A group of talented, but collectively underachieving mecha pilot candidates are thrown into their very first battle with unexpected results. This group was well known around for failing in team battles gets disciplined for their latest failure. Before they have time to write a report on why they failed, they are called in for their very first mission. They have to buy time for a group of ships to evacuate, which they accomplish, but the appointed leader Izuru continues to fight on to protect civilians left behind.
My first take on it was a negative point on the whole idea of man management. The superiors know that this group of kids is talented, but they fail as a group. As they are less than the sum of their parts, they either would change who was in this team or they themselves would have been moved on. That they’ve been allowed to fail so often will have to be a plot point explained fairly quickly as it wasn’t here.
Second, this is a series set in space in the middle of a war. As such, there was plenty of exposition that was needed. Thankfully, it was limited just to the immediate situation the characters found themselves in. The explanation of how the new units they were fighting and how they worked dragged on far too long in my opinion. There was no good versus evil speech in this episode to explain why they were in the war to begin with, and that’s a good thing.
As for the characters, I would take them as when they are in-battle and out-of-battle separately. Izuru is curiously overpowered on the battlefield since he scared off the enemy entirely by himself, but away he was simply a hopeless dreamer of one day becoming a hero. Toshikazu was hot-headed in training and before the battle, but was timid when threatened with danger. The other 3 in the group also shirked away under threat, which was interesting as Kei seemed to be running the show when they were stalling. In fact, that’s another issue, they were each assigned positions as though it was a game of League of Legends (credit krizzlybear on that). The issue I had was distinguishing between the forward and leader position. It was like they explained the leader as uh, like the forward.
Finally, the production quality of this episode was fine. The CG was abundant as one could only expect from space battles these days, although on that point the retreating carrier ships appeared able to turn on a dime. I know it’s space, but you would think those ships had little mass by how easily they moved. The character designs were a bit dodgy in my opinion, but memories of Gundam SEED do not go away easily.
Reasons to Continue Watching: Space Battles and a main cast that is very agreeable
Reasons to Drop: SEED character designs combined with a group of pilots that never deserved to be involved in battle
My Verdict: Continuing