Post Reply Captain Earth
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Posted 6/13/14
by EyesOfTheScarecrow

Giant Robots been a hallmark of anime since the 50s, and have produced some of the most well known and most beloved franchises in the history of the medium. So with so many mecha anime out there, is Captain Earth worth watching? In short; yes. Captain Earth is good. Really good. From its amazing animation to its charming characters, intriguing plot, thematic relevancy and frequent homages to works of the past, there is not a single scene of Captain Earth that is not enjoyable in some way.


The Earth Engine, the signature mecha of Captain Earth.

The central conflict revolves around the ever-present threat of a group of alien beings known as the Kiltgang. The Kiltgang are creatures capable of inhabiting several different bodies, one of which is a giant robot. Daichi pilots the Earth Engine, and with the aid of a small group of other talented youths, attempts to prevent the invasion that will herald the destruction of the world. Of course, there are shadowy corporate entities that are just as much a threat to the freedom and peace of the Earth as the Kiltgang, but it wouldn’t be a BONES giant robot anime without them.


Daichi is exposed to the mysterious at a young age.

The protagonist of Captain Earth is 17 year old Daichi Manatsu, the son of a deceased astronaut. Daichi is clearly evocative of the everyman archetype, but is also give enough personality, failings and admirable traits that he becomes likeable on his own. Daichi reflects disenfranchised youth who are being oppressed by societal ideals and cold adults. He finds it difficult to concentrate on things that don’t interest him, he doesn’t do particularly well at school, and he demonstrates a casual apathy toward authority. He’s everything young people are told not to be, and he’s ultimately the defender of the planet. That’s not a tremendously unique premise, but it suits Captain Earth’s intertexual attitudes. Captain Earth embraces everything that’s come before it and is attempting to pave its own legacy.


Sexuality is a key aspect of the philosophy of Captain Earth. Though it's not always subtle.

Sexuality is an extremely prevalent theme in Captain Earth, and is discussed both overtly and through metaphor. Sex is a life-force, sex is a means of communication, sex is a concept recognisable to all sentient beings; aliens, humans and even artificial intelligence. Yes, there are ecchi moments, and scenes clearly designed to titillate the viewer, but they still serve the overarching story. Captain Earth isn’t interested in sex because it wants to court viewers; it’s examining it through a sociological and philosophical lens. Sex is an important aspect of the human condition, and for a group of intellectually, physically and creatively oppressed young people, it’s arguably the most important aspect, whether they realise it or not. This is just one of the strong thematic elements present in Captain Earth, but there’s so much to discuss that it can’t possibly be covered in the length of this review.


The boomerang is a recurring motif in Captain Earth, as is the concept of "returning when needed".

A major draw for this series is the animation which is, quite frankly, spectacular. The series is stunning, which is not a huge surprise considering Captain Earth is a product of BONES, but it must be mentioned anyway. The mecha move fluidly and look terrific, their attacks are vibrant and genuinely feel devastating. Mecha anime will often live and die by how their battles are done, and Captain Earth completely delivers on that front. The battles walk the line between brutal and beautiful, with hyper-destructive attacks lighting up the screen in a barrage of colour.


The potential Apocalypse never looked so pretty.

It is important that one watches more than just the first episode to get a proper taste for Captain Earth. The first episode is strong, but somewhat disjointed and due to the influx of new, unexplained information and plot points, quite difficult to immerse oneself in. However, the second episode is simply splendid, as the character’s personalities become more apparent, and the series’ starts to find a rhythm entirely its own. It just improves from there. Captain Earth is a Giant Robot anime made for fans of the genre. It is filled with referential love for other works, as well as creating a unique and fascinating world for itself. If you enjoy mecha anime, or a little philosophy to go with your science fiction, then definitely give Captain Earth a try. Whether it holds its quality is something no one can know, but as of the first few episodes, it is truly standing out as a fantastic new entry in the genre. It really is that good.
Catch the simulcast on Sundays at 4.00pm on Crunchyroll!
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Posted 6/17/14
I would like to disagree, if you don't mind. The show feels like Star Driver, but without the charm. I can look through all the mecha shows I've seen, and even from the seventies, I can find more interesting characters than Daichi and his crew. The only two characters who actually seem to have any character are Teppei, who took six episodes to get any, and Akari, right from the beginning. Daichi is a terrible pilot, only winning his early battles because he has someone else pretty much piloting his robot. Not good for a mech protagonist. Other than that, the show seems to have mystery addiction, never really giving any information about what the characters and their feelings, with the exception of Teppei and Akari. The technical aspects I can agree with you on though.
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Posted 7/1/14

zak22wolf wrote:

I would like to disagree, if you don't mind. The show feels like Star Driver, but without the charm. I can look through all the mecha shows I've seen, and even from the seventies, I can find more interesting characters than Daichi and his crew. The only two characters who actually seem to have any character are Teppei, who took six episodes to get any, and Akari, right from the beginning. Daichi is a terrible pilot, only winning his early battles because he has someone else pretty much piloting his robot. Not good for a mech protagonist. Other than that, the show seems to have mystery addiction, never really giving any information about what the characters and their feelings, with the exception of Teppei and Akari. The technical aspects I can agree with you on though.


Interesting take on it. I regrettably haven't seen Star Driver, but I believe Daichi's lack of technical skill harks back to the NGE style mecha pilot, who has greatness thrust upon him, so to speak.

As for mystery addiction, still too early to tell on that front, but it's a Bones anime, it'll come together at the end, I'm sure. Reminds me of RahXephon in that regard (though obviously that wasn't Bones).

And of course I don't mind if you disagree, thank you very much for commenting!
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