Friday, August 22, 2008
Overall Rating: B+
Summary: Set on the planet Daikūriku, which is populated by a humanoid race who are all born female. At the age of 17, everyone is expected to choose a permanent gender and then live their lives that way. The focus of the anime is on two warring nations, the Simulacrum and the Argentum.
The Simulacrum seems more technologically advanced, and is cleaner, while the Argentum has technology similar to that of industrialized nations of the 20's and 30's. This includes zepplins and biplane fighter aircraft. The Argentum's economy has been failing, and pollution is on the rise, so as the series begins, Argentum is preparing to launch an attack on Simulacrum, who are the only ones with helical motor technology. The Argentum believe this technology will help them improve their economy and clear their skies.
The main defense of the Simulacrum is the Simoun, which are aircraft that can seat two and is powered by two helical motors. The helical motor is technology from an ancient civilization, and not even the Simulacrum fully understand it. The Simulacrum's theocracy is centered around these aircraft and their pilots.
In the past, the Simulacrum found the ships during an excavation, and according to their religion, two priestesses descended from heaven and explained to them how to operate the Simouns. Both the ship's power and the Simulacrum's religion center around the Tempus Spatium. They beleive it is this power that allows young women to change their genders at 17 and powers the Simoun.
The Simoun are crewed by priestesses called Sibyllae. The Sibylla (the plural of Sibyllae) have not yet chosen a gender, and doing so disqualifies them as Sibylla. In fact, because of the war some Sybylla have been given permission to delay their choice of gender past the age of 17 to defend the country.
The main weapon of the Simoun is a large glowing green gem, positioned between the cockpits, which produces an effect known as Ri Mājon when the Simoun is flown in the correct pattern. The Simoun Gem is activated before takeoff when the two Sibyllae kiss it after kissing each other (which isn't really explained at all). The Ri Mājon are incredibly powerful and can destroy all the ships in an area if successfully done.
Sibyllae are organized into chors of twelve priestesses. A choir at full strength operates six Simoun, which is sufficient to allow them to inscribe the most complex known Ri Mājon patterns in the sky. The series focuses on one particular Simoun choir, Chor Tempest, which has a reputation as an elite unit.
I decided to check this anime out at Gen Con Indy last week, because it sounded interesting. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I love watching anime at cons. Unfortunately, the crowd there was made up of immature boys who high-fived and giggled nervously every time the girls kissed. I admit to being confused by why they needed to kiss to activate the Simoun, but the behavior of the boys made the anime a lot less enjoyable. Regardless, what I saw of it was really good, and I ended up interested in seeing what happens next, so I will definitely be checking more of it out. Just a warning that you should go into it knowing there are girls kissing and some ennuendo, but it really didn't come off as all that sexual to me. More like when you're in elementry school or junior high/middle school, and you know that you like someone, but you have no idea what to do about it.