Anime Meta-Review


Candidate for Goddess


By Date




Title Info

  • alias: Megami Kouhosei
  • seen: 1-11
  • type: TV
  • grade: watchable
  • genre: mecha
  • Series state: Can't find any more to watch.
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Recently, but I didn't record the date.
  • mod: none

A kind viewer, who's name I lost in an over-enthusiastic e-mail purge, wrote in to mention that the translation of this title is not the literal translations. Apparently the true title would be something like "Goddess Cadet", although the current title appears to have been adopted as the standard.

What a strangely addictive collection of flaws and annoyances this anime is. It's also not going to be an easy one to review. In any case we are introduced to a far future reality in which mankind is getting attacked by huge, space going aliens (the victim) who tend to `eat' planets. And what's more, mankind is losing, with only one occupied planet (zion) remaining. The only reason humanity survives at all is because of the goddesses, 5 huge female combat mecha. Each mecha is `bonded' to a pilot, but at the moment the `consumption' of pilots is pretty high, so keeping many spare pilots in stock is a major occupation. We get to follow the most recent batch of 5 potential pilots (thus giving us the title) as they go through the familiar motions of mecha boot-camp. At the same time at least two of the members of this group seem to be unusual, gifted with power and possibly linked to the secrets of the goddesses. This is especially true for the lead, Zero, who seemingly possesses limitless talent, sizable personal power and a whole truckload of mysterious secrets and background. At the same time he's also a `colony yokel', so watching him adjust to `serious' and discipline is pretty entertaining.

One nice touch at this point is that each pilot is also teamed with a repairer. And while pilots are, with one exception, exclusively male the repairers are generally female (add in young and cute as well). This adds some interesting human drama to the mix. In addition one of them is a completely weird, pink haired cat girl. Of course the training computers decide that she is so weird she'd better be teamed up with the weird lead character. But then the training computers also decide that the psychotic, insensitive male should get a passive little girl to there's a very real chance the computers are nuts themselves.

At the heart of this series there's a simple trick. In the first episode a `meaningful' event occurs making it very clear that strange things are afoot. What's more the central character is deeply tied into whatever it is. However from then on the anime runs in two streams. One is the human drama of the old `training school' plot. You know the story, competition between the students, friendship, romance and a bit of adventure. A well known but still effective basis for an anime. The other thread is full of `mysteries', the character having strange dreams and visions, vague hints about the goddesses and questions about what's really going on. The hidden past of the leads, the nature of the psychic power they posses and what lies in store for them will keep you interested. The annoyance is that this formula depends on you, well, not having enough information to actually work it out. Thus while the anime keeps suggesting lots of hidden meaning it continues to be disconnected and fragmentary to keep you interested. In some ways it feels a lot like a tease, despite the fact that what is happening is interesting enough in its own way. Thus while it is addictive, patience is required while the plot rolls on towards explaining the events of the very first episode. And you simply have to keep your fingers crossed that the creators will actually come up with something coherent at the end.

In between this, enjoyable, character stuff there's action as the goddesses go up against the fearsome `victims' or students go up against each other in `pro-ing' mecha. Or, in reality, it's badly computer animated tin-toy going up against terrible textured blob. This computer animation is lame, badly designed and animated with such an artificial appearance that it pains the eyes. Sure they clearly work on it throughout the series, but it remains awful. And to make it worse there's lots of scenes of mecha being `launched' or weapon attacks which are repetitive and tedious as well as crappy. Since all you really want to know is what's going on these are an unwelcome intrusion into each episode. The only positive thing that can be said is that it makes the `normal' animation look brilliant in comparison (and indeed it is quite competent). The only real criticism with the good quality normal animation is that the weird sense of design is still present and the ambiance is a bit flat. The voices, at least for the main characters, are pretty good and combines with good expression animation to give a sense of personality. The music slipped by without me noticing it.

Once again I got to experience how awful MPEG anime looks, made more painful by an animated watermark in the top left corner. Major slaps to whoever came up with that stupid idea. None of my regular sources has a review for this title.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:16 WST 2009