A true American Sci-Fi story, as only the Japanese can tell it.
Taking place in America in the year 2000, it’s an alternate past with hover cars and ray guns. While this isn’t anything you need to think real hard about, it’s a great homage to movies of sci-fi past.
The opening sequence gives a true old-school cartoon vibe with some groovy music. Think Cowboy Bebop meets Johnny Quest. You’re thrown into the story with flying saucers and a crash in the Nevada desert. What alien story would be complete without it?
The main characters each fill their very simple roles without being too campy. And you get not only one boy genius, but two. The younger characters aren’t overly annoying as they have a tendency to be in some anime. There’s even a dog named Washington, (no, he doesn’t speak!) and they managed to do it well. Though I was sent into a giggle fit over the name of scientist-extraordinaire, Dr. Brest. And the story doesn’t forget about the characters amidst the epic events.
Flying saucer attacks, government conspiracies, giant tentacle aliens, secret organizations, zombies – there seems to be no end to the cliches, and yet none of it seems that out of place, either in the story or in the fluid animation. I’ll admit the pink Cadillac with the speed-racer abilities may have been a bit much. In fact, I think the series could have been better if it took itself even less seriously. It’s along the lines of an animated Independence Day with just a little more crazy.
The animation is on par with many feature anime films. While the spaceships and other mech designs were top-notch and the CG elements fluid, I feel like the characters themselves could have been more detailed and were designed a bit too flatly compared to the other animation elements. The direction is on par with Tensai Okamura’s other works (Wolf’s Rain, Cowboy Bebop The Movie), and Michiru Oshima’s (Queen Emeraldas, Fullmetal Alchemist) score does not disappoint, as it fits the tone of the story to perfection.
If you’re looking for something deep, this is not for you. You don’t want to think too hard or try to poke holes in it. But they did a good job emulating old Hollywood Sci-fi. And as each episode ends in a freeze-framed, “What will happen to our heroes next?!” narration, you are reminded that this is just for fun.