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Think after Touch, I'm not gonna bother plowing through another 100+ episode anime anytime soon afterward.
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Pilot Candidate (also known as Candidate for Goddess in Japan) was a 12-episode TV anime animated by Xebec and aired on Japanese TV from January 10 to March 27 of 2000. The series was based on an incomplete manga series written by Yukiru Sugisaki for the seinen magazine Comic Gum.

The series was licensed for American video release by Bandai Entertainment in 2001 and was broadcast on Cartoon Network's debuting Adult Swim Action block from February 23 to May 11 of 2002. The series was originally meant to be broadcast on the channel's Toonami block, resulting in the series being edited for content considered objectionable to a younger audience when it premiered on Adult Swim. The series has been long out of print for video release.

The Plot

Since when do good mecha pilots need training running on hamster wheels?
Since when do good mecha pilots need training running on hamster wheels?

Humanity has colonized other planets with their civilization under attack by an alien threat called Victim. Protecting the planet Zion from the Victim threat are mecha pilots capable of piloting five giant mecha called Ingrid. To be an Ingrid pilot, one must have a rare blood type called EO and have a special ability known as EX. Zero Enma is a young man who is a candidate to pilot the Ingrid who travels to a training academy called GOA to learn how to harness his abilities in controlling Ingrid.

Notable Characters (from left to right)

  • Zero Enma- A young man who is a candidate to become an Ingrid pilot. An optimistic, impulsive and energetic boy, his personality often gets him in clashes with other classmates and personnel.
  • Hiead Gner- Another Ingrid candidate with a cold and distant personality. His past is implied to be a dark one due to the manifesting of his EX abilities.
  • Clay Cliff Fortran- A smart young man more interested in learning more than being an Ingrid pilot.
  • Kizna Towryk- A repairer of Ingrid units assigned to being Zero's mechanic during his training. She has artificial cat ears due to an accident that damaged her ears when she was younger.
  • Ikhny Allecto- A repairer assigned to Hiead Gner with a timid personality and low self-confidence.
  • Azuma Hijikata- The strict personal instructor of Zero and the other candidate pilots aboard GOA.

Why It Sucks

Pilot Candidate is a series that is quite vanilla in what it offers up with its content and is quite infamous for the lack of developments that its plot and characters undergo due to its inconclusive ending.

And here I thought Gonzo was the king of Conspicuous CGI in their work.
And here I thought Gonzo was the king of Conspicuous CGI in their work.

The premise and characters that this series offer up are all those that have been done before from past mecha titles like fighting abnormal enemy threats with mecha, a training academy for potential mecha pilots and hints of possible shady activity within the mentioned academy. Many of the characters are also stock archetypes found from many anime titles like the impulsive and energetic male lead, the cold and brooding loner, a catgirl, the bespectacled genius and a shy, timid meganekko.

What makes this series particularly bad is the sloppiness of its overall writing and inconclusive ending. Many elements to the show's plot and characters have a decent number of holes to them, are vaguely hinted to yet never explored and nothing is allowed to develop at all with the plot and characters. The series abruptly ends after 12 episodes with the Victim threat still lingering and many unanswered questions regarding major elements to Pilot Candidate such as the backgrounds of characters, the nature of the Victim threat, whether the Ingrid units have some sort of sentience, any hidden agenda within GOA and so forth.

The CG animation used for this during Ingrid and Victim battles is also quite bad with very crude and rough renderings of both teams and poor animation of them in action.

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