March 21st, 2009

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Finished series: Gigantic Formula

We've finished watching Gigantic Formula. My first episode review is here.

All over the world, large stone heads are being excavated -- images of the Olympian gods. Apparently these statues are sentient, and through telepathy they ask for 'armor and weapons' so they can fight amongst themselves. One of 'em sets the oil fields ablaze when his human monkey servants don't work fast enough for him, which results in a huge electromagnetic cloud cover: the "Equatorial Winter" which nearly kills off all of humanity. Luckily the statues themselves give off (nearly limitless) power, so everyone plugs their households into the statues.
Meanwhile, the UN decrees that the war the gods want, will be fought. But to minimise the damage (hence the name 'Wisest World War') the war will be fought as a series of duels between the armor-clad gods. Every nation which finds a statue constructs a mecha (a 'Gigantic') around it, with a crew of two: one Translator (who is telepathically linked to the god) and a pilot. The loser nation will become a tributary to the victor.
Pretty weird set-up eh? And it's not like it's properly explained anywhere just how all that works.

In the midst of all that, Shingo is chosen (through a series of game competitions!) to be the pilot of Japan's mecha. At first he doesn't seem to be too interested in actually fighting, but once he understands the robot (Susano -- which contains Ares) is needed to protect Japan, he really gets into it. Together with Mana, a ninja girl who acts as the Translator, he defeats China -- thereby securing China's cooperation with Japan for the rest of the war.

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It all starts off quite silly, but as the series progresses, you get more and more backstory and it all starts to make some twisted kind of sense.

Visually, there's of course the usual mecha-CGI. As usual, this is executed quite artfully. However, the budget for the cell-animation wasn't high enough to maintain the animation quality all through the series -- some shots are definately 'off'. And the character designs with their weirdly rounded eyes take some getting used to as well.
The last five episodes are real cliffhangers: you really want to know what happens next! The ending is quite good too.

Good points:
- Many intertwined plots;
- The quiet sabotage and counter-sabotage going on at the base;
- The ending.
Bad points:
- Uneven quality;
- Very weird backstory that is never completely explained.

All in all, a good no-nonsense mecha series. I'll give it a 7,5.