Kyoukai Senki Episode 1 [First Impression]
Eva’s First Impression
Man it’s been a while since I’ve last picked up and watched a mecha series. For the past year, I have been steering clear of the sad, heavier and outright tragic stories for a while due to dealing with enough grief, but I do enjoy these types of storylines, so I am excited to be finally dive back into it!
Kyoukai Senki is set in 2061 after a series of events when Japan was at the brink of collapse, powerful countries and allied powers stepped in. However as each of these nations took hold of their territories, it triggered an armed conflict known as the Boundary War led by unmanned Humanoid war machines with tactical AI known as AMAIM. As result of this war, Japan became divided up and ruled by these four powers, and its people fell under their control, living in fear and oppression.
Shiiba Amou is a 16 years old orphan who has a passion for salvaging parts from fallen AMAIMs and been building his own after he had found one stashed away an abandoned warehouse he had taken a liking to. Apart from his passion project, he doesn’t exactly have the most optimistic outlook of life, often wondering if there’s really any point in living in this reality when his future feels as though it is already set in stone. However that changes when he meets Gai, an autonomous AI, aka: an AI with a consciousness, and his avatar is something like a Komainu. Amou found him on his way back, tucked in the brushes screaming for someone to find him because his battery was running out. How Gai ended up there remains unclear, though perhaps it was as result of ejecting himself from fallen AMAIM. (It doesn’t seem to be completely out of the realm of possibilities given his intelligence and what he is capable of)
While Gai certainly introduced himself to be quite a loud chatterbox, he has already proven to be quite reliable when he saved Amou three times. The first time was when he was found. Gai detected the military approaching and advised Amou to live all the parts he had been carrying with him behind so they couldn’t use it as a reason to arrest him. The second was giving him just enough of a heads up to get the hell out of his apartment to avoid being caught by the military after his acquaintances were arrested under terrorism charges. The third time was the fact he had generously completed the assembly of AMAIM Kenbu that Amou had been working on all this time, which allowed Amou a means of survival by enabling him to pilot the AMAIM when military had attacked his base.
As AMAIM as more commonly own known to be unmanned AMAIMs controlled by tactical AIs or piloting remotely, it did give Amou a brief edge thanks to the officer’s initial assumption he was not in the machine itself. However it didn’t take too long for them to realize that was certainly a possibility and shifted their focus to the AMAIM he is piloting.
Speaking of which, I really liked the explanation of the process. Amou isn’t some genius pilot, nor does he really know anything about how AMAIMs system works, so Gai is a nifty partner when it comes to guiding him through it all. But man, I freaking died laughing when Gai told him to use his “special move” Bardiche Breaker. He was so passionate about it and Amou’s unimpressed reaction was absolutely priceless. He did it anyways, but as noted, it really wasn’t anything special, apart from throwing a hard punch, haha!
Now while Amou is relatively safe in his AMAIM, I am anxious about the fates of his friends. It is quite nerve-wracking to see them end the episode without telling us what their situation is now. They are being held hostage and could be killed at any moment given that the woman indicated that she intended to use them in attempt to make Amou to surrender. That is why I am not too confident whether they will actually get out of this ordeal alive. Hell, even if they do, I worry what will become of them now that they are associated with Amou since he is piloting an AMAIM. There’s no escaping the Terrorist label. Should they somehow survive this, they are going to have to figure out how to deal with that going forward.
Overall I really enjoyed this premiere! I found it struck a good balance of humor and the tragic reality that has befallen them. I am already quite fond of the dynamic between Gai and Amou, especially since they strike a nice combination of a loud and showy type with a calm and grounded. I am excited to see how their bond grows. I am going to give this one three episodes to see if this one clicks with me!
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