Captain Earth Manga Is Ending in Japan

Publisher Shogakukan’s listing for volume 4 of Hiroshi Nakanishi’s Captain Earth manga adaptation reveals that volume will be the last.

Nakanishi launched the adaptation of BONES’ original television anime in Weekly Shonen Sunday in 2014. The anime series launched in April 2014 and ended in September 2014. Crunchyroll simulcast Captain Earth as it aired in Japan. Sentai Filmworks licensed the series for North America.

The fourth volume of the Captain Earth manga will ship in Japan on May 18, 2015.

Source: ANN

2014 In Review: Spring 2014 Season

Yesterday, I took a look back at the shows I was watching during the Winter 2014 anime season. Today’s post is taking a look back at the anime series I started watching during the Spring 2014 season.

The World Is Still Beautiful: After watching the first episode of the series, I thought that it showed a lot of promise. Not only did the story grab my interest, but so did the look of the animation. The series also managed to find and keep the right combination of drama and humor to tell its story. It became a series I looked forward to watching week after week. Overall, The World is Still Beautiful is a sweet series. The only real issue I had is when it was glossed over in the episodes that introduced Bard that Nike had been ordered to go to the dungeon, but for whatever reason, she never went. Livius’ temper was definitely out of control, and that was definitely not one of the sweeter moments of the series. I really enjoyed Nike as a character, and Livius’ evolution as a character was pretty decent. With the way the series ended, I suspect there isn’t going to be another season; however, if there turns out to ever be a second season of The World is Still Beautiful, I’d definitely watch it.

One Week Friends: After watching the first episode, I thought that One Week Friends was a sweet series. As the series continued, it remained a sweet series; however, the sweetness never got to the point of being so sickly sweet that it was saccharine. It’s a light-hearted show, but it’s not so light-hearted that it’s simply a barrage of jokes. Throughout the series, there was a good mix of humor and drama. The characters are accessible to the audience; as you meet each character, you’re able to get a good sense of who they are through their interactions with each other. The characters I came to care about the most were Kaori and Yuki, and I came to care about them at the end of the first episode. However, I also came to like Shogo and Saki later on. At the end of the first episode, I was worried that the concept would hold up for the series’ 12 episode run. But I’m happy to say that the series succeeded in maintaining its concept throughout all of the episodes and succeeded in keeping the concept, story, and characters interesting the entire time. I also thought that the series was brought to a realistic end. And since there are still loose ends in regards to the potential relationships, there’s fodder for fanfic writers to work with to write their own continuation of the series. While One Week Friends is a good series, I’m really not sure there’s a chance for more episodes; at least, I don’t think there’s enough material to go for another 12 episode series. There might be enough to maybe squeeze an OVA episode or two out, but that’s about it. However, I have a feeling that it was intended to end here. I also really liked the animation style that was used in the series. It has a “soft” feel to it, and it almost looks as if it could have been inspired by paintings made with watercolors. This look and feel is perfect for bringing the story of this series to life.

Captain Earth: After watching the first episode, I found myself thinking that the series had potential. Admittedly, that first episode was a little hard to follow and understand at times, but my hope was that once the major exposition was done to establish Daichi and the world that he inhabited, that the series would become easier to follow. At the end of Episode Two, I was still a little confused, but there was enough interesting ideas being presented that made me want to see more of the series. At the end of Episode Three, I was genuinely interested in the characters and what was going on, especially since some of the questions I still had at the end of Episode Two were answered during Episode Three. At the end of Episode Five, though, I found myself feeling a little frustrated at just how slowly the storyline was progressing, as well as the fact as I thought I was starting to understand the story, new concepts were slowly being thrown out that I had to try to fit into my understanding of the series. It also didn’t help at that point in the series, the antagonists still weren’t very clear. It turned out that the first seven episodes were there to establish the premise and the series’ elements, and that Episode Eight truly started to move the story forward. The next six episodes focused on Amarok and Malkin working at awakening the other designer children and getting them to join their cause. Ultimately, the first half of the series had a rather slow start, and I think that the amount of designer children that were introduced helped to bog this section down. Now that I’ve seen the whole series, I can say with certainty that Liban and Bugbear really didn’t need to be there. Liban did nothing during the series after being introduced, and Bugbear only did a couple of things in the long run; the things that Bugbear did could have been done by another one of the Planetary Gears. I liked Bugbear’s backstory, and perhaps Zimbalt could have been given that backstory. Between Zimbalt’s backstory and Bugbear’s backstory, I thought that Bugbear’s was stronger. The second half of the series felt as if a lot of concepts were being thrown out to the audience and that the story was being hurried along in order to reach the series’ final destination. In the end, Captain Earth had an interesting premise that it was presenting, but the overall execution just wasn’t quite as strong as it could have been. While Captain Earth was an overall stronger mecha show than Aldnoah.Zero was, Captain Earth did still have some issues. And I have one question: Who is the girl with the recorder that appears about three times in the series around Daichi? She’s the one who ultimately leads him to the Livlaster in the first place, and then she shows up a couple more times near the end of the series. The audience is never given an explanation for her, so that’s one aspect of the series that I was dissatisfied with. She’s does some important things in the series, but we never get her name or know anything about her. All I can refer to her as is “the Recorder Girl.”

The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior: After watching the first episode, I thought the show had a good combination of comedy and drama to help drive the characters and their story. I also thought the first episode was charming and fun to watch. I enjoyed watching the series for the most part, although I thought Episode Nine was one the weakest episodes in the series. My favorite part of the series was definitely the story of Kazunari and Ritsu. Some of the ensemble stories about the other characters tended to not do much for me for the most part, and with some episodes I found myself wishing that there was more of a focus on Kazunari and Ritsu. My least favorite character was definitely Sayaka. Not only was she the most annoying, she also came across as a character who didn’t really add much to the series. A lot of the times, she was either just “there” or wasn’t even at the dorm for the entirety of an episode. In a lot of ways, I think this series might have been a little stronger if she wasn’t in it. She was probably intended to be a foil for Mayumi, but I thought Shirosaki did a pretty good job of filling that role for both Mayumi and Kazunari.

Brynhildr in the Darkness: After watching the first episode, I thought the series showed a lot of promise, and at the end of episode two, I thought there was a really good setup for the story. By the end of episode four, after both Kazumi and Kotori were introduced, I found myself wondering if the series was setting up Murakami to have a harem. By the end of the series, I think I could safely say that while Brynhildr in the Darkness wasn’t a true “harem anime,” some of the girls surrounding him did act as if they were part of a harem of girls attracted to the main protagonist. I started to become frustrated with the series around Episode Nine, because I felt like the loose thread of the device was left hanging. Unfortunately, it didn’t come back until Episode 12. With Episode 10, it began feeling like the writing started to become sloppier. At the end of Episode 12, I felt like there had been a major and sudden change to the tone and direction of the story. It also felt unnatural, like they were rushing things in order to fit everything into two episodes. I ended up being disappointed with how the series ended. When I reached the end of Episode 13, I found myself thinking, “I devoted 13 weeks of my life to this show, and this is how it ends?”

Haikyu!!: After watching the first episode of Haikyu!!, I thought that the series seemed to be following many of the tropes associated with sports anime. However, the main character of Shoyo, along with his backstory, was intriguing enough that it didn’t feel like “just another sports anime” by the end of the episode. By the end of Episode Three, I found that Haikyu!! was keeping my interest, even though I’m not a fan of volleyball. At that point, I was already looking forward to seeing what was going to happen in the series as it progressed. The two practice matches that appeared during the series helped me to get a better understanding of how to play volleyball, and the matches themselves were exciting to watch. These matches also helped to set the stage for the Inter-High tournaments. When the series hit the Inter-High tournaments, the story was done in such a way that these matches were even more exciting than the practice matches had been. When Karasuno went up against Date Kogyo, I was very impressed by how well Karasuno was able to hold up against them. But much of the Inter-High focused on the hard-fought match between Karasuno and Aoba Johsai; in fact, it was so hard-fought that it extended into a third set. I had anticipated which team would ultimately win the third set, but I still found myself feeling a little disappointed and off-guard when that team actually won. I knew in my heart of hearts that this is how this would have to play out, but the match had been so intense during the episode that I couldn’t help but find myself rooting for the underdog team. While the underdog team takes the loss hard, I think they also learn a lesson in humility as well. When I first started watching Haikyu!!, I never would have imagined enjoying a sports anime about boys’ volleyball as much as I’ve come to enjoy this series. While Haikyu!! may employ a lot of tropes that are associated with shonen series, the characters are engaging enough and interesting enough that the viewer doesn’t necessarily notice the tropes being used.

Riddle Story of Devil: At the end of the first episode, I wondered if the potential promise I had seen for the series would manifest itself as the series progressed. Sadly, I ended up being rather disappointed in that regard. By the end of Episode Two, I had a major issue with just how many characters were being thrown out there at once and I had a hard time keeping their names straight.  At the end of Episode Four, I found myself feeling a little frustrated because characters were being written out just as the audience was getting to know them. I also realized the weakness of knowing the fact that a student has to fail each time they try to assassinate Haru, because the series would come to an end if they didn’t. By the end of Episode Five, the only thing that was keeping my interest to any degree was discovering who the next person who tries to assassinate Haru is and how they’re going to do it. Admittedly, at that point, if I hadn’t been watching the series to write about it for my blog, I would have dropped it after watching Episode Five. The formula that had been developed started being changed with Episode Six, so the series started becoming a little more interesting again. However, after truths are revealed in Episode 11, things become very confusing and crazy in the final episode. In fact, I found myself spending most of Episode 12 feeling rather confused as I watched it. While Riddle Story of Devil wasn’t my least favorite anime I watched during the Spring 2014, it definitely ran a close second.

Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara: After watching the first episode, I found myself thinking that there was an interesting concept that was drawing me into what I was seeing. I also thought the episode had a good mix of drama and humor. Although I was already sensing from the ending credits that a harem could develop around Sota, I thought that the premise was interesting enough that it could potentially keep the harem elements a little bit more in check. After watching the second episode, I thought there was a major tonal shift, and it appeared that the series would simply end up being a harem comedy with gags that would end up getting old fast. After Episode Two, I felt a little disappointed by the series; however, I decided to stick it out and see if perhaps the series would get better as it went along. After seeing Episode Three, I thought it was rather predictable; this hampered my enjoyment of what I saw. And after such a big deal had been made about the flags in Episode One, it was hardly touched on at all in Episode Two or Three. At that point, I was already feeling that it was my least favorite anime of the Spring 2014 season that I was watching. Sadly, my feelings for this series hardly improved for the remainder of its run. And then, near the end of Episode 11, it’s suddenly revealed that Sota is actually in a virtual world, and in a story that feels like it was inspired rather heavily by The Matrix. At this point, the narrative became a confusing and contradicting mess, and those issues with the narrative continued for the remaining two episodes of the series. It also didn’t help that the ending felt rather vague. The main weakness for this series is that it doesn’t truly understand what kind of tone and feel it was going for. It started out with hints of a harem anime with the potential for an interesting story, then it became primarily a light-hearted harem anime with some elements of a fantasy story thrown in, and then it turned into wanting to be a sci-fi story with a setup like The Matrix and suddenly became much darker and serious in tone. The first shift in tone was kind of noticeable, but it wasn’t jarring. However, the change to the darker sci-fi elements ended up being a very jarring transition, and I don’t believe that it worked well. After finishing Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara, I found myself regretting having ever started it. This would also rank up there as one of the worst anime I watched during 2014.

Ping Pong the Animation: First off, I have to say that I have to give credit to Ping Pong The Animation for not being a “typical sports anime.” Unfortunately, I have to say that the pacing for the series ended up being a bit awkward, especially since the series was trying to condense about one year into the course of 11 episodes. This meant that the first seven episodes tended to feel rushed. Then, starting with Episode Eight, the pace slows down and the series spend its final four episodes focusing on one event; this would be the singles qualifiers that takes place for the series’ climax. But then, during the final episode, there’s a timeskip that takes place from the end of the qualifiers match to several years into the future. Unfortunately, with how rushed those first seven episodes were, this didn’t allow for as much character development as there could have been in order to help the audience care more for the characters. I wish there had been some more episodes for the series in order to give the story and the characters a little more room to “breathe” and to develop even more. Now that I’ve finished watching the series, I find myself wondering why Kazama’s cousin Yuri was ever introduced. Honestly, she didn’t truly add much of anything of any real relevance to the series and was quickly written out in Episode 10. When it came to the animation, I have to admit that I did have some issues with the animation style right at first; however, I became accustomed to it around Episode Three. Once the animation style didn’t distract me, I was able to better focus on the storytelling aspect of the series.

Chaika – The Coffin Princess: After watching the first episode, I have to admit that I was a little annoyed by Chaika’s tendency to speak in one, two, or three words phrases; however, as the series progressed, I just got used to this character quirk. But what I saw in that episode made me interested enough to want to continue watching the series. When Fredrica joined the cast and becomes part of Chaika’s party, I thought it added an interesting layer. At that point, not only were they being pursued by the Gillette Corps, they were now also traveling with a party member who is out to kill one of the other members of the party. Overall, I thought that Fredrica was a good addition to the party and its dynamics, and that she was portrayed realistically. When the Red Chaika was introduced in Episode Five, I thought this added an interesting twist as well; unfortunately, Red Chaika seemed to disappear after two episodes. In Episode Seven, it appeared that Chaika had developed feelings for Toru, which ended up adding another layer to the story since it was obvious that Akari liked him. I was thrilled when I learned that there would be a second season of the series in Fall 2014, and I found myself looking forward to what that second season would bring.

Nanana’s Buried Treasure: After watching the first episode, I thought that the concept of Nanana’s Collection was an intriguing one, and the interactions between Juugo and Nanana also kept me interested in continuing to watch the series. I enjoyed the first three episodes or so, but then things started to get a little confusing. Near the end, it was starting to get interesting with the final confrontation between Hiiyo and the Adventure Club in Episode 10. That episode ended on a cliffhanger, and I expected the final episode to be action-packed and focus on the confrontation. Unfortunately, that confrontation ended up being anticlimactic and boring in Episode 11; this is primarily due to the fact that so much time was spent on characters talking to each other and not having much going on in the way of action. And the very end of the final episode didn’t truly resolve anything, and some footage seen both during the ending credits and right after raised more questions than answers. To me, this was an unsatisfying end to the series, and I started to feel as if I’d wasted my time over the 11 weeks that I watched this show. At the end of the series, I didn’t see the promise that I had seen early on manifest itself like I had hoped. As the series went on, it seemed to lose its focus as various characters and concepts were added to the series. While the characters from Matsuri and their organization seemed to be important early on, those characters and the organization basically disappeared by the end. The last time we saw Yukihime and her partner was a brief shot of them in Episode 11 when they were in the mall at the same time as Juugo. Also, Juugo declares early on in the series that he’ll help Nanana locate her killer. Unfortunately, this part of the story is hardly ever touched on, and is not resolved at the end of the final episode. I wouldn’t say that Nanana’s Buried Treasure was the worst anime series that I watched during the Spring 2014 season, but I also can’t say it’s among the best, either. For me, it was ultimately a series that had a lot of potential that was never realized due to decisions that were made in regards to the storytelling. And I have to say that if it turns out that Nanana’s Buried Treasure ends up getting a second season, I would have no desire to watch it due to the various issues I had with the storytelling of this series.

Anime Spotlight: Captain Earth

Captain Earth is an anime series produced by Bones and is directed by Takuya Igarashi. The series aired on Japanese television from April 5-September 20, 2014. As of this writing, Sentai Filmworks holds the North American distribution license for Captain Earth.

Captain Earth focuses on Daichi Manatsu, a high school boy who seems to be disinterested in what he’s being made to study at school. Instead, he focuses on studying the things he wants to learn on his own during his free time.

The day before summer vacation starts, he visits one of his friends and sees a news report on the television about a strange rainbow circle that appeared in the sky over the town of Minamitane in Tanegashima for about five minutes. This is where Daichi grew up until his father died, and he has some memories that suddenly come flooding back to him. Daichi decides to go to Tanegashima.

When Daichi arrives at Tanegashima, he stumbles into a secret organization. When Daichi had lived there when he was younger, he had made friends with a boy named Teppei, but he had no idea that Teppei was part of this organization. It turns out that Daichi’s father, who died when he was younger, also had ties to this organization. Near the end of the first episode, he makes it into the organization’s headquarters, and is given a gun by a scientist named Peter Westvillage, which allows him to pilot a mecha known as the Earth Engine.

Daichi reunites with Teppei, as well as with a girl named Hana that Daichi and Teppei had both discovered when they were kids. Daichi also meets Tsutomu, a friend of his father’s and a commander of the secret organization. From talking with Tsutomu, Daichi learns the Globe, the secret organization, is known on the outside as an international organization devoted to space development for peaceful purposes; however, it’s a defensive organization to fight alien invaders. He learns the gun he used is called a Livlaster, and that it is the second one to appear.

Later, Tsutomu’s daughter, a hacker named Akari, appears and works alongside Daichi, Teppei, and Hana. The four of them become a unit of Globe that’s known as the Midsummer’s Knights.

There are a couple of antagonists that appear in Captain Earth. First is Salty Dog, a group of the Ark Faction that has been assigned to oversee Globe, along with Teppei and Hana. It turns out Teppei and Hana have ties with the other group of antagonists that give them powers that the Ark Faction want.

The other antagonists are known as the Kiltgang or the Planetary Gears, which is an alien force that intends to drain all of the life force of mankind so they can empower their immortal existence. The Planetary Gears are designer children who have human avatar bodies and Ego Blocks. Teppei is one of these designer children, but he destroys his own Ego Block and fights alongside Daichi and the others. The main two Kiltgang who are focused on early in the series are Amarok and Malkin. During the first half of the series, they work at awakening their comrades: Siren, Zimbalt, Aiatar, Lieban, and Bugbear.

After watching the first episode of Captain Earth, I found myself thinking that the series had potential. Admittedly, that first episode was a little hard to follow and understand at times, but my hope was that once the major exposition was done to establish Daichi and the world that he inhabited, that the series would become easier to follow. At the end of Episode Two, I was still a little confused, but there were enough interesting ideas being presented that made me want to see more of the series. At the end of Episode Three, I was genuinely interested in the characters and what was going on, especially since some of the questions I still had at the end of Episode Two were answered during Episode Three.

At the end of Episode Five, though, I found myself feeling a little frustrated at just how slowly the storyline was progressing, as well as the fact as I thought I was starting to understand the story, new concepts were slowly being thrown out that I had to try to fit into my understanding of the series. It also didn’t help at that point in the series, the antagonists still weren’t very clear.

It turned out that the first seven episodes were there to establish the premise and the series’ elements, and that Episode Eight truly started to move the story forward. The next six episodes focused on Amarok and Malkin working at awakening the other designer children and getting them to join their cause.

Ultimately, the first half of the series had a rather slow start. And I do think the amount of designer children that were introduced helped to bog this section down. Now that I’ve seen the whole series, I can say with certainty that Liban and Bugbear really didn’t need to be there. Liban did nothing during the series after being introduced, and Bugbear only did a couple of things in the long run; the things that Bugbear did could have been done by another one of the Planetary Gears. I liked Bugbear’s backstory, and perhaps Zimbalt could have been given that backstory. Between Zimbalt’s backstory and Bugbear’s backstory, I thought that Bugbear’s was stronger.

The second half of the series felt as if a lot of concepts being thrown out to the audience and that the story was being hurried along in order to reach the series’ final destination. In the end, Captain Earth had an interesting premise that it was presenting, but the overall execution just wasn’t quite as strong as it could have been. While Captain Earth was an overall stronger mecha show than Aldnoah.Zero was, Captain Earth did still have some issues.

And I have one question: Who is the girl with the recorder that appears about three times in the series around Daichi? She’s the one who ultimately leads him to the Livlaster in the first place, and then she shows up a couple more times near the end of the series. Her existence was never explained, so this aspect of the series was one that I was dissatisfied with. She does some important things in the series, but we never get her name or know anything about her. All I can refer to her as is “the Recorder Girl.”

Captain Earth isn’t necessarily a bad series, but it’s not one I’m going to rush out and watch again anytime soon or add to my anime home video collection.

Review: Captain Earth: Episode 25 – “Captain Earth”

Captain Earth focuses on Daichi Manatsu, who stumbles into a secret organization when he returns to Tanegashima after being gone for several years. He had made friends with a boy named Teppei when he was younger, but had no idea that Teppei was part of this organization. It turns out that Daichi’s father, who died when he was younger, also had ties to this organization. Near the end of the first episode, he makes it into the organization’s headquarters, and is given a gun by a scientist named Peter Westvillage, which allows him to pilot a mecha known as the Earth Engine. As the series progresses, Daichi and Teppei, along with Hana and Akari, become a team known as the Midsummer’s Knights.

In Episode 25, we see that Puck has created an Ego Block for himself which appears to be invincible. Puck creates an Entangle Link with Aiatar and takes over the Blume and Hana. When Puck takes over Hana, her hair changes from black to white, her eye color changes, and she now has clothes on! In this new look, she is now Robin Goodfellow; unfortunately for Puck, because Robin isn’t Hana, she is unable to use the Livlaster.

Siren finally understands why the Planetary Gears are unable to shoot a Livlaster, and they start fighting alongside the Midsummer’s Knights. After a couple of surprising turns, the story climaxes into a final fight between Daichi and Puck.

Overall, the episode had a happier ending than I had expected when I wrote the writeup for Episode 24. In some respects, maybe the way the story got there could be a little on the hokey side, but at least it’s an ending that I was satisfied with.

But I have to look back and examine whether or not the ride that this series took the viewer on was really worth it. Captain Earth had a slow start to it, and ultimately added too many characters when it came to the Planetary Gears. Now that I’ve seen the whole series, I can say with certainty that Liban and Bugbear really didn’t need to be there. Liban did nothing during the series after being introduced, and Bugbear only did a couple of things in the long run; the things that Bugbear did could have been done by another one of the Planetary Gears. I liked Bugbear’s backstory, and perhaps Zimbalt could have been given that backstory. Between Zimbalt’s backstory and Bugbear’s backstory, I thought that Bugbear’s was stronger.

The first half of the series had a rather slow start, and the second half felt as if a lot of concepts being thrown out to the audience. In the end, Captain Earth had an interesting premise that it was presenting, but the overall execution just wasn’t quite as strong as it could have been. While Captain Earth was an overall stronger mecha show than Aldnoah.Zero was, Captain Earth did still have some issues.

Captain Earth isn’t necessarily a bad series, but it’s not one I’m going to rush out and watch again anytime soon or add to my anime home video collection at such a point that the series is released on home video in North America.

Review: Captain Earth: Episode 24 – “Auberon”

Captain Earth focuses on Daichi Manatsu, who stumbles into a secret organization when he returns to Tanegashima after being gone for several years. He had made friends with a boy named Teppei when he was younger, but had no idea that Teppei was part of this organization. It turns out that Daichi’s father, who died when he was younger, also had ties to this organization. Near the end of the first episode, he makes it into the organization’s headquarters, and is given a gun by a scientist named Peter Westvillage, which allows him to pilot a mecha known as the Earth Engine. As the series progresses, Daichi and Teppei, along with Hana and Akari, become a team known as the Midsummer’s Knights.

Episode 24 opens with the Entangle Link being activated, but Daichi and the others find they didn’t arrive at Uranus as they had expected. Instead, they discover they’re in orbit around Saturn. Suddenly, Bugbear from the Kiltgang appears and Daichi goes after him. During the fight, we discover through what Bugbear says that the Kiltgang really had been in his dream back in Episode 23. So I guess I was a little wrong about that dream; it wasn’t an internal struggle Daichi was going through, he had the Kiltgang trying to control him.

But just as it looks like Bugbear’s going to defeat Daichi, Teppei appears in the Booster as it warps in between Daichi and Bugbear, and the Booster shoots off a blast that appears to destroy Bugbear’s Ego Block. Once this is done, Hana says she’s ready to try the Entangle Link again.

With their second attempt, the Midsummer’s Knights appear at Uranus and manage to board the Kivotos. But when they reach the core and find the cocoon, they find the Kiltgang are waiting for them. Also, Siren is able to bring back Bugbear’s Ego Block and he returns to the battle. It’s also revealed that Puck is in the cocoon, but what Puck does surprises both the Midsummer’s Knights and the Kiltgang…

I knew that Puck was using everybody he came in contact with, including the Kiltgang, but I hadn’t realized just how evil Puck truly is! But when he destroys the Ego Blocks for a couple of the Kiltgang and refers to them as his tools, he showed just how little regard he has for anyone. One of the Kiltgang he destroyed was Liban, who basically had done squat after Amarok and Malkin retrieved them; however, I was surprised to see that Zimbalt was the other one. But this still begs the question: why were there so many Kiltgang introduced if so few were truly ever utilized in the series? When Liban disappeared, I just kind of shrugged and didn’t care since we saw so little of that character to begin with. But Zimbalt’s destruction actually had an impact on me, since he was the Planetary Gear who did the most in the series after Amarok and Malkin.

But things are looking rather bleak for the Midsummer’s Knights at the end of Episode 24. I have a hard time believing there could be any kind of “happily ever after” at the end of Episode 25, because at this point, there would have to be a tremendous turn around in what’s going on. Considering how much power Puck seems to have over the situation, I don’t see that as being very likely. It’s going to be interesting to see how Captain Earth ultimately comes to an end.

Review: Captain Earth: Episode 23 – “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Captain Earth focuses on Daichi Manatsu, who stumbles into a secret organization when he returns to Tanegashima after being gone for several years. He had made friends with a boy named Teppei when he was younger, but had no idea that Teppei was part of this organization. It turns out that Daichi’s father, who died when he was younger, also had ties to this organization. Near the end of the first episode, he makes it into the organization’s headquarters, and is given a gun by a scientist named Peter Westvillage, which allows him to pilot a mecha known as the Earth Engine. As the series progresses, Daichi and Teppei, along with Hana and Akari, become a team known as the Midsummer’s Knights.

At the end of Episode 22, it appeared that the Blume crashed into the Garm Impacter and that Daichi had woken up back in his room back at his uncle’s house as if nothing had ever happened. When Episode 23 starts, it feels like you’re going through a sense of déjà vu. When Daichi and his uncle are talking with the counselor at the school, I noticed two girls looking through the window who kind of looked like Malkin and Aiatar; this was my first clue that things weren’t what they seemed to be.

When Daichi goes to the arcade, he is approached by Amarok (who goes by Amara here), who takes the place of his friend whose parents own the arcade. When they get to Amara’s house, the girls who should have been there are replaced by Moco and Ai (aka Malkin and Aiatar). But at the point in the scene where Daichi should see the clue that leads him to Tanegashima, Ai turns off the television.

As the episode progresses, what we see here starts deviating more and more from what we saw in the first episode. The Kiltgang who try to act as Daichi’s peers try to steer him away from remembering Teppei, Hana, Akari, and the others. Despite their efforts, Daichi has brief flashes of memories of the time he spent with them; and later in the episode, he starts getting clues that begin to unlock his memory.

Basically, Episode 23 seemed to focus on an inner turmoil that was taking place within Daichi. On the one hand, through the Kiltgang characters, Daichi was trying to push the life he has now away in order to live a normal life; but on the other, Daichi’s memories of Hana and the others is pushing him to fighting for them and to save them from the Garm Impacter.

I thought the conclusion of this episode worked rather well. As we see Daichi’s inner turmoil reach its peak, Daichi makes his final decision and is able to ultimately help his comrades.

It appears that in the end, Daichi’s turmoil only lasted for a couple of minutes during the fight, but those 2-3 minutes pretty much covered this entire episode. This ended up being an interesting episode, and was better than what I was expecting; from the preview, I assumed this would going to simply be an episode that reused footage and only animating what needed to be animated in order to get Daichi back to where he needs to be. While some of the footage was reused, characters that appeared in the reused footage needed to be changed.

Admittedly, this was a trippy episode; however, it was a way for the audience to catch its breath before moving on into the final two episodes of the series. From what I saw in the preview, it looks like Daichi and the others will be up against the Kiltgang, and I imagine this could end up being an intense battle.

Review: Captain Earth: Episode 22 – “The Operation Summer”

Captain Earth focuses on Daichi Manatsu, who stumbles into a secret organization when he returns to Tanegashima after being gone for several years. He had made friends with a boy named Teppei when he was younger, but had no idea that Teppei was part of this organization. It turns out that Daichi’s father, who died when he was younger, also had ties to this organization. Near the end of the first episode, he makes it into the organization’s headquarters, and is given a gun by a scientist named Peter Westvillage, which allows him to pilot a mecha known as the Earth Engine. As the series progresses, Daichi and Teppei, along with Hana and Akari, become a team known as the Midsummer’s Knights.

Episode 22 sees Daichi, Teppei, Hana, and Akari trying to link up the Kivotos to the Blume with an Entangle Link. This has some risks associated with it, though; when Hana has to focus on the Entangle Link, she can’t use the Blume’s weapons or to help steer it. In addition, it’s not known if Daichi and Akari can survive the Entangle Link. During the episode, there were several “death flags” that were being presented, and I found myself worrying about what would happen to these characters.

Salty Dog decides that they cannot allow the Blume to launch and that they must retake it, no matter what. They launch the Garm Impacter, and use this, along with Cerberus, to attack Daichi and the others. Daichi launches in the Earth Engine in order to protect the Blume. The Entangle Link begins while Daichi is fighting Cerberus, and Hana finds she loses control over it and can’t stop it.

And if this wasn’t bad enough, the Kiltgang are gathering a massive amount of libido, and it appears that all seven of them are planning to launch an attack at the same time. The Kiltgang decide to go after the Blume before it can launch Operation Summer, but something unexpected happens right at the end of the episode…

I have to say right now that the ending of this episode made me go, “WTF?” It appears that the Blume crashes into the Garm Impacter and that the four on board have died; yet, this is followed by Daichi waking up in his bed at his uncle’s house and thinking that what happened leading up to this point had been a dream.

However, I don’t think they’re ultimately going to be playing the “it was all just a dream” card for this series, especially since there’s still three episodes remaining. First off, the preview indicates that while we see Daichi go through the same things we saw during the first episode, he’ll be running into things that will try to trigger his memory of what happened. Also, it was stressed a couple of times that it wasn’t known if Daichi and Akari would be able to survive the Entangle Link. My guess is that Daichi is “trapped” somewhere due to the Entangle Link, and that he’ll need to find enough pieces to jog his memory over everything he’s been through up to this point. Perhaps if he regains these memories, he’ll be able to get out of where he’s currently trapped and return to where he should be.

That’s all just conjecture, of course. I’ll have to wait until I can watch Episode 23 in order to find out what, if any, of conjecture ends up being right.

Review: Captain Earth: Episode 21 – “The Meaning of a Captain”

Captain Earth focuses on Daichi Manatsu, who stumbles into a secret organization when he returns to Tanegashima after being gone for several years. He had made friends with a boy named Teppei when he was younger, but had no idea that Teppei was part of this organization. It turns out that Daichi’s father, who died when he was younger, also had ties to this organization. Near the end of the first episode, he makes it into the organization’s headquarters, and is given a gun by a scientist named Peter Westvillage, which allows him to pilot a mecha known as the Earth Engine. As the series progresses, Daichi and Teppei, along with Hana and Akari, become a team known as the Midsummer’s Knights.

Two major story plots take place in Episode 21. First, we see Hirosue managing to kidnap Hana after revealing that there are bombs placed around the Tenkaidou and that the detonator is set to go off if his vital signs stop. With the way the scene this takes place is intercut with another scene, along with how dark the screen was in the kidnapping scene, I didn’t truly see what happened; because of that, it made the kidnapping feel a little choppy.

At the same time this is going on, Ai uses Zin’s singularity that she gained through their telepathic kiss ability and uses it to start sending debris toward the Tenakidou. Teppei goes out in the Nebula Engine, and he’s able to blast the debris away easily at first. Ai starts sending more debris and even allows some of it to dodge the blasts from the Nebula Engine and attack his mecha to cause enough damage that he becomes a sitting duck.

Unfortunately for the Midsummer’s Knights and the crew of the Tenkaidou, they’re forced to fight on two completely different fronts, both of which could bring about death and destruction. On the one hand, there’s the threat of being blown up by the bombs, and on the other, being struck by debris being hurled at them. Having these concurrent threats ups the tension of the episode.

Daichi is assigned to an untested weapon called the plasmagnum in order to blast away all the debris heading toward the Tenakidou. Daichi is forced to make a tough decision when Teppei is in the line of fire…

All I’m going to say in regards to the choice that Daichi has to make is that the writers ended up trolling the audience into believing that something happened, which is quickly proven to be false.

But I had a very hard time swallowing what happens at the end of the episode. The writers want the audience to believe that Hirosue makes this sudden 180 and totally changes his attitude toward Daichi just because Daichi did one thing he didn’t expect. It almost felt like to me that the writers didn’t know where to go with the Hana kidnapping plot, so they had Hirosue make this drastic and unrealistic change in his character so Hana would be freed and lift the danger from the bombs; by doing this, they wouldn’t write themselves into a corner. I’m sure Salty Dog won’t take this well, so I imagine they’ll find a way to go after the Tenkaidou during the remaining episodes of the series.

Review: Captain Earth: Episode 20 – “Satellitejack”

Captain Earth focuses on Daichi Manatsu, who stumbles into a secret organization when he returns to Tanegashima after being gone for several years. He had made friends with a boy named Teppei when he was younger, but had no idea that Teppei was part of this organization. It turns out that Daichi’s father, who died when he was younger, also had ties to this organization. Near the end of the first episode, he makes it into the organization’s headquarters, and is given a gun by a scientist named Peter Westvillage, which allows him to pilot a mecha known as the Earth Engine. As the series progresses, Daichi and Teppei, along with Hana and Akari, become a team known as the Midsummer’s Knights.

Salty Dog makes a move by sending Hirosue (aka Pointer), the guy who had been Hana’s handler earlier in the series, to the Tenkaidou. At the same time, Ai comes to be a “governor for the day,” thanks to the efforts of the PR department and Tsutomu; unfortunately, unknown to them, Ai has ulterior motives of her own.

So, here’s Globe thinking they’re undermining Salty Dog by having Ai come on board, but Globe’s being duped and manipulated by Ai. And, of course, Salty Dog has managed to get their people in right under Globe’s nose. There’s so many levels of deception and manipulation that have taken place during this series, it makes me wonder if everything would fall apart once all the webs of lies and deceit are unraveled. And it’s not just what we saw this episode that I’ m referring to. Puck has been one of the worst offenders; not only was he deceiving Kube before possessing him, he’s also deceiving the Kiltgang. His catchphrase for a while was, “Puck does not lie,” after all. I still want to understand how Puck ends up fitting into everything.

There’s also an emphasis on relationships in this episode. We see that while the Governor has accepted Hana, she admits to not understanding Teppei because he still retains his memories of being a Planetary Gear. Later, the Governor is surprised when she overhears a conversation between Akari and Teppei where he vents his frustrations about not being able to get as close to people as he’d like, especially girls, due to his telepathic kiss ability. Akari surprises Teppei by kissing him on the cheek. Wow, is this Akari basically confessing to having feelings for Teppei? I admit I’ve been secretly rooting for these two to be a couple since Daichi and Hana have each other.

Unfortunately, the moment is ruined by Hirosue causing an explosion and announcing that he knows about Operation Summer and that he’s taken control of the ship. Right at the end of the episode, he has Daichi and Hana at gunpoint, declaring that he’ll take Hana back. The ending also hints that Ai is aware of what’s going on and thinks it’s interesting. I suspect that the Kiltgang will somehow try to take advantage of the situation for their own goals.

But it’s nice to finally see both Salty Dog and the Kiltgang serving as adversaries at the same time. This is going to up the ante for Globe, as well as to increase the tension of the series. But my main question now is whether the Kiltgang will try to eliminate Salty Dog in addition to Globe. I assume they would, since Salty Dog would be in the way of the Kiltgang achieving their goals. Puck had a brief scene in this episode, but I also wonder how Puck will fit in among whatever the Kiltgang decide to do.

There’s quite a few loose ends still out there, but with only five more episodes to go, I wonder if this series will end as satisfactorily as it could. I guess I’ll have to watch the remaining episodes in order to find out.

Review: Captain Earth: Episode 19 – “Your Smile Means Everything”

Captain Earth focuses on Daichi Manatsu, who stumbles into a secret organization when he returns to Tanegashima after being gone for several years. He had made friends with a boy named Teppei when he was younger, but had no idea that Teppei was part of this organization. It turns out that Daichi’s father, who died when he was younger, also had ties to this organization. Near the end of the first episode, he makes it into the organization’s headquarters, and is given a gun by a scientist named Peter Westvillage, which allows him to pilot a mecha known as the Earth Engine. As the series progresses, Daichi and Teppei, along with Hana and Akari, become a team known as the Midsummer’s Knights.

Episode 19 opens with Daichi, Teppei, and Hana finally being able to communicate with Akari and the others at headquarters. Once Daichi catches headquarters up and what’s happened and what they’re planning to do, Akari changes the plan. She uses her hacking ability to hack into Australia Central Command’s main computer and knock it offline. Akari directs them to the Carpentaria base and tells them to commandeer the Bravnik, a heavy transport craft. By the time the three of them reach the base, Akari’s knocked their systems down as well; this makes it easy for them to take the Bravnik.

When Australia Central Command gets its computers back online, they discover the theft of the Bravnik, and the decision is made to get the Sarama Engine, an unmanned Impacter, online and pursue the Bravnik before it reaches Tanegashima. When Akari and the others at headquarters figure this out, they become worried.

Maybe it’s just me, but I would’ve thought that Akari would have figured out that the Kiltgang had somehow hacked into Cerberus. If not that, why didn’t she think about trying to find a way to hack into the Sarama Engine? Hacking seems to be her answer for just about everything, anyway, so why didn’t she think of that this time around?

There’s several flashbacks that appear throughout this episode that focus on Hana and how headquarters came to find her, as well as showing that Daichi is the only one who can get Hana out of the Blume. Hana’s flashback during the battle with Salty Dog was re-used from earlier, but it helped to have this flashback again to remind the audience what we had already learned about Hana prior to this point. The other flashbacks help to flesh out this re-used flashback from an earlier episode. Admittedly, the flashbacks felt like an “info dump” at times, but the audience needed the information that was being conveyed.

Near the end of the episode, Hana does something that surprises people and repels Salty Dog’s attack. It was awesome to see Salty Dog get its ass whooped and being forced to leave with its tail between its legs again. Silly, Salty Dog. Don’t you know that you’re no match for the Midsummer’s Knights?

This episode also sees a scene that features Kube talking to Puck, and the audience learns about an email that Kube received from Peter in which Kube is asked if the way he thought would change if he had eternal life. During the discussion, Puck realizes that Peter wrote a report about how the Livlasters are extradimensional life forms that took the shape of the gun; he also wonders if maybe this life form is the one trying to take over the galaxy.

I have to admit that I was a little confused with this scene at first, because I wasn’t sure if Kube was actually Kube or if Puck still possessed him. But right at the end of the scene, Kube and Puck say their lines in unison; at that point, I came to the realization that Puck appears to be in both places at once.

In this episode, we saw very little of the engineered children; there was only one scene that featured Amarok and Malkin, and it was a scene that didn’t seem to add much of anything to the story. It almost felt like it was thrown in to remind the audience that these characters are around. Seeing the preview for the next episode, it looks like Ai will be playing an important role. With only six more episodes to go, I really wonder why all of these other engineered children were introduced since they hardly ever seem to show up. Honestly, I tend to forget that most of them even exist unless I see them on the screen or I hear a mention of them. Hopefully these characters will start appearing more regularly during these last few episodes.

But it looks like the stage is being set for the final confrontation that I expect will be what ends the series. At this point, will both the engineered children and Salty Dog serve as antagonists and each antagonist gets roughly equal screen time? As it is right now, we haven’t see Salty Dog and the engineered children truly being depicted as antagonists at the same time.