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

Captain Earth has a basic set up of the Earth is in danger from planetary gears (that name makes no sense) and only a giant robot piloted by a teenage boy can really use to save the day. Okay, it is more complex than that but at the end of the day, this is just a standard mecha plot with some good ideas and some things that just fall completely flat.

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 may not be a good anime, but it is still enjoyable.

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.

Captain Earth - the kids are ready to save the world.

One of the best things about Captain Earth is 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 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.

The Planetary Gears from Captain Earth

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.

Salty Dog - Bad character in Captain Earth

These guys are the most nonsensical element of the whole of Captain Earth. 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 in Captain Earth.

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, watching Captain Earth again for this review just reminded me of how big of a plot failure there is in this anime. For all the positives this series has, it is hard to argue with someone who tells you Captain Earth just kind of falls apart as it rides borrowed plot points to a final climax that makes limited sense on any kind of thought.

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 for Captain Earth, 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.

And yet, I like Captain Earth. I’ve watched it more than once and will watch it again.

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.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

12 Days of Anime Characters – Akari Kawamoto

12 Days of Anime Title Image

As we move into Day 9 of the 12 Days of Anime I have realised just how many amazing characters there are that I never really focus on for my blog. I’ve really enjoyed visiting with these characters each day and am glad they’ve each had a moment to shine. Day 8 turned to Lin from Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens but today we are going to focus on someone who has a smile that can make you melt and will take care of you when you are sick, help you when you are down, and stand back and let you go when you need to move forward. Yes, we are turning our attention to the amazing Akari from March Comes in Like a Lion.

March Comes in Like a Lion - Akari

Akari is an amazing character and one I regularly overlook because with Rei and Hina to talk about, and even Shimada who was visited early in the 12 Days, Akari just doesn’t get a look in. But that really isn’t fair as she is the back bone of the family and the one who’s words reach both Rei and Hina at their lowest moments. She sits on the side of so much of the story but without her these other characters would not be the people that they are.

March Comes in Like a Lion - Akari and Hina

It was Akari who saved Rei in the very beginning when he was taken out and drank. Akari was the one who forcibly invited Rei over for dinner so many times, confronting him and making him face people. She was the one who nursed him when he was sick. When Hina wanted to make a lunch box for a boy, Akari was the one who first gave advice and then stepped back and let Hina take charge of the situation as she needed to, but provided comfort for her when it didn’t go well. And it was Akari who tried to deal with the bullying situation at school as Hina’s guardian. 

March Comes in Like a Lion Akari

Akari is a source of endless strength and warmth. Her few moments of weakness, where she doubts and questions herself are understandable, and make her even more endearing. Her masterful cooking and ability to help her grandfather, her aunt, and both her sisters, should certainly be recognised as should her effort and good spirit.

March Comes in Like a Lion - The Kawamoto sisters

For all that I haven’t given Akari enough attention, I really think that needs to end. Akari is not just an awesome character, she’s the big sister all of us want and at some point in our lives needed. 

Thank you Akari for being you.

Thanks for reading
Karandi Jamesavatar
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March Comes in Like a Lion Akari KawamotoMarch Comes in Like a Lion Akari Kawamoto

OWLS Blog Tour: The Small Words That Make All The Difference

OWLS Image

It’s another OWLS post and this time I am exploring the theme of Mentors. OWLS  are a group of otaku bloggers who promotes acceptance of all individuals regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and disability. OWLS emphasise the importance of respect, kindness, and tolerance to every human being. Each month, OWLS will look at a specific theme. If you want to know more, please do click on the logo in the side bar. And if you missed any of the great posts in July, the links to all the contributors this month are below.

The theme for July: Mentors

Throughout our lives, we might have encountered someone that we admired as a role model or has guided us in some life dilemma. This mentor could be a teacher at school, a coach, a boss or team leader at work, or a family friend. Whoever it is that person impacted your life in a positive manner. For this month’s OWLS topic, we will be writing about mentors or mentorships in anime and other pop culture media. Some topics we will be exploring include how a mentorship impacted a main character’s life, the types of mentor relationships a person could have, and/or personal stories about mentors or mentorships.

The Small Words That Make All The Difference


Previously I’ve made a very definitive statement about mentors in stories: Mentors die. There are very clear reasons why they do in so many stories and particularly in action or fantasy stories, this is the assigned role of the mentor archetype. Train the next generation, pass on your wisdom, die tragically both inspiring your protege, teaching one final lesson, and also ensuring the audience doesn’t wonder why you aren’t actually the hero of the story. But these stories are very far removed from the everyday lives most of us live and so while these mentors are brilliant and memorable for their wondrous moments before their candle gets blown out, they aren’t exactly the kind of people we’re going to walk down the street and run into.

More importantly, for most of us there isn’t one single person with a single view of the world who is going to help us through everything and set us on our path. For the vast majority of us, it is the culmination of many small words and actions that slowly turn our path and shape who we are or who we want to be. While we may not always recognise the input of these people, on reflection there are probably many people we have to thank for making it through a particularly trying time in our lives.

So rather than choosing to focus on any one of those shows that I have loved over the years with classic mentors such as Star Wars, I’m choosing in this post to focus on a character who I really connected with when watching the series and I’m looking at the characters who have had an impact on his life for the better.

Of course that means I’m going for another March Comes in Like a Lion Post.


For me there are several characters who have acted as a mentor and adviser to Rei over the first two seasons of March Comes in Like a Lion. They aren’t the only characters who have had an input, but they are all characters that he has turned to for advice or has drawn on their words at critical junctures. As a result, I haven’t included Hina in the list despite her being awesome. She’s definitely a catalyst for change, but she doesn’t really fulfil the role of mentor. Due to the length of the post I’ve focused on just a couple of characters and their performance as a mentor.


Akari Kawamoto is the oldest of the three sisters who kind of take Rei under their wing at the beginning of the show and really do act as Rei’s bridge back to the world. As the oldest, Akari is the voice of calm and reason, the one who nurses Rei when he is unwell, and she is the one who slowly drags him back into the world and won’t accept excuses. She’s a gentle but persistent presence and someone who exerts a natural warmth that Rei is drawn to. He finds himself unable to refuse her when she asks him to join them for dinner and seemingly against his own desires he is drawn more and more into the family by her.


However, Akari as a mentor is flawed because she is also very young and in over her head. With two young sisters to raise and care for she’s forced to act older than her years and put on a front, but there is a fantastic moment in the second season when it crumbles. At this stage we see how far Rei has come in his emotional journey when he surpasses his mentor and returns to her some of the emotional strength she has given him and he works to allay her fears.

It is very safe to say that without Akari, Rei would never have been able to consider the situation as clearly, would never have had the empathy or emotional understanding to comprehend it, and certainly wouldn’t have had the words to comfort another. Far from the fantastic mentors who beat their knowledge into their students with showy and dramatic performances, Akari is a character who works quietly and consistently from the sidelines. She watches over Rei and lends a gentle guiding hand when needed, acts more forcefully only when necessary, and ultimately waits for him to come to her though she leaves the door wide open and the space she has created for him is warm and inviting.

Akari is the kind of mentor we all wish we had in our lives because even when we stuff everything up, she would be there for us and would probably give us a hug or a warm meal and let us cry until we had let it all out.


I could hardly write about mentors in March Comes in Like a Lion without touching on Shimada. We first come across him when Rei is facing him in a match. Rei has put very little thought into his match against Shimada because his eyes are focused on the next competition, and this is something that ultimately costs Rei deeply and shames him horrendously. However, it is this defeat that opens the door for Rei to learn and to grow as a Shogi player. Where Akari is the warmth of human connections, Shimada is the one who will allow Rei to develop as a professional.


That said, like Akari, Shimada is a flawed mentor in that his own relationship with Shogi isn’t exactly a smooth ride. Plagued by health ailments due to the stress of his life, having never one a title match, feeling the pressure (not deliberate but well-meaning) of those who have supported him, Shimada has had a difficult road to walk and he’s still very much fighting every single day. Despite that, Shimada has not lost his focus or his goal and continues to quietly work towards it.

There’s probably a reason both Akari and Shimada are quiet and fairly unassuming mentors. With Rei’s mental state, someone more forceful or erratic would certainly just cause Rei to shut down and not engage. It is their quiet and persistent approach, the waiting for Rei to open to them, that allows these two characters to be successful in their interactions with him.

Through Shimada, Rei joins the Shogi workshop which opens him up to discussions with others about Shogi. We no longer see him practising and studying in solitude with Shogi being the thing Rei hides behind to avoid others or interactions. Instead, it becomes something that forces him into professional and spirited conversations and interactions with others. This really marks a turning point for Rei and one that is really pushed through Shimada’s arc where Rei accompanies him to his match and helps him through a fairly gruelling defeat.

Again, we see Rei stepping up and using what he has been shown by his mentor to ultimately assist the mentor. It is a really important step for Rei as a character as he dislikes owing others and so a mentorship that was strictly one-way would only leave him guilt ridden. These small moments where he is able to give back actually allow the relationship to continue and to grow.


The last character I’m going to touch on is Rei’s teacher at the high school, Hayashida. Unlike Akari and Shimada, Hayashida is an intrusive and brash character. He forces himself into the solitude of Rei’s lunch breaks, he pushes conversation, he drags Rei through what he must do not to have to repeat a year at school, and organises for Rei to join a school club. He is well meaning but the kind of person who initially exhausts Rei.


However, through his persistence and his earnest desire to be there for his student, Hayashida slowly chips away at the walls Rei has build around himself. In large part this is because of the other characters, such as the Kawamoto sisters, who have already breached a lot of Rei’s automatic defences, but by the second season, Hayashida is someone Rei trusts to listen when he wants to talk about Hina’s predicament.

While it would have been easy to write Hayashida’s character off as the comic relief, or the brash friend who no one cares about, what we see is that he takes his role of teacher very seriously and he has very carefully forcefully kept the door to communication with Rei open without barging through it and causing Rei to run. That careful balancing act in season 1 of being there without crossing too many lines pays off when Rei is finally needing someone and ready to open up as Hayashida is already there for him and made that very clear.

Small Moments, Small Words, Big Difference


All three of these characters have made a world of difference to Rei and the future that awaits him. If even one of these people hadn’t been in his life, the journey he is on would have been infinitely more thorny and difficult. They aren’t walking his path for him, they don’t hand him all the answers on a silver platter, but they are most definitely a large part of the reason he is managing to find his way.

Thanks for reading this far and remember, there are probably people in your life you have offered you those small words just when you needed them. Remember to say thank-you.

Thank you those who read my blog and offer your kind words of support. You have no idea how much you have helped me over the past two years and motivated me to keep going. Thank you. 

The Schedule for July:

If you’ve missed any posts on the tour or want to know who is up next, the schedule is below. Be sure to check out some of the great bloggers and their posts this month.

3: Matthew Castillo (Matt-in-the-Hat)

4: Lita (Lita Anime Corner)

7: Shay (Anime Reviewer Girl)

8: Rai (Rai’s Anime Blog)

10: Lyn (Just Something About LynLyn)

12: Dale (That Baka Blog)

13: Scott (Mechanical Anime Reviews)

14: Jack (The Aniwriter)

15: Marth (Marth’s Anime Blog)

16: Miandro (Miandro’s Side)

17: Naja B. (Nice Job Breaking It, Hero)

18: Shoka (Shokamoka’s Blog of Wonders)

19: Mel (Mel in Anime Land)

20: Z (Let’s Talk Anime)

21: Dylan (DynamicDylan)

22: Marina (Anime B&B)

23: Gloria (The Nerdy Girl News)

24: Takuto (Takuto’s Anime Cafe)

25: Zel (Archi-Anime)

26: Carla (PopCultureLiterary)

27: Mistress of Yaoi (Yaoi Playground)

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James


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March Comes in Like a Lion Episode 27: Emotional Ripples



Where last week hit its tone and remained consistent throughout, breaking the audiences’ hearts over and over again, this week is far less consistent and yet not any worse for it. Instead of focusing on Hina through both Rei’s and her own narration, this week we barely see Hina save for the end. Rather, we focus entirely on Rei and then Akari’s responses to Hina’s dilemma and how the impact of bullying affects everyone and not just the victim.


Rei is first seen trying to get advice from his former homeroom teacher about how to deal with bullying. There’s some amusing moments that still manage to cut deep when Rei points out he isn’t being bullied (though his teacher assumed he was at first) but then explains the reason he doesn’t get bullied is because the other students don’t even really acknowledge he exists.


It is interesting to see how Rei is thinking through the first half of this episode and the sheer amount of effort he will expend in order to help Hina even though a lot of his thoughts are either misguided or just confused. The earnest desire to help is there but the issue is complex and Rei can barely look after himself most of the time.


Still it was a new side of Rei and one which was pleasant to see because it shows us just how far he has come. He sees Hina as a person, even if he is slightly idolising her at this stage. He’s made a real connection and despite the current circumstances, he is fighting hard to protect her. For someone who used to pull the curtains closed and hide in bed, this is real progress and I honestly hope it doesn’t blow up in his face and send him back into hiding.


As for Akari, she is tormented because she feels she has failed as the stand in mother. She feels her advice to Hina early on in life was wrong, that she couldn’t help her now, that she said the wrong thing… Basically she feels completely helpless in the situation and while she can’t let that out when Hina and the rest of the family are around, she let it out with Rei. And, again in a sign of just how far he’d come, he managed to say what Akari needed to hear. It doesn’t fix anything, but sometimes an emotional salve can go a long way.

The visuals, remain stunningly on point and whoever did the sound direction this episode nailed it. With a number of tonal shifts within scenes and some really complex emotions, both the visuals and sounds managed to perfectly convey the ideas and really created a truly enjoyable viewing experience. With great character moments and dialogue thrown in, March Comes in Like a Lion continues its strong second season and remains my absolute must watch.

Thanks for reading.

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Karandi James.