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.
And then the science chief develops a technology called 'Resonant Sympathy' which enables the Pilot and Translator to perform some sort of 'mind meld' with the crews of other activated Gigantics, so that they can get a good idea of the capabilities of a Gigantic from a distance. The middle part of the series is actually a series of RS-sessions: we get to see every Gigantic in operation, and we get a good idea of what the Wisest World War means all over the world.
But there is also a conspiracy: the English and French Gigantics are destroyed by a long-distance barrage from the Italian and German Gigantic, and when the American Gigantic fights with the German one, the crew gets orders from above that they are not allowed to engage in RS with the American Gigantic.
It seems like the US has gamed the system and has made treaties with all countries: they will let their Gigantic be defeated by the American Gigantic (which is Jupiter, by the way), and then get preferential treatment. Obviously, the gods still must be appeased by conducting the battles, but meanwhile there's a lot of subtle and overt sabotage of their own Gigantic going on.
And when the crew is exposed to the Gigantic for too long, the Gigantic takes over their mind and body as well, which is a constant danger for Translators and Pilots too!
In the end, it's just the US and Japan that are left, and it all befalls on Shingo and Mana to uphold human honor against the gods -- in spite of the machinations of their superiors.
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.
- Many intertwined plots;
- The quiet sabotage and counter-sabotage going on at the base;
- The ending.
- 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.