A science fiction adventure with a fantasy twist, this show provides a little of everything, but not quite in the way you might expect.
Gene Starwind and Jim Hawking own Starwind & Hawking Enterprises, a little ‘hire us and we’ll do whatever it is’ business that suddenly gets a boost when a good job falls into their lap. However, it isn’t anything even remotely like the expected, and they end up running from the Tao Pirates, magic using villains of space. Along with them are ‘Hot-Ice’ Hilda, the outlaw who roped them into it and the bio-android the Tao Pirates are chasing, Melfina. Apparently Melfina is an integral part of a ship called the GXP, the ultimate ‘grappler ship’. Along the way they also bump into an assassin named Suzuka and the hyper-energetic cat-girl Aisha Clan-Clan, who wind up embroiled in the situation as well. But what it this treasure that the GXP and Melfina will lead to?
This show has the strange feel of a hardcore sci-fi that has been stuck in a blender with a technological magic system and poured into a glass with little spirals over every inch of it. That is to say it feels odd, looks odd, but isn’t unpleasant in the least when you get down to it. It does take some time for all of the different elements to be explained, like the caster guns, why grappler ships have the arms they do and what all of it has anything to do with the plot!
The whole show is often very fast paced and won’t leave you wanting for action, and all the characters are well realised and very diverse. However, to get the most out of this show you will have to watch the uncut version, as the one on TV was ‘sanitised’ quite a lot, to the extent of completely removing one episode. You lose a lot of character if you only see that version.
Uncut however from the rating point of view I’d say early teens and up. There’s a lot of sexual innuendo and they aren’t afraid to show flesh (and blood) if they want to. The language can also be a bit coarse at times for those that are bothered by that.
I must admit that initially the visuals for this show turned me off getting it. It has a very angular look with just seems less than eye pleasing until you get used to it. Also, despite the generally high fluidity in the animation, particularly for the very nice fight and flight sequences, the drawing style can change quite a bit from episode to episode, as though they’d handed the work from one person to another and not given them enough time to practice the style. In truth that is probably what was done, but it does stand out particularly in the later episodes.
Now for the dub. Quite frankly, avoid it. There are a few good voices among the cast, but the thing as a whole just seems to grate on the ears, especially when compared to the original. And I happen to like the acting for Aisha. Most people I know don’t. To their credit it has barely been toned down from the original unless you see the uncut one, so they were willing to make the extra effort, but overall this just doesn’t sound good.
The only comparison I can make is Cowboy Bebop, and even then they are very different animals in terms of plotting and feel. This show goes recommended to anyone who likes sci-fi or quirky shows, and everyone else should at least give it a look if they can.