This will feel like a major slap to the face if you bought into the hype, but it’s certainly a salvageable project.
First off, some of the hype for this show is warranted thanks to 2 names: Ei Aoki and Hiroyuki Sawano. Known for directing Fate Zero and Kara no Kyoukai: Overlooking View, Ei Aoki’s visual direction and consistent pacing keeps me engaged regardless of how good/bad the content might be. And while his pieces are starting to sound repetitive at this point, Hiroyuki Sawano still delivers the grand, loud and exciting tracks his music is known for (ex.Gundam Unicorn, Guilty Crown, Attack on Titan, Kill la Kill, etc). In summary, it’s easy to look at and exciting to listen too.
However, don’t expect the fact Gen Urobuchi is attached to this project means that the story will be ground-breaking in any shape or form. In fact, the biggest problem I have with this show is how everything about the story can be described with one word: generic. A post-war earth that was nearly destroyed by martians is forced into another war after being framed for the murder of their diplomatic princess, thus pitting armored elites against a helpless fighting force who’s only hope relies on teenage military students. I have literally summed up the first 4 eps to you in that sentence besides 2 twists: the princess is still alive and those that attempted her murder were the martian elites.
But surely a familiar script can be saved with great execution and memorable characters, right? Well those two aspects are lacking here as well. While the writers definitely sell the idea that these martians are capable of defeating mankind twice in a row, they consist mostly of one-dimensional arrogant aristocrats who’d do anything for power(exceptions include a former earthling and the martian females). As for the earthlings, they all either fit a military or teenage stereotype while having a male lead so robotic he makes Tatsuya seem like a comedian. Of course none of these characters have the slightest hint of development, and most of them die so quickly or stick to a single cause that they’re quickly lost in the predictable script. And even if I praised the visual direction, the actual visuals consist of above average 2D animation mixed with some of the worst CG I have seen in a long time. Knights of Sidonia was a better choice than this.
Most people would describe the descriptions above as indications of this being a disappointment. And how couldn’t it considering how promising the early line-up staff for it seemed? But I waited until the final news was revealed and immediately lowered my expectations once I learned at Anime Expo that Gen Urobuchi only wrote the first 3 eps and saw how shitty the CGI was. What was the result? A show that could have been anger-inducing becoming a somewhat fun romp with good direction and music.