Active Raid pulled off a pretty great episode this week, indulging in some classic giant robot love and putting the show’s themes to work. It was clearly a canned genre story, but there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as the ingredients are good and they’re mixed together well. And here, the archaic but compelling nature of giant robots fit perfectly into Active Raid’s usual mix of idealism and pragmatism, offering fun dramatic highlights and plenty of melancholy thoughts on dreams and aging. It wasn’t an overwhelmingly great episode or anything, but it was heartfelt and well-told. More of this please!
You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my episode notes below.
Asami got corralled by the boss Funasaka into some random thing on her day off
Drew and Morgan, Japan’s “world-class giant robots”
Asami framing giant robots as something nostalgic, and the boss talking about how Japan was once at the forefront of robotics
A generation of kids grew up watching robots in anime, and then went on to work in robotics themselves
Giant robots ended up being impractical in terms of gas consumption, and couldn’t compare to Willwears
Dr. Kasumigaseki, one of the creators of the giant robots, who now lives in a nursing home and has forgotten much of himself
A very sad reflection on abandoning the past
The government confiscated the robots in some scheme
“The others switched to careers in industries where they can apply their skills”
And now this guy is repairing clocks
“We never thought we’d see a whole field disappear. Now I wonder what our dreams even were…”
This episode reminds me of Watchmen in a few ways
“I’ll be waiting for you, boy”
The doctor gave the boss a dream, inspired him. Now the doctor is senile and the industry is gone
This episode is rushed, but it kinda has to be
It’s also the first episode where the overt plot has some thematic weight to it
Morgan was stolen!
Lemme guess, the old boss is gonna fight him in the other giant robot?
It’s got a sleep-induction device
Shimura Makoto, who was supposed to be Morgan’s official pilot. His future was stolen by the death of the industry, but unlike their boss, he wasn’t able to adapt. An echo of the last episode, where Madoka had to come to terms with a future where her talents weren’t useful
“Only Drew can save us from this crisis!”
And the boss wakes Dr. Kasumigaseki’s old instincts
“My lab coat!” Still dignified
All of them are brought back to the past
“I will not let anyone use robots for evil! Drew Drill Punch!”
“Take this steel-clad metal fist!”
“You should have known that this fuel inefficiency drove the giant robots into ruin.” It was Funasaka’s accepting of the facts that led him to victory
And the doctor died