maandag 12 januari 2015

Shirogane no Ishi Argevollen - review

Look at me, I`m on a roll, that`s already the second item on my backlog I managed to work away today lol.

Okay, being strapped to the chair with the knee causing serious issues does help as well, as I am basically obliged to sit down and watch television...


Argevollen begins near the border of the United Kingdom of Arandas as an army of Ingelmia attacks it, starting an invasion of the kingdom.  The Arandas forces have fallen back on their last border defence, the Great wall, but are hopelessly outmatched and outclassed.

Tokimune is a rookie pilot of an Arandas mech, together with team mates Silfy and Lorenz.  The cool thing is that the Inglemia mechs actually looks like a sort of Mad Cat mech, pretty awesome if you ask me.  These basic mechs of both sides are called `Trail Kriegers`.

They encounter a civilian transport being ambushed, and against orders Tokimune engages but is soon on the verge of defeat.  He meets a girl named Jamie who tries desperatly to protect the convoy`s payload, a strange mech called the "Silver Will", or Argevollen.  This is a very fast and movable mech, controlled by the power of the mind.

Gradually, he learns to control it as they mount a rescue party.  However, the top brass want to take the suit for their own purposes while Jamie is forced to remain onboard as the Argevollen`s systems operator.  Together, they decide what exactly it is that is hidden within the military.  We learn that Tokimune is driven by the death of his older sister, and that his commanding officer, Captain Samonji, knows more about it, as he was dating her at the time.

When Arandras launches a suprise attack on the Ingelmia base called The Graveyard, the Argevollen is outmatched by the Trail Krieger of the experienced Major Daniels, but does manage to overcome it barely.  The major`s friend, Richthofen, returns to the bar they where supposed to share a bottle and drinks it in honour of deceased friend, vowing he will take down the `Demon of Arandras`.  In the meantime, the captain comes clean with Tokimune and tells him how his sister died in a strange military experiment.  He also blames himself for not ending the experiment, even though at the time this was within his power.  The experiment itself involved a prototype of the Argevollen, which by means of a device called the U-Link that could remote control other Kriegers but at a great strain to the one pilotting the main machine.

Namie Portman, a young girl from Tokimune`s class, is then added to the 8th Independant Unit, and he starts acting protective in an older brother way towards her.  The enemy in the meantime is attacking with a suit resembling the Argevollen in power and manoeuvring speed, the Sturm Alpha, and piloted by Richthofen.  Tokimume is pushed hard to fend off the attacks, and while his team rigs an abandoned factory, Tokimune is overcome by the system and goes in a blind berserker rage.  Only the ensuing explosion saves a badly damaged Argevollen from certain destruction and Tokimune being prohibited to pilot is.

When his friends are under heavy attack, he regains control over the Argevollen and defeats the Sturm Alpha, but at the cost of grave injuries in body and mind.  When the Ingelmia`s commander, General Zarl, is shot by his intelligence officer Lothar, this causes a shift in power and the time bought this way allows Arandas to gain a load of mass produced, U-Link controlled suits, the Perpevollens, and commanded by Captain Samonji.  This leads to heavy counter attacks on Ingelmia`s positions, and quickly breaking through their lines.

When Jamie runs a system check on the Argevollen, she experienced the U-Link system that Tokimune has to deal with every time he takes control.  However, the company behind the suit and the U-Link seemingly leaks the information in part to Ingelmia as well, and they devellop a whole new series of suits, the Sturm Beta.  Equivalent in speed in power to the Perpevollen, but being manned just not as effective, they make this up in sheer numbers and the balance of power shifts back to Ingelmia.  Arandas is on the verge of capitulation, but Birgadier General Cayenne places a coup and claims to fight right until the end.  This results in infighting within Arandas, and the 8th is asked to stop the Perpevollen`s, though in doing so this would secure Ingelmia`s victory and seal Arandas fate as a subjugated nation...

This results in the unveiling of a hidden ability within U-Link.  As Argevollen faces Samonji, the captain can shut down and then take over each and every `next generation` mobile suit.  Tokimune and his friends decide to try and recapture the suit and stop the captain, and succeed unknowingly helped by Richthofen who succumbs to the mind system in his Sturm Alpha, and manage to connect to the machine spirit, regaining full control independantly from Samonji`s suit.  Samonji, apparently having a death wish, marches the suits out of Arandas as he reveals this is what Reika, Tokimune`s deceased sister, was just all she wanted to see one day... the nature behind the borders of the Great Wall.  Samonji then let`s the U-Link sytem die, shutting down all the suits and ending the war...

What I liked about the series

Looks as a regular, not that far in the future war, in which infantry, tanks and artillery still have a role to play, compared to most mecha anime where they are just fodder to be swiftly swept away.

The total, anti climatic end.  With all three main antagonists, one would expect a huge mecha three way brawl, but instead Samonji just walked out and shut down each and every suit.  In a technical way the bad guys kind of win.

What I didn`t like

Not the greatest of animating works, more of a regularlook to it.

The story has a feel all the time of `done before`, the story just isn`t that very refreshing


It is a show you can watch, but that won`t be leaving a lasting impression in the mecha genre.  Not to worst of stuff out there, but rather average run of the mill material.

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