Aptly described as Slayers in Space, this series delivers lots of action, craziness and just pure silliness in a fast-paced space-action, comedy adventure. It's Slayers right down to having the Sword of Light. Created by the same studio and manga-ka that did Slayers, drawing a parallel between the two is difficult not to do. However, despite the similarities in drawing style and craziness, we're still drawn into the insane action. With a formula which has already proven to be most successful at bringing in audiences, we can only wonder if the same concepts will hold true. Lots of comedy and action initially as viewers become familiar with the characters and their idiosyncracies, followed by the introduction of an all-powerful (or at least extremely powerful) antagonist who will push our heros to their very limits and beyond... Ah, but then, we get ahead of ourselves at this point.
This first episode of course deals with introducing various characters whom we are likely to see lots of as the series progresses. Kane who possesses the sword of light, Canal, his trusty sidekick and the Swordbreaker's AI system, and Milli who wants to be the best in the universe at anything she puts her mind to. We also have a brief cameo at the very end by Rail Claymore, a member of the Universal Guardians, the intergalactic police agency. All in all, not too many introductions to keep track of in this first episode.
Perhaps most noteworthy of the characters themselves is the voice acting. Megumi Hayashibara does an excellent job portraying Canal, and Hoshi Soichiro likewise is well in character for Kane. Hiiragi Fuyumi who portrays Milli however, tends to be a touch weaker in depicting her character. Whether this will improve over time, shall be seen, however, she does have the potential of being an incredibly annoying character in this series, both through her acting as well as the character as shown so far.
Otherwise, I found the most annoying aspect for this episode was the animation in the opening credits and shots. Seeing the Swordbreaker for the first time, there is no question that the space scenes were done by computer graphics, and not particularly smoothly or well at that. Sticking out like a sore thumb, it really detracts from the rest of the animation and could be most annoying if they don't do something to try and make it blend in more.
However, while money wasn't spent on the animation, the music is another story. Overall the music is well done. There is a really boppy j-pop opening and ending theme, as well as some interesting melodies that have been introduced here for the series. I really like the theme music for the Swordbreaker's entrance, it has a good martial tempo and a strong melody line. Time will tell how much new stuff they will introduce and how much will be recycled.
The actual story here isn't particularly deep or original, but then, that wasn't the main concept for this episode either. Really, the main directive as near as I can tell is to try to catch an audience based on the slapstick humour and silly situations. The story itself is secondary to that, and as such is really little more than a shell of a concept. However, there are a couple of interesting little points which come up, especially Kane's constant comments of his grandmother.
While the story isn't deep, the direction tries to keep things going and the audience captivated through timing of key lines and action, and in that they do succeed fairly well. All in all, despite the lack of any real story here, this first episode has enough comedy and action to keep viewers interested to the next episode to see what happens next. How long it will take to break into a real story however time will tell. Onwards say I and into a story please...
- JYN, 2001.03.10