Silent Mobius TV
In 1999, a tragic miscalculation by arch mage Gigelf Liqueur opens a gateway between Earth and the world of the demonic Lucifer Hawk. In the following so-called Silent Crisis, much of the world is laid to waste. Now two decades later, his daughter, Katsumi, is about to be confronted with her father's legacy and her own destiny. With the help of an elite and unusual team of women, she will form the Earth's last line of defense against the Lucifer Hawk.
It is not unusual for many fantasy and/or science fiction anime series to attempt to combine a number of elements. Silent Mobius is no exception. It has characters versed in Western Magic, Shinto Magic, Chinese Elemental Magic, cyborgs, psychics, sentient weapons, and vehicle-controlling hackers just to name a few. However, Silent Mobius, unlike many other shows that attempt to throw a lot of disparate elements together, actually works.
The overall main plot arc is relatively straight forward and familiar. You have sinister and mysterious evil invaders and the team that opposes them. Though in this show there is also the realization that certain pragmatic realities would affect such operations. The aforementioned team, the AMP, have the job because of the simple fact that their unique powers and abilities make them the most effective. They are backed up though by whole divisions of mundanes from armored troopers to just the average detectives on the street. I found this a nice touch, since all too often when watching a series like this I have found myself wondering why the government isn't doing more than depending on a half a dozen people for such an important mission.
In this show, the setting itself also becomes a character in its own subtle way. Though there isn't a lot of explicit exposition on the state of the world, it is obvious that in many places traditional government has collapsed. The rebuilt Tokyo, for example, is run by a cabal of corporations that sometimes have other priorities that might even trump protecting their citizens from the Lucifer Hawk threat. Several episodes in urban badlands that haven't been part of the renewal project also provide an interesting insight into some of the inequities that exist in this post-apocalyptic world.
There are numerous characters in this show and I honestly felt not a single one was really wasted. Every member of the AMP and a number of characters from other departments gets some time to develop. Everyone has their own unique personality and contribution to the team. It is also a nice touch with the exception of one character who shows up later, no one is an adolescent. These are adult characters with adult personalities not your typical anime fifteen year old who is being leaned on to save the world.
Despite the fact that a lot of other characters get developed, the story mainly centers around Katsumi. She goes slowly from a timid woman out of her element to a powerful champion, all the while coming to terms with her family legacy. Her reactions to many of the events in the series and the team I felt were well done, particularly her initial confusion at even discovering the idea that the Lucifer Hawk exist.
The Lucifer Hawk themselves aren't entirely boring either. Though you do have a large number of low-level demons that are there just to get blown away, they do have several highly intelligent and ruthless beings both human and non-human working for the side of Nemesis. One of the strategies employed later in the series by one of the main antagonists is startling simple in concept, but brutally effective and ends up resulting in a rather interesting and major plot arc with Katsumi toward the end of the series.
It was a bit unfortunate that with the good story and characters in this title, that some of the technical aspects were a bit lacking. The actual design work is good for the most part, but it was obvious that they skimped a bit at times on the animation budget. It isn't that individual scenes aren't necessarily fluid enough, just they could have been more fluid for such an action intensive series. Also, you get an unusually large amount of recycled scenes here and there. There is a minor amount of CG used (mostly for magic effects) and it is alright, it just gets recycled a bit much. It isn't awful by any means, but it is just disappointing to see corners cut on the visual aspect of a story like this.
The music is a mixed bag. A lot of the background music is simply serviceable, but there were a number of dramatic scenes that were extremely well enhanced by some well composed dramatic pieces. The somewhat dramatic opening theme is actually a personal favorite of mine and the calm and serene semi-ballad ending is fairly good itself.
This is also a title that I recommend that people view in Japanese. I alternated between Japanese and English when I watched the series myself just to give both a proper chance, but the English voice acting on this is rather sub-par and may adversely affect your enjoyment of the show.
A good science fiction action title with many interesting characters and ideas. — Jeremy A Beard
Recommended Audience: There is a lot of science fiction and fantasy violence as the AMP take on the Lucifer Hawk and other assorted minions from Nemesis. For the most part it isn't particularly gory, though you do have the implications of more than a few gory moments (they were picking up pieces of a victim in the first episode for instance). Despite the fact that the AMP team is made up entirely of women, this series is surprisingly light on fan service (there is one brief beach trip if I remember correctly). Death comes to claim some major characters later on as well. Overall, I think this is safe for teens and above.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (26/26)
Silent Mobius TV © 1998 TV Tokyo / Radix / Sotsu Agency
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