Gunparade Orchestra anime review

Gunparade Orchestra anime review
The story focuses and revolves around the 108th Guard Squad, stationed in Aomori. A poorly equipped unit with very little military standing, it is often viewed as a 'reject camp' for pilots not making the grade for the elite units based in Hokkaido. The apparent helpless nature of this force is hardly a deterrent for the encroaching enemy armies, ever closing in on both the 108th and the rest of the empire. The young pilots of the 108th, who had dreamed on returning home, are plunged forcefully and unwillingly into a war.

Faze to Love, by Lantis, starts out as a hazy and indistinct presentation that gradually resolves into a riotous techno song with a driving beat.  The ultimate form calls to mind the work of Two-Mix, creators of fan favorites such as the Gundam Wing songs. As it is the opening track for Gunparade Orchestra, one can only assume the authors deliberately intended to call to mind the atmosphere of that classic forerunner of the High School Romance/Giant Robot/World War genre.  (An odd term to use, perhaps, but ultimately accurate.  Even a brief glance at recent titles will reveal three seasons of FMP, EVA, the aforementioned Gundam Wing, Gundam Seed, and Gunparade March as predecessors in this genre.)

Two things are immediately clear in the first episode: first, one should expect a great deal of tongue-in-cheek activity - a talking penguin opens by giving the viewer his philosophy of the world.  Second, this series is firmly placed in the Gunparade world, a bleak world where mechanized brigades of barely-competent highschoolers serve as mankind's only defense against hordes of rampaging aliens.  ("Bleak" might be a little redundant, there.)

In contrast to Gunparade March, Gunparade Orchestra has a darker and less poetic outlook on life.  Viewers expecting to find material on par with the heart-wrenching third episode lantern memorial story arc of March will be disappointed.  Rather than the unified student front and lighthearted romantic comedy of March, we find a disgruntled and frighteningly insubordinate group of loners determined to challenge authority at almost every turn, repeatedly resulting in near-catastrophe for the team.  Whereas Gunparade March was the story of the heroic struggles of a group devoted to each other in the face of insuperable evil, Gunparade Orchestra is the story of compounded idiocy in the face of daily routines.

It takes several episodes for the inevitable loner boy/competent but emotionally insecure girl romantic plotline to reveal itself.  Once revealed, things move glacially but steadily, in contrast to the progress of Gunparade March, where the romance was continually plagued by setbacks (often to comedic benefit.)  The authors pull a "gotcha!" on the viewers by implying later that the entire messy start was meant to serve as the backdrop for an inspirational period of team formation and the building of a new legend.  It's a nice idea in theory, but an anime series should not presume too much patience on the part of the viewer.  Overall, Gunparade Orchestra suffers from dissonance.  There is a lot less handwaving of admittedly complex issues, but the resulting show is not any more rewarding to watch - a good thing to keep in mind the next time one complains about abuse of suspension of disbelief in anime.

Better than review, is a Trailer video of: Gunparade Orchestra. Watch it now:
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