OP Sequence

OP: 「TRY UNITE!」 by 中島愛 (Nakajima Megumi)
Watch the OP!: Streaming ▼

「ようこそ、鴨川へ!」 (Youkoso, Kamogawa e!)
“Welcome to Kamogawa!”

We’re about 80% through the premieres of all the new shows this season, and of all the ones I’ve watched since the pre-airing of Rinne no Lagrange just under two weeks ago, Production I.G and Xebec’s new original series remains one of my favorites. From the dazzling opening sequence featuring a catchy song by Nakajima Megumi to the seemingly perfect blend of mecha action and timely comedy, there was a lot to like from its first showing. The highlight was the energetic Good Samaritan and sole member of the “Jersey Club”, Kyouno Madoka, whom the rarely heard Ishihara Kaori from YuiKaori stars as.

Unlike Ogura Yui who’s already starred in Kami-sama Memo-chou and Ro-Kyu-Bu, this series is Kaori’s first leading role. She had previously been cast in minor roles in Kaichou wa Maid-sama as Ayuzawa Suzuna and Hidan no Aria as Reki — two distinctly different performance that I really enjoyed — and now provides yet another notably different performance as Madoka that I just can’t get enough of. It’s extremely refreshing to hear a new voice that goes together really well with Madoka’s cheerful personality and trademark “Maru!” (literally “zero” or “circle” but implies “Perfect!”). It’s even better hearing it alongside another up-and-coming seiyuu, Seto Asami, who co-stars as the mysterious alien/transfer student, “Fin e ld si Laffinty”, a.k.a. Lan, and sounds distinctly different from Asami’s other roles in Hourou Musuko as Takatsuki Yoshino and Chihayafuru as Ayase Chihaya. The end result is a cast of “new” voices to go with the original premise, and we haven’t even heard Kayano Ai using a bubbly voice for the second alien heroine Muginami yet.

At the moment, I’m most taken in by how goofy yet unrelenting Madoka is in her efforts to help anyone in need. This includes most of the sports clubs at her all-girls Kamojo High School since she’s really athletic and even the film club just because she won’t say no to anyone. When Lan asked her to pilot a robot, she was surprised but still went along with it, further emphasizing that she’ll try to help even with the most outrageous requests. The interesting plot-related part is that Madoka’s cousin Nakaizumi Youko (Noto Mamiko) — whom she calls “onee-chan” — is against her piloting the transformable “Vox” robots for a yet to be revealed reason. Judging from what Lan said about a promise Madoka made with “Vox Aura”, I gather it was made when Aura rescued Madoka from drowning like the flashback suggested. I presume that traumatic childhood experience is the reason why Madoka is so adamant about helping anyone now, so suffice to say, there’s enough foreshadowing so far to keep me hooked. That’s on top of the current situation with three other aliens — Kirius (Nojima Kenji), Izo (Yoshino Hiroyuki), and Array (Matsuoka Yoshitsugu) — who like Lan have infiltrated Earth. From the sound of things, they all came from the same planet and are fighting over the “legendary” Voces — two of which have yet to make an appearance. Combine that premise with robot action and seamlessly injected comedy and we have the makings of what could be the surprise hit of the season. An original Production I.G anime featuring mecha designs by car manufacturer Nissan. Who would’ve thunk it’d be so cool?

* Robot German suplex? Maru!
* As I mentioned in the Winter 2012 Preview, this series is slated for 24 episodes with a three-month break in between.
* Full-length images: 23, 37.


ED Sequence

ED: 「HELLO」 by 中島愛 (Nakajima Megumi)
Watch the ED!: Streaming ▼


End Card


  1. you know that feeling when a new season’s and you didnt have any expectations on shows lined up like this one? wow, im at a loss for words. good visuals + action + comedy all wrapped into one perfect package. and a likeable character to boot! hope it stays that way for the rest of the season. 😀

  2. Wow. Loved that opening. Anyway, animes with females as leads are giving me bad feelings these days, but I enjoyed this chapter very much.

    This season is being better than I thought it would be.

  3. Even after watching the pre-airing, I’m not sure how to feel about this show. The mech designs look cool enough, and the characters are at least different than your standard faire, so I guess it’s on to Episode 2!

  4. I love this show already. Its reminds me of Star Driver. Its got flash, style and fanservice. Basically it rolls everything I enjoy in the Super Robot genre and makes it fresh. A female lead is pretty uncommon for the genre so I’m glad that Madoka is a funny, likable character. So far this is the show that gave me the best first impression.


  5. Looking forward to see how this show develops. This season has a good potential for robot (Rinne) and space (Mouretsu) full length series. Hope the 3-month break won’t leave as much anticipation as Fate/Zero

  6. Pleasantly surprised, and definitely the series I’ll probably be looking forward to every weekend. I’m especially liking Lan, who’s a refreshing Nagato Yuki-esque variant. The “Uchuujin” *Alien Pose* “Sore Yo!” scene was incredibly golden, since it was so hilariously misplaced.

  7. Well, Madoka seems likeable enough for me to continue on with the series, although an all-female set protagonists does turn me off ever so slightly. I’m glad they kept the fan-service down to an intelligent level. I shudder to think if they decided to have Madoka wearing a skirt or a tank top when riding the Vox. Good decision of a track suit.

    Why do the Japanese has such a fascination with German suplex holds? I can think of at least 2 other anime/manga that also used this in one way or another. (funnily enough, that’s actually where I learned about what a German suplex was)

    Also, what’s with the recent trend of splitting 2-cour series with a 3-month break in between. I don’t ever recall ever seeing this happening until F/Zero last season (it surprised me, actually)

    1. Having 2-cour series that aren’t consecutive isn’t unheard of. Though the 3 month wait period can be a pain, that’s 3 months that the company is using to work on the series, giving them extra time to polish the series’ story, make an amazing opening, etc. In general, the end product will probably be much stronger.

    2. I’ve never seen a giant mecha anime with an all-female leading cast before, so I’m a little iffed as well. Also agreed on the amount of fanservice. On that note, I think the reason Madoka’s face isn’t drawn to be the epitome of cuteness and her signature outfit being a not-too-sexy tracksuit is so that she can be relatable to both sexes instead of just being an object of lust for the male audience.

      Though from the preview, it seems like they’re still having her wear the backless outfit anyway. Well, no problems with that either.

  8. I really like this series, especially Madoka’s character – the Ginga Bishoujo – since she reminds me of Takuto from Star Driver (well, her outgoing personality at least). How she just takes everything in and can still be so cheerful even while fighting aliens in a giant mecha she just learned about a few minutes beforehand is really amusing.

  9. The German suplex was great. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a robot anime do that, and with a female pilot no less. Certainly more entertaining and realistic than instinctively activating some hidden super weapon on an imba robot like some other shows.

  10. Great first ep, the characters seem to have depth in them, even though it may seem like a very light mecha series. Hopefully the animations stay steady and doesn’t drop after the third ep, and the anime doesn’t become full of service.

    Just A Random Guy
  11. Glad I gave this show a chance. The premise put me off initially but Madoka’s personality drew me in! Not to mention the animation and mecha designs are just simply gorgeous. I have a feeling that given a few more eps, Madoka’s ‘maru’ will become a new meme.

    On another note, the fanservice censorship is really clever. Damn you, PI.G!

  12. Another new alien girl with mysterious objective next ep.
    Quite a bit of info at the official site.
    3 alien factions and space pirates are mentioned in the characters section.

    So the first arc will go down to the Voxs vs Queen Yurikano’s ‘knights’?
    The 3 don’t seem bad though, feels like they will join to fight a true antagonist.

    Another first ep filled with mysteries.
    The official site had quite a lot of characters and revealed the relations of some.

  13. This is the type of Sci-fi I can actually stand (and in this case, really enjoy). The humor comes naturally and the music isn’t overdone. Everything seems to complement each other well, and is in good taste imo

  14. I wonder though how she was so skillfully able to pilot the suit in her first time of using it. Perhaps the control system is similar to the one in Dual Parallel Trouble Adventure wherein it is controlled via impulse or willpower. Would be more convincing at least.

  15. Anyone else getting reminded of Noriko from Gunbuster when seeing Madoka? That’s pretty much win right there.

    Seriously I have hopes for this show, even without comparing it to the disappointing Guilty Crown and the confusing beginning of Aquarion Evol

  16. Huh, so isn’t just me thinking of Star Driver and Dual. Straight off the OP, I feel like there’s finally room for the mecha shoujo genre to spread its wings, much like the mahou shoujo genre before it. Speaking of which, Madoka and Madoka? Can’t be a coincidence.

    This show also kind of reminds me of Cyberteam in Akihabara. Hurr.

  17. Absolutely loved this episode; Momoka’s super talent is the only thing that’s nagging me slightly (surprisingly, I wasn’t bothered with the fanservice at all- it’s minimal, and intelligently done). And mecha! The opening is gorgeous too. I have a feeling this is going to be my favorite of the season, though of course, it’s way too early to tell. 🙂

    Does anyone know why a pre-aired version leaked around, out of curiosity?

  18. OP left me yearning for more iDOLM@STER. Trying not to think of the SHAFT-ish overtones in the ED.

    Yeah, fanservice from pretty much open to close in all varieties.

    MARU! Mecha Shoujo!

  19. Is it just me, or does Kirius remind anyone of Alto from Macross Frontier? Maybe I’m just crazy….

    Anyway I like this so far and I’m looking forward to new episodes.

  20. This episode’s impression: Seeing How Ohana – that is exceptionally good @ sports – does when stuck into a Valkyrie-ish mecha…

    BTW: When Madoka was conplaining that she can only ride a bicycle and Lan didn’t say anything else about it, THEN we see how the Vox jet form operates…that was priceless (I was laughing by then)

  21. Finally got around watching the show. For those who has been criticizing shows with female protagonist, this and Mooretsu Pirates will be a wake up call.

    Episode one features us one of this year’s contender for Best Female Action Lead, Madoka, whom I consider Mooretsu Pirates’ Marika’s rival for the position. Smart, talented and seems to be the town’s local hero. In her school everyone asks for the “Jersey Club’s club leader’s” help. Whether its for filming, tennis or kendo, the preferred choice seems always to be Madoka.

    Which, incidentally seems to be also the case for choosing mecha pilots. And what do you know? First time piloting and she wins by a suplex. Seems like her mother was a pilot too and since she had already, at one point in the past, met the mech, the top choice is her mother’s direct descendant.

    I wish they won’t deconstruct this show. It already has a nice feel to it I feel that any foreign object might ruin the show…

    SCORE for this Episode: 10/10

    The Moondoggie
  22. Hmmm. Really interesting show indeed.

    Also, I might be the only person, but the front profile of untransformed Vox bears a very strong resemblance to the OVA version of the FFR-41 Mave from Yukikaze.

    Wild Goose

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