I have to admit that I am not an authoritative connoisseur on all things mecha. However, I would have expected a series about a gigantic planetary defender to promise a plethora of gut-wrenching space opera and/or exhilarating metal-on-metal battles four episodes in. What I got instead was snail-paced exposition, more enigmatic political intrigue, and less indication of when (or even if) that alleged Earth-threatening interstellar war was ever going to get underway.
The second episode started in a predictable manner. Daichi’s adrenaline rush wore off just enough for him to realize he was facing certain peril at the hands of sexy Moco’s Malkin and started to panic. Enter super-hacker and Radical Edward (Cowboy Bebop) clone Akari, who rallied the neophyte in the nick of time and helped him take down the Kiltgang in a single blow. The victorious hero was welcomed back with nary a parade or fanfare, but was instead brought in for interrogation. Undeterred by bureaucracy and authoritarian overtones, he recognized Teppei and Hana, his childhood friends, and soon gave them a means to escape the confines of the top-secret island base and play together in their own private reunion on the beach. While doing very little to unravel the overly-ambitious giant plot, it was a pleasant diversion to see the main protagonists cultivating a very positive chemistry and camaraderie early on in the series. Episode three moved things forward again when another Kiltgang, Amara’s robot Amarok, showed up to attack. The exposition revealed in a round-about fashion that someone, or some faction, specifically wanted Daichi taken out permanently. To this end, an operative coaxed the lad to hurry into battle against the new threat without preparation or proper clearance. Sure enough, the Earth Engine was not yet battle-worthy and condemned to certain defeat, but Teppei unexpectedly saved the day in his mecha Albion. It was revealed in the following episode that there is more to Teppei than previously thought; he may in fact be a Kiltgang himself. The plot gets more convoluted and confusing when the two previously-defeated Kiltgang pilots, Amara and Moco, force their way into the Tanegashima base Team Rocket-style, apparently to kidnap Teppei. After some exchanges of gunfire and bravado, Daichi saw them off with a blast from his Livlaster weapon.
Captain Earth’s plot thus far looks as though it is suffering from a serious traffic jam due to its over-reaching ambition. As a mecha anime it certainly does seek to set itself apart from the rest in its genre with breathtaking visuals, music, and atmosphere, but those alone have yet to really hook me. Daichi is the sort of gung-ho protagonist that looks to be chomping at the bit to blast off into space and kick ass, but so far there seems to be very little ass to kick. Here’s hoping for a prompt end to this bumper-to-bumper malaise.
My Score: 6.00/10.00