Showtaro MorikuboRiho IidaKen NaritaNatsuko Hara
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Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2017: E
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2017
Director: Takeshi Furuta
Writer: Toshimitsu Takeuchi
Original creator: Akira Amano
Actor: Akiko Kimura, Akio Suyama, Ayako Uemura, Ayumu Murase, Chiaki Mori, Daiki Kobayashi, Daisuke Sakaguchi, Eriko Matsui, Haruka Jin'ya, Hinata Tadokoro, Hiroshi Kamiya, Ken Narita, Kenichirou Matsuda, Lynn, Marie Oi, Masaaki Ihara, Minami Takahashi, Natsuko Hara, Neeko, Rie Kugimiya, Riho Iida, Risa Hayamizu, Saori Hayami, Shiho Kokido, Shizuka Itou, Showtaro Morikubo, Soichi Abe, Takashi Kondo, Tatsuhisa Suzuki, Tomotaka Hachisuka, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka
Keywords: anime, SF
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=18670
Website category: Anime 2017
Review date: 27 September 2018
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It's a fairly unremarkable shounen adventure series, but quite an enjoyable one. It's not based around battles and "I'VE GOT TO GET STRONGER!!!" Our modest hero (Chuuta) is a middle-school student who's always had an invisible talking alien growing out of his stomach, but he always thought he was hearing voices. Now, though, he's about to join the Space Police, because obviously press-ganging children from a planet that knows nothing about space travel would be the recruitment strategy of choice for any interplanetary law enforcement agency. Ahem.
Anyway, he'll meet aliens! He'll have a female colleague who's rude to him! He'll go looking for a 500-year-old genius called Dr Strangelove!
Realism is not a concern, but this can be entertaining. The alien designs can be pleasingly off-the-wall, including a moon-man called Melies (a nod to early cinema pioneer George Melies), a little blue blob who's Chuuta's superior officer and a man who seems to be made of polished black stone. Occasionally a joke can be silly to the point of childishness. The show's three front-line female police officers (all of middle school age) all have fanservice-friendly battle outfits and/or attacks, but the art style's slightly kiddie-friendly in a way that undermines this.
The best thing about the show is also, paradoxically, its most frustrating aspect. It's basically a fun show with our hero trying to stop alien baddies. They go bowling. There's a cat girl who can swat flies awesomely. It's the kind of show that you'd expect to be full of light-hearted filler adventure episodes, but despite this it's got some strong story elements. Chuuta had three friends who died when they were young and it was sort of his fault. That was surprisingly effective and I liked where it led with that friend/enemy. That's the season's strongest element, I think, especially with that scene with the mother. It looks as if it's setting up a pretty good story arc... and yet it isn't, because the show simply never returns there. It explores other characters instead.
Obviously that's because they're adapting an ongoing manga. Its creator must surely have plans for those story threads, but we'd have to read the manga to find out. Perhaps the anime might get to them if they did a second season? What we have here, though, feels like an incomplete attempt at handling some good ideas. (There's also some backstory about sealed memories, experiments on children and a main character who incorrectly thinks she's normal.)
The tone occasionally surprised me. It has blood! No one just blasts out energy beams. If an alien shoots you, this will punch a hole and you'll bleed. Chuuta's colleague, Misuzu Sonokata, is liable to cut her opponents in half in combat. Goodness me. On the other hand, though, this is ultimately a children's cartoon that's trying to be fun rather than scary, so, for instance, the Chief of the Solar System Bureau is never as cool as I felt he should have been. He's super-clever and will find imaginative solutions to problems, but unfortunately the stories aren't hard-edged enough to make this look as impressive as you'd think. He's never really in danger. I never felt he'd had to fight hard for his victories, which stopped them from being particularly memorable.
The cast are fine, though. Chuuta works well as a mild-mannered protagonist. Misuzu's hostility is a laugh.
Overall, it's fine. Don't watch it if you're looking for Gritty, Serious SF. It's a fairly silly "schoolboy in space police" series, but there's nothing wrong with that and I managed to marathon six episodes this morning without ever feeling the need for a break. The show held up. It's a light, comfortable anime for when you're in the mood for something not too challenging. Adventures with aliens! Translation microbes! Teleportation that always makes you land upside-down! If they made a second season, I'd watch it.