, and invalidates much of that story.

This seems to be a safe anime to bag, which is sad because it is not that bad, it simply isn't as good as it should have been. The Anime Movie Guide gives it one star (less than MD Geist!) and calls it, "a very boring take on the giant robot genre". Those THEM also have a review which basically kicks it around, although at one hour I don't know which OAV episodes they saw (I think ep.3 runs about 45 minutes by itself). Still, worth reading for anyone tempted to buy (or view) this title.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:15 WST 2009