Anime Spotlight: Project Blue Earth SOS

Project Blue Earth SOS consists of six hour-long episodes that aired on Japanese television from July 2-December 3, 2006. The series was produced by A.C.G.T. and was directed by Tensai Okamura. The series was originally licensed by ADV Films, but as of this writing, FUNimation Entertainment holds the North American license for Project Blue Earth SOS.

The series is set in an alternate version of the late 1990’s/early 2000’s, where the people of Earth are behind in comparison to current technologies (such as having old fashioned radios) but also have technology that is way ahead of where we are now. The main thing that lets the viewer know that this is an alternate timeline is the fact that actual historical events from our world, such as World War II, are referenced in the series.

The first scene in the first episode is set in 1995, where a G-Reactive fighter plane is being tested. During the test flight, a mysterious rainbow light appears behind the plane. While radar on Earth doesn’t pick it up, the pilot sees it. Right before his transmission is cut off, the pilot says he sees a flying saucer.

Five years later, main characters Billy Kimura and Penny Carter meet at a train station where a new bullet train that utilizes G-Reactive is being launched. Before anyone can board the train, a rainbow light suddenly appears, hits the train, and the train disappears.

Even though the government publicly denies anything about an alien invasion, it is learned by Billy and Penny that the government had secretly been developing technology to combat the aliens over the past five years. Just as the two boys are figuring things out, the aliens invade. Billy, Penny, and their acquaintances come together to try to fight against this alien invasion.

As I watched this series, I really wasn’t terribly bothered the alternate version of the 1990’s/2000’s or by the conflicting levels of technology. Personally, I thought this dichotomy really added an interesting feel to the series. In addition to seeing some of the older technology where you wouldn’t expect it, Project Blue Earth SOS also contains clich├ęs associated with 1950’s alien invasion films.

Over the course of the first episode, there were some developments and twists I hadn’t expected. These developments, along with the animation being used to convey this story, really draw the viewer into the world that the story is set in. After finishing the series, I thought it had an interesting story to tell. I also appreciated seeing the character development that took place for both Penny and Billy over the course of these six episodes. While one could argue that these six episodes were equivalent to twelve regular episodes (since the episodes are double the normal length), it still impressed me just how much the writers accomplished with the story.

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Crunchyroll Adds More Anime to Its Catalog

Crunchyroll has added the following anime to its streaming catalog:

  • “Day 13” (the unaired 13th episode for 91 Days
  • Project Blue Earth SOS – available in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa
  • Second season of Kingdom – available in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa

Source: ANN

Anime Spotlights: Project Blue Earth SOS, Jyu-Oh-Sei, FLCL

Over this past week, I managed to watch three more anime series in their entirety: Project Blue Earth SOS, Jyu-Oh-Sei, and FLCL.

Project Blue Earth SOS: This series is made up of six 45-minute episodes. As I watched it, I thought there was an interesting dichotomy between the 1920s aesthetic of the series’ world and the futuristic technology that is used by the characters. It seems to take place in some kind of alternate universe, since actual historical events are referenced (such as World War II), yet the time frame of the series (around the year 2000) doesn’t match how our world was at that point in time. But I thought the series had an interesting story to tell, and I appreciated seeing the character development for Penny and Billy progressed throughout the series.

Jyu-Oh-Sei: This 11 episode series is based on a manga by Natsumi Itsuki. At first, it almost feels like it’s going to have a Lord of the Flies vibe, but near the end, there’s much more of a noticeable sci-fi angle going on. About halfway through the series, there’s a rather jarring time skip that happens. Story-wise, I understand why the time skip happens, but how the anime handles it makes it feel rather jumpy. Perhaps it was done that way in the manga; however, since I’ve never read the manga, I can’t say this with any certainty. While I came to care about the characters, there was something about how the series ended that left me a little unsatisfied. It’s not a bad series, but I didn’t feel that I quite got the payoff that I was hoping for.

FLCL: I’ve now seen all six episodes of this now classic anime. It’s very wacky and humorous, and at first, there doesn’t seem to be much of a point to it. While the viewer eventually learns what the story is really about, it takes so long for this to become evident that, to me at least, it weakens the story. The series also contains several anime references as part of its humor; while I picked up on most of it, I think there’s still one or two that sailed over my head. The quality of the animation is never terribly consistent, and to me, at least, it seemed to go downhill with each episode. FLCL definitely has an appeal to viewers who enjoy wacky humor, and it’s probably not bad for what it’s trying to accomplish. However, I know that FLCL isn’t the type of anime that would normally appeal to me, so this does make me a little biased. In the end, this series just wasn’t for me. But at least I can say that I’ve finally seen it.

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