Haven Review: Zone of the Enders Anime

enders5First up is our disclaimer. We received this anime for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

Zone of the Enders (ゾーン オブ エンダーズ)

Follow the story of a washed out drunken space-trucker James Links, who took a job out of desperation, only to end up with the possession of Dolores, a giant mecha with a child-like attitude. He’s then accused of a murder which he did not commit, due to an unknown assailant trying to steal said mecha, while killing the cargo inspection crew. This incidentally got his two children involved in a far reaching-conspiracy, due to a long history of troublesome relations between Earth, Mars and anyone at the border of Sol.

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Ladies and gentlemen, introducing our protagonist.

Zone of the Enders sits quite high on the scale of hard sci-fi, minus the giant robots and some odd technology here and there. Combine this with some excellent animation, and you’ll see just how awesome space and zero gravity can make intense action scenes even more awesome. Despite the nature of the show, it holds a steady pace and is not afraid to build its characters, which is quite refreshing. It’s sprinkled with genuine funny moments, as well. A very noteworthy thing I already mentioned is the main protagonist. Instead of some moody teenager getting his hand on a mecha wile stringing along a harem of buxom babes, we’re introduced to a rough-around-the-edges father who just doesn’t know what to do with himself anymore.

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Dolores, a mecha with the mind of a child.

The protagonist’s son is not very fond of his wayward father who left after his wife disappeared. A the start, he downright hates him. The fact that he got fired (and then arrested) did not help at all.

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The colorful and slightly dysfunctional family.

While his daughter also holds some resentment, she’s not as vocal and violent in her reactions, which makes all the characters very human and down-to-earth. Naturally, they have an overly cute cat-like pet with them as well.

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Giant robots inbound; look at that protruding cod piece. In this series it’s a literal cockpit.

I will not go much more into details, otherwise I would spoil the fun. I found this anime very enjoyable, even if the plot is pretty much driven by contrived conveniences and stubborn fools who can’t see much further than the tip of their nose. Shortsighted and stone-headed fools do work for the most part, but it becomes a bit silly when it requires the characters not to die. The music is quite decent, with a very hammy rock intro song that sprinkles its lyrics with a solid dose of “Engrish”. The art direction, while well drawn and executed, has some very generic character designs. This for me brings things down a bit. As a side note, I have no idea how this ties into the Zone of the Enders games.

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I would trust this man to lead neither an army nor a criminal investigation.

I have yet to actually play the games. Apparently this title is a prequel. Enjoy the show and look for it at an online retailer to get a box copy. 

 

Njål Sand