OP: 「Divine Spell」 by TRUE
Normally for these intro posts I recommend that you read the preview on the show as well, but perhaps I’ll take it off the required reading list this time for Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars. Actually, you should read it anyway, because our previews are great (/selfplug), but whereas all the preliminary research put into the previews are ideal sources of information before jumping into a new series, the preliminary research for Regalia didn’t turn up much at all. Not for lack of trying—would I ever give anything less than 100% for you, dear readers? (don’t answer that)—but because Regalia keeps its cards very close to its chest, in general. Even after this introductory episode, I can’t honestly say I know all that much about it. There is a semi-fictional kingdom on some semi-fictional landmass, there is a pair of not-actually-sisters, and there are robots. The robots fight. The question of why they fight seems completely unimportant to Regalia at this point; in fact, the main matchup of the episode happens for literally no good reason, featuring a completely throwaway villain (also, the only man with a full speaking role). On one hand, it could be Regalia trying to be enigmatic (behold, oblique-soap-opera-dialogue scenes), or perhaps Regalia is pioneering the absurdist-mecha-theatre, where there is no narrative and life is meaningless. The more boring third option is unstable pacing. Regalia is nominally of a fantasy setting (fantasy, sci-fi, same difference), one which it hasn’t really established yet, so we don’t really have a status quo to compare this episode’s events to. Perhaps the empress of the country and her mecha-sister killing some unpleasant guy horrifically while destroying the local economy is just all in a day’s work here. Who knows what’s normal? Maybe explosions visible from space are just the way to start the day.
It’s mostly (mostly) alright for the story to take a secondary role for now, because it’s obvious that Regalia is trying to impress with visuals first and foremost. The animation was perfectly crisp in all the robot-action scenes (enjoy the hand-drawn mecha while they still exist), but its general aesthetic, I think, is designed to be cool above all other considerations. Take the summoning sequences—needlessly long, utterly impractical, but hey, imagery! Is it going to have the break out of its chains every time? Don’t think about it, it’s cool! If there’s anything that exemplifies design over mechanics, it’s a robot in a poncho. Perhaps that’s why, even after all that edgy darkness voodoo she still gets immediately thrashed. It’s not just in the robots; Regalia splashes imagery everywhere. Why this dreamscape? Why the Rubick’s cube, which looks neither very sacred, nor much like a star? Why the… liquorice sticks? Perhaps Regalia will explain it all later, or perhaps it doesn’t intend to and is content with, ‘look, pretty!’. It certainly is pretty enough, so maybe that will do?
It does seem, though, that Regalia does have some sort of plot in the works, including more potential robot/pilot sister pairings, so we should give it the benefit of the doubt for now. Even if the story doesn’t amount to much in the end, even if the names are all a bit silly, with a dearth of new mecha series this season, Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars looks, at the least, to be a good source of robot-on-robot action (and even girl-on-robot, oh my). Even if it’s all aesthetics right now, that may be enough to earn this show a few more episodes of your time.