At an outpost in the galaxy there is a space station called Watcher's Nest. Being a sort of conjoined millitary base, scientific lab area and actual residential area, it hides darker secrets beyond the Quantum Barrier. Alien beings called Ghouls are attacking Watcher's Nest, only held back by the Quantum Barrier and the brave efforts of, amongst others, Kureha Misaki and the rest of the Seraphim team, a special group who'se mission it is to take on the Ghouls.
But there are other forces at work behind the curtains, tracing back to scientific experiments long ago. And among talks about necromancy and DNA altering experiments, Misaki has to find out who, or even WHAT, she really is.
First off, Enoch drags you kicking and screaming through the first 4 episodes...
Before you even *consider* watching this title, you'll need a few things: some pieces of colored construction paper, glue, a pencil, and plenty of college-rule lined paper. Just keep them for now - we'll get to the reason later.
Okay, the review. This title sounds really cool, and the intro song just oozes style like the Matrix movies. It makes you feel like you're gonna watch something really good. And you do, but only for the first three minutes of the intro song (yes, it's that long). After that, it's all a grisly murder scene.
This is basically what you get if your anime creative team consists of some quantum physics engineers, some computer graphics experts and a few hentai doujin artists, all eager to show off their respective skills to the anime-loving masses. The engineers wrote the dialogue and plot, the CG experts did the battle scenes, and the doujin artists did the characters. If that doesn't already sound like Grandma's secret herbal remedy for impotency, then you're a lot stronger than the lot of us.
First off, BOOBAGE. The girls in the show have EXCESSIVELY large breasts. Not even hentai flick characters can match the size of their assets and this proves incredibly distracting especially during the intense scenes.. Every single girl moves around with a "Boing" or two, no matter how serious the scene is. Just when you start getting into the dialogue, there it is: Boing. Whoever first said "Big is beautiful" should be subjected to the Gainax Bounce (tm) for the rest of his miserable life.
Here's where the colored construction paper comes in. If you want to pay attention to the anime, then paste the little pieces of paper on the four corners of the screen and this will block out about 75% of the Boing. Cutting out this distraction will help you get on with the dialogue.
Dialogue? Pfft. I can sum it all up this way:
[Screen pans to show the command ship bridge.]
Random staff: Sir, the Gravitational Quantum Barrier is fluctuating!
Commander (who looks mysteriously like Robotech's Admiral Gloval): Fluctuating? Decrease the magnifying abominator magnitudes!
Random female staff: (Boing) The probability transmogrifier superstring thingamajigs have exceeded maximum delta stability! (Boing)
Commander: Exceeded? Raise the intersubstandard metapositional potato chip fermentation by 57%!!
Random female staff: (Boing) Internal preformed mucous mass is at 0.004!
Commander: 0.004? Shut it down! Raise all multimass spectrointerdivider mechanisms immediately!
At this point, you will need the pencil and college-rule paper. Each time you hear a new term like "Quantum Barrier" (which is apparently a major part of the story), the anime doesn't bother to explain or show what the hell it is. You'll have to figure it out yourself, *much* later when it's all past. That's when you have to write it down to refer to it later. Don't throw the paper away yet, we're not done - the whole show makes you figure out stuff by yourself. For example:
[Big scary CG monster appears]
Female staff: (Boing) Sir! The GHOUL has appeared!
Me: Oh, you mean *that* is the GHOUL? Didn't they mention a GHOUL about 10 minutes ago?
Commander: Initiate the Quantum Barrier!
Me: Wha?...what's the Quantum Barrier?
Female staff: Inashigirablahyadda level is at 43 tons! (Boing)
Female staff: Initializing (Boing) Quantum Barrier!
Me: Oh, *that's* the Quantum Barrier! (starts writing it down)
Commander: Why isn't the Quantum Barrier open yet? Hurry!
Me: What the...? That wasn't the Quantum Barrier? (erases notes)
[Something else moves.]
Me: Please let that be the Quantum Barrier...
Female staff: (Boing) The Quantum Barrier is open!
Me: (sigh of relief)
You'd be forgiven for thinking this is a hentai flick at a glance - there are scenes with full frontal nudity, big Boing and all. When the girl transforms into the large ... thing, she looks more like she's being raped by the big monster (while groaning and screaming) and some tentacle-like things start crawling all around her (double ewwwww). Plus, she lands on the ground totally naked after defeating the enemy. And while the intro song in the first episode is really cool, the ending theme looks like the hentai doujin artists murdered the rest of the staff and replaced it with a clone of Steel Angel Kurumi - cute, cute, and LOTS of fan service. Even the intro song for the second episode keeps the cool music but screens fan service shots instead.
...and the brave Stig forges on with the review...
And after an opening like that, I really didn't see how they could salvage this series. I watched it, and by episode four, I still agreed. It's one big, incomprehensible mass of nonsensical tech-talk, weird CG rendered Ghouls fighting in a total mass of white and, oh, let's not forget the BREASTS.
And then, by episode five, the tide started to turn, much to my surprise. The fanservice was reduced some (no more nudity and far less boing, if you can believe that), the tech-nonsense was turned WAY down and the series was in general morphing from a dumb Star Trek (DS9) wannabe into a sci-fi horror that could (and even was) enjoyable to watch.
Satan must be furiously looking for his matches right now.
As you read this, please keep in mind that I am ever so completely flabbergasted at this as you might be. And it's not like I haven't encountered this before. After all, Pita Ten turned from something awfully annoying to something absolutely worth spending time on, so it's not like it would be completely impossible for this one either. Anyway, to sum this up as good as I can.
This title, if you manage to crawl past episode four, goes from being a bad sci-fi to quite a redeemable sci-fi/horror title. The plot actually tightens up a lot and things are explained a bit better too, now that they did away with close to all the redundant technical terms and expressions. And even though I'm hard pressed (no pun intended) not to notice the rather excessive chestage on the girls in this title, you won't find any more nudity in this title from that point. And any fan service is even kept at a reasonable minimum.
The CG, though ... well, it's a mixed bag, really. Granted, the Ghoul looks rather interesting, being a weird mix between a Xenomorph with a Predator's mouth and some other facial functions slapped on it. And much as I like the machine design -- sort of retro-styled to look more like old fashioned diving machinery than modern space vessels -- they look positively weird when moving around. Like they're puppets you move with strings. (String puppets?)
The music in this title is actually quite good, ending theme aside. There were some techno-jazz/acid jazz I really, really liked coming from it. Though I will never understand that ending theme and the footage to it. It clashes badly with the episode each and every time I see it.
As for the plot (and, like I mentioned), it manages to tighten itself up from the aforementioned point. It's like they realized that, "hey... we're not making a really good anime here, guys. Time to roll up those sleeves and get serious." And they did. They really did. The characters are put to better use, the plot thickens and puts the focus on what's going on beyond the "quantum barrier" instead of above it and, with the help of some flashback scenes, they actually pull this up from the pit of "friggin' awful." I'm not saying it becomes the best thing since sliced bread, but it's a great accomplishment nevertheless, and I have to give them credit for that.
Now, I'm not saying that you should rush out and buy this. Given the fact that I haven't seen the ending yet, I don't know the full extent of how much of an improvement it is. But if you think you have the endurance to pull yourself through the four first episodes, the really bad ones of the lot, then you might want to give this series your rental time.
Recommended Audience: There's fan service, full frontal nudity up close, a transformation scene that looks like tentacle rape in progress, truckloads of Boing, and scientific terms flying around like stray machine gun bullets. Later episodes crank up the horror theme something serious. One episode has a crew member being eaten by the ghoul. It's offscreen, but accompanied with lots of blood splashing and horrible, rending and metallic-like chewing sounds accompanied with screams. Definitely for mature audiences only.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD, bilingual
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Divergence Eve © 2003 RADIX / Operation EVE
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