Asami SetoJunji MajimaKaede HondoMasako Katsuki
Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2016: R
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2016
Director: Susumu Tosaka
Writer: Keigo Koyanagi
Actor: Ayane Sakura, Kaede Hondo, Asami Seto, Azumi Asakura, Hidenari Ugaki, Hiroshi Yanaka, Hisako Kanemoto, Junji Majima, Masako Katsuki, Megumi Ogata, Nao Toyama, Yui Ogura, Yuka Iguchi, Yurika Kubo
Keywords: anime, SF, mecha
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 13 episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=18243
Website category: Anime 2016
Review date: 15 February 2018
Regalia Three Sacred Stars
It's a giant robot show, but I watched it anyway. It doesn't have heroes, but instead heroines who are gentle, kind and motivated by sisterly love. I wouldn't call it a particularly good show and I won't be recommending it, but personally, overall, I quite enjoyed it.
The main character is Yui, who's: (a) a down-to-earth ordinary girl who does everything for herself and (b) the empress of her country. THERE IS NO CONTRADICTION IN THAT. BLACK IS WHITE. DO NOT THINK ABOUT YOUR ANIME. The show doesn't want us to see anything odd there. Yui needs to be Type A because it's mandatory characterisation for this kind of heroine, but the plot needs her to be Type B. The result is an empress who wanders around everywhere, catches a crowded train every day and lives in a small apartment with her sister. She has no bodyguards and no security. Enemy agents show up in ep.2 in the city and have threatening conversations with her. She could have been killed at any point. No one in her staff or government does anything, either then or later, and they don't even arrange some bodyguards in case something similar happened again.
In short, Yui's government is useless. They never contribute to anything. She'll be fighting giant robots and the most they ever do is to have "rapid response units standing by" to protect the public. Uh-huh. How does that work? What does it even mean to "protect" an entire civilian population? What exactly were these rapid response units planning to do if the giant robots started throwing buildings at them? The answer's probably "get killed", but if I'm wrong and this country's armed forces actually had some way of fighting back against giant robots, why didn't they ever help Yui?
It's absurd. However it's also amiable and likeable. You just have to accept that this show has a five-year-old's idea of what it means to run a country.
More problematic still is the words "giant robot". There will be giant robot battles, alas. Yes, that's right. That was my reaction too. Would the show end up being completely worthless? I was expecting (nearly) the worst, but in fact I was pleasantly surprised. I didn't fast-forward through any fights after ep.3. Those early antagonists are a bit pointless, but after that the show changes gear a bit to have less fighting and more character work. When there was a punch-up (thankfully not too often), you felt you knew what the participants wanted and why this mattered. There's a smug sadist baddie (Johann) who starts out nasty and gets worse, so there was no way I was fast-forwarding through his battle when he got involved.
The last two episodes have a different problem. Not only do they have lots of giant robot fighting, but furthermore they're getting a bit abstract with magic robot powers and a mish-mash of ill-defined stuff that the writer thought looked finale-shaped. What's completely clear, though, is the character work. We know what everyone wants and what this is saying thematically. The finale's a mess, but in its way it's also a satisfying one.
What the show's really about, apart from robots, is people being together. Quite a few cast members are in a sort of semi-romantic sibling relationship with a giant robot in human form. Yui has Rena, who's supposedly her older sister and yet looks like a child about half her height. There's a reason for that. The word for "giant robot" is "Regalia" and at least one of those is a missing sister. The ones we meet had spent a long time searching for her. (Maybe 2000 years.) Ep.6 shows us that it's possible for humans to consider themselves married to their Regalia, although also that there's a potential dark side to that. Even Yui, unrealistic though she is, has an interesting array of relationships. On the one hand, she has Rena (very close sister), her ordinary friends and her country's people (who adore her). She's also a lot like her late mother. However she'll also have to deal with battlefield enemies and even other heads of state.
This couldn't be called a great show. It lacks definition, from the political set-up to the structure of the finale. I quite enjoyed it, but I can't think I'll ever feel the need to rewatch it. However I think it works pretty well on an emotional level. The story arc's actually quite clear and well-paced if you're looking at the emotional beats and what the antagonists wanted. The baddie's loathsome. The heroines are very relatable. The narrative's taking itself seriously, even if the early episodes might perhaps seem a bit fluffy. It's a curate's egg, but I think its good points are underrated.