mechaBrynhildr in the DarknessBeybladeBlue Spring Ride
Anime 1st episodes 2014: B
Including: Baby Steps, Bakumatsu Rock, Black Bullet, Black Butler, Blade & Soul, Bladedance of Elementalers, Bonjour Sweet Love Patisserie, Bottom Biting Bug, BeyWarriors: BeyRaiderz, Barakamon, Blue Spring Ride (anime), Broken Blade, Brynhildr in the Darkness (2014 anime), Buddy Complex
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2014
Series: << Anime 1st episodes 2014 >>
Keywords: Brynhildr in the Darkness, Blue Spring Ride, Beyblade, anime, SF, harem, fantasy, mecha
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 14 first episodes
Website category: Anime 2014
Review date: 31 January 2015
A more mixed selection than the A-shows. Two are so terrible that they're funny (Bakumatsu Rock, BeyWarriors: BeyRaiderz) and they're not even necessarily the worst (c.f. Bladedance of Elementalers). However there's excellence here too, with Barakamon and, if you're me, Black Bullet. I also have hopes for Brynhildr in the Darkness.
As usual for these "1st episodes" reviews, I'm not talking about entire shows. My comments here are only based on watching the first episodes of all these.
Listed under "K": The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behaviour (Bokura wa Minna Kawai-sou)
Baby Steps
Baby Steps
Season 1
Episodes: 25 x 24 minutes
Keep watching? No, but that's because it's a sports anime.
One-line summary: Tennis
It's a tennis anime and I'm not interested in sports shows... but what the hell. I watched it. It's quite good.
Our hero is Eiichiro, nicknamed A-chan for his straight "A"s in school. He needs to analyse everything before he can do anything and his notes are so beautifully kept that his classmates regard them as better than textbooks. However he's not such a bookworm that he's oblivious to sport, if only because he believes in keeping fit. He chooses tennis and meets a pretty girl called Natsu who wants to be a tennis pro.
It's fun. The characters are likeable, I've heard fervent enthusiasm for the show and I'm sure it's going to be good. It's already been commissioned for a second season, by the way.
Mind you, it made me assume that the manga-ka (Hikaru Katsuki) couldn't draw, even though the art looks fine in the manga pages I've Googled. The character designs are simple, with one boy in particular looking crude enough to be a child's drawings. Eiichiro's hair is stupid. Natsu looks like Nami from One Piece. That's not a problem, but it is a quirk.
Bakumatsu Rock
Samurai Jam Bakumatsu Rock
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching? Bwahahahaha (no)
One-line summary: Rock star samurai save Japan with electric guitars.
It's so ludicrous that it's brilliant. I could rant about this one for days.
It's Tokugawa-era Japan, with feudal society, topknots, samurai... and rock stars. The visuals on their own are hysterical. The clothes and buildings suggest anything between the 17th and 19th centuries, but we also have electric guitars, rock concerts and electronic scanners. "My samurai radar is responding!" Our heroes have sea anemone hair. The Shinsengumi are the music police, dressed like Elvis and tasked with hunting down all non-approved guitars. (In reality, they were a 19th century government death squad, albeit today often portrayed in pop culture as heroes.)
Plot: the government is evil and trying to control Japan with music! A group called Heaven's Gate is the only permitted band, but our hero has a secret weapon... ROCK! He loves rock. He burns with passion for rock. Rock will destroy evil and save Japan! Our hero has an electric guitar, which must be magical because it never needs plugging in. He also has a Peace Soul, which makes light shoot out of him while he and his friends' shirts fly off. (The word is "manservice".) This is their Magical Girl transformation into pretty boy rock stars, after which they play a rock number.
It's based on a video game, which must have been successful since it spawned spin-off manga and this anime. The cast is also full of popular (i.e. expensive) voice actors, so bizarrely this isn't bargain-bin trash. I'm sure the production team killed themselves laughing, though.
It never stops being brilliant. Even the dialogue is classic. "Rock won't be beaten by violence that restricts freedom!"
Wild horses couldn't make me watch any more of it, though. The joke is that it's more shallow, stupid and mental than you could possibly imagine, but that's not a healthy basis for a series. Hilarious, but don't exceed the recommended dose.
Black Bullet
Black Bullet
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: I've already finished it
One-line summary: Ten-year-old girls protect mankind from body-morphing virus monsters.
I've since finished it and... I did indeed love the whole show. See my full review.
We begin in 2021, with Tokyo a warzone surrounded by refugee camps. We're being attacked by monsters, possibly demons.
Ten years later, civilisation has returned and mankind's built metal monoliths to hold back the Gastrea, although there are still regular outbreaks of infection. Our only weapons against them are the Cursed Children. These operate in pairs, with an Initiator (a little girl) and an Promoter (a much older boy, who's not himself Cursed). Our hero, Rentaro, is the Promoter of an Initiator, Enju. This show's ingredients include:
(a) Ultra-violence and gruesome body horror. Pretty much everyone on-screen is quite likely to do something that, in real life, would have you heaving your guts up. This makes the action scenes visceral.
(b) A bratty but cute Initiator, Enju, with a voice like a comedy character and a sexual fixation on her Promoter, Rentaro. She calls him her fiancee and throws herself at him. This would be disturbing if she weren't so ridiculously young, but in fact it's absurd and hence funny. She's still at primary school. Rentaro isn't remotely interested, obviously. I'm not putting it past Japan to try to break my sanity in later episodes, but right now it's a laugh and I'm fond of the two of them.
(c) Rentaro being forgetting to charge the police department for his services, which drives his boss nuts. Tendo Civil Security (i.e. his employer) is a small business with cash flow problems. The government appears to have decided that it shouldn't pollute the free market by getting involved in saving civilisation and stopping the human race from going extinct, so it's all been left up to the private sector. Our heroes have competition for demon-splatting. This is a scary idea, but in this episode its main consequence for our heroes is to ensure that they're dirt poor and a bit silly. That bit of forgetfulness makes the otherwise efficient Rentaro an idiot.
We meet a Gastrea that's a freakazoid giant spider, but there's plenty more weird stuff. There's metamorphosis. There's a superhero fight scene with a ten-year-old girl. There's a supervillain who looks like a cross between V for Vendetta and Sailor Moon's Tuxedo Kamen. There's even romantic tension between the male lead and a girl called Tendo who's an expert at Tendo style martial arts, like Ranma 1/2. (Spelled with different kanji, though.)
I'll be continuing this, obviously. I don't care that everyone says the show falls apart later. It's too mental not to watch. How can you not love the sight of primary-age schoolgirls killing ten-ton bug monsters with their bare hands? I also like the characters.
Black Butler
Season 3 (Black Butler: Book of Circus)
Episodes: 10 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: I hated it, so no
One-line summary: A butler in Victorian England is a devil who's been promised his 13-year-old master's soul
I'd been looking forward to this one, yet to my surprise I didn't like it at all. The idea sounds great and indeed it's been very successful, with a long-running manga, drama CDs, three anime TV series so far, OVAs, a stage musical, a video game, a book and a live-action film. Sebastian Michaelis is a demon who's currently working as a butler. He serves his 13-year-old master, Ciel Phantomhive, to the best of his inhuman abilities. He eliminates Ciel's enemies and protects him against supernatural attack. In return, he has a contract for Ciel's soul.
This is awesome. In practice, though, the show rubbed me up the wrong way.
Firstly, I object to the setting. This is supposedly Victorian England, but in practice it's Super-Rich Fetish Land. It seems to think that the rich all live in Vogue magazine, with luxury brand names everywhere and a kind of extravagance that in Victorian England would have been regarded as vulgar enough to be almost decadent.
Secondly, I can't buy its portrayal of the servants. There aren't nearly enough of them for a property of that size and wealth, while furthermore the one maid they have is cute but nearly blind. She can't do her job! They're comedy characters, basically.
Thirdly, the episode bored me. Sebastien spends most of his time being a butler, i.e. doing household work with a supporting cast too unrealistic to make this interesting. Eventually some gangsters show up for a Victorian-era underworld power struggle, so of course Sebastien kills them all... but even that manages to be dull. Half the time, he's just using guns and having action scenes, as if he's playing at being Arnold Schwarzenegger. I don't get it. What's the point? Was he just bored? These people are so far beneath his power level that they're effectively non-action scenes, with all the dramatic content of a boy pouring boiling water on ants. Fortunately, though, he uses magic on the gangsters' boss. Guns are boring, but rubber reality is cool. I liked that bit.
Disappointing. I'd been expecting to love this, although maybe I just hit a bad episode. It is a very successful franchise, after all. Besides, the idea's fantastic. How can you not love Sebastian's motivation?
Blade & Soul
Blade & Soul
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: No
One-line summary: Emotionless female assassin with fanservice and violence
It's by Gonzo. It's by bloody Gonzo. I'd forgotten how much I disliked Gonzo's work. I'd been hoping they'd improved in the years I hadn't been watching them, but no. It's based on a Korean fantasy martial-arts MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game), by the way.
Alka is a superpowered assassin for the Clan of the Sword. She can dodge bullets. She's on a mission of vengeance to kill someone for killing someone else, while never having an emotional reaction to anything or speaking unless absolutely necessary. She approves of vengeance and recommends it to other people. Apparently she starts turning into a human being in the second half of the series, though.
Anyway, this show is about two things: (a) fanservice and (b) grim, brutal violence. (If you're looking for wit or a light touch in the characterisation, go elsewhere.) In fairness, the storyline here is pretty reasonable, if you can forgive the priorities of those idiot villagers. They trust the assassin until she saves their lives and kills their enemies, whereupon they start having heated discussions about kicking her out. D'oh. Admittedly the nay-sayers happen to be right, but for a completely different reason. Anyway, this episode's plot feels like a decent launch for what's probably going to be a charmless but ultra-violent and very sincere show.
(Be warned that I don't think Studio Gonzo understand dramatic story arc structure in anime. However it's been a while since I've exposed myself to their output and they might have got better.)
However there's also the fanservice. Look at the boobs and skintight tops in the opening titles. Look at the naked bathing scene. Look at Alka wearing no pants. That's what the director wants you to be looking at, anyway. Personally, I think fanservice is something that people can be wildly inconsistent about. We'll laugh our heads off at rampant excess and then get all sniffy about something much more modest. Amagi Brilliant Park, for instance, includes pretty girls with big boobs and revealing costumes, but that seems fine to me because the anime's focus is on the people as characters, not as sex objects. The costumes are justified in-story (the girls are performing on stage) and the camera isn't leering.
Blade & Soul's fanservice, on the other hand, is cold. The anime is openly parading its women (although admittedly not all the time) and it's hardly a defence to say that it's not doing so as single-mindedly as Queen's Blade.
In short, this is a dark, very serious show. It's about vengeance and murder. The storyline and emotions are strong, if somewhat one-note, while you won't be disappointed if you're looking for action content. Reviews I've seen of this have been mixed, with some people loving it. I won't be continuing, though.
Bladedance of Elementalers
Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: Do not watch this show
One-line summary: Magical academy harem anime, annoying.
A boy called Kamito is about to enrol in a female-only academy for "spirit contractors". (A spirit gives you magical powers. It's another anime Hogwarts, basically.) The format includes arena combat, fanservice and a female cast of bitchy cliches whose mental processes seem to have been filtered through their X chromosomes.
We start with fanservice in the title sequence, although I like the song and the devil wings. After that, we jump straight into a scene of a naked girl bathing in the river, telling off Kamito for... um, having happened to be passing. She ends up launching a fire elemental attack on him because she's embarrassed. The scene includes the following dialogue.
"Don't be afraid. I'm a normal young boy. I'm not going to do anything. I'm not after little kids."
"I'm... I'm sixteen."
"No way, you can't be sixteen with boobs that small."
Later, there will be repeated jokes about him being able to see her panties. One of these has the punchline "now I can't get married any more". There's a particularly annoying kiss. They end up at Areishia Spirit Academy, where Kamito enrols and immediately has the girls bickering over him and having supposedly comedic misunderstandings. There's a clumsy maid with big boobs. Finn swears at the show for the fifth or sixth time and tells it to piss off. Closing credits, at last.
What's good about this anime? Is there anything? Well, the first girl's insistence that Kamito is her slave is mildly amusing, as is some of the bickering. I can imagine the plot eventually going somewhere and apparently the season finale's good.
There are lots of shows like this, but they're not usually this annoying. The first girl's voice actress, Ibuki Kido, struck me as doing particularly charmless work, incidentally. You might also be disappointed even if you're just here for the fanservice, since the art's more anime-stylised than usual. Avoid.
Bonjour Sweet Love Patisserie
Bonjour: Koiaji Patisserie
Season 1
Episodes: 24 x 6 minutes
Keep watching: No
One-line summary: Romance anime at elite confectionary school
Originally a net animation series based on a mobile phone game, but it's since also had a TV run.
Sayuri Haruno is about to go to study sweet-making at a school for the super-rich. She's normal, though. She got a scholarship. There she makes a friend, gets bullied by a bitch and learns the school's one cast-iron rule: No Student-Teacher Romance. Naturally the teachers are all gorgeous dreamy men. (Well, apart from the unpleasant one who's already taken a dislike to her.)
It all seems by the numbers so far. Standard shoujo stuff. Nothing that hasn't been done a million times before, although then again my judgement here is even more provisional than usual since this is only a six-minute first episode. It might turn out to be brilliant. It's doing nothing wrong, but based purely on these six minutes, I see little point in continuing unless you live for reverse-harem shoujo romance.
Bottom Biting Bug
Oshiri Kajiri Mushi
Season 3
Episodes: lots x 5 minutes
Keep watching: No
One-line summary: Kiddie cartoon
Not as funny as I'd hoped. It's fine, but it's for four-year-olds.
Bottom Biting Bug is about a bug who's going to school to learn how to bite bottoms. He hopes to inherit his family's "biting shop" business. He has a little gang of friends, altogether comprising two boys, one girl (distinguished by ribbon in hair) and one much smaller bug.
The show also has a villain, called Dirty Bottom Biting Bug, but you can turn him into a reformed character by giving him a bath. He stops being a dirty bug, you see. This is my favourite thing about this show.
In this episode, our heroes investigate a toothbrush thief. How can you do a proper job if you don't maintain your equipment? If your job is biting bottoms, then you need to clean your teeth! Our heroes turn detective and find the toothbrushes! Hurrah! Mind you, they've still got to defeat Dirty Bottom Biting Bug, which of course involves biting his bottom. (You can't have a show called Bottom Biting Bug without bottom-biting. I believe that's actually a law.)
It's a good example of what it is. If you're looking for something to show your Japanese-speaking four-year-old, I'd recommend it heartily. However I'd been hoping it would have more personality and would thus be entertaining for me as well. I wouldn't recommend it for adults.
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 23 minutes
Keep watching: Yes
One-line summary: Grumpy calligrapher goes to live in an island village
I've since finished it and... it's just as good as I'd hoped.
It's really good and I'll be watching more of this. It's a gentle show, though, taking life at its own pace. It's also set in the real world, with no fantastic elements or genre formula.
Seishu Handa one day wrecks his career by punching an elderly gallery director in the face. The guy'd called his work dull and conformist, asking if he'd ever even tried to overcome his mediocrity. Harsh. Our hero clearly has some growing to do, both professionally and as a human being. Handa's father duly packs him off to a village so rural that it's as if he's visiting another planet, to get over himself and try to reassess his work.
Handa's from Tokyo and doesn't really understand things like being neighbourly, so he has some trouble wrapping his head around village life. Other obstacles to a quiet life include the local children, especially a tomboy called Naru.
It's charming, even though (or perhaps partly because) Handa spends much of this episode on a hair trigger. Naru is wonderful, generally rushing straight into everything she shouldn't, while her friends are funny too. Hina made me laugh. The locals' accents are lovely to listen to. It's a slice of life show, with gentle plotting and no hook to pull you into episode two except the simple one of being a very good show.
BeyWarriors: BeyRaiderz
BeyRaiderz: Shogun
Season 2 of BeyWheelz, really, which is itself a spin-off of Beyblade
Episodes: 13 x 22 minutes
Keep watching: You'll lose brain cells if you do
One-line summary: Toy advert
It's a Canadian/Japanese spin-off of Beyblade. It's anime, made in Japan, but it's never aired on Japanese TV and neither has BeyWheelz (which is effectively BeyWarriors season one) despite airing two years earlier.
Does that make it officially the worst anime of 2014? Actually, no. The show's purpose is to sell toys to small boys and the Beyblade boom was a while ago now, so it's just not going to do its job. Other shows have supplanted it, like Yokai Watch. That's all. However that aside, I'd say it has fair chances of being the worst anime of 2014 anyway.
First problem: I had to watch an English-language dub. Ouch. Now I'm about to make myself look like a raging snob in the "subs vs. dub" debate, because I'll be slagging this off as a train wreck and yet it's fairly normal by dub standards. This is because the industry is broken. Why is work like this seen as acceptable? Why are its perpetrators ever employed again? I'm sure money and time are a factor, but that doesn't change the fact that it's horrendous.
There's one voice actor here who's acceptable and that's Shannon Hamilton. She has an advantage in being female, though, hence not obliged to speak Teenage Macho Declamation. All the men sound identical. They're all doing the same hollow, tiresome, soulless excuse for a voice, just joining the exclamation marks without even trying to sound like a real person. No one ever spoke like that. It's the kind of voice acting that makes you want to smash up your TV, because if you heard your children copying that intonation one day, you'd have no choice but to beat them to death.
Disclaimer: most people will be thinking I'm a freak right now. English-language dubs are popular. Beside, even I'd got used to the voices by the end of the episode. They were still terrible, but I'd acclimatised. Besides, this is a problem common to many anime dubs and I'm sure the dialogue won't have helped. "I will never hand the power of the six mythic beasts to you!"
Dub aside, what about the show itself?
Well, it looks like anime. Those are definitely Japanese character designs. The story, though, is a risible toy commercial. That's not colourful language, but the exact and literal truth. It's risible and it's a toy commercial. BeyWheelz is a Hasbro toy for fighting duels with your friends... and that's what this show's built around. For a while we see children wandering around ruins (which I quite liked), but eventually the episode gives us two boys playing with their BeyWheelz while their friends have orgasms about how watching that battle is the most thrilling thing that could ever happen in the universe, ever, multiplied by a cubomegazillion. "No way!" "So cool!" "Do you think all BeyWheelz battles are this exciting?" "I've never felt so excited before!" "On day, everyone will be able to enjoy BeyRaiderz battlers!"
AND IT LOOKS PATHETIC. You put a toy car in your launcher and then the cars race. The "battlers" just watch, albeit while passionately shouting things like "Don't quit, Efred!" and "He's faster when it comes to speed!" (It's dialogue like that that makes one wonder if this show is deliberately a parody of itself.) In fairness the third of the three bouts is animated in a way that makes it look quite cool, but the first two are like watching tiddlywinks.
"With a pull on the rip cords, the BeyRaiderz are launched and the battle is ON!"
Blue Spring Ride
Ao Haru Ride
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: I'm sure it's going to be good
One-line summary: Shoujo romance with a bit of edge
I've since finished it and... it's a very good show. Completely solid.
It's a shoujo romance show and, so far, it's looking like quite an interesting one. It begins with a boy and a girl taking shelter from the rain, with the animation rendered in a watercolour style. Futaba Yoshioka (the girl) and Ko Tanaka (the boy) both have meek, somewhat insipid personalities of a kind that the show identifies as feminine. They like each other. They tentatively arrange a date... and then it never happens. Before long, Ko moves away from the area.
Three years later (now with normal artwork), Futaba thinks she might have met Ko again... but they've both changed. Futaba deliberately set out to change her personality to be more popular with her female classmates, behaving in a graceless, ill-mannered way that repels boys. As for Ko, he's acquired a new surname after his parents' divorce and he's turned into a cold, judgemental jerk.
This isn't going to be straightforward.
The show's take on femininity strikes me as somewhat distasteful, but in a way that's saying something. I really hate the identification of feminine appeal with being a demure shrinking violet with no personality, as opposed to being "unattractively" assertive and tomboyish. However I can't pretend that the show pulled it out of nowhere. I think (or least hope) that it's more common in Japan than in the West, but it exists. There are girls who deliberately cultivate this image (or others just as distasteful, e.g. pretending to be less intelligent than they are) and there are boys who genuinely do seem to be drawn by that.
Similarly, you can imagine certain girls doing what Futaba does. It might not necessarily be healthy, but at least you've got to applaud her decision to change and her willpower to go through with it. Besides, the show's calling her out on it, to some extent. When Ko calls her new friendships shallow, he has a point if you think back to the reactions when she was being accused of theft at the school cafeteria.
The show looks good. This is a fairly spiky set-up, with Ko's coldness being almost repellent. It's a good job the protagonist is Futaba, not him. I'd be happy to watch more of this.
Broken Blade
Break Blade
Season 1
Episodes: 6 x 52 minutes, or 12 x 25 minutes
Keep watching: It looks fine, but no
One-line summary: Mecha + quartz
It's a 2010 series of six fifty-minute films that in 2014 got recut into a 12-episode TV series. All I could find was the first of the original films, so I watched that. It's okay. I won't be watching any more, but equally I'd have no objections to the idea of doing so.
It's a mecha series set in a world where everyone's a magic-user, but there's a technobabble explanation for it. It's set in a world after fossil fuels. A thousand years ago the ancients used metal and oil, but today all technology is based on quartz. Mankind has evolved quartz-controlling mental powers, with the exception of freaks like our hero, Rygart.
Anyway, we have four old friends. Rygart went to Assam military school with King Hodr and Queen Sigyn (with whom he appears to have some vestigial sexual tension) and Zess of the Commonwealth of Athens. Unfortunately there's been a coup d'etat and now Zess is a leader of the forces at war with King Hodr. This is confusing and worrying, since everyone knows that Zess hates war. Hodr, for his part, would have happily surrendered for the sake of his kingdom if it weren't for the enemy's bewilderingly provocative surrender terms that include the royal family's execution. (I have a theory about that.)
Oh, and there's a thousand-year old mecha. This war is already full of mecha, which one could be forgiven for thinking are the default means of waging war in anime, but this one's different.
Did I love this story? Nope. Did I think it was perfectly good? Sure. The politics and worldbuilding are interesting, the characters are okay and the quartz-based mecha shatter prettily. If someone bought me the DVDs for Christmas, I'd watch them.
Brynhildr in the Darkness
Gokukoku no Buryunhirude
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes, plus an episode 11.5 OVA
Keep watching: Yes
One-line summary: Girls making death prophecies
I've since finished it and... I think it's remarkable, although I was occasionally irritated by the fanservice.
I'll be watching all of this series, in large part because of the title sequence. That was spooky. We see bloody dead girls, who then get restored to life at the cost of turning their surroundings into what looks like a post-holocaust warzone.
It's based on a manga by the creator of Elfen Lied, by the way. I've heard it said that it's not as good, but that's still more than enough to catch my interest.
Our hero, Ryouta Murakami, spends every day watching the skies for aliens. He's doing it for the sake of a girl he knew ten years ago, Kuroneko, who died because of him. She believed in aliens, so now he does too. One day someone transfers into his class at school who's the spitting image of Kuroneko... but she says she's never seen him before and she's odd. She can't do even simple multiplication. She has powers. Finally, she believes that today two students are going to die.
This show's got me. I want to know more. What's going on? I've heard that it goes downhill in later episodes, such as becoming a harem anime, but I'd heard similar things of Black Bullet and that I loved. I want to know the connection between the dead Kuroneko ten years ago and the living Kuroha Neko today. I want to see what else she's capable of. I like Murakami. The story looks likely to turn weird, time-twisting, brutal and/or disturbing, any of which would be right up my alley. Give me more!
"The other who was supposed to die is you."
Buddy Complex
Buddy Complex
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes, plus 2 sequel episodes broadcast six months later
Keep watching: It looks fine, but no
One-line summary: Mecha + time-twisting
Looks fine. It's a mecha show, but I like what it's doing so far.
We begin with a SF wartime pre-credits sequence with battling mecha, then after the closing credits jump to... school. Ordinary school. A boy (Aoba Watase) is going to Seio High School and his friends are teasing him about a girl (Hina Yumihara) who seems interested in him, but seems afraid of doing anything that might make him look at her.
Then a giant battle robot falls out of a time travel wormhole and starts tearing up the school to get at him. It's The Terminator meets Pacific Rim. There's some mecha action that looks so good that this must be a definitive example of Expensive First Episode syndrome. There's some fairly interesting character work, including some surprises from Yumihara and a bad guy who really, really seems to hate our hero. Hmmm. There's also some mildly amusing terminology ("coupling") that has earned this series the regrettable fan nickname of "Gay Gundam". (This isn't a reference to actual homosexuality, but to male pilots 'coupling up' in order to gain power.)
It also occasionally made me laugh, e.g. the girl's mecha being pink, or "you might find this hard to believe". If a 100-ton space-going robot had jumped from the sky and was tearing up the city to get at me, I think I'd be open-minded too.
It's fine. I'm not a mecha fan, but I enjoyed it. The time travel angle is nice and wrinkly, while there's nothing so far to suggest a bad show. The series as a whole appears to have had a mixed reception, as far as I can see, but I thought this first episode was good.