a.k.a. Brain Powered
Orphan, a long-hidden alien spaceship, is rising from the ocean depths, causing floods and earthquakes all over Earth. The earthquakes release two types of “Antibodies” (robotic organisms); the brutish Grand Chers and the intelligent Brain Powerd. Now, a group of Orphan supporters, known as Reclaimers, must battle the U.N.’s Novis Noah using these Antibodies for the fate of the world. In the center of this are Hime and Yuu, two teens trying to unravel the true purpose of Orphan and Brain Powerd.
summary by Ender
Highs: Intriguing story concepts; gorgeous music
Lows: Lackluster art and animation; poor action; story can’t hold its own weight
What happened here? Mecha designs by Nagano Mamoru (Five Star Stories), music by Kanno Yoko, art direction by Sato Masaru (His and Her Circumstances) and a grand script and direction by Tomino Yoshiyuki, what could possibly go wrong? Gather around and I’ll tell you a tale about how even the most ambitious of ideas can create the biggest of flops.
Like most of Tomino’s works, this story stems from a wealth of imaginative concepts. From the governmental power plays to the large cast of conflicted and interesting science fiction ideas, they all posses enough creativity to work well in this post-Evangelion age… just not in this story. Instead of stabilizing existing ideas (such as the existence of the Powerds or the oft-mentioned “Vital Net”), this series tosses in more ideas that, as intriguing as they are, do nothing other than confuse the viewer. Also, the cast doesn’t seem to stay in the roles assigned to them. Characters end up doing the weirdest things for reasons that are never explained. For example, Yuu works for the Reclaimers in the beginning of an episode, and by episode’s end he’s gotten beaten by Hime, hijacked a Brain Powerd, fought with his sister, yelled at his parents and finally kissed Hime. Where did that come from? By the end, I was asking all that and more.
The saving grace in this series is (you guessed it) Kanno Yoko‘s wonderfully uplifting score. I’m not kidding when I say this soundtrack deserves to be up there with her greatest works. Music like this belongs in something boldly animated and gorgeous to the eye; instead, it is forced to work with pathetic animation, marred CGI and an inglorious use of stills. C’mon, this coming from Sunrise in 1998? I expected better. And the mecha designs were only noteworthy for the suggestive “cockpits”.
I wanted to like this series, really I did. I try to push the blame onto the episode length. Had it been maybe forty or fifty episodes long, given enough time to explore all those concepts and flesh out the story and characters, then maybe it would have been a stand-out. Of course, that’s too late now. At most, I recommend Brain Powerd to those who want to know what not to do with brave new ideas. Be warned, though, that this anime might just leave you brain dead.
Brain Powerd can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.