Metal Angel Kurumi
If you've seen any shots from this you can quickly see it's full of cute girls. The title suggests they're cute robotic girls. No problem with that, but the actual product is a bit of a mixed bag.
The plot begins with some sort of conflict between scientists. Apparently a rogue scientist has been doing some research that the military powers of the nation are quite concerned about. And the solution to their concern involves sending the tanks in. Meanwhile a young boy, son of a powerful family of mages is dumped into the house by his `friends'. They've heard rumors that the guys a mad scientist who tortures women, and this is their contribution towards a solution. While trying to get out of the house he does in fact come across an unconscious woman, and as she collapses their lips accidentally meet.
Suddenly it seems that he's got his own saber marionette (oops, sorry, wrong show) who's a energetic, cheerful military weapon. And she's decided that he's `master' and the focus of her world. Various other powers and factions have their own idea's about it however, and send various attackers to menace our characters. Although two of them are `converted' and become part of the group. Together, contantly menaced by foes with unclear agenda's, they try to make their way to the (now kidnapped) doctors secret lab. There they hope to find the answers as to what is going on. And indeed they do, but the outcome is a lot more epic than anybody, including most viewers, probably expected.
Let me say, first off, that while the plot is familiar this is fairly skilled stuff. Even through the extremely dodgy translation on the copy I saw there's a certain energy that can suck you in and keep you interested. Then again, most anime fans have a fairly generous allowance for any anime with cute robotic girls in it. And being robotic girls there's the chance for some super-powered fun along the way. Oh, and some fan service of course. And, when the story gets more serious, there are some genuinely impressive and quite possibly moving drama to be had. It really is quite good fun to watch. The fact that it does have some `confusion' I want to criticise shouldn't be allowed to subtract from this fact.
On the negative side there were some elements that didn't come together as well as I would have liked. However, before getting into that, let me mention another negative. That concerns the fact that these are 15 minute long episodes. With a full length opening and ending song that's about 10 minutes of anime per episode. The need to contain a full story sequence within this small amount of time seemed to be a limiting factor in the character and story depth that could be acheived.
Then again, the story had it's own confusion. Effectively there's several parts to this anime. The first is a young innocent boy surrounded by cute robots. The second is that these robots are forced to fight each other and various attackers. The third is the build up to an epic, earth shattering, conclusion full of cosmic revelations. Thus you have comical cute stories, mixed in with violent and agressive fights and then the collision of elemental forces at the end. It's a bit forced and it doesn't really work. Watching one attacker cruelly rip one of the main characters apart, and then next episode be forgiven and involved in cute comedy is just a bit much. The opening and closing suggest cute robot drama, but much of the content is well outside this mode.
In a similar vein there's the suggestion of a complex world, interestingly set in a sort of 1950's japan, which never actually ends up amounting to anything. Indeed it looks weird since the robot women are all in exotic costumes. Some dressed like super powered maids and others in weird modern looking battle costumes. Fortunately, no one seems to notice that they don't fit in. Likewise the suggestion of magic and mystical forces, talked up in the conclusion, never really have much to do with the story. Indeed a large part of the story is simply travelling, the conclusion and revelation being quite sudden. And, before I finish, some of the characters are less than impressive. Unfortunately the least impressive is the male lead. He's obviously meant to be a sensitive and troubled youth, but he just ends up being inert for most of the series. If you hated tenchi for being a wimp then this guy is really going to grate.
The production is slick and professional, and the girls are quite attractive. Sadly, they're most attractive in the super cute opening song, which starts to look more and more out of place as the series progresses. There's also some conflict between the complex coloring of backgrounds, meant to give a feeling of a believable reality, and the leads bright and cute character designs and appearance. There's some lovely action sequences, lots of indiscriminate destruction and, by the conclusion, huge energy beams and explosions. Mixed in is some quite nice physical humor, including some super deformed moments. It's very watchable. There's even some computer graphics, but it's limited to places it can't do too much damage. The voices are average, few establishing much of a presence and Kurumi being a bit too much. The music is cute vocal pop, although the conclusion lays on the `epic' orchestral stuff with a shovel.
None of my regular sources have a review (yet) for this title.