Simoun is set in a world where everyone is born as a woman. In the theocracy of Simulacrum, girls can become Sibyllae, who fly the Simoun. Simoun are flying machines, that have been unearthed on an archeological dig in a holy valley. It takes two Sibyllae to fly a Simoun, and by flying a certain pattern (called a 'Ri Maajon'), the Simoun bring about a certain effect. Flying a Ri Maajon is a form of offering a prayer to the sky.
When they celebrate their nineteenth birthday, it is time for the priestesses to go to the holy spring to choose the gender they will have as an adult, and stop flying the Simoun.
But when various neighbouring countries attack, Simulacrum finds itself in a bit of a bind. Their fleet is not equipped for full-scale battle -- and so they have to rely on the Simoun to defend themselves. The Ri Maajons trigger such an energy discharge, that they can be used to wipe out enemy fighter planes.
One of the groups of Sybillae that were on the forefront when the initial attack occured, the highly regarded Chor Tempest, loses some of its members during the attack. Their ranks are filled up with newly minted Sybillae, such as Aeru, for whom the war represents an opportunity (either to fly the Simoun or to postpone having to chose their gender). These come into conflict with the more traditionally minded priestesses, such as Neviril, for whom the idea of using a prayer as a weapon is a distasteful idea.
The series is a bit meandering. Some episodes focus on the difference between prayer and war, some episodes are straight action-oriented, some episodes show how the outside world reacts to the feelings and problems of the Sybbilae, and there is even some plot that gets completed in the last few episodes. This doesn't make for very strong story-telling.
On the other hand, this meandering does give a complete image of how the war works out for Simulacrum and the priestesses.
Visually, the series is very good. The character designs do take some getting used to -- the designers went wild with the clothing, it seems. The Simoun and the other mecha are all done in CGI, and sometimes the movement is just a tiny bit too smooth to be believable. Other than that, it all blends in pretty nicely with the cell-shaded animation.
- Good animation and designs;
- Interesting world;
- Machines of destruction powered by lesbian love!
- Meandering, sometimes confusing;
- Not much narrative thrust.
All in all, enjoyable but not a must-see. Technically capable, but lacking in content. A 7.