Anime Meta-Review




By Date




Title Info

  • alias: Top o Nerae!
  • seen: 1-6 of 6
  • type: OAV
  • grade: worthy
  • genre: mecha
  • Other elements of this title:
    • This title is a personal favourite.
  • people: Gainax
  • made: 1988
  • Review created: A while ago, i'll revise it eventually.
  • mod: none

Anything that started as a parody (supposedly) and grew serious in the telling has to be an interesting story. Given that is also by the often weird but always interesting GAINAX and you have a title worth a closer look. This future space epic follows the growth of a young female mecha pilot in a realistic and grim war against an immense (and uncaring) alien threat. Of course she's got her own problems, being considered incompetent (and not without reason) by most of the other students. When the tough coach picks her for special training it is assumed that this is favouritism based on the fame of her father (a space-ship captain who lost his life in the first encounter with the aliens) but it may also be that Noriko does indeed have potential waiting to be tapped, although Noriko is the first to doubt herself.

As the series continues we get to see an interesting story unfold as Noriko grows into a more complete character, affected by those around her as well as the ever-present threat of war. Indeed the depiction of humanity coping with long periods of tedious training and short periods of horror is well represented and grimly serious. The apparently talentless lead character is somewhat weepy, but she certainly has reason to be, and she evolves into an admirable woman by the conclusion. It is perhaps this combination of serious science, brutal war, and shoujo empathy that makes this title such a masterful combination. With some interesting science (near light speed time dilation and little `physics' lessons), a touch of tragedy and a strong romance sub-plot you have a title more than worthy of your time. The production is early Gainax, which means you don't have to worry about poor animation getting in the way of appreciating the story, although the budget is clearly not without some limits. Also worth watching for the `laser cloak', possibly one of the stupidest mecha armaments ever contemplated.

Akemi's AnimeWorld has no problem with serious shoujo, but their review is damaged by a spoiler rich synopsis of each episode, try to close your eyes and go to the review section without reading it. There is a very enthusiastic review at THEM which identifies it as "one of my all time favorites", and given that THEM know their anime, this should be enough. It may also be telling that none of the sites with an action bias had a review of this title. Those allergic to Shoujo may well find the lead character painfully annoying.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:19 WST 2009