For fans of giant robot action, here comes a continuation of the story from the Super Robot Wars Original Generation games. Expect lots of giant robot action.
What They Say
With many of its central personnel lost in the war, the Earth Federation Government is forced to rebuild, and Brian Midcrid, president of the Unified Colonies, takes the position of its president. During an emergency session of the Federation Diet, he publicly acknowledges the existence of extraterrestials, and reveals the events of the L5 campaign to the masses in what will later come to be called the "Tokyo Declaration". He goes on to state that these aliens pose a serious threat to humanity.
President Midcrid continues, asking for the colonies to unite with earth, and to expand their military forces in a plan called the "Aegis Plan". Under the plan, new weapons are developed, and more mechs are mass produced as the entire planet's defense network is strengthened. But threats still lurk in the shadows. The remnants of Bian Zoldark's "Divine Crusaders". Those within the Federation and its army who plot to turn it into a military dictatorship. And none have yet realized... that the true threats are coming from a world "so close, yet so very far away", and a world of silence...
The planet is being invaded by foes from a parallel world, and from the past.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
We open, naturally, with a battle. I have little idea as to who is fighting who, having never played the games on which this anime is based. The two robots and their pilots seem to be fighting on some sort of desolate planet, with no signs of other people. The fight take the usual course of alternating between first one, then the other, pilot unleashing ever more powerful attacks. Finally, one robot and pilot escape in some sort of teleportation device, leaving the other to die in a fiery blaze of explosions in an abandoned military base of some sort.
After the opening, we get a nice little speech from the President of the Earth Federation, revealing that the planet is under threat from an alien race that is attempting to invade and conquer the planet. At the same time, a battle is raging elsewhere. Apparently, the forces of the Federation are fighting with leftovers of a rebel group, the Divine Crusaders, who attempted to seize control of the planet after the alien threat was first discovered. The fight, as these things do, rages back and forth, with both sides, the ATX Team from the Federation and the splinter DC force, bringing in new reinforcements to gain the upper hand. In the end, however, a new, and very unique, mech which looks like a female angel (with wings that shed feathers, no less) appears out of the skies, throwing both sides into confusion. It remains to be see just exactly who this is.
What is clear to me, the non-fan, is that this show is really aimed at those who are already very familiar with the franchise, the main personalities, the politics, and most of all, the mecha units and their weaponry. Being familiar with none of that, what I will set out to do in these reviews is try to follow along, as best as I can, the action while also giving the impressions of someone who usually do not watch this type of show.
In terms of the politics, the world of Super Robot Wars Original Generation looks to be the usual Machiavellian cesspool that is not uncommon in much of anime that is of the science fiction or speculative fiction variety. While a name like Earth Federation sounds nice, perhaps slightly evocative of the happy, peaceful Federation of Star Trek, I am certain at some point a shady underbelly will be exposed. There are already hints of it. When President Midcrid stepped down from the podium after his speech, he had a short, but interesting chat, with one of the seated delegates, to whom he gave the nickname "Puppet Master." Midcrid apparently does not entirely approve of the increasing militarization of the Earth in response to the alien threat, a militarization that would probably have the side effect of increasing the government's power. Also, later on when we get back to the battle against the DC leftovers, the captain of the space battleship the ATX Team is based on gets a call from his superior (in Langley, Virginia, of all places), ordering him to undertake a new order, even though he is in the middle of directing a battle, since this new order will be gratifying to a powerful defense contractor. Ahh, politics.
In terms of fights, the animation is fairly fluid in this first episode, with not only the usual appearance of the Itano Circus (swarms of missiles being launched at once) but the regular array of beam spam and showers of projectile weaponry, accompanied by explosions that are meant to rend metal and flesh. The ATX pilots fight with a certain élan, while the DC remnants are rather dour, like religious fanatics who think they're on a mission.
In future installments, maybe I will start to understand just what it is that they are fighting about. But as far as giant robot action shows go, it does seem to provide much of what the audience probably wants: large mecha going at it against each other in a world that has both clear cut lines between sides yet a certain murkiness in terms of what the ultimate objectives are for any of them.
Super Robot Wars OG: The Inspector lives up to at least half of its name for the moment. There are robots, there is war, and the robots certainly look super. I'm not sure where the "Inspector" part of the name comes in, but that will all be revealed in time, I take it. For someone who has not be initiated into the mysteries of the franchise, it may be a little different to follow the action, as it presupposes a familiarity with the personalities and with the politics of the various factions involved in the conflict. For those who are familiar, however, they probably will enjoy seeing the further adventures of the pilots of the ATX Team as they battle the remnants of the Divine Crusaders, while other enemies likely lurk in the shadows.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Apple Mac Mini with 1GB RAM, Mac OS 10.5 Leopard