Captain Earth is a 25-episode OVA anime series produced by animation studio Bones, directed by Igarashi Takuya and written by Enokido Yōji. Collection 1, covered by this review, contains episodes 1-13. The series follows high school boy Manatsu Daichi, who, when we first meet him, is feeling listless, different from the other students around him. He doesn’t like to do much of the schoolwork assigned to him at school, although he does spend much time in his room reading a lot of different books and becoming an expert at video games.
Daichi, whose father died when he was young, returns to an island he remembers meeting a strange young boy when he was young after he sees an odd rainbow in the sky. His return to the island leads him into the secret underground headquarters of the Globe corporation, where he somehow finds himself with a gun-like weapon in his hand and heading off into a large, humanoid robot to do battle against an invading alien force known as “Kill-T-Gang”. From then on, Daichi becomes a member of Globe, piloting the giant robot called the “Earth Engine Impacter” to help protect Earth against Kill-T-Gang, who want to drain all of humanity of their life force in order to maintain immortality.
Daichi is also reunited with the boy he met all those years ago on that island, Teppei, who is now also woking for Globe, but happens to be one of the Kill-T-Gang aliens. He also reunites with a girl, now 17-years-old, named Mutō Hana. A strange girl, she talks to a blue, squirrel-like animal named “Pitz”. Daichi and Teppei first discovered her together in the basement of Globe when they were kids. Adding to the oddball mixture of lead characters is another 17-year-old girl, Yomatsuri Akari. A genius hacker, Akari fancies herself a mahō shōjo (magical girl), and has a really outgoing, bubbly personality, but is a crucial element in Globe and Daichi’s battles against the devious members of Kill-T-Gang.
Captain Earth is defined by what is some of the most amazing animation I’ve seen in a hand drawn mecha series recently, and that is almost enough to recommend this series alone. However, the collection of characters put together also make the series quite appealing. The female characters are quite kawaii, no doubt. Hana has that indefinable moe appeal while Akari is the much needed comedic relief to the very serious Daichi and Teppei.
The story arc could be tightened up a tad, however, as the ultimate motivation of the Kill-T-Gang was at first unclear, and also, at one point, I thought they were simply humans who were bent on controlling the planet. There’s a subplot that explains how they are actually living on earth as humans, unaware of who they really are until they have their memories returned to them and thus become quite evil. It’s not understood – at least in these first 13 episodes – why Teppei has not turned against the humans.
On the whole this is a good series so far that will awe you with its artwork and hook you with its likable characters, but I’ll save final judgement on the total series once I see the second collection.
Captain Earth arrives on Blu-ray with an AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement of its digital animation and, I have to say, its one of the best looking anime transfers I’ve seen this year. Perhaps because it doesn’t have a second audio track and more bandwidth can be dedicated solely to the video, what is already a beautifully animated series looks quite splendid in this release with very little to get in the way of visual enjoyment. The detail is crisp, colors sparkle, and the most common issues like aliasing and banding are not an issue here at all.
Captain Earth gets only the original Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack with English subtitles on this Blu-ray release from Sentai Filmworks. The mix, although only two channels, is an awesome one that has fantastic dynamic range, wide stereo imaging, clear dialogue, and a very talented Japanese voice cast.
Only clean opening and closing animations long with additional Sentai Filmworks trailers are included.
The Definitive Word
Awesome action sequences and outstanding animation make Captain Earth a solid choice for fans of the mecha genre. The Blu-ray is also top notch, but fans of English dubs are out of luck here.
Additional Screen Captures