「Satellizer vs. Pandora」

Who says an anime can’t improve upon its manga counterpart? Just when I thought Freezing was going to ride out the remainder of this arc and conclude around Satellizer’s battle with Cathy, it throws in an added twist that further develops her connection to Kazuha, shows the entire Pandora cast banding together, and foreshadows what’s to come with cameos from the most powerful Pandora in the world, Yi Suna (Saitou Fuuko), and Kazuya’s grandfather, Aoi Gengo (Ono Atsushi). Sequel please.

Leading up to that anime original second half, I was a bit disappointed that Ganessa’s valiant sacrifice didn’t play out as emotionally as I imagined. I felt there was a lot more impact in the manga when Arthur was talking to her like everything’s going to be okay, only for her to seemingly pass away not too long after. Something was definitely lacking in the screenplay, which I couldn’t quite put my finger on while watching because it did have befitting background music to accompany the scene. In retrospect, I think it was simply because the segment was roughly thirty seconds to a minute too short, so it didn’t provide ample time for me to buy into the idea that Ganessa may be killed off and have that thought really sink in. I tend to get caught up in the emotions of a scene even more when I have some prior knowledge of what’s going to unfold, much like I did with the Kimi ni Todoke movie, so I came into this finale fully anticipating I’d get a little choked up, but never got the chance to.

Given that Ganessa would somehow survive having one side of her body blown off (which wasn’t the least bit censored I might add), it’s easy to see why her death wasn’t overemphasized though. Unlike the manga that used it as a chapter cliffhanger, it was only minutes later in the anime when she was revealed to be alive. The only thing I would fault the decision to do so was how it lessened the significance of Satellizer’s uncontrollable rage upon learning that someone like Ganessa considered her a comrade. However, I have to commend Noto Mamiko for bringing out Satellizer’s anger in Nova Form, as I found her pretty scary when she repeated smashed Cathy’s head against the wall and proceeded to cut both her arms off. It did reaffirm how much I love seeing Mamiko in these stronger female roles to help balance out the soft-spoken ones she’s typically cast for, and really helped make the scene where Kazuya stopped her from killing Cathy. Very well executed screenplay.

I was pretty happy about getting a glimpse of Chiffon’s gigantic claw afterward (Volt Weapon “Anti-Nova Trial Version” for those wondering), and got a chuckle out of how she refers to herself by the “Rare Monster” nickname she’s been given, before the anime original portion kicked in with the last Nova using the stigmata on Milena’s chest to locate and teleport directly to Maria’s chamber. What impressed me the most about the original material was how it added a climactic battle while adhering to the established behavior of the Nova. This includes how it used Cathy’s Nova stigmata that Satellizer was still holding onto to take over her body and use her to emit an extremely powerful Freezing field, followed by all the third-years busting out their Pandora Mode to cope with it. While Chiffon and the others were still overwhelmed by Satellizer, the fact they all used Pandora Mode addressed any potential plot holes that my have risen from not using their emergency ability. That, and it just looked cool when all their hair turned white, particularly Ticy’s.

As for the conclusion, I didn’t mind how Satellizer broke free of the Nova’s control with her own power, since it reiterated the subplot involving the inheritance of Kazuha’s stigmata, and emphasized progress in her relationship with Kazuya. All the loose ends were wrapped up nicely with the epilogue showing Cathy and Milena’s recovery as well as Ganessa’s. Last but not least, Kazuya deserves special mention for using his Freezing to inadvertently feel up all the girls. We all know how the body reacts to icy hands too. Just look at Rana. She was lovin’ it.



Final Impressions:

Back in the Winter 2011 Preview, I voiced my pleasant surprise on how Korean author Dall-Young Lim’s Freezing manga was much more than an excuse for fan-service, but had reservations on exactly how much studio A.C.G.T could cover with a mere twelve episodes. Looking back now, I must say the producers have proved that you can do a lot with twelve episodes, which includes focusing on certain subplots and truly developing them within that limited time frame. Understandably, some of the original material will be allotted less screen time to help compensate — most notably Ingrid’s backstory in episode four — but overall, this adaptation was farily faithful and even enhanced the story in subtle ways like we saw in the finale. Even “purists” who are resistant to change should be somewhat pleased, considering that it didn’t go for an anime original ending at all.

Production-wise, I actually enjoyed the throwback to what I perceive as a 1990’s animation style with basic shadows, smaller-eyed character designs, and just an overall “flatter” look (except when it comes to bust sizes). Of course, that doesn’t mean I wanted the 4:3 treatment for the complete experience on AT-X, even though it was much better than the heavily censored alternative on other stations. The much-to-be-desired contrast on AT-X didn’t help Freezing’s basic shadows either, given how much clearer it looks in its intended widescreen version, so it’s ultimately the presentation by broadcasters where most of my discontent lies. For a series that doesn’t look like it was budgeted much to begin with, it’s a bit of a shame that Freezing may have been sold short by something out of the producers’ control. To get the full experience, a rewatch of the Blu-rays is probably in order sometime down the road. This is definitely one of the rare cases where I feel better visuals could have greatly enhanced my personal enjoyment.

Twelve episodes later, I’m still sticking to my initial impression that Ichika Mitsuhiro was a miscast for the lead role of Kazuya, especially when I instinctively associate him with Takeyama in Angel Beats and his insistence on being called “Christ”. Much like I’ve said before, Irino Miyu would’ve been much better in the starring role. Outside of that, I can’t say I’ve been the least bit displeased with the all-star female cast though. In any case, Freezing will likely go down as a series that most people have difficulty seeing for what it truly is despite all the good things I’ve had to say about it, so there’s really little I care to expand upon recommendation-wise. If you like sci-fi shounen-type action with a cast of female characters who provide occasional fan-service, you can’t do much wrong checking Freezing out. It’s a lot gorier than one would expect, plus it has a dash of high school romance mixed in. You may have to refer to the manga for some more depth to the support characters, but this is an otherwise good anime that stands perfectly fine on its own. Just watch it with an open mind and spare me the childish “boob” comments.


      1. ¿What´s its untrue, the annoying part or the harem part?
        And I wasnt following Freezing, I put it on hold until now. Fool of me, I never realize about this series having a male lead. I need to do more research before picking series, I know. Shame on me.

      2. It’s a bit more odd to comment the last episode of a series without having seen a single one.

        About who the main character are so would I consider it to be a female one, although we got a male view point character. Thus the story revolves around the female, but it’s the male sidekick character that provides our point of view and thoughts on what happens. Other series with a similar set up would be ‘the melancoly of haruhi suzumiya’ or even ‘Fairy Tail’.

      3. Kyon, from Haruhi is the main character.
        And its like Tate in Mai-Hime? Because I hate that guy. Annoying little… or Ron Stoppable from Kim Possible? Another annoying haxxing rat.

  1. nice ending! I thought Kazuya might use his freezing ability to free Satellizer earlier though… but still good actions. Kazuya’s freezing field on all the girls on the other hand… no comment on that :3
    I was wondering who the mysterious girl and the old guy was, and thanks for point them out.
    since there is still no “special time” being shown, and the cameos for the new characters, definitely need for a season 2!!!
    and again, thanks for the recommendation and covering of the show, Divine!

  2. Well….I might just start watching this. One fanservice anime too many isn’t good, but if there IS some story, it might be worth watching after all.

    I’ll bet there will definitely be a sequel. Freezing manga’s doesn’t seem to be nearing an end anytime soon.

  3. Thank you Divine for blogging this series. If you never did, then I would have missed this anime. I found it very interesting in regards to the battles and I was quite happy how they interplayed both the personal backgrounds and combat.

    1. Agreed with Shadiic. If the show was not blogged, i would have missed out on looking into the manga which is very good at deliberately inducing rage (in a good way).

      If they do manage a sequel, i would hazard a guess a lot of viewers would be very very pissed off at the next arc 🙂

    2. I agree Shadiic. It all thx to Divine for blogging the series. If ain’t for him, I wouldn’t have notice that this anime would have exist. Though I haven’t read the manga yet.

  4. I loved this series and looked forward to it each week. Not for the fan service but for the story itself. It is a great story and has great characters but all most people will do is lump it in with Queen’s Blade, High School Of The Dead, and Seikon No Quazar for over the top fan service and thats just wrong. I only wish it was a 2 cor series and they didn’t have to trim out alot of stuff.

    btw… Noto Mamiko plays both Satellizer and Aoi (Kazuya’s sister). No wonder he really thought she was his sister (I’m joking).

      1. He based it on smoking 5 bowls before he typed that comment. I think its pretty faithful to the manga except they trimmed out some stuff (like backstory for some folks). They really didn’t add much anime original stuff at all.

      2. Also, they probably threw the original pandora mode out the window so they could keep boobs. ‘Cause boobs sell pretty well no matter what time of the era it is… usually.

        Manhwa pandora mode was a mecha-like form. Anime version is… well, they get shiny.
        Other than that it was pretty good at keeping the plot.

      3. Excessive boobs.
        Chunks of story were cut out.
        Added drama for the sake of drama.
        Stuff rearranged to fit their own ending.

        I seriously hope you were just trolling when you said the anime was better than the manga. The anime isn’t even close.

      4. None of that implies the manga material was ignored. Also, if you’ve ever read this site for any extended period of time, you would know I don’t troll.

        There doesn’t have to be “better” argument to begin with, because purists will just default to the manga in almost all cases since they were subject to it first.

        I feel this was a very good 12-episode that did the manga justice. It’s not really something up for debate because it’s an opinion, just like everything you said that I don’t agree with. Yes, seriously.

    1. I totally agree with you!! The way the direction of this changes so much from the manga was a total fail for me.The manga made more since and had more feeling in alot of scenes, instead of turning it into a drama soap opera, and flashing boobs show. Plus cut out alot of the violent scenes or dumbed down the action.

  5. While I was watching the 1st eyecatch (1st half), I was thinking that the eyecatch for this week is a guy… –> There should be some missing info (e.g. 3-size)…

    2nd eyecatch appeared –> oh shit… What cup size is that? :p

  6. I found this show a lot more entertaining than a lot of people seem to have. The darkness and confusion were positives, for me. And the intensity of Noto Mamiko in particular — and some of the other voices, too — really worked for me.

  7. I dropped this on the 3rd episode, does it get better later on? The first episodes were absurd, with the touching and that reverse harem chick, but from this blog post I’m wondering if I should give it a rewatch.

  8. hmmmm…….
    Well in my opinion this series came as a big dissapointment.
    Comparing it to Claymore I have to say this series mainly focused on
    fan service and its action scenes were more or less bad as it was just
    using the fighting methods used in bleach and dbz……..

  9. I still don’t like how quickly Kazuya got Satellizer considering her problem with being touched, all that effort to become her limiter should have only opened the door to being friends then later a couple.

  10. Hey, did anyone notice the “it’s just the beginning” comment by Dr.Aoi at the end? Could that be hinting towards a second season? I know that the manga is pretty far off from where the anime ended at, so I think it actually might be possible for a 2nd series to take place.

    1. I believe they were using that to leave open the possibility of a seconds season, not confirming one. It’s all based on sales, after all. How much money can we get from continuing this series?

  11. Out of the topic – Divine, do you use a script to resize and fit the images for the blog (and possibly to process an entire set of them), or just add them manually ?

  12. This series turned out much better than expected
    The anime-original material fits into the big picture very well and I find the 90’s animation style pretty refreshing
    Thanks for the recommendation, Divine!

    Aoi Kazuha
  13. all we need for if season 2

    1.more of this “stuff” of f-service, ripping body pieces, etc
    2.ayako kawasumi aka mamiko’s partner in crime to do some yuri stuff on each other

    etc etc

    but for wait for more mini ova & funi dub in next year time.

  14. @Divine: So in view of her role here as Rana, and maybe as Charlotte Dunois as well, do you think kana hanazawa could voice stronger characters as compared to the usual moee~ ones? I felt she did well for her role as rana, but wasn’t particularly fantastic.

  15. If you can see past the b00bs, it is a very fine series, and I really liked Chiffon!
    Only she could be capable of politely suggesting a “talking this out” before asskicking!

    1. I really don’t see why most people think the fan service brought the series down…
      It’s call “fan service” for a reason right? I’m proud to say I’m a very happy “fan” thanks to the boobs flashing and “compromising” positions that the Pandoras get themselves in

      Maybe it’s the generation gap? But I wholeheartedly appreciate the fan service in this franchise… I find it pretty tactful XD

      Chiffon Cake
      1. It’s also probably because quite a few anime these past couple years have been pretty fan-service-y, so it seems to be the first thing a lot of people take notice to.

        As I mention in threads about such things, it’s not the fan-service itself that’s a bad thing at all, but rather how/when the fan-service is executed in the series that makes it “good” or “bad”, and that can depend on the type of series it is.

        Something like Freezing, Kampfer, or other things ranging down to more “random” series have a much broader area of timing and opportunity to be able to execute fan-service without it having much, if any, negative impact on the scene/series as a whole.

        But something like High School of the Dead, Clannad, and other series that come off as having a more dramatic, serious, etc feel to them tend to have a more restrictive area of timing and opportunity, and incorrectly executing fan-service scenes can much more seriously hurt a scene/series like High School of the Dead did. It felt like fan-service was just thrown in at so many “opportune” times where it really more ruined scenes that would’ve been good/dramatic/etc otherwise.

  16. Fan-service aside, this actually turned out to be better than I was expecting. My only gripe is that Ganessa loses practically half her upper body, Cathy loses both arms, and they somehow grew them back or something at the end? Ah well….. Thanks to Divine for blogging this though, I never would’ve watched this on my own! Hope they continue it….

    1. They do mention right near the beginning, with Yumi Kim, that they do have technology and resources for healing capable of replacing limbs and other damage (as Yumi herself had lost an arm during the last Nova Invasion if you recall, but was healed).

      However, what wasn’t addressed (probably due to the ending) was that, in much more severe cases, like Ganessa’s injuries and most likely several others before, to regenerate all the tissue damage and repair all the organs and whatnot also involves inducing faster cell separation/regeneration to perform the healing which ends up shortening the natural lifespan of that person as a result.

  17. Dem awesome b00bs!

    …………j/k, couldn’t resist. XD

    Anyway, definitely glad that, overall, the series stuck to the general story of the manga and that the anime-exclusive material didn’t drastically deviate it in any way by still getting the idea across, like the Pandora Queen festival instead of the amusement park date with Kazuya and Satellizer. While, yes, that did give an excuse to show off much greater fan-service with the Pandora Queen contest itself, the setting pretty much screamed for it, so it wasn’t exactly a “random” showing of it like High School of the Dead constantly did.

    So, as I mentioned in previous respective episodes, the only things I really miss are Ingrid’s and Cassie’s more emotionally-impacting background stories and Elizabeth sort of getting dumbed down from her more center role in protecting the students outside like she did in the manga.

    Otherwise, everything else is satisfying in how it came out and I’ll be hoping/waiting for a 2nd season after the manga pulls ahead a bit more.

  18. OK so I haven’t read the manga at all but here is what I gathered from watching the last part of this episode.

    Show Spoiler ▼

  19. “Just look at Rana. She was lovin’ it.” Oh lol! I laughed so hard when I read this and saw the pictures. Its so funny. Nice going Kazuya.

    I was very pleased with the ending and helped me get over my rage over Yumekui Merry which could had been a bit better had they just sticked to the manga. This is how you do anime original endings right.

    Ranting about latest manga chapter below
    Show Spoiler ▼


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