Just to clarify, when I say subpar animation I’m not talking about the art. It’s hard not to stare at Matsumoto’s character and ship designs with a stupid smile on my face and think of nothing else. It’s clear Gonzo and LandQ aren’t sinking a lot of budget into the CGI and conventional animation here, and it’s too bad because this is a show that could have a really high-end look to it if it had the ammunition behind it. Clearly it wasn’t a high priority, being effectively a mid-season replacement and a 6-episode miniseries at that.
The prevailing feeling seems to be that Gido is Sam’s aniki (does anyone else get serious flashbacks every time Kakihara Tetsuya says that word?) and that does seem possible, though I can’t help but note that Gido seemingly had no qualms about shooting Sam out of the sky rather than capturing him before Maya interfered. Perhaps whatever has been done to Gido has wiped his memories of his brother, or sufficiently warped his sense of priorities that he has no feelings for him – or perhaps he’s not the aniki after all. The figure in the tube from Maya’s flashback – the poor sap who had the genetic material the “Ideal Children” were looking for – is certainly either Gido or Aniki, or both. The evidence suggests that Bainas and Aniki had a “more than friends” relationship, so she obviously has a strong personal stake in the answer to these questions.
Setting aside that question, there’s still the matter of Maya’s role on all this. She obviously has some kind of psychic connection to the sand whale Ozma – she called it up when Sam was about to be killed – and it seems as if the whole pretense of her escape from the Theseus was to find it. She’s the key to their plan to use the Natura to fight the genetic decline that seems to be wiping out their species, although it’s clear that some among them (including Gido and Danga) have moral reservations about it. I don’t think there’s enough time in this series for any of the relationship stuff to get much traction as it’s already half over, and the humor side is pretty much cookie-cutter 1970’s anime fare, so the larger plot and the Matsumoto visuals are going to have to be the engine that drives this series for the rest of its run. Fortunately that’s working OK so far – the eps are fast-paced, and seem to have a good feel for build-up and ending on a crescendo, with a nice cliffhanger. I don’t know if it’s enough to make me blog the show for a full cour, but for six eps it seems well worth it to continue.