I just finished watching Geneshaft as part of my quest to watch more anime. My initial thought is, I’m glad there was only 12 episodes. It’s not that Geneshadft was bad, but it wasn’t too good, certainly not up to the same standards as Last Exile or Serial Experiments Lain (although for Kevin, that might be a good thing!).
Geneshaft takes place several hundred years in the future. Humanity has taken the drastic step to genetically manipulate itself to reduce violent and unpredictable tendencies in itself. To that end, the number of males to females is set at a 1:9 ratio, and each male has a Register (basically a minder to keep male unpredictability under control) who accompanies him. For the past 200 years, there has been no war.
When the story opens, Earth comes under attack by a giant, golden ring that appears in orbit. It causes massive damage to Earth and is the catalyst for sending the ship, Bilkis and its top-secret weapon, the Shaft on a mission to seek out and destroy the controllers of the ring.
It all sounds fairly interesting, but right from the start, the characters just don’t cause you to care about them. Their whiny, or incredibly conceited, or excessively arrogant. You’d think those traits would have been gengineered out by that time. The story continues on, we find out the secrets behind the Bilkis, the Shaft, and the force behind the rings. The writers had so much material to work with. How would genetic engineering re-shape a society? What is the effect of so few males? How do people re-act in a time of crises after having known peace for 200 years? Sadly, while the story tries to be profound, it comes off as pretentious. I think most of the problem lies in the fact the writers didn’t try to be subtle about any of their messages. They would show you the nail (the message espoused by a certain character), then hammer it home with the death of the character and the other’s reaction to it. Sigh. People died needlessly, to me, and acted totally inappropriately. And really, why does Earth have a massive space fleet if its been at peace for 200 years?
Technically, this show look good to great. Its a mix of 2D and 3D CGI, and the space scenes, especially the fleet shots and the Jupiter space, are outstanding. The Shaft itself looks like a giant-robot, and it is to some extent. Otherwise, the animation itself is just decent. The one big beef about the presenetation I have is the music. They chose to use a faux 80’s heavy guitar rock soundtrack. At times, it sounded like a deranged Joe Satriani (and yes I had that album) was let loose in the studio. It totally didn’t go with the show at all, except in a limited number of instances. I expect a more orchestral sound when watching a space themed show, so maybe it was just me.
Overall, 2.5 stars. Maybe I’ll update this later and actually put the stars in…