Is this another in a long line of “Episode #0” shows or just a free form experiment? I can’t really tell, as so much was left out, that it operates no better than a recap show, rather than an origin episode or even an OVA. You have your ticket? Good, come sit next to me; I’ll get two dogs and two brews and we’ll watch “Tailenders” together. I got us some good seats.
We are in the future, but still no hoverboards. Mankind has been forced off of earth and is busy trying to terraform planets for colonization. The planet we are currently on, Terulus, is not all that cherry of a world. Some 100 or 200 years earlier (the timetable is all askew, so I am not certain how much time has actually passed from any given point), something went wrong with a haywire terraformer. Instead of having a verdant world, where all can live in peace and harmony, and get the greatest Starbucks about, it is beset by destructive earthquakes, constant danger and wildlife mutations that are a fact of life. And death.
Those who survived (and decided to tough it out, for some reason) built giant mobile cities to withstand the tremors, and pass the time with dangerous, no-holds-barred races. Now, I cannot tell how large these rolling cities are, but it may be like Monaco on wheels. Sadly, we are plunked right into things and are in the middle of a terrible, terrific race. Leading the pack is the ghost or the hologram or the astral projection of the famous champion, Loser King. Something happened to him in this self-same race for him to go missing a hundred years ago, but he set records that have never been matched when we join up.
Determined racer Shiro Tomoe (that’s the after version, left) wants nothing more than to live up to the Loser King’s legend, but a terrible accident leaves him nearly dead or maybe even dead. I mean he takes a smash and crash that would make Evel Kneivel wince. Breaking in on the operation (uh, don’t we believe in hygiene protocols?) Mikagura Tomoe (that lavender lady), an inventor with her own motives, replaces his heart with a prototype engine. Now, Shiro’s performance is tied to his very heartbeat, and success, or failure, will determine his fate, and hers and everyone else we come in contact with.
If this wasn’t bad enough, his main rival, Goodspeed, is just as tough a racer as Shiro and they are all hell-bent on winning at any cost. With the latest race to be on the so-called India location (you will be advised that there are 26 areas where nothing has been done at all), it is more than just winning, but being the first to plant your homing beacon and earning more than mere money.
There are numerous problems with this show, the least of which is that we were dropped into it, with the barest of information, and are dragged along for the remaining 26 minutes of it. Now, if I wanted a racing show, “Redline” did a far better job of things and that was a feature-length film. If I wanted just hard, angular lines and a toss-it-to-the-winds plot, I have “Dead Leaves” and that was a ton more fun than this turgid mess.
We get bogged down in the meaning and purpose of life and personal idea and ideals to attain and what it means to be a racer and a human and a person and….sorry; all that really gets in the way. I also felt it was frantic and frenetic just because it was felt it HAD to be frantic and frenetic, but without a true or real understanding as to what it all means. There is nothing wrong with that kind of an approach, but you need a strong idea as to what you want to say or promote and then follow it. Otherwise, what’s going on?
I got the feeling that it was just to go all out and see what the thing can do before it blows up. The ending is an indication that there could be a show, but it is so open-ended and non-committal, one gets the feeling it was more experimental than anything more substantial and that it is going to be a stand-alone. Besides, I do not know how you could make it into a show without it dissolving into something less than what was promised with the ‘pilot’.
Is this bad? Is this good? Nope, it just is. Go ahead and check it out, but you may end up wishing that they had taken out a few more minutes to explain things better and set it up tighter to make for something more than what we got.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Hard and angular; not everyone’s taste)
Plot 8 (Holding its own)
Pacing 10 (It is flat out, all the way)
Effectiveness 6 (A bit more story was really called for)
Conclusion 6 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 0 (A similar show would be “Honey and Clover’)
Overall 7 (Got a bit too soap opera for me)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I will beat Loser King.