What a beautiful mess.
I rarely go into these shows with any preconceptions - - I prefer it that way - - but I nevertheless had expectations for this based on the promo image Hulu’s using for it. It sure looked like it was going to be some charged-up, broad-strokes space opera with a romantic curve, but I’m not sure how I’d even describe the actual product because it was truly all over the place. It seemed liked a stylized mecha at times, a high school comedy at others, and then some bizarre secret society thriller in a fashion that felt disjointed instead of surprising. It was as if I was tuning in to a new show every five minutes. Hell, I’d forgotten that there wasn’t an intro at the beginning by the time the actual intro rolled in around the halfway point (and, to the show’s credit, that intro’s quite gorgeous, and quite creative.)
Actually, the disjointedness is more disappointing than it’d usually be, because the first couple minutes offered real promise of an emotionally-honest through-line to guide this mecha madness. For as much as I’ve bemoaned how a lot of these shows take too long getting to “the good stuff,” it was a startling (in a welcome way) to see an anime striking off right in the thick of an intense, possibly heartbreaking, lovers' quarrel. I was actually disappointed when the dude with the star shirt washed up on the shore, because he was interrupting some gripping drama before it was able to really get going. Sure enough, that conversation that so grabbed me was never referred to again for the rest of the episode.
I don’t want to rag too hard on this show because Bones has done such an exceptional job with the animation. It’d be a shame if I’d gotten so jaded to such artistry that I wouldn’t be wow by such striking, dreamy images. Still, story is the brick on which a show’s tower must stand, and I still don’t know what the hell this story was about.
It sure was beautiful, though.
Watch this episode, “The Ginga Bishoen,” below and decide for yourself.