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Title Info

  • type: movie
  • grade: flawed
  • genre: mecha
  • source: asian
  • form: sub
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Mon Mar 5 10:19:55 EST 2001
  • mod: none

I can't really review this show, largely because the sub was so atrocious as to be gibberish in English. I'm sure we'll see more asian region DVD's, but I hope few of them will be quite this bad. Still, it looks to be cute women, fearsome mecha and some nice politics and intrigue to explain why everything is exploding in flames.

More specifically a counter-terrorist group called angel amz stages a partially successful raid on a boat holding a dealer in illegal arms. It's successful in that they capture him, but unsuccessful in that boat, weapons and evidence explode shortly afterwards. With the only evidence now existing in the brain of the weapons dealer he assumes a critical importance. While the pilots and mecha of angel amz are pretty tough, it turns out that their capture was an agent for an extremely powerful organisation with links at the very top of the nations politics. And they'll stop at nothing to silence him.

There's some additional story complexity in finding out who the bad guys actually are. Additionally there's some character conflict to add spice to the mix. It seems that one of the team members, a bit of an outsider in the group, was previously a criminal. And, even worse, her ex-lover and teacher, who she thought to be dead, is a hired gun for the other side. Caught between old and new relationships, and both the trust but wariness of the team, it adds a useful human element to the story.

Although, as mentioned, the translation is so poor that these last two elements fade out a lot. It's simply impossible to feel the power and meaning of dialogue when you're too busy trying to work out what the author was thinking. Then again, it certainly isn't the most novel of plots. And even then it is largely only an excuse for mecha action and violence on a sizable scale.

And that's where we get to the other problem. Masamune Shirow, more than any other, has elevated this high-tech mixture of girls, guns and action to a very high form. I mention this as well because a lot of the designs do seem to have some similarities to his work. Sadly, while there's some interesting mecha design, there's lots of odd things that bug you. For example every mecha is very different in design and appearance, which is cool, but it's never explained why. A real military group might have different mecha for every member if they had special uses, but nothing like this is developed. Likewise weapons alternate between powerful and useless to fit the needs of the story. It feels a lot like design without thought or plan. And given that part of these anime's is watching the cool hardware it's really limiting.

Likewise the teams plans and moves, while occasionally cool, often feel like a girls day out. There's lots of frontal assaults, relying on the enemy missing and in-combat chatting. We're supposed to believe they're incredibly talented and professional, but it doesn't really come through. And the conclusion, the good old 5 against 200 model, doesn't make much sense at all. It's obviously trying for some sort of cool realism, but it doesn't really make it. And given that the dialogue was bugging me this probably made it look worse than it is.

And, finally, the animation isn't really up to the task either. There are some quite nice technical designs, and moments of good mecha action (especially the first assault) but there's lots of sloppy moments. Things like mecha suddenly becoming less `fancy' when the action gets complex, poor weapon and damage effects and lots of huge detail-obscuring explosions. And, even at it's best, it's still only average for a high tech action movie. The characters look alright, some free shower and nude scenes being included at no extra charge, but nothing special and lack personality. The voices were alright and the music didn't seem to offer anything special.

Other Reviews

None of my other sources has a review (yet) of this title.


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