Sara Werec aspires to be a Strain pilot for the Union like her brother Ralph. While still in training, Sara’s academy is attacked by Deague forces, the enemies of the Union. To her shock, her friends die, and most of all, she finds out her brother has betrayed the Union and joined Deague. As a result of the battle, her Mimic, an important part of being a Strain pilot, is damaged. (c. 2006 Rating: Average)
This show is mostly focused on our heroine Sara, her brother, and Sara’s shipmates at the Libertad. There’s not much about the people from Deague, and a little about those from the Union. So I guess I should say there’s really nothing of epic proportions to see here.
But what I really liked with this show, in the beginning, was the way they killed off characters. When I saw the first episode, I was like wow! Finally a really mean, ass-kicking mecha show! Or it seemed to promise that at the start. Unfortunately the show lost steam at the halfway mark with not-so-useful detours, and only slightly recovered.
The Sara-Ralph mech fights were a nice watch, but I though Ralph was a little staid. He has a boring face, IMO. Sara on the other hand, feels similar to Cagalli from Gundam Seed, except that Cagalli seems to pull off that strong-headed girl role more beautifully.
- Animation at 0.50/0.75. I like the Gloire type Strain, it looks cool. On the other hand, there’s not much detail in the characters to warrant a full score. I thought the animation really stepped up in the last 2 episodes, but otherwise the characters felt a little plain. Or generic, whatever.
- Characters at 0.75/1. I actually hate the loli in this show. Why must there be a loli, I asked myself. Anyhow, I’m glad it wasn’t an annoying loli. (But I’m still suspicious she was just a little traitor in the end. Poor Ralph.) On the other hand, most characters, especially those from the Libertad, are likable in a way. The bullies did inject a little drama in the show early on though.
- Music at 0.50/0.75. Fine, but not that exceptional.
- Story/Plot/Dialogue at 0.50/1. One of the low points of this show was the middle part, where that infamous Lavinia strutted her ‘stuff’ for all to see. The show only had 13 episodes, and they had to waste it with meaningless fanservice. Perhaps they were trying to spice it up, but wasted episodes don’t really help the show in the long run. Or were they afraid of running out of points in the story to flesh out? They could have showed more from Ralph Werec’s side, or from those who bullied Sara earlier in the series. Or they could have developed more between Sara and her fellow pilot Carris (oops a little spoiler hehehe). If Sara had really developed feelings for Carris, they could have injected more angst with his death. More emo is win, especially that Sara isn’t the type who shows emotions a lot.
- Entertainment value at 1.25/1.5. It could be a little cruel, but I’m amazed at the show’s ‘brutality’ in killing off characters. It’s not that I like killing off characters, but the trend makes you really think, ok, who’s gonna die next? Some of the characters do die brutal deaths in the hands of the mechanical ‘Tumors.’ Picture the machines from The Matrix, and you can imagine how painful a death at the hands of a Tumor can be. The mecha fights are quite enjoyable, but sometimes the fact that most enemies are robots makes it a little boring.
To end, Souko no Strain is one mecha show not likely to be remembered a lot in years to come. But it’s pretty decent for a 13-episode show, so it’s really recommended for the most part for mecha fans.
I wanted to put screenshots, but nothing seems to come out, and my other ‘method’ of taking the screenshots doesn’t work either. Grr. But yehey, 6th post for February! 🙂