It might’ve been over 5 months ago, but I still fondly remember Captain Earth’s first episode like it was yesterday. The first expansion sequence, the insert song, the nostalgic Eureka Seven (Did I ever mention my quote from this article got referenced on the official BD’s?) references/vibes. It was a great start to a series I had high expectations for, and it delivered in a way that made me hopeful for its overall run. As time would tell however, this didn’t quite end up the case. The middle of the series ended up a series of twists and turns that took away from the overall narrative, and ultimately, Captain Earth found itself bogged down by the sequential introduction of the Kiltgang members, which ended up being akin to an “encounter of the week” affair.
Despite this (and the drop in coverage) however, I was always of the belief that a great second half was incoming, and why not? The gradual build up was pointing toward bigger, better, and more exciting things, and the factional divides slowly came into fruition with each passing episode. The question was whether the wait for this inevitable climax would come before it was too late, and while I’d wager to say most felt it was (and dropped it midway as a result), I’m glad I stuck with this series because it really delivered in a way that left me glad that I continued to watch. Considering how many series this year underwhelmed with their finales (and the episodes leading up to them), that’s high praise indeed, and there’s much to be said about how the series tied in its fairly well developed cast with its thematic foci.
Bringing up the top is the always profound question of what it means to live, and in this sense Captain Earth manages to deliver—giving us various factions with their own views and characters who were firm in their beliefs and were neither truly good/bad in the end. The fact is that when you’re facing imminent demise, there’s no one right way, and the Ark + Intercept Faction interplay highlighted that notion in particular. After all, who’s to say that sending off a part of humanity away from Earth in order to seek out and repopulate another viable planet wasn’t a bad idea? There’s no guarantee the Intercept Faction would be able to fight off the Kiltgang—Earth barely survived the first strike many years ago—and the fact remains that even if that plan’s success would yield the best overall result, it’s one that’s lacks in the certainty department. Flipping things back on their heads though, is the notion that being shoved on a spaceship for thousands of years isn’t exactly the life to live (Hana could attest to this), and it all goes back to whether or not the results justify the means.
Put it all together and you have the makings of a great set-up—one that really played out well when it was all said and done. The thing is, it wouldn’t have worked without a strong cast to support it, and one must ultimately discuss the fact that all sides not only had justification for what they wanted to do, but also demonstrated the necessary resolve to stand by those choices.
The fact that every side had a proper pairing of justification + resolve made a lot of Captain Earth worth watching (especially in its second half), and there’s at least one lesson to be had here:
Those lacking resolve cannot do anything (and arguably shouldn’t be trying to do anything either).
The Ark Faction might’ve done some shady things and looked like the villains in our view—framed from the perspective of the Intercept Faction—but that doesn’t mean they didn’t want to have a scenario where Earth could be saved. It’s just that they didn’t believe it was likely to happen, and honestly you can’t fault them—or on the flip side even the Kiltgang—for feeling and doing the things they did. Needless to say, strength of character wasn’t something Captain Earth lacked, and it setup for what was both a flashy and nostalgic (cue the Eureka Seven vibes) end to what turned out to be a pretty good series (especially from the Sci-Fi/Animation/Action perspectives).
In this sense, I think it’s only fitting to apply some of the same commentary I had (and have seen applied) previously on Eureka Seven, and it’s that Captain Earth ultimately ends up being a flawed, but worthwhile experience. It’s not quite the flawed masterpiece I consider Eureka Seven to be, but it’s a BONES production through and through, and everyone knows just how much I love how they do their thing. The Captain deserves this one last hurrah, even if a fair amount of people would believe otherwise.