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[ café reviews ]

Episode 3: First Love, First Sortie

Copyright: GAINAX (Japan), US Renditions (North America)
Length: 30 minutes
Rating: NR, parental guidance suggested
Format: Subtitled (VHS)

Directed by: Hideaki Anno Produced by: English translation: Yoshida Toshifume, Trish Ledoux

[ plot summary ]

vhs jacket

Things are not going well for Noriko. Her recent mission to her father's doomed ship has left her in more turmoil than before, and her self-confidence is all but gone. Kazumi, her partner, senses that perhaps Noriko is not capable of performing her duties, asks that her team be disbanded. Enter Toren Smith, an American that had helped Noriko when they were both out on dares from their bunk-mates. Noriko finds herself out on her first combat mission with a new partner. Can she perform under combat conditions, or will she fail, as Kazumi fears -- and at the cost of human life? And what is Coach Ota's true reason for having selected Noriko for the combat forces?

[ capsule review ]

I really like this series -- really -- but there are several serious flaws that really bug me as well. Why would Coach Ohta put so much trust in someone like Noriko? Obviously, there wouldn't be much of a show if things went along as in real life, but even in an SF feature, I shouldn't be asking these types of questions during the show. Takaya is still feeling sorry for herself, and the depressing mood of the show does eventually get to you. (The heavy use of a solo violin in the background for much of the show doesn't help, either.) Yet, I find I'm still glued to the tube. The relationship between Toren and Noriko is short and devastating -- and utterly vital for Noriko character's to change, for without the feeling of responsibility, the determination she begins to develop would be completely unbelievable. And that's what this whole episode is all about -- character development. Sure, there's also the plot advancement with the revelation that the creatures are born by killing entire suns, but what we're seeing is a maturation process. Maybe that's why I like the show so much. - AN

Noriko is even more of a watering can than in the previous episode. Still, it's all very important for her character's development. Her brief love (crush?) of Toren Smith and his subsequent death was the needed impetus to actually get her to *train* and learn how to handle her meccha. (Of course, she's now training in the GunBuster trainer so....) The story here was pretty basic although it develops Noriko's character nicely (if we can only turn off her faucet...) and the music continues to be excellent. Maybe I'm expecting a bit much of 16 year olds but I *really* think that she should have a er... grip on reality and a better sense of umm... responsibility and training. Then again, considering the headaches some parents go through trying to get their kids to study for school... BUT, at least we actually see her character *develop* that sense of responsibility and she grows up to the point where she might just get trained to the point of being able to handle her mecha and survive combat. Still, in combat situations, as anyone who's played Head-to-head games can tell you, situational awareness is key. That and a definite familiarity with the controls of your fighter, otherwise, you may as well carry a huge bullseye saying "I'm a target! Hit me!" - JYN

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: N/A 3 stars N/A
Direction: N/A 3 stars N/A
Acting: N/A 3 stars N/A
Animation: N/A 3 stars N/A
Music: N/A 4 stars N/A
Translation: N/A 4 stars N/A
Overall Rating: N/A 3 stars N/A

[ café trivia ]

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