A group of 15 middle school students – eight boys and seven girls – are playing around on the beach during the summer when one of them suggests that they go check out a nearby cave. Deep inside the cave, they notice a light and discover a small makeshift room with furniture and several computers. The kids don’t get much time alone in this room before a man walks in on them. This man says that they’re the ones who have found him, and he then offers them the chance to play a game. Claiming to be creating this game, the man explains that 15 enemies will attack Earth and that they will be controlling a huge robot to fight them. He wants them to be his test players and pulls out a blue stand – if they want to be contracted as the chosen heroes, they just need to touch the stand. The girls start giggling and almost everyone seems to want to do it, so they all touch the stand. All of them, that is, except for the youngest one of the group named Ushiro Kana (who is only in fourth grade) because her older brother Jun had insisted that she didn’t need to do it. After a bit of stammering and thinking, the man who created this game finally introduces himself as Kokopelli. He then tells them that enemies will appear one at a time from now on, and he will be fighting the first one, but after that, it’s their turn. As he finishes saying this, the sight of all 15 kids turns fuzzy.
They wake up back on the beach from what felt like a dream. However, they don’t think that it’s a dream since they all saw the same thing. On the way back home, one of the girls named Komoda Takami turns around and notices that a giant robot has appeared in the water behind them. The group realizes that this is the robot Kokopelli was talking about, but its enemy doesn’t seem to be around. Just as they are noticing this, something starts materializing in front of the giant robot: a metallic six-legged creature. As the two robots prepare to battle, all the kids are transported to the cockpit where Kokopelli is sitting in a chair surrounded by 14 other chairs in a circle. After the spider-like robot shoots them with a lightning attack, Kokopelli instructs the kids to watch the fight because he won’t be able to participate in the next one. This causes Jun to realize that this isn’t a game that Kokopelli made, and Kokopelli admits that he’s a pawn just like them. He fires back at the other robot and then starts striding towards it. Using his robot’s strength to flip the other one over, Kokopelli targets the enemy’s torso and rips off its armor to uncover a round, white object that he crushes. This defeats his enemy and causes the other robot to power down. With the battle over, Kokopelli tells the kids that they now have to protect this Earth. He starts to say something else, but the kids get transported out of the cockpit before he’s able to finish his sentence.
Back down on the ground, the group of 15 watch as the giant robot disappears. They start feeling that this isn’t a game after all, and Komoda thinks that Kokopelli’s last words were “I’m sorry.”
ED: 「Little Bird」 by 石川智晶 (Ishikawa Chiaki)
Watch the ED!: Mirror 1, Mirror 2
Superficially speaking, the opening song that was played on the promotional video is one of the reasons I got interested in this series. I really like this song and have been listening to it from the promo so much that I practically knew all the words by the time I saw this episode. The ending meanwhile is a much slower paced song that’s also good, but I admit that I haven’t listened to it much because I’d have the opening on repeat.
The character and mecha designs don’t really appeal to me, but the story is rather interesting and gives a very ominous feeling, particularly the last part when Noto Mamiko’s character thinks that Kokopelli was trying to apologize to them. Everything Kokopelli says implies that he won’t be around anymore after this battle, though it’s not explicitly clear if he’s now dead or something else. I got interested enough by the story to pick up the manga, and I got to say that the manga seems to develop things better. The first episode doesn’t include Koemushi, whose presence probably would have made everything seem even more ominous. Koemushi does appear to be in the preview for next week though, so they don’t appear to have written it completely out.
Overall, I think this was a good introduction to the series, but having seen the anime and then read the corresponding manga chapters, I think I’ll just stick with the manga.