You know, this show is really similar to Idolmaster… the earth gets ravaged by some uncontrollable force, men are inexplicably incapacitated to fight, and teenage girls have to shoulder the burden. I’ll leave the details to your viewing pleasure – suffice to say, we’re getting a lot of teen girls wearing plug suits flying these mecha type things that show off their flat chests to the fullest extent.
A word on the plug suits, as they are of a frightful design. Made of a thinner material than those sexual rubbery Evangelion suits, these babies allow for some more bodily contour… like A-cups and some rib action underneath (flat chest moe mode, check). The suit stops at the crotch like a school mizu (schoolmizu moe mode, check), which allows for a thigh-high sock type thing to cover their legs (high socks moe mode, check). The backside actually drapes down like a short skirt, not like it’s covering much more (miniskirt moe mode, check). In the rear, a tube-like projection juts out of the suit like a tail – coupled with some strategically placed head fittings, we have the look of a feline (catgirl moe mode, check). The suits are also bare around the shoulders, similar to Suzu’s getup in Nagasarete (shoulder exposure moe mode, check). There’s several other subtle areas of interest, but that should cover the main ones. At any rate, a frightful design.
The first episode focuses exclusively on character introductions, so there’s really no indication of what’s going to happen. Still, I was entertained while being introduced, so that’s a good start.
Otoha Sakurano (seiyuu: Kawasumi Ayako)
Our first glimpse of Otoha has her in a wetsuit, diving for oysters. She’s obviously a very capable girl and quite handy with a knife, as she’s able to cut through a two-inch solid steel plate, slash it down the middle, then pry it open with her bare hands. Scary.
Anyways, she’s the sentimental yet genki chick that everybody loves. Me too. She has some obsession with flying due to some promise with her little brother, so when the military (Horie Yui) approaches her about becoming a test pilot, she accepts.
Oh, and she’s also one of those kendo chicks, taught by her grandfather. He’s one of those hardcore men who suck at expressing his feelings, even to his kawaii granddaughter.
Eika Ichijo (seiyuu: Shizuka Ito)
She starts out at the training facility, doing some sweet moves in her jet, but then gets totally schooled by a Sonic Diver (the mecha). She’s that kind of character that never smiles and tries too hard to be serious. It’s not yet known if she’s the Idolmaster serious chick type of serious, or just the fake kind of Natsuki serious like in Mai-Hime. Tsundere or just tsuntsun? Guess we’ll find out.
Karen Sonomiya (seiyuu: Saori Goto)
Quiet, studious type girl. She’s sitting on a bench in the school quad when some guys come up to her and ask her to look over their research… she shies away and asks her socially capable friend to speak for her. Guess that 200 IQ comes at a price. Still, she’s still more on the cute side than the Hitohira Mugi annoying side. She’s asked to join the force by the same people that picked up Otoha.
So there you have it, the three new pilots of the Sonic Diver squad. At this point, it kind of looks like the SOS-Dan in terms of character personalities, except that Yuki is the squad leader, Haruhi the peacekeeper, and Mikuru the strategist. So the character dynamics are a bit different, and instead of playing baseball they’ll be saving the world from evil worms.
So can JC Staff succeed at what Sunrise failed so dramatically at? It’s still too early to tell as this first episode was all about character introduction – for a show that will undoubtedly center on the action sequences, the animation quality seemed to be good enough to hold up its end. The characters are a lot more likeable than those in Idolmaster and seem to at least have a bit more depth and personality.
In the end, I don’t think this show is going to blow anybody away, but we can hope that it will at least keep us entertained without embarrassing itself – that’s not too much to ask for in this summer season, is it?
Keep in mind that these girls ARE supposedly 16-17 years old. Hey, at least it’s not as bad as Manabi Straight, ok? Haha