Captain Earth Series Review: Earth is Doomed and As Usual Only a Group of Teens (And Robots) Can Save Us

This is part of a series of re-posts of older reviews on 100 Word Anime. The original review came out in July 2016 and can be found here.

Another post that originally I did in a plus/minus format and I’m going to try and untangle that a bit. This is an interesting series in that it is not exactly one I like but I find myself rewatching it on the odd occasion for whatever reason. As a result, I’m never really sure where I stand on it and so reviewing it kind of helps to sort out some of the clutter with this one. So without any further rambling, let’s get on with the review, and just a note there are some plot spoilers ahead.


There’s something about mecha anime that for whatever reason make me super critical before I start even watching them. It isn’t as though I dislike the genre given there are plenty of mecha anime I’ve enjoyed. I think the real issue is that the genre is a little hit and miss for me and as a general rule I go in expecting not to end up enjoying the show so the ones that work end up pleasantly enjoyable. Still, Captain Earth balances perilously in that inbetween area where I find myself enjoying it enough even as I laugh at the once again ineffectual adults who ultimately shove the entire fate of the earth onto some emotionally traumatised kids (admittedly, only two of the kids are human if that makes the concept any better).

Captain Earth at its core accepts what it is and what it is presenting. The planetary gears who act as the face of the villains for the majority of the series (before the real bad guys step forward – where have I seen that before) are as over the top ridiculous as you would expect and their motives more or less amount to being kids fighting over the largest scoop of ice-cream. About as effective too, because while they are squabbling the ice-cream probably melted and no one ended up with anything. There’s technobabble, there are the bureaucrats that get in the way, and then there are the troubled teens that all just want to help and be free and maybe pair up and live happily ever after.

This anime embraces that and makes it work. So while there is certainly plenty to mock if you are in the mood to mock, if what you want is another one of ‘those’ kinds of stories, you could do far worse than Captain Earth.


One of the best things about the anime are the way the characters are presented. Admittedly, all of the characters are barely fleshed out archetypes and copies of characters who have appeared in other mecha anime or the like and taken individually they don’t amount to much. However, when you step back and look at the whole cast as an ensemble and just the small touches given to them you start to notice how much thought was put into balancing the archetypes and roles. There’s no excess and some of the details are really fantastic. For instance, in the feature picture, the two ‘human’ characters in the group (Daichi and Akari) don’t zip their uniforms all the way whereas the two ‘non-human’ characters wear them completely zipped. It’s those little touches that show the individual attitudes and natures of the characters that are fun to spot throughout the series and they are consistent and actually meaningful.


Though while I’m giving the characters props, I’m going to give the planetary gears the rant they deserve. Our villains are the most cliché driven and useless creatures in creation. Their motivations are actually endlessly explained. Why are they attacking the earth? Because humans are weak and insignificant and we can devour their libido. They tell us this over and over again. Whether it is the humans discussing the threat or the villains discussing their plans. Other than that, they just seem like highly sexually charged teenagers playing with toys and their planning sucks. Let’s try repeating the same sequence of events again. Oh, that didn’t work. Maybe if I try the exact same thing? How about you try it now?

Finding out that the planetary gears were also being manipulated from above was not a surprise. Given their singular lack of a master plan other than eat everything and the fact that most of their advice came from an outside source, the betrayal is pretty inevitable and by that stage you more or less have written off these guys as pathetic.

On the most recent rewatch, I started to like some of the planetary gears a little bit more as some of their interactions weren’t as over the top as I remembered, but they are still terrible villains and they really do let down what is an otherwise fairly competent cast and realistically, a lot of my rant should be saved for Salty Dog.


These guys are the most nonsensical element of the whole show. It is like the writers knew they didn’t have enough conflict or drama with the planetary gears (given that they were useless and they needed recharging after every encounter so couldn’t attack next episode) so they threw in some of the most repugnant human beings they could find and gave them a position of authority. Delete all Salty Dog characters, cut down the number of episodes, and the anime still works and is probably the better for it. And realistically, this is probably the sticking point. Everything else in this anime is fine or actually quite good, but Salty Dog are neither interesting enough as villains or menacing enough to actually serve any purpose other than filling screen time.


Moving away from the characters, this anime is pretty. And while prettiness isn’t reason enough to watch, it is enough to hold your interest in the down times between attacks and the like in this series. Some of the sequences on the space station are truly gorgeous and that’s probably a good thing given little else happens on the space station (a few major plot points aside). The animation is competent and each setting has its own unique kind of feel. They certainly go out of their way to romanticise the island setting and even the trip into space has a distinct look and feel about it.


And of course, because we’re dealing with teenagers we’re going to go for a romance. It doesn’t matter that the world might end as long as we find out who ends up with who (okay, that’s a little depressing so we’ll move on from that thought). I’ll admit Daichi and Hana are adorable together but it is nice to see Akari and Teppei really grow as characters and help each other overcome their personal hang-ups. A lot of shows would have just kind of thrown these two together or left them as the friends of the actual couple we were supposed to be interested in, but these two really get the chance to shine throughout the mid-way parts of the anime. They get a little sidelined at the end, but they aren’t the protagonists so it kind of had to happen. Still, Akari’s magical girl act and Teppei’s slow growth to becoming more human, is one of the real strengths of this anime.


However, two years ago when I wrote my first review, the biggest minus of all was the failure of the plot and I have to admit, watching Captain Earth again for this review just reminded me of how big of a plot failure there is. Wow, I gave Darling in the Franxx some smack talk and yet this anime probably does just as much wrong from a plot point of view and yet I remember it affectionately. Amazing what seeing something when you are younger and more impressionable will do for your view on it.

After a barrage of half-hints and the like during the first few episodes the story then eschews all sense of mystery and just kind of hits you with enough made-up jargon to drown you in it. Following that, we settle into a rinse and repeat battle of attrition with the planetary gears. During this, a betrayal occurs (and I’ll leave that one a mystery) that leaves a new villain to move behind the scenes to set up a final confrontation that still doesn’t seem to have all that much in the way of purpose, and to distract us from this we have the Salty Dog group hindering our heroes for no apparent purpose other than ‘because’. Finally, we all get in a space ship and fly to Uranus for a smack down that happens but doesn’t and then some of us race back to earth where an even more confused smack down occurs and then somehow we all end up okay. Right.

So nothing wrong with that convoluted mess of a plot.

If you don’t think about the details it is straight forward. Kid admires father. Becomes hero in his own right. Get’s the girl. Unfortunately the details plastered on that are persistent and very hard to overlook and why should we even try. There’s also enough jargon and babble thrown at you that you keep feeling like perhaps there should be a decent plot under all of that and yet really it is the kid becomes the hero, saves the world and gets the girl plot made convoluted because its fun to try to be pretzel?


This all brings me back to my original point. This is not a particularly good anime. The story does not hold up when judged objectively on its own merits. That was true when I first saw it, it was true after watching it again, it is true two years later when I’ve revisited it.

And yet, I like this anime.

I genuinely enjoy it for what it is and I enjoy the cast enough that even when they are taking the absurd far too seriously I can just kind of go with it. The kids get into dangerous situations and at times sustain injuries, but it isn’t angsty for the sake of it and even though these kids all have their own traumas they are genuinely fairly happy teens (all things considered). It makes a refreshing change and they bring a bit of warmth and charm to a concept that isn’t new in any way.

Sure, this won’t work for everyone but there is fun to be found in Captain Earth.

If you’ve ever had the chance to see it, I’d love to know your thoughts.

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James


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A Special Halloween Top 5: Spirits, Ghosts, and Dead People – With Luminous Mongoose

Luminous Mongoose has had a busy month organising a number of collaborative top 5 lists for the spooky season. I was really happy they asked me to be a part of it, though I definitely struggled with time management (it has been a really busy month). Still, I love Halloween and all things creepy so getting to put together a list of top 5 ghosts seemed like a great idea.

Anyway, I’ve got the start of the list (5 – 3) but if you want to see who my favourite ghost/spirit character is, and Lumi’s, than you will have to jump over to their blog. Hopefully you enjoy the list and as always, I’d love to know which characters you would have included on your list.

Number 5:

Karandi’s Pick – Atsushi – Natsuyuki Rendezvous


He’s the jealous husband who literally won’t go away and when the new part timer who has eyes on his wife notices him, Atsushi starts out trying to drive him away. When that is unsuccessful, he takes a new approach convincing him to share his body and allow the ghost to speak with his wife. Needless to say Atsushi has a few other things in mind.

Lumi’s Pick – Son Goku (While he was dead after fighting Cell) – Dragon Ball

Son Goku.jpg

Okay, so right off the bat, counting Goku as a ghost will tell you that I’m being very loose with the entries on this list. While Goku has died as much as he has children and grandchildren, I always enjoyed his character the most when he was just a ghost exploring the afterlife of the Dragonball universe, and spectating on the affairs of his friends and family. The biggest reason why I included him here is thanks to the image above, which is the iconic Father-Son Kamehameha. Not only is it a beautiful shot, it also represents Goku passing on the torch to his son as the next savior of Earth, and it was a great send off for one of action shounen’s most iconic heroes.

At least until GT and Super crapped all over that.

Number 4:

Karandi’s Pick – Yuuko – Dusk Maiden of Amnesia


She’s forgotten plenty but Yuuko has finally found someone who can see her and she’s ready to have fun exploring the mysteries of the old school house and generally mess around. Equally alluring and scary, Yuuko appears as people think she will and she uses this to her advantage as the ghost president of the supernatural research club.

Lumi’s Pick – No Face – Spirited Away

No Face.png

No Face is a very simple but effective character. We have no clues as to his motivations, nor does he ever even string together complete sentences. All we know is that he wants to be friends with Chihiro, and gets cranky when he doesn’t get what he wants. It’s a strange thing to see a possibly centuries-old spirit act like a spoiled child, but it really works for the bizarre tone of Spirited Away. His design is  creepy and off-putting, while still being distinctly Ghibli, and that lands him a spot at number 4.

Number 3:

Karandi’s Pick Yukine – Noragami


Okay, probably not technically a ghost but he is the spirit of a dead boy who was reforged into a weapon for a god so I’m still throwing him in my list. He’s a fantastic character and while at first he comes off kind of sullen and one dimensional, his growth as a character over the two seasons of Noragami are a delight.

Lumi’s Pick – Fuko Ibuki – Clannad

Fubo Ibuki.png

Okay, major spoilers for the first arc of Clannad, so feel free to skip this if you somehow haven’t watched KyoAni’s magnum opus in terms of drama.

Having Fuko on here could be considered cheating since she is TECHNICALLY not dead, but she is the spirit of a girl in a coma, so I’m counting it. Just like Yuuko from Dusk Maiden of Amnesia, Fuko is a mysterious girl who is apparently tied to the school in some way, and has no memory of who they are.

When I first watched Clannad, I thought it was just gonna be a straightforward slice of life highschool drama, mysterious robot and girl in an astral plane aside. The reveal of her true nature was legitimately surprising and the mystery of it was intriguing.

She was the introduction of the supernatural element to the story which becomes a huge deal in the later arcs, and her arc was the highlight of my time with Clannad’s first season. Plus, her sudden reintroduction as a gag character despite her very heartfelt and emotional ending was hilarious and still completely in-character, so she makes the list at number 3!

And that’s our list numbers 5 – 3. Again, be sure to check out Luminous Mongoose’s post for the rest of the list.

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James


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That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 5: Past Wrongs and Future Destinies

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode Review Title Image

I’m going to start with the whole elven fortune telling thing that happened in the bar, apparently as some kind of entertainment while the dwarven smith guy was still treating Rimuru for making all those swords. Mostly because the episode kind of buried this part underneath yet more close ups of elven breasts and cheesy dialogue but it actually kind of intrigued me given the image we see in the crystal ball. Of course, then the guy who doesn’t like the dwarven smith comes over and makes a big deal about Rimuru being a monster and a fight breaks out so this part of the episode is pretty much shelved and forgotten. Part of me wonders if this is deliberate to make me intrigued and the other part of me, the cynical part, is more concerned that this was a their best effort and foreshadowing that we’re going to get. Because needless to say, we haven’t had a lot of other foreshadowing, unless the King muttering something about Rimuru being a monster at the end counts.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 5

Anyway, putting that to the side as clearly it is a discussion to have later in the series when it has either done something with it or just forgotten about it, the rest of this episode focuses on the dwarf smith and his relationship with his former subordinate who apparently framed him and now continues to harass him with more or less impossible requests. A punch to the face was probably warranted but it does lead to the dwarves and Rimuru getting put back in the jail cell with Gobta (who at least the show acknowledges was forgotten but then they promptly go and forget him again).

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 5

The practical upshot of this is that the dwarf decides he doesn’t need to hang around any longer and agrees to leave the city to work fro Rimuru, so clearly Rimuru’s whole building a village plan is right on track. Unless of course the Dwarves get executed which given the nature of that court system may have happened. I actually really wanted more time spent on this sequence because there are literally a thousand questions about how such a legal system exists and how open it is to corruption and none of them will be addressed because for the first time ever this anime seems in a hurry to get to the next thing. But really, there’s no way this system works. There isn’t even a thin illusion that this might be justice.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 5

I will give this episode credit though because of all the episodes so far, this is the one that has given me the most to think about and the most enjoyment. I really liked seeing the exchange between the King and the dwarf and I really liked the King afterwards putting the other idiot in his place. I think the more this world expands the more interested I’m getting in it, though clearly not enough to remember pretty much any of the character’s names so far but I’ll probably get there (or I’ll look them up).

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Tsurune Episode 2: Finding Your Target

Tsurune Episode Reviews

There’s a couple of things Tsurune has gotten very right that makes this anime a fairly solid show and one I want to follow right from the beginning. Comparing to the other sports anime I’m watching at the moment, Run With The Wind, I feel I’ve clicked a bit more with this one. While Minato is also reluctant to continue in his chosen sport, unlike Run With The Wind, the other characters aren’t coercing and forcing him back. They are certainly nagging and encouraging (and a little overly intrusive), but ultimately the choice that he makes in this episode is his own decision that he has come to after his own reflection.

Tsurune  Episode 2 Seiya

The other thing that really grabs me in this story so far, other than just being gorgeous to watch, is that so far Minato, and all of the other characters, don’t appear to have some high minded goal like be the best in Japan or win some competition. The goal so far is to re-establish the archery club and now there’s a tournament they’ve decided to try entering, but ambition is so far being kept in check. Minato has been shown to be pursuing a sound and striving for the form that will given him that, and the other characters haven’t really established their motives just yet. I’m certain that at some point these guys will aim to win something, but so far it is more about pursuing the sport than pursuing victory and I really kind of appreciate that.

Tsurune Episode 2 Minato and Who
Did they really just name the owl W’ho’?

I did however have to do a double take in this episode, literally stopping and video and going back, and I’m certain that’s what they intended, when they suggested Takigawa was actually a ghost. It was a well executed moment because while you don’t really think this is an anime that is likely to actually have a ghost, it leaves you in just enough doubt that when Minato dives to stop him shooting the last arrow you are kind of glad, even if it does all turn out to be a silly misunderstanding.

Tsurune Episode 2

There’s a really relaxed feeling so far to this story but at the same time it feels like these characters have begun moving forward even as we’re only really just getting to meet them. Visually it has been pretty amazing with only a few group scenes where extras have looked a little bit off, and the music and environmental sounds have so far been really solid. I’m really enjoying this so far and I hope it continues as it has so far and I’d really like to start to get to know the rest of the cast a bit better now.

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Tuesday’s Top 5: 90’s Horror Movies for Halloween Binge Watching

Tuesday's Top 5

Now we come to the final Halloween top 5 post and while I’d love to do another anime binge list, there just aren’t enough new horror anime to really justify it this year. So instead I decided to turn my attention to the movies that made me the ridiculous horror fan I am today. Given I was only 16 when the 90’s ended, I probably shouldn’t have watched most of these movies during the 90’s but I definitely did. I loved them. And this list is just the tip of the ice-berg.

For this binge list I decided to go for teen horror flicks that deliver every cliche in the book and are perfect for a drinking/chocolate game while watching. For instance, every time they knowingly discuss a horror trope, eat an M&M. Whether you were a child of the 90’s or not, I’d love to know what your favourite 90’s horror movies are and what you plan to watch for Halloween so please be sure to leave me a comment below.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions: The Blair Witch Project – I couldn’t not mention this movie given it kind of started a whole trend in horror films with shaky-cam, but at the same time it just isn’t as fun as some of the others on this list to watch. Still, worth the mention.

Number 5: The Craft

The Craft.jpg

Starting with a classic teen horror where four teens turn their hand to witch craft with some interesting results. When Sarah decides they’ve gone to far the other three turn against her leading to one magical and messed up confrontation. Don’t watch if you are afraid of snakes, just saying. Do however watch if you love 90’s movie soundtracks because The Craft has an absolutely awesome one.

Number 4: Scream

Scream - Movie

A second Neve Campbell film on the list, she did get around. This one however had to be on the list. From the epic Drew Barrymore death scene that opens it, to the endless number of horror tropes they manage to stuff in all the while reciting self-aware dialogue that just makes horror fans laugh, Scream does it all. And just remember, if the killer is in your house you should run out the door and not up the stairs. Also remember, the sequels definitely had diminishing returns. Stick to the first, it is definitely the best.

Number 3: Urban Legend

Urban Legend

Is there anything better than a movie featuring a group of college students getting killed using classic urban legends? Probably plenty given this movie is cheesy over the top melodrama with some fairly fine examples of by the numbers acting, and yet taken another way it is hilarious to watch and most of the characters end up coming to sticky endings. Warning on this one about the puppy in the microwave (flinch).

Number 2: The Faculty

The Faculty

Okay, sick of killer teens and college students? Always believed your teachers were evil? Well, The Faculty delivers a modern take on The Body Snatchers with aliens invading the sleepy little town and taking over the staff of the school before moving onto the students. Parasites crawl inside and take over the host leaving them incredibly strong and with a powerful thirst. Let’s assemble the crack team of students including the new girl, the geek, the popular girl, the football guy, the social outcast, and the delinquent and see if they can save the world.

Number 1: Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow

Right, so Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci may have a lot to do with this taking the number one spot. Okay, everything to do with it. I love these two in movies and the two of them together was always going to be brilliant. Add in a fairly macabre tale of the headless horseman, ‘modern’ detective skills, and revenge and you have yourself a fairly great movie to watch. Christopher Walken also delivers an excellent performance given his brief time on screen.

So what are you waiting for? Which 90’s horror film would you add onto the list? Or what do you plan to watch this Halloween?

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James


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Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-San Episode 4: We’ve All Been There

Skull Face Book Seller Honda San Episode Review Title Image

One thing that continues to be a great draw with this anime is the fact that Honda-San is kind of a great stand-in for the average and everyday viewer who works a day job, probably as part of a larger organisation, and is generally not in a position of great power within said organisation. As such, it makes the events fairly relatable even though most of us probably don’t work in book shops.

Skull-Face Book Seller Honda-San Episode 4

This week particularly, takes Honda out of the books shop and sends him to training and I think I really finally clicked with this character as the sinking feeling he was experiencing on entering kind of matched a feeling I’ve felt many times before as I’ve gone into workshops and training sessions.

Skull Face Book Seller Honda San Episode 4

It isn’t that Honda is resistant to learning, obstinate, or wanting to cause trouble. It is more the excessive enthusiasm with which the trainer’s take on the role of something as basic as smiling and the cringe worthy lengths they go to in order to impart some of their wisdom on their somewhat reluctant students. However, the anime also makes it clear that the actual concept of training in customer service isn’t actually a problem and the trainers aren’t actually evil.

Skull Face Book Seller Honda San Episode 4

Still, eleven minutes doesn’t give a lot to work with so while the scenario is a nice snap shot and most of the audience should be able to really relate this week, the anime doesn’t quite go so far as commentary. There doesn’t feel like there’s any message here other than just one that observes the idiosyncrasies within corporate structures and the zany people you will meet along the way. Maybe that is enough but it would have been nice to see this one push a little further along.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
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Release the Spyce Episode 4: It’s All About Mei and Fu

Release the Spyce Episode 4 Mei and Fu

You know, there are secret organisations afoot, drugs being traded, human experimentation, and all kinds of weird, but for whatever reason this anime feels that spending an episode dealing with the mentor-student relationship of Mei and Fu is the absolute best thing it can show us. This episode really does make it clear that despite the trappings of a spy story, at heart this one just wants to be a cute girls in a club kind of thing and the only real difference is occasionally they face life threatening situations.


That doesn’t make this bad, but it does mean that the threat and the spy side of this story really aren’t to be taken overly seriously. I mean, who cares about all of the secret agent type stuff when there are household accounts to balance?


If it seems I’m being a little snarky it is probably because I don’t know that either the audience or the characters gained anything from this episode. I mean, sure, Mei and Fu go through a bunch of stuff, end up fighting, after that gets Mei hurt on a mission Fu moves out, but then they reconcile and take down the random token drug dealer Fu had spotted earlier in the episode. Fu realises that her mentor does appreciate her and they all live happily ever…

Wait, why did we need a whole episode to come to that realisation?


I’ve described this show as average, and realistically it still is. But the bottom line is it isn’t a particularly compelling cute girls in a club kind of thing nor is it a very competent story about a team of female spies, so what we’re ending up with is a tepid serving of both genres and it makes for a viewing experience that is kind of good enough but not particularly memorable.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
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