Egao no Daika First Impressions (1): Literally protecting that smile

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

Joshua acts cool

Well, I’m happy to see that this series went for the dystopia-like setup I was hoping to see. It looks like the story revolves around two nations at war, a typical “empire vs. kingdom” setup. We’re only introduced to the kingdom in the first episode, ruled by the young princess Yuuki. Yuuki largely leads a peaceful life as the ruler, but there seems to be more to it. The first episode overall was pretty interesting, but I did have some issues with how the exposition for the world was handled.

Yuuki sticks the landing

The episode kind of gave me a bad first impression for the weirdest reasons. I know it’s nitpicking, but it was weird to see repeated angles of the same scene, such as when Yuuki is first introduced and when she stumbles on the way to the podium. I thought it was jarring and interrupted the flow of the scene, but maybe that’s just me. Also, I get that Yuuki is supposed to know little about the outside world, but I find it odd that the opening emphasizes her age.

Apparently, there's a new type of chrars

The episode also had the annoying flood of technobabble that you’d expect from a sci-fi show with a unique setting. While that itself isn’t a huge deal, I wasn’t a fan of how the information was finally relayed. We get some spiel about how chrars are some kind of special ore that is significant…for some reason. Additionally, the scene itself is two military officers talking, people who really should know this information already.

The children are happy...probably

With that out of the way, I do think that the series had its strong points. For example, I do like the mystery that is being built around Yuuki, a hidden truth that is being kept from her. When I first saw this scene, I remember thinking that the kids in the city had a dead look in their eyes for some reason. If you think about it in the context of lying to keep Yuuki happy, I think it’s more interesting, since the citizens could all be brainwashed or artificial.

Yuuki is pressed about her knowledge of the country

This scene also could have a dual meaning in the light of the overall ruse. At face value, it’s a subordinate checking the capabilities of her ruler. However, it could also be a sincere question, to make sure that the princess is still in the dark.

The mock battle happens in Tokyo

Given that the opening of the episode speaks of “distant planets”, where exactly are we? Calling out Tokyo by name suggests that this is really just Earth, but it’s hard to say. Perhaps, it’s just meant to be a metaphorical distance. Either way, I’m hoping this “simulation” was actually real, since the soldiers seemed to react so strongly when Yuuki started blowing up the environment.

Time to check out what's happening with the Empire

Based on the opening animation and the synopsis, it seems like we’re still missing half of the setup for this series. That aside, I definitely thought that the scene with the stuffed animal heavily suggested that Joshua was going to die.


Spring 2018 Grab Bag Week 8: Juushinki Pandora

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

Once again, I’m back with something completely different. I lost track of this series at the beginning of the season because it’s a Netflix show, but I recently caught up with it. Honestly, I felt a bit like I was morally obligated to watch this series. It focuses on a futuristic world in which animals have rapidly evolved to the point of being major threats to humanity. The main character develops a Hyperdrive to combat these animals, called BRAI, in a giant mech suit. So, we have sci-fi, post-apocalyptic setting, and mecha…how could I resist?

To be fair, the show isn’t too bad. It’s watchable to the point where I’m not dreading the next episode. However, the series does feel a bit like it’s not doing anything new. The “energy source gone wrong” aspect reminds me of Dimension W. And the fact that the main characters are using mechs to defend the shining bastion of humanity is pretty much the concept of Darling in the Franxx.

Still, I don’t actually mind the portrayal of Leon as the “mad scientist” in this series. He’s not a raving lunatic, but he has the passion to develop technology for the benefit of mankind. I think that aspect is portrayed decently, even if the demonization of “fanatical” scientists feels a bit overblown.

I also think that the mech fights in this series look quite good. If you can get past the excessive CGI (which doesn’t really bother me), there’s a lot going on in the fights themselves. And I generally felt like I could follow the fights quite well (looking at you, Grancrest).

I do feel like the Hyperdrive is awkwardly placed. I understand that it’s meant to be humanity’s last hope, but the fact that it’s tied to deeply with the human element feels like a cheap plot element. In fact, the entire series seems to split humanity from the animals as though humans are somehow special. It can be frustrating to watch. Why exactly didn’t the quantum reactor affect human evolution? It seems to suggest that humanity is considered to be some kind of “pinnacle of evolution”.