Secret Santa Project 2014 – Panzer World Galient
So once again I decided to participate in this year’s Secret Santa project organised by Reverse Thieves – but then everything got ridiculously busy and so I’m late getting this review done. The concept is simple; you get three series recommended to you by an anonymous blogger based on your anime list, and you have to review at least one of them before Christmas Day.
This year my recommendations were Robotics;Notes, Love Live! and Panzer World Galient, which made my choice pretty easy really since I actively avoided Robotics;Notes & Love Live! when they aired – so 80s mecha it was! I’ve literally just finished Galient with the aid of some alcohol and so it is review time – apologies to my Secret Santa for the delay and the fact I wasn’t massively keen on your recommendations.
I opted for Panzer World Galient not only because it was the only show left after I discarded those I really didn’t want to watch, but also because it is a Ryousuke Takahashi series and despite his pedigree I’ve yet to see anything he’s made. Unfortunately I don’t think Galient was the best introduction to his work, which is probably why I had never heard of it prior to it appearing amongst my Secret Santa recommendations.
Panzer World Galient is set in a universe that blends sci-fi mecha action with medieval warfare and follows a young Prince as he struggles to reclaim his kingdom and mother from an alien conqueror. It is a set-up which should have been exciting and immersive, especially since it actually spans multiple worlds, but nothing is developed enough to really make me care. Escaflowne is the show that I was constantly comparing Galient to because it has a similar aesthetic, but Escaflowne is the more interesting show on every level. This is unfortunate because I honestly did want to get sucked into Jordy and Galient’s adventures – there was loads of potential in the general premise.
The show never really seems to be in a hurry to get anywhere (until the very rushed finale where it became obvious they were trying to tie up loose ends in a limited time). The fights are all very repetitive and I ended up zoning out for most of them until some nugget of plot was fired my way. Galient is the titular robot and has the thickest plot armour – it basically never loses a fight, something that is pretty baffling considering its pilot is 12 years old and had literally zero experience with mechs before falling into Galient’s cockpit and becoming the chosen one!
In general I found that the super advanced evil empire with their mechs & guns didn’t really gel well with the native population and their more primitive use of swords & bows. It just confused me why foot-soldiers brandishing swords are actually sent against giant mechs as if they stood any kind of chance! Actually saying that, the natives don’t really seem all that phased by the metal monstrosities their enemies employ and are pretty adaptable when some advanced weaponry falls into their hands, they even manage maintenance of mechs with very little instruction. It just felt like not enough was being done with the primitive world setting – what was the point in making a big deal out of the stark difference in technological advancement if the playing field is going to be instantly evened up by the super mecha Galient?
The characters themselves are another issue I had with the series. Considering this is a 25 episode show there is painfully little character development. The majority of characters are exactly the same from beginning to end, with the lone exception being the antagonist, Morder (and he only really changes at the very end of the show). I wouldn’t have minded the rather one-note fights and slow pacing if the character dynamics were interesting, but such was not the case here, leaving me with very little to engage with.
On the positive side this is a pretty nicely animated series and there is some really nice design work on the mecha. I especially enjoyed the centaur mechs – they were fun to watch. Production values in general were pretty good, if very 80s (loved all the old mech sound-effects).
So unfortunately I can’t really profess to have fallen in love with Panzer World Galient and it was a bit of a struggle to finish the series so I’ve only given it 6/10. But I am appreciative of the fact that this show was something a bit different to what I’ve been watching lately and does make me want to check out some of Takahashi’s better regarded shows in the near future.