Otaku USA Magazine
Glass Fleet, Volume 2 Review

Gonzo has come a long way since bursting forth onto the anime scene, showing that computer animation can merge effectively, even if not seamlessly, with traditional cel-style artwork. At this point, it’s pretty difficult to randomly point at a series and not hit one that’s been produced through Gonzo’s animation studio; they’re everywhere! Judging from the way Glass Fleet has been going so far, though, it could be that they’re spreading themselves just a little too thin.

You know it’s a bad sign when you don’t even find a Gonzo series that particularly well made, visually speaking. If there’s one thing viewers will notice way before digging deeper into this series, it’s that it’s not exactly one of the more outstanding works of animation the studio has churned out. Despite debuting in 2006, Glass Fleet already looks dated. The CG is nondescript, to say the least, and the rest of the frames range so drastically in quality that it becomes difficult to judge.


As far as story goes, the rocky first steps that volume one took don’t do too much to right themselves in the subsequent chapters, though it does have its moments. Episode six begins with Michel and his crew bringing some new faces on board after providing rescue, one of which Michel believes to be his brother. However, this man has no recognition of Michel, or at least he pretends that this is the case. The ensuing back-and-forth kicks off another five episodes of melodrama and political maneuvering that doesn’t really care too much whether or not it’s in outer space.

It’s fine that the show focuses more on the characters, but none of them are really very interesting in the first place, and haven’t begun to stand out more throughout this second volume. The pirate Cleo remains one of the only players worth watching, and Michel’s shining moment of this disc is the reveal of “his” true identity; a gender-bender blowout by which any viewer would be hard-pressed to be surprised.

Perhaps Glass Fleet is just weighed down too heavily by its potential. A Gonzo space opera has a lot of room to soar, especially one involving an undefeatable glass ship. What we end up with is a melting pot of Gonzo’s own originality, boiled down into drawn out scenarios in which, essentially, rebels fly through space vying to defeat a Holy Emperor and his imperial army. Let’s face it, if an obese character sporting a tri-beard doesn’t do it for me, nothing will.

 

It would be a real treat to be wowed by this series, but so far there’s not much that’s clicking. Maybe in a galaxy far, far away, a more tightly paced and well-produced version exists for our glorious consumption, but this ain’t it.


Comments