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.


  1. I can mostly agree with your post Zephyr. The second half proved to be worthwhile enough to stick around, although I do have to say that I felt like the events of the last episode could have spread to, maybe, an episode and a half as to give time for a more proper epilogue. I think the series could really benefit from a slightly longer and more emotional epilogue than the one we’ve got (the “villain” was defeated 3 mins before the end – literally), but other than that, I can’t say I didn’t look forward to each weekly episode. /salute Captain!

    1. Yeah, I did wish for more of an epilogue, but I guess even in that sense it was just like Bones (and the series itself) to end it the way it did.

      That said, I’ll definitely look forward to the next series these guys make. There’s a definite stylistic flair this combination of staff and studio bring together that is unlike much of what’s out there right now, and even though it may not float everyone’s boats, I certainly love what they do (flaws inclusive).

      1. Shows need to budget at least 5 minutes for a proper epilogue. Although Kill la Kill did one pretty well in just the last couple minutes during the end credits with just the song and no dialogue.

  2. I have to say I always enjoyed every episode of Captain Earth, even if it didn’t always deliver on the whole. The battle sequence in the last episode was just pure awesome, and practically made the entire show worth it just by itself. Star Driver is one of my favorite shows I have ever seen, and seeing this is (I think) directed by the same person got me hyped. While expecting another Star Driver-level show made it a little disappointing, but still cohesive and worthwhile.

  3. If you are going to spend so much time on introducing the kiltgangs, don’t half ass their endings. Other than that, I’m glad I stuck around for captain earth.

    Btw, does anyone know if the 2 inserts (or was it 3?) by Kayano Ai (Hana) were ever released?

    1. From what I’ve seen the only thing that’s come out are the OP themes and one of the endings. They have a bunch of “Bonus CD’s” announced that’ll come with each of the BD/DVD’s, but no word on tracklist yet for most of them. I don’t even see an official soundtrack announced.

  4. I actually think they may do an OVA or 2 just from seeing how this series ended without (much)closure.

    Anyway, aside from the fact that the Kiltagang arc got too big for it’s own good (the whole group felt one dimensional to me), it’s a great ride; better than Star driver (somewhat), since they both have a similar endgame in mind…

  5. Welp it’s finally over huh?

    Captain Earth might be what I describe to be an INCREDIBLY corny mech show. You’ve got the usual stuff. Teenagers fighting aliens in space in giant robots. The adults are practically useless. Of course. That stuff is all par for the course.

    However the characters never really felt developed to a satisfying level. They are pure tropes that hardly change from the norm and constantly go on about friendship/protecting everyone that it’s almost sickening. Never do i feel that these kids are in danger because the show despite a few instances is rather lighthearted. Even if someone dying would help in the development of these bland people every time someone is at deaths door they find a way out. It’s rather cheap. The villains are a complete joke. Even with the world at stake the fact that they fail EVERY SINGLE TIME and just keep coming back to get their asses handed to them makes them hardly threatening. Salty Dog is just a stupid faction that never have existed in the first place as they are comprised of morons who apparently want everyone to die since they just get in the Captain Earth crew’s way. I feel like they should have focused less on these pathetic villains and more on the internal struggle with the situation that the characters were going through. There was still a lot that could have been done with Teppai and Akari imo but they are pretty much brushed to the side in favor of Hana and Daichi. Aside from Hana who’s development was predictable I don’t really think anyone changed all that much. Daichi is hardly more grown up than he was. He just continues to get everything work out because the plot doesn’t want anyone to die. Somehow through these 25 episodes he never managed to make me care about him once. Impressive.

    If you don’t take is seriously I suppose one could call Captain Earth a decent show but honestly I’m just pissed at how much lost potential there was here. As pretty as this show was to look at I can’t say the same for the storytelling.

    1. You can tell that they just gave up on the whole Salty Dog angle with that returning agent being all “I really hate you, but…” and just letting Daichi and Hana go just because he has a family living on Earth.

      Why couldn’t this have happened the FIRST time he was around? Why wait until so much later?

      And did we even get answers for like…half the stuff talked about? Neoteny? How did the Kiltgang really come to be (given they were shown to be child test subjects and all, but then they’re all talking about “true humans”)? Where the Livlasters came from and such?

      It just felt so…incomplete…

  6. The production quality for Captain’s been VERY consistent, especially for a 2-cour show. There’s little to no off-model moments or bad animation, and everything is so crisp and smooth. Clearly a lot of love and well-allocated budget was poured into this.

    1. Immediately, there’s this, Mahouka, and Nobunaga the Fool (from last season) out of ones I’ve actually watched. All of them two cour and all of them dropped halfway through…and I don’t blame them one bit from what I’ve seen from the rest of those series’, lol.

  7. I really like the finale, the Planetary gears really learn something at the end, eternal life is a waste without a goal because just existing is not enough to fill the gap in a person´s soul. I think of all the Gears, Siren, Bugbear and Moko were the ones that realized first but couldn´t accept it.

  8. This felt like it had ambition, but not nearly enough ability to follow through on that ambition.

    It had thematic quality in spades. Family. Growing up. The meaning of life. Losing sight of the ends because of your means. But all of that got jumbled up with fights with Hollywood damage and rule of cool, fumbled with uneven character exploration and exposition, and left hanging with insufficient explanation. That last, for instance, was often the most egregious – like how is Hana even still alive in the end, with the Blume destroyed? What are the Livlasters actually, in the end? There’s showing and not telling, but when you do not enough telling and not enough showing, you just have not enough anything. (Re: the Livlasters, it was especially obvious because said living guns felt almost like a deus ex machina at times.)

    On the other hand, I really liked Aiatar for some reason, so eh. 😛

  9. I have to say I was diasppointed by Captain Earth. It’s a worthwhile watch, no doubt about it. But I really didn’t feel anything coming from the story or the characters. Some episodes were great, I have to say: I’m thinking mainly of the Show Spoiler ▼

    but for the rest, I couldn’t really find myself engulfed in the story as I would have liked to be. To me, Daichi was a fine, but eventually boring character; Teppei’s story was much more engaging. Hana was made too much of a damsel in distress. Akari, she was actually a very intereseting characters, but her antics were waaay to forced sometimes: I found the “Belly button forte” and the whole “Mahou Shoujo” persona qwuite silly and out-of-place.

    I find Eureka Seven a masterpiece, though flawed, on a whole other level. Captain Earth was, in the end, a good Bones show, but we were thrown abruptly into the main conflict since the first episodes, without really any game-changers until the main attack on the Planetary Gears, and the whole experience, I think, suffered greatly from it.

  10. Captain Earth was an ambitious effort that hit its core themes. The show’s animation quality was consistent throughout which was really great. However I felt as if the writers could not always figure out how manage its pieces. The Ark Faction should have been defeated/minimized sooner. Though I was glad to see Salty Dog’s number Reito Hirosue return. Even though he was such a tool. Glad that I watched the entire series but I am not sure if Captain Earth has much of a rewatchability factor.

  11. The series itself was great, but like Valvrave, it left me with a few unanswered questions. What were the squirrel things? Who was the kid with the flute and its relationship with the Livlaster? What is the Ark faction planning to do now? Was Alonzo something that could grow evil like Puck (I can’t be the only one curious about this particular one)? Also, how much does Hana have left to live or will she miraculously get save just because she’s the heroine? That last one wasn’t as important but yeah. Like Valvrave, I’ll probably never get my answers. -3-

    1. Th kid (girl) with the flute is Daichi’s Liveluster trying to communicate with him. 😉 Bringing him to Hana, and in his dream at the end. Though I agree they really did leave that thread hanging. I’m expecting an OVA’s to explain this and these aliens.

  12. I stuck with the show even through that rough middle section because I really believed they had it in them to pull of something pretty great, even if it was a bit rough.

    And man, I really do think they managed it. I have my complaints of course, but they’re mostly in areas of questionable narrative choices and a few plot devices. The characters, the thematic strength, the direction (I adored the direction of the whole show, frankly) were more than enough to keep me coming back each week.

    There’s a good number of sequences in the show- that transformation sequence, the multiple plotlines ended with kissing scenes at the end of the Kiltgangs’ into arc, pretty much all of the second half of the finale- that just had some superb direction behind them that will probably find themselves settled firmly in some of my favourite pieces of anime moments of recent years.

  13. While it may not have been the most popular thing per season, or a show I was particularly excited to see every week, Captain Earth has definitely been a worth while experience for me.

    For those patient enough to sit through it, the theme of Midsummer’s Night was implemented well, and got me thinking about what it really means to live.

    I also love that you mentioned that both sides had valid points. Earthlings lived short lives, and because of that each days were meaningful, and because they die, it was proof that they lived. The Kiltgang, I imagine, were once human/sentient beings as well. They knew they were fated for death, and by unknown technological means, overcame them and became Ego Blocks. (And to sustain their newly selves, they needed to absorb libido from other sentient lifeforms) And here we are today.

    I definitely felt Eureka Seven vibes from this show, but I felt it was closer to Star Driver overall. So thank you Zephyr for your insight on the show, and thank you studio BONES for keeping the child in me alive.

  14. I’m srry, but I felt that the ending was pretty lack luster, especailly the Kiltgangs :/ Going out with a bang is one thing, but a failed Kamikaze attempt, seriously?… Just a 6/10 for me, it was worth the time, but I just wish it would of been better.

  15. I wanted to like Captain Earth, and I did, until the ending. It made absolutely no god damn sense. All the build up, thrown out for… I don’t even know. There were so many unanswered questions that NEEDED to be answered for the story to make sense. I’m not even going to bother typing them all out because I’d write a book.

    It was like Mass Effect 3 all over again.

  16. The story of Captain Earth was a mess, it’s like the staff didn’t know what they wanted the show to be about. A battle between rival factions? A battle between Eartlings and aliens? The relationship between parents and children? Etc, etc.
    Nevertheless, it was still entertaining.

    1. yes, then when they found their Track, it reminded me of Stardriver. And i saw not long ago Stardriver OVA, so since The Blume appeared, it was just spoiling in my Mind.. So i could not enjpy the Storyline. But the beginning was very good. Kids threaten like Dogs and Adults that take responsibility to help grown to Adults, to guide them, to be a mentor or a Lighthouse

      Most of my thoughts and feelings for this Show, where inside of this Men

      I could identify with him. Not all. But mostly. Many things, that drive me on here, was collected inside this Figure

  17. The series was great but the ending was too open for me. They left about 6 major questions unanswered. There needs to be an OVA or something to wrap things up.

    7/10 : Good showing but it suffered from a few flaws (potentially complex villains that never got expanded upon, ending with no wrap-up, a few episodes that seemed to be trying to explain something unsuccessfully) that kept it from being a A+ series.

  18. It’s another case of high-expectations and having what’s actually delivered much less … it happened with Eureka 7 AO, Robotics;Notes and now Captain Earth .. it feels many mecha series try to recreate the phenomena that Eureka 7 was (and still is) and fall short of the goal .. the only mecha anime after Eureka 7 that managed to achieve what it set out to achieve is Star Driver .. and while Captain was disappointing overall it ended with a bang unlike Robotics;Note which ended with a very “meh” ending.

    Actually if all the episodes of the 2nd cour of Captain Earth were as good and had as much guts as this final episode it would have been a different story .. it kinda made up for the disappointing 2nd half but it surely wasn’t enough to fully fix the whole series .. i’d give it 6.5 or 7 (the 0.5 is because i really enjoyed the final episode).

  19. Finally getting down to finishing this anime.

    Ep 22, Blume got me thinking of Betterman.
    Ep 23, reminds me of Evangelion and RahXephon.

    So far Captain Earth feels pretty mild to me.

    2 more episodes, hope to see what Puck does as he has been doing nothing big to me.
    Just talking and womanising.


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