Captain Earth: Final Review
Format: 25 Episodes
Director: Takuya Igarashi
Intelligence Agency Report by: Dr. Magnanimus
Daichi Minatsu, following in the footsteps of his departed astronaut father, willfully takes on the duty to pilot the Earth Engine and join the fight to repel an interstellar invasion by the immortal Kiltgang, an alien race subsisting on human life-force to maintain eternal life. Along with Kiltgang turncoat Teppei Arashi, the mysterious Hana Mutou, and super-hacker Akari Yomatsuri, the four youths join forces to protect the Earth with powers derived from their indomitable determination and passionate idealism.
Field Agent Report by: Dr. Magnanimus
The summer of love is over for Captain Earth, but I can say for certain that it was indeed one of the most fulfilling adventures I have ever embarked on. The anime was filled with wonderful moments that easily set it apart from other titles in the mecha genre, with lots of colorful allusions to everything from Shakespeare to…well, mostly just Shakespeare. But even a story like this would certainly garner the approval of the Bard himself.
The main conflict in the anime was one that pits human mortality against the Kiltgang values of self-interest and the longing for eternal life. Watching each side argue their case in one form or another seemed kind of reminiscent of other anime like Gurren Lagann, and that same passion was certainly there in the characters as well. What I did appreciate was that even though much of the youthful spirit was quite sappy, it was a good kind that made for very heart-warming scenes throughout the series. Even the villains themselves, rather than stoic, monolithic monsters, were in reality relatable antagonists experiencing humanity in their own ways. The relationships between the various couples in Captain Earth were engaging and full of life, and really helped a great deal in overall character investment.
As to be expected for a Bones studio anime, the animation quality was excellent. Some of the scenes, from the space shuttle launches to the beautiful shots of Tanegashima’s beaches, seemed almost identical to real-world counterparts, and the backgrounds alone were gorgeous to look at. The music had a very space opera-esque orchestra ramping up the tension in many scenes, and were pretty good to follow along. My only real complaint was the noticeable music recycling per episode, leaving much regret that the soundtrack wasn’t any larger than it was.
I have never been a fan of mecha, but this anime blew me away for all its solid storytelling and intricate literary content. The pacing was always an obstacle for the most part, but once the ball got rolling, it was smooth sailing all the way to the end. There were many twists and turns that kept the plot engaging, even all the way up to the very last seconds of the final episode.
For all of the flaws it may have had, Captain Earth was nonetheless a wild, fun ride. With its strong-willed characters, poetic motifs, and good old-fashioned mecha-stomping and blasting action, the anime wound up keeping me hooked to the very end. It may not be entirely ground-breaking in the way it tells mecha stories, but it was definitely worthwhile and memorable in comparison to other anime this season.