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AKA: エルドライブ
Genre: Sci-Fi Adventure
Length: Television series, 12 episodes, 24 minutes each
Distributor: Currently licensed by FUNimation. Also streaming on Crunchyroll.
Content Rating: PG-13 (Violence, fanservice, near-nudity.)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: World Of Narue; Shingu: Secret of the Stellar Wars
Notes: Based on manga by Akira Amano, published in Shonen Jump +.



Chuta Kokonose one day discovers that the voice he thought for years was just in his head is actually from a silly-looking alien head and neck (or perhaps this is its body) that is growing out of his chest, which no one else can see. It turns out that this has attracted the attention of Eldlive, a "space police" organization whose local branch operates out of the Jeanrenoi-R, a spaceship stationed in our solar system. He is recruited to join against the strenuous objections of Misuzu Sonokata, a classmate at his school who ALSO happens to belong to this organization. He must discover what his powers are, and overcome his own fears and uncertainty, as well as defeating the attacks of alien criminals, and the skepticism of Misuzu.


What's this show like? Well, take World of Narue, jettison most of its romance out an airlock, throw in more battles against aliens, and you've pretty much got it- a somewhat juvenile "space opera" crossed with Men in Black, with some fanservice.

And yet I had TREMENDOUS fun with this show. Hell, I even liked Misuzu, even though her disdain toward Chuta (including labeling him a "pervert") is rather typical of tsundere-type characters toward the male leads. Misuzu, for one thing, has an interesting "battle transformation", not just from a fanservice perspective (I see figurines in her future!), but also because its connotations are SO at odds with her personality, which is the same transformed or not: ice cold toward Chuta, but positively murderous toward the bad guys; she gives them their Miranda warnings (didn't know these were actually LITERALLY universal), and if they refuse to comply she simply annihilates them. Her catchphrase is "Please disappear without a trace!" (My favorite Misuzu line is toward the end of the show, where she mangles this to the rather confusing "Please arrest without a trace!") Chuta, on the other hand, is let's say a lot more laid back. One of my favorite scenes has both of them going into a clandestine hangout for aliens on Earth (which looks much more like a Japanese "family restaurant" than like a Star Wars bar) to question some potential witnesses. As per her form, Misuzu starts brandishing her badge and issuing threats, while Chuta starts by striking up seemingly casual conversation with the patrons. (NO points for not correctly guessing whose approach proves more effective at getting information.) Chuta will continue to play good cop to Misuzu's bad one, and don't expect Misuzu's attitude to change TOO much, for the show is clearly setting things up for a Second Season (I'll have more on that later.)

Chuta is a pretty typical teenage male hero of the relatively NON-perverted type, despite Misuzu's erroneous suppositions; he struggles with guilt issues over some friends who perished in a fall (he keeps thinking there must have been some way to save them.) His parents are deceased- he lives with his Aunt Mimi, a sweet (though somewhat scatterbrained) lady who loves him as much as a mother would; I DO wish we'd seen a bit more of her in the show. Chuta does have one odd idiosyncrasy- he compulsively cooks when he's depressed.

The head growing out of his chest belongs to a "Monitalien" named Dolugh. It has a high-pitched voice, and during the show will take on an even more ridiculous appearance, but it CAN be useful, being able to blast enemies with various kinds of energy emissions from its mouth (everyone's powers in the show are attributed to "space pheromones", or SPH), though Chuta has to come up with the form of this attack; Dolugh just implements it. The degree of Dolugh's presence varies with Chuta's self-confidence, and since Chuta often has some trouble in that department, Dolugh isn't always able to help him.

The other aliens on the Jeanroi-R are pretty much everything the show's creators could come up with. I didn't care that much for "Chips O'Toole", a three-eyed blue blob that really isn't able to DO much (until it recruits some mechanical help.) The ship's commander is named Laine Brick, which seems to hearken back to the days of mid -20th Century sci-fi comics and pulp magazines, where characters named "Brick" were actually fairly common. Laine is depicted as very shrewd, especially at guessing the enemy's strategy. And I loved Tonto. I've always had a fondness for feline aliens- C. J Cherryh's leonine Hani in her Chanur books, or (here's a REALLY obscure reference for you) Lt. M'Ress in the animated Star Trek- and Tonto turns out to have a special talent for ship's defense, which was actually discovered by Chuta. There's also a crescent-moon-shaped character called Melies, yet another homage to the early silent A Trip To The Moon (1902). I'm pretty sure there are references to classic sci-fi and fantasy in this show that I STILL haven't identified yet.

The main enemy they face is called DeMille, a band of aliens who want to destroy Earth of course, but particularly want to nab Chuta and Dolugh, for reasons that, like MANY other mysteries here, are apparently getting deferred to a later season. Another thing alluded to is an experiment performed on Misuzu which apparently cost her part of her memory; AND there seems to be some connection between Chuta's friends' "death" so many years ago, and Eldlive (or Demille), which has yet to be explored in detail. Still, the final battle of this "Season One" has nearly everything that final season battles CAN, and that's just fine. The closing ballad used throughout the show, and the animation that accompanies it in all but the last episode, are both charming.

Hardly deep, but a terrific ride; fans of classic sci-fi should have a great time. It's flashy (even if, admittedly, often incredibly silly-though maybe that cheesiness is part of its charm), downright weird at times, and has a number of endearing cast members (and if we have issues with Misuzu's personality, at least her transformation looks impressive.) And it's got that ineffable quality of childlike innocence, in spite of its fanservice, which is a pretty good trick. I DO hope there's another season- I mean, there are so many mysteries remaining, including the deepest mystery of all- who the heck is Yui Sakuraebi???Allen Moody

Recommended Audience: Misuzu's transformation has nothing on that of another character, named Ninotchka, who's got her beat by a mile in the near-nakedness department. (Reflecting the priorities of anime characters, Ninotchka's more distressed that Chuta saw her like this than that she was, in fact, trying to KILL him at the time.) There's also a "tame" mad scientist named Taklamakan Strangelove (this show loves weird and/or inappropriate- or even sometimes (as here) TOO appropriate- names), who seems interested in several of the girls' bodies- just for SCIENCE, mind. (Chuta has a recurring fantasy about this guy and Misuzu that keeps driving him crazy, and was actually pretty funny.) These parts are maybe better for 16 and up, even if the REST of the show might seem to aim for a slightly younger crowd.)

Version(s) Viewed: Streaming on Crunchyroll
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Eldlive © 2017 Pierrot
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