Captain Earth follows typical teenager Daichi (who had an astronaut for a father who saved the world, so typical) and his attempts to save the world from the same threat that his father kind of delayed. There are some other kids involved because all of the adults are useless and can only sit and wring their hands and argue about whether or not kids should really be fighting. Also, there’s some stuff about an ark.
While it should be apparent from my overview, I’m not the biggest fan of this series. That said, I have watched it more than once so the question becomes, why? I’m going with the plus/minus formula for this review because there just doesn’t seem any other way to deal with it.
The details and 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 (and the planetary gears will get their very own rant further down in a a minus section) but the whole cast and just the small touches given to them actually are a plus. For instance, in the picture above, 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.
I told you the planetary gears would get their own rant and here it is. 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.
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).
Salty Dog. There probably doesn’t need to be too much more of an explanation but these guys are the most non-sensical 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.
The romance. Okay, 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.
Serious Spoiler Warning
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 int. 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.
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.
Do I like this anime?
Absolutely. I found it highly entertaining even as my mind boggled at some of the more ridiculous moments thrown in and I truly had to gag at the whole computer taking over a human and then making out with the office lady.
Do I recommend this anime?
Only to people who have watched a lot of anime and don’t mind the usual kids fight in robots in space story with a couple of teen romances thrown in and maybe a few moral messages just for fun.
Mostly, I wouldn’t recommend this as a starting anime to someone.
Have you watched Captain Earth? If so, share your thoughts on the series.