Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Argentosoma - Complete Collection|
Genres: Television, Anime & Manga, Animation
Studio: Infinity Resources Inc Release Date: 11/09/2004 Run time: 650 minutes Rating: 13up
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I am...Ryo Soma.
Strategos | In Space above Planet Earth | 02/11/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Now here's a series that's hard to describe. At first glance, judging by the first few episodes, you could call it an anime re-telling of Frankenstein (monster brought back to life by a mad scientist just needs a little love and understanding). Or, judging it by the end of the first quarter, you could say it was another tale of a dark and brooding anime anti-hero who is struggling against his own inner demons. Then again, you could say it was just an Evangellion clone with lousy Mecha designs and mostly lack-luster battles. And of course, in the end, you could say it is a story of the search for understanding, an exploration of the human spirit, and a moving saga of the life, death, and rebirth of a person's soul (in more ways than one). Confused yet?
At the beginning of our story we have the protagonist. A young, idealistic, pushy, argumentative, anti-social, emotionally abusive person with serious personality issues. Tricked into helping out a brilliant scientist reviving an alien monster in a secret lab, he both loves and abuses his excessively introverted and hard-to-read girlfriend Maki. The revival of said monster goes horribly wrong, killing the scientist and the girl, and leaving our protagonist horribly scarred and disfigured (with half of his face a pale and scarred mess with an eye changed to a different color and the hair turned white). That's how it starts. And now things start to get interesting.
Driven half-insane by the desire for revenge, our (heroic? evil? crazed?) protagonist links up with a mysterious stranger who gets him into the secret military installation where the monster is being held, and before you can say "Mecha, anyone?" he is piloting a giant robot and living on base with no purpose in life but to destroy the monster he believes killed his love.
You think the guy was a little off before? Now he's so cold and icy he could give Mr. Freeze the chills. But vengeance will not come easy, for there are alien attacks, military protocols, identity crisis issues of various sorts (is he himself or this Ryo Soma persona that he has created?), and perhaps most troubling of all, a young girl with the mind of a five-year-old and a mysterious link to the monster who looks and acts... just like his dead girlfriend. Whoa.
As the series progressed it becomes more and more compelling. As Ryo Soma's plans are repeatedly ruined, and he just can't seem to kill the monster, he finds himself growing attached to the people at the base, the sweet girl who reminds him so much of Maki (he keeps thinking that she IS Maki) and falling apart when alone because he cannot figure out what to do.
All that alone would be plenty for a series but there's more. Each member of the base's squadron of pilots is a fully fleshed-out character with their own style, way of thinking, and back-story. As the story progresses we come to understand their motivations and agendas, and it very compelling stuff indeed. The relationship between the girl and the monster and how she keeps struggling with what she should do without a family or a home and no one to rely on except the monster is a re-occurring theme for much of the show's first half. Lessons that the now-dead scientist and Ryo's dead girlfriend tried to teach him keep coming back to haunt him as his situation changes. And of course the aliens have to be fought, with seemingly every alien using a different strategy that must be deciphered and countered in order to destroy them (all while Ryo is trying to destroy the monster the military is using to fight them). Oh yeah, and everybody in this show is constantly making references to works of literature like Shakespeare, King Arthur, Peter Pan, and the like.
For me, these are the main reasons to watch this show all the way through: First of all, the story of Ryo Soma and how he changes, and learns to let go of his hatred and anger and ultimately try to love again is incredibly compelling. Second of all, the voice-acting in the Japanese dub is truly spectacular (with the protagonist being absolutely perfect). Some of the lines of Ryo's character are just acted so well I find myself completed sucked in by the emotions of the character. Third, the dialog is incredibly well-written, constantly surprising you with it's depth and emotional resonance. And fourth, this show as times has some truly moving music. Starting out with that classic horror sounding concertina sound, and progressing to stringed orchestra for moments of fear and loneliness, moving through folk songs to full orchestration, at times it took my breath away.
If this show has a weakness, it is inconsistency. The plot meanders through the course of the show, many of the battles with the aliens feel repetitive, and some music is used too often (and some plot points, like the girl Hattie running away over and over again). The ultimate explanation of where the aliens came from wasn't so high on my list of plot twists either. But still... this show is good. Very good. It could have been a classic. If it had been a movie, or a 13 episode show, it may have been. As it is, it is still very much worth seeing thorough at least once.