Sacred SeveN: Star Driver of the Rebellion, You Have (not) Seen Anything Yet

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I’m obviously being facetious here by suggesting Sacred 7 is an amalgam of these high profile robot anime shows. It just so happens that I mainly watch robot anime shows so my frame of reference in watching a show like S7 is the mecha sub-genre. Nonetheless, I very much like what I’ve seen as pilot episodes go. If Tiger & Bunny went for the humorous, meta level of entertainment (and it’s doing a great job), Sacred 7 seems to be going for a more straightforward, conventional kind of show, which is a good thing too. I don’t want every show trying to be pandering to hipsters with their novelty and ‘originality’ (hyuk hyuk). Like with how Sunrise is covering its bases with its upcoming Gundam projects, it would seem that between Tiger & Bunny and S7 it’s covering the action hero bases as well. I like this comprehensive approach.

Sacred 7 is the new production by Sunrise, involving staff that participated in many robot anime shows such as Code Geass, Gundam 00, Zone of the Enders, and other Science Fiction anime such as Yamamoto Yohko, Planetes, Infinite Ryvius, KARAS, etc. Without giving too much away, in this post I’ll enumerate the elements that I saw that I find either interesting, excellently done, or both.

The show’s tagline is “People’s memories change the world!” Uh, yeah. That’s part of why I run a blog called “We Remember Love.”

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In the OP I see the lead hero fly using a surfboard. That’s as Eureka SeveN as it gets. I like it, especially since it allows the hero to fight on a platform and maintain a vertical posture as if fighting on the ground, only… NOT! Besides, we get Sky High in Tiger & Bunny and he hasn’t done anything interesting with his flying so far. Also, after watching the Magical Lyrical Girl: Nanoha, flying humans don’t really add that much in terms of making the action dynamic. So, a flying surfboard adds a layer of complexity that can lead to interesting fight dynamics – as was seen in Eureka SeveN.

[gg]_Sacred_Seven_-_01_[03F50447].mkv_snapshot_23.45_[2011.07.05_11.29.41]

The main cast joins a school club – a geology kind of club that’s into rocks and stuff. A far more pedestrian version of Star Driver’s Night Flight drama club which is set against the Glittering Crux organization, but definitely more interesting than your fundamental all powerful student council as found in Code Geass.

[gg]_Sacred_Seven_-_01_[03F50447].mkv_snapshot_15.34_[2011.07.05_11.34.41][gg]_Sacred_Seven_-_01_[03F50447].mkv_snapshot_18.23_[2011.07.05_11.36.55][gg]_Sacred_Seven_-_01_[03F50447].mkv_snapshot_15.38_[2011.07.05_11.36.09]

A robot, a transforming attack robot with three modes (this is all Macross, baby). I was already appreciative of the inclusion of mecha elements and the execution of which in Tiger & Bunny (at least the first time the piloted Armored Trooper-inspired unit showed up). But my god, this is just awesome. The unit is basically a tank that transforms into an upright roller-skating Knightmare Frame Code Geass style. Moreover, it fights the ‘super’ type enemy and draws blood.

This is something important, I feel: All you want from a ‘real’ type hero in a ‘super’ type show, is to damage the enemy – an appetizer to the main course of ‘super vs. super.’ A ‘super’ type character/unit is unwelcome in a ‘real’ type show, but ‘real types’ are always welcome anywhere. I didn’t draw up these rules, but that’s just how it is. Now, the ‘real type’ character/unit can do the ff:

  1. Damage the super type enemy early on, but ultimately fail at fighting it (but looking cool and awesome anyway)
  2. Defeat a super type enemy (ultimately a minor one in the food chain) during a special episode dedicated to the real type character/unit. Here s/he can even save the main’s life, etc.
  3. Defeat a super type enemy mid-boss during the finale/approaching the finale.
  4. Of course, fight and beat any other real type characters/units.

The butler tank bot did number one, and was very cool the whole time. I’d make it the prime highlight of the pilot episode until well, Arma went all Evangelion on his opponent’s ass.

[gg]_Sacred_Seven_-_01_[03F50447].mkv_snapshot_18.57_[2011.07.05_11.37.31]

Yes, I haven’t seen this level of physical brutality in a robot show since Rebuild 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance. The use of conventional and ‘real type’ ordnance and units against the super is indeed evocative of Evangelion, albeit this tradition extends all the way back to super robot shows like Choudenji Machine Voltes V, and Tossho Daimos. In these super robot shows, the conventional weapons exist to portray the fearsomeness of the super enemy. Evangelion’s obsession with ‘real type’ dynamics necessitated the conceit of the AT Field, which is pretty good as force field conceits go. But the main comparison with Evangelion is how the Arma fought like the Unit 01 in its own version of the berserker mode. Arma executed a full mount on the enemy lying supine on the ground, pounded it with strikes, and pretty much tore it apart using bare hands. It was great!

[gg]_Sacred_Seven_-_01_[03F50447].mkv_snapshot_06.47_[2011.07.05_11.29.59]

There’s a bunch of other things that I find less interesting (like the MASTER CLOTH, the Megaman style arm weapons/attacks), or isn’t very well done (the whole sequence where he turns from berserker to hero of justice; also WTF BUTLERS AND MAIDS so many maids, TWIN MAIDS), but to find four things in a pilot episode is a good yield in my book. So yes, I’m hyped for this show. Can’t wait to see more!

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
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45 Responses to Sacred SeveN: Star Driver of the Rebellion, You Have (not) Seen Anything Yet

  1. foshizzel says:

    For a first episode this was a lot of fun! Really excited to see more of this show, I was happy to see Arma knew how to fight right off the bat. Usually characters like him have to train and then we get to see them kick ass, that made me happy xD

    Great post! Very informative and ya Eureka7 flying surfboard! Sweet stuff.

  2. sadakups says:

    I actually liked the first episode. It went straight in your face going straight to action without telling much. Obviously the next episodes will have to do the show-and-tell.

    Shout outs Arma’s bike. Exactly what a hero needs to save the world.

  3. kluxorious says:

    Alma (according to MAL) as Evangelion fucking mad bots rocks my world. I am greatly annoyed that he will no longer be that badass. Now he’s just a gay looking dude with fancy armor. That pissed me off

    • Well, Shinji and Renton are snotty kids with copious amounts of fail. Their shows became awesome anyway. Besides, the Unit-01’s berserk mode had little to do with Shinji except for the part that he’s failing in a major way. I don’t think this is the last we’ll see of the wild armor.

  4. Myssa says:

    Maids. Maids everywhere. I know they’re an anime staple (especially for shows that specifically target the lonely otaku demographic), but I haven’t seen these many in a super-hero/robot show since… Gravion.

  5. krizzlybear says:

    I couldn’t help but compare this show to Star Driver as well. I’m not too much a fan of the angsty rebel portrayal of the protagonist at the start of the episode, but execution in character development was straightforward and reasonably executed. In particular, I liked the way he passed by the punks picking on that kid at both points of the story, and reacting in a noticeably different manner each time, reflective the experiences that he went through during the episode. It’s a very common technique in writing to bring the character back full circle and giving him a chance to make a decision on a mundane incident, and it was pretty neat. It certainly reminds me of FLCL when Naota drinks the black coffee at the end of the first episode, even though the FLCL example was unsurprisingly better-written.

    • Appeals to FLCL do nothing for me. I’ve tried rewatching it while digiboy was here and I’m still not a fan.

      The story elements in S7 are functionally executed, and I’m fine with that. As long as the action scenes don’t suck, the story doesn’t have to be what FLCL is puffed up to be.

  6. PP says:

    Had the same reaction when i watched S7.. I really hope this will turn out well.. but fingers cross =D

  7. Xard says:

    Anonymous Sun Jul 3 21:20:13 2011 No.51459837

    Okay. You guys know how sometimes you walk into your local AMPM or 7-11 and you catch something out of the corner of your eye.
    Yeah baby it’s one of those Convenience Store Calzones. You know the type, it’s just a greasy hotpocket.

    You know it’s low quality.
    You know it’s bad for you.
    But you still want it.
    You want that greasy pizza pocket inside you.
    So you buy it and you shove that shit in your mouth and it’s. so. gooooood.

    Then you look down at yourself and realize what the fuck you’re doing and start to cry.

    That’s what watching SS will be like.

    ******************

    I enjoyed this episode way more than I should have. And while GL brought up many fine points indeed he didn’t touch the main reason I’m watching this…as it was put by one other blogger: “I’ve got to confess, I would watch this no matter how bad it looks simply because Nakajima Megumi is the lead heroine. I watched Kampfer for her voice. Kampfer”

    Drillhair zettai ryouki heterochromatic loli with big tits and Ranka-chan’s voice, Yuki Kajiura doing music and general Sunrise action production values seen in PV were my main reasons for watching this. I was mentally preparing myself for another godawful series I had sworn to follow through for whatever reason (this time reason being Megumi finally focusing more on seiyuu stuff again in addition to music as MacrossF is finally over) and thus suffer with it week after week but to my surprise the episode was really entertaining, despite the tropes and cliches collection passing itself as writing and terrible pacing in last 5 minutes or so.

    Action looked *damn* great at times (like that “red mummy” evaesque rampage) and was constantly good. Plot is enjoyably silly. It also had LOL MAID ARMY LOLOL randumb moments, freaking stolen-from-Megaman gimp suit and in general VERY old school feel. All things pluses in my eyes. 2ch apparently had rumbled that this show could’ve been hero show from 10-20 years ago, perhaps even earlier. It certainly carried that kind of air IMO which was refreshing.

    But going by what we saw in first episode this isn’t mecha anime first and foremost. This is a goddamn tokusatsu show. Just think about it! Lolvidya too, damn Megaman armor…

    To finish I’d just like to say stone collecting club must be the most wtf inducing after school club I’ve seen in anime in a while. Seriously, what.

    • Too pessimistic, then again the guilt is strong in you.

      Thing is, NakaMegu’s performance here is pretty good so far, in that she sounds nothing like Ranka. Why is this a good thing? It’s because NO ONE SHOULD SOUND LIKE RANKA. Ranka’s voice is Ranka’s.

      • sadakups says:

        Heck, I didn’t even knew it was Megumi Nakajima until I saw the credits after watching. And she doesn’t have to sound like Ranka. Ranka is Ranka, just like you said.

      • Xard says:

        but I’m not feeling particularly guilty over watching this! One of my anime viewing habits involves going through C-film quality OVAs from 80s and 90s regularly and overall I really enjoy them for the schlock they are. 😛 I wouldn’t necessarily call any of them *good* though, because at least in my mind there’s difference between good and enjoyable.

        It’s too early to say whether Sacred Seven turns out to be “genuinely good” show (like, say, Usagi Drop most likely) or kind of “convenience store calzone”. It’s delicious either way and I’m going to enjoy it if first episode was good indicator of what to expect. If anything my response was positive, I was expecting completely unenjoyable shounen drivel but found myself rather taken with it.

        As for Megumi…well yeah, she isn’t playing Ruri like Ranka (she already proved her versatility with the batshit girl in Kämpfer IMO, her performance was one of the few good things in that series) for sure and I won’t blame anyone for not making the connection. It’s probably just that I’ve spent so much time lately watching and listening to interviews, Macross radio and information agency (she’s there with Endo) etc. that I would probably recognize her voice anywhere immeaditly… and think of Ranka automatically. With Ruri she’s closer to her real voice which is rather dark and low, I guess.

        ps. Not related to Sacred Seven but since you’re pino figured this would be nice to know… in her live performance last winter (http://www.jpcul.jp/articles/view/656.html&usg=ALkJrhgNc1mFucTpNSXA91am1wtK7aVZUg) NakaMegu sang acoustic cover of “Kailan” in Tagalog (going by posts by people who attended the concert a really good one too). 🙂

        • Gotcha!

          HOLY CRAP. “Kailan” cover! Jeeeeeesus Christ this was a huge hit… when I was 13 years old wwwwwwwwww (I can still sing it, though I’ll have to brush up with the lyrics). Must find this video!!!

          • Xard says:

            I listened to the original earlier today on youtube. Really liked it (the singer sounded *eerily* much like Maaya Sakamoto at times!) and I can see why it was a hit back in the day – and I really want to hear Megumi’s cover of it because I can see how well it would fit her vocals and voice. Pretty much everyone who heard it thought it was beautiful version and I feel left out… Hopefully she’ll cover it in studio for her second album (whenever that gets done), going by comments many were asking her do just that. 😀 She did 4 old pop covers in that concert (“Lovely Time Travel Show” being the concept after all) including at least one Oyanko Club song from 80s… It never stops amusing me how perfect casting they happened to get with Ranka by having a girl who was huge fan of 80s idols play a character who was in many regards essentially written as “80s idol” and as a contrast to Sheryl who was more of a modern pop star in vein of Beyonce and Britney Spears (don’t look at me like that, those are people Kawamori brought up as starting points for Sheryl). 🙂

            She had said something about wanting to sing Tagalog songs in future too at AX last year but I had no idea she had already done it last winter before I stumbled upon that page by accident 🙂

          • I listened to Kailan “When” again and yeah, you can make a case about Geneva Cruz and Nakajima Megumi sounding alike. Let’s just hope NakaMegu doesn’t take Geneva’s trainwreck route of a career. You make a good comparison between the 80s style idol in Ranka and Sheryl as the 00s post-diva. May’n is said to really like Britney Spears… so it’s no surprise how this somewhat figures in Sheryl the idol. May’n does at times use Britney-esque vocal tricks in some Sheryl songs (Welcome to My Fanclub’s Night, IIRC) and it’s a testament to our weaboo Macrossfaggotry that we don’t mind it in Sheryl songs as much as it’d annoy us in Britney songs.

          • Xard says:

            oh, and if you want a take stab at old school OVAs I recommend getting your hands on Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01

            http://myanimelist.net/anime/2461/Metal_Skin_Panic_MADOX-01

            It’s pretty much one of the best one shot OVAs I’ve ever seen, definetly the best mecha one. Hilarious stuff with some really impressive action and mechanical animation by young Hideaki Anno etc. GAINAX people. Definetly worth a watch for anyone into mechas or old school OVAs in general 🙂

            (a lot better than SRW OG anime for sure)

          • Relevant to my interests. Thanks for the tip!

        • Xard says:

          Here’s opening action scene that shows the meticulous detail put into animation etc. well

          though it doesn’t reflect the OVA overall that well in terms of tone, being a military performance test for the namesake unit. The actual storyline, well…

          “If you find a mysterious box on a truck in your technical college, the best and most obvious course of action to take is to open it. If it happens to contain a suit of powered armor and a manual,only read the passage that tells you how to turn it on and get inside. After that happens, there’s no better way to celebrate the activation of your newly-found robot suit by visiting your ex-girlfriend in a crowded tower.

          Uh-huh.”

          hilarity ensues 😀

          As for May’n/Britney vocal ticks bit, I had no idea… not sure how to resolve the cognitive dissonance now, haha. Perhaps I should just chalk this up to “2D > 3D” and be done with it. 😛

          Though I’d like to claim honor for noticing the 80s idol Ranka/modern pop diva Sheryl deal on my own I can’t do that. Kawamori has said it outright in more than a few interviews. It makes a lot sense in any case. Only “flaw” in such straightforward characterization of their musical personas is Ranka’s obvious moeness which is very contemporary…so it’s more like Ranka is 80s idol with dash of modern moe thrown in IMO.

          great another post without anything to do with SS…sorry

  8. WhatSht says:

    First thing i noticed when watching Sacred Seven, Arma looks too much like Lelouch and he is scarier than the bullies in school, still wondering why does he collect rocks in the river.

    • Xard says:

      But our socially awkward protagonist doesn’t look like Lelouch in the least apart from the eye bit which seems to be something modern Sunrise anime absolutely needs…

    • You never collected rocks when you were younger? Man, rocks are cool. My interest in geology was never as strong as my interest in astronomy (which was pretty much mythology, really), but I used to collect all kinds of interesting rocks. When I traveled, even as late as 2004 when I was already 27, I would take one rock from where I came from and make sure to leave one rock there taken from somewhere else. It just felt like the thing to do.

  9. Reid says:

    That triple-mode (well, two-and-a-half mode really) robot might be one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while as far as mecha in anime goes. I am hyped to see it in action some more, especially against some opponents more of its own class – the super evil monster things should be left to Kamen Ride…I mean Arma. When the mech engaged that knife weapon on its left arm and the high frequency vibration effect kicked in, I began to grin in murderous delight. I basically just skipped to that part in the episode because I was on the tail end of my lunch break and I didn’t have time to check out the whole thing, but I definitely will as soon as I’m able.

    • Yes, that would be the best thing… more real robot on real robot pr0n. This is a way for mecha anime to thrive, that is to show up in non mecha anime shows. I can’t believe it isn’t being done as often as it could. It’s probably because so few studios have the talent to pull such things off. And of course you have to have a project that’s wide open enough to accommodate such elements.

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  11. I’ve rewatched this episode, which was a great decision because I fucking adore it now. I love this post because you did what I wanted to do, which is inspect all the great database shit going on here and attention to detail that stands on a Kyoto Animation level. Now I might do a companion post to this one what with my heavily different interests.

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  13. Jack says:

    To simplify my position on this work (so far!) greatly:

    This show has some really pretty action sequences with great animation and neat choreography.

    Everything else, like the story and characters, is a horrible collection of badly written stupid nonsense, pulling together the most route and cliched ideas imaginable into one impressive piece.

    However, it was entertaining.

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  16. So what if a large percentage dismiss this as “meh generic-I’ll pass up”? They better look closely beyond the tropes by watching it once more. It becomes endearing when this show has two more aces in the sleeve: Gumi and Yuki Kaijura.

    PROFIT!

    The first two episodes are entertaining, no doubt. OBTW… I’d better check Xardie’s link. +100 points. RECOMMENDED! 😀

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