The main male protagonist doesn’t have to operate his mecha to defend Earth from zombies.
After wading through 11 2011 anime titles that can be summarily described as ‘decent at best’, today I will review a 2007 anime series titled Reideen. This is probably the best mecha anime I have watched for quite some time, definitely better than Kurogane no Linebarrels and Giniro no Olynssis. Arguably, this anime is even better than the Evangelion Rebuild second movie too. But this anime won’t be able to dethrone the current holder of the ‘Anime of the Year 2007’ title, Bokurano, which is a part-time mecha anime too.
In fact, he and his sidekick here has to fend off attacks from alien invaders instead.
In one sunny day, the main male protagonist received a depressing news about the death of his archeologist father that has gone missing for 10 years. He and his family then has to go to the excavation site where his father’s remains was found for corpse verification. At the site, he inadvertently fell down the rabbit hole, and obtained a strange gold bracelet. Then the aliens attacks the excavation site…
While this anime is technically a mecha anime, actually I think it is more comparable to the likes of classic Ultraman series than to Gundam or Evangelion. This may have to do with the largely slow-mo battle scenes that you can see in Ultraman and similar series from Japan in the 80s. This can be off-putting for some people but I do really like them for nostalgia reasons. Some scenes that involves certain Reideen configurations, and also most of the scenes in the final battle has normal fast-paced choreography though.
The story by itself is your common ‘aliens attacks Earth, so defend it with a conveniently-found robot’ plot with the ‘piloted by a reluctant main protagonist’ addition tacked on top of it. While it takes quite some time before the prevailing plot appears, one of the best this anime has done is the usage of at least two episodes to deal with any given monster that invades
Earth Japan. Just like what you can see in Black Jack OVA, the usage of 2 episodes per monster allows a more detailed back story to be foretold, plus this format also enable tremendous character development to happen for our main male protagonist.
A very valid question if you ask me.
Romance are kept to the minimum in this anime, which is a plus considering the undeniable fact that going to a date is far less important than saving the world from devastation. Another good aspect that this anime has is that the main male protagonist is more bearable than the one in Kurogane no Linebarrels, plus he is not someone beholden to things like justice or something like that. What I didn’t like about this anime is that it takes very long for the prevailing plot to surface, even longer than Gosick. You will not know who the aliens are and why they attacks Earth until way into the second half of the anime.
The pacing in this anime is variable, in a bad way. This anime is way too slow than it should be for the first half of the series, mainly because of the two-episode storytelling technique. The pacing increased slightly in the second half of the anime before the anime suddenly goes full throttle than it should be during the ending arc. The difference in pacing speed between the ending arc and almost all the episodes before it are staggering. This variable pacing consequently affects the flow of the prevailing plot too, causing it to come out to the open too late and too raw and then finished in a hurry. That’s too bad because the ending arc is excellent, apart from some cheesy moment in the second half of the final episode. I’ll say the ending is just as good as the one in Gosick too, and with some conveniently loose end that is left unresolved, there should be a gateway for a second season.
As mentioned above, the two-episode per monster format helps the character development for the main male protagonist tremendously. In fact, I will even overlook the various deus ex machina moments this anime has, chalking it up as part of the main male protagonist’s character development strategies. Now the problem about this anime’s general character developments is that only the main male protagonist benefits from those arrangements. The childhood friend has minimal character development and the main female protagonist has it even worse, putting her almost on the same level as a side character just like the main male protagonist’s classmates and families. Only the main male protagonist’s colleague at the amp shop that has psychic powers has anything that resembles significant character developments, and even hers pales in magnitude when compared to the main male protagonist.
The antagonists do have some clever ideas about how to defeat Reideen, but the execution needs a lot of polish.
Character designs in this anime is not far detached than what you can see in Bokurano; at least it wasn’t based on the standard shounen templates unlike Kurogane no Linebarrels is. Black hairs are common, which is another good thing for a anime that takes place in modern Japan. The main male protagonist looks older than his indicated age though. Mecha designs is excellent too, especially for the silver mecha. A positive aspect for this anime.
Unfortunately, I think voice acting in this anime is just average overall. This includes the main male protagonist, which is probably the only chink on his armor. The childhood friend’s voice acting gig is quite unique though,you have to listen to it to understand what I am talking about. She definitely has the best voice acting gig in this anime, although not by a big margin compared to other characters.
The OST of this anime is quite decent and old-fashioned, and actually is another reason why I compared this anime more to Ultraman than Gundam. The ED theme is good too, but not so for the OP theme, which seems to be out of place.
Label the folder ‘guro loli hentai’ and the bad guys won’t be able to find Reideen’s data! Security through obscurity!
This anime employs the blurry animation technique in fast-paced CGI scenes, therefore one point will be docked from its final evaluation.
Apart from that, animation quality in this anime is decent, even in fast-paced scenes. Integration between CGI and traditional animation is very poor; transitions between full CGI scenes and traditional 2D animation can be very jarring. Choreography in battle scene early in the anime is just average (being slow-mo and stuff) but the one in the final battle is quite decent. The director could have done something about the prevailing plot coming up too late in the series and also the pacing, but apart of that there is nothing else to complain about.
7 out of 10. Would have been 8 if not for the blurry animation technique.
How does it feels spending the last few seconds of your life staring at the missile that will incinerate you?