The second act of Captain Earth has finally arrived. Although the major plot points are finally coming into focus in these latest episodes (i.e. lines between heroes and villains clearly drawn, backstories and explanations wrapped up, relationships established, etc.), it may be too little too late for the casual viewers who most likely lost interest already. Redemption may still be on the horizon, though, for those who persevered through the drowsy pacing and minimalistic exposition. Furthermore, the emerging themes of family, coming-of-age trials, and conflicts between innocence and maturity are finally starting to make this mecha show worth watching.
Teppei and Akari arrived on the Tenkaidou orbital base on a top-secret mission to extract Eiji Arashi, Teppei’s estranged father. One of the selling points of this episode is that it focused on themes of parental love and acceptance. Despite the physical distance and ideological rifts between them, Akari and her mother continued to love each other unconditionally. Teppei, on the other hand, wrestled with abandonment issues, having grown up never knowing the loving father who made painful sacrifices to protect him, on top of having identity issues as a synthetic being living among normal humans. The resolution seemed inconclusive as to whether Teppei benefited from reuniting with his father, but that was probably for the best. Daichi and Hana became the focus in episode six, where we learn that she was created by the Kiltgang to produce energy for them. She managed to escape from their clutches and hid herself on Earth, guided there by Daichi’s voice (as shown in his childhood flashbacks). When the Ark Faction attempted to abduct her, Daichi sprang into action to stop them, proving to himself and the adults around him his astonishingly improved maturity since the first episode.
Major plot points began moving again in the seventh episode as the Kiltgang pair of Amara and Moco launched a joint attack on Daichi’s Earth Engine in space. Teppei, though reluctant at first to summon his Kiltgang form, comes to save his friend once again. In a stunning turn of events, he sacrificed his own Ego Block to dispatch Moco and buy the injured Daichi the time he needed to finish off Amara. A heroic sacrificial death would have been par for the course here, especially for most mecha series, but surprisingly Teppei not only survived but even obtained his own Livlaster, a multipurpose gun-type artifact. The young Kiltgang effectively severed his ties with his immortal brethren in favor of his friends, but it’s clear that was his intent all along.
In spite of the painfully slow set-up in the beginning and cryptic exposition, Captain Earth is starting to shape up and get back on track. The memorable characters and human-centric focus on relationships and the relatable joys and struggles of adolescence definitely make the anime worth watching beyond the obligatory mecha space battles. I’m looking forward to a stronger finish.
My Score: 8.00/10.00