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In a distant future, mankind has wrecked the Earth's environment and retreated to domed cities, leaving the ecosystem to take its chances. The cities are run and supplied by private corporations, overseen by a worldwide authority based in London, but not everyone believes that these corporations are working for the public good. In any event, they have captive markets-any movement outside the cities must be authorized, and any unauthorized excursions are severely punished-compare to similar setups in The Big O and Heat Guy J. Teenage gamer Gainer Saga is arrested in the Siberian dome on suspicion of being involved with the Exodus movement, a nebulous group wanting to leave the confines of the domes in search of a better life. In prison he meets mercenary Gain Bijo, and together they commandeer an Overman robot, take the daughter of the city's duke hostage, and lead an exodus out of the city under cover of a festival headlined by idol singer Meeya Laujin. Their destination is the fabled land of Yapan.
Gainer was such a hotshot at virtual combat that he was known in gaming circles as "King Gainer"-now he has to transfer his skills to the real world as he defends the group of travelers from the elite Saint Regan squad sent from London to stop them and the troops of the Siberian Railway.
Director Tomino takes his basic Gundam mix-gifted but disengaged young pilot, political conflict, and struggle for a promised land-and throws in elements from Macross: rakish big brother figure, idol singer, journey in constant jeopardy. Unfortunately, he also includes some of today's fashionable high school romance elements. Several members of Gainer's high school escaping the city with him is plausible enough, but stretches credibility to its limits when they continue classes while on the run and under fire. Tomino has had characters switch sides in earlier work, but having the enemy commander not only switch sides but also become the hero's teacher and roommate is a definite postmodern touch. The statutory cute child, Princess Ana, has statutory cute pets, in this case three ferrets. Although these unnecessary refinements don't slow things down too much, it seems a pity that the man who has led the field in robot anime with a serious human dimension for so long should borrow from less creative minds than his own to satisfy an industry which is increasingly less discerning and less interested in originality.