The 'Golden Tribe' was the first space-faring species. They started some sort of SETI-program to call others into space, and the Silver (psychic humanoids) and Iron Tribes (insects with a hive-mind) answered their call. Next, there was the Heroic Tribe: big monster-like beings of awesome power. And lastly, there was the Iron Tribe: humanity.
The Heroic Tribe got into internal conflict, and they killed themselves off -- all except five of 'em. The Golden Tribe turned them into 'Nodoss': small nanotechnology devices that are able to recreate one of the Heroic Tribe. Each Nodoss was implanted into a member of a different tribe, and given a contract which specified 'labours' to fulfill. And then the Golden Tribe left this universe, and that was that.
The Silver Tribe has taken stewardship over the galaxy, and they wage war against the Iron Tribe, aided by the Bronze Tribe. One human vessel, the Argonaut, under the command of the psychic Princess Deianeira, is searching for their Nodoss -- and it turns out to be Age, a young boy who lived a carefree life on a broken planet that is almost impossible to navigate to.
Of course, the Bronze Tribe is hot on the heels of the humans, and it befalls to Age to defend his tribesmen!
And so begins an epic SF-story with many mythical undertones. Even if the tribes have access to space-age technology, they still don't understand a lot of the legacy of the Golden Tribe. This breeds conflict, and the humans are taking heavy losses in the constant push of the Silver Tribe to eradicate them.
Age gets caught up in the midst of it all. He is regarded as some sort of super-weapon, and when the Argonaut finally manages to limp back to human space, he is immediately co-opted by Deianeira's idiot brothers. They only see Age-the-weapon, and not Age-the-human, and they mis-use his powers with disastrous effects. By that time, the Silver Tribe has released the four Nodoss they have in their care (their own, and the others through blackmail), which results in huge battles on which even the most powerful battleship is merely a bystander.
Those who are loyal to Deianeira revolt and regain control over Age and the fleet. Deianeira even manages to open communications with the queen of the Silver Tribe, and the meaning of the contradicting contracts and the mystery of the dissapearance of the Golden Tribe is revealed during a nail-biting finale.
I have two problems with this series. The first is that everyone is almost a caricature. The princess is kind and wise and intuitive. Her brothers are stupid egomaniacs. Iolaus is brave, etcetera. There is little character development, even though around them there are huge things going on.
The other is that Age is the instant solution to all problems. Broze Tribe nest in pursuit? Just send Age out for a sortie, and he'll smash it to bits, while the rest of the humans can't do much but stand at the sidelines.
But if you approach this series as simply an epic story that wants to show you lots of cool things, then you won't be dissapointed. Because this series is really good in almost all other aspects. The CGI is top-notch, making the space battles really interesting to watch. The fights between the Nodoss are also awe-inspiring. The character designs are attractive, the voice acting inspired and warm.
If you go for action-packed epic SF stories, this one should definately be on your list.
- Excellent CGI;
- Interesting story.
- Cardboard cutout characters;
- A single solution for all problems.
All in all, a 7.5.