Excuse my pun, I guess.
Here’s a question: how many of you thought that Lynn was going to fall for Kifa? I mean, he’s a mysterious man with a scar, piercing eyes and a sardonic smile, full of an older man’s charm. Lynn seems to be single (wow, nothing like the real world), young, brave but a little bit impressionable (that’s decreasing rapidly). If Lynn were in a show closer to shojo trope (with good looking bishonen), she would fall for him. I mean, heck, he looks a little bit like Zechs from Gundam Wing, and a lot of fan girls fell for that. Even during the UC days fan girls used to fall for Char. Even in a great show like Escaflowne, the confused feeling of love of the female protagonist was a core element.
Not the case here.
Neither of them (Lynn and Kifa) cared for that. That was just not important enough. It’s the moment of the performance, the drops of fluid (unless you’re a doujin artist, no, not that kind of fluid), the thrill of being higher, of chase and entanglement, of being able to control and bond with the machine (often a man’s cheap or literally not so cheap thrill considering the cost for the machine), and that freedom that’s out there…
Pardon me for the lack of better description because I’ve never quite felt that freedom. The closest thing I’ve ever gotten was driving 20 miles over the speed limit in a Lexus.
My point is that (what, Ray has a point) it doesn’t specifically caters to the usual A-boy and A-girl audience, but rather, it flows with the zeigest of dramatic works in today’s world. We have a female taking on the role that merely 20 years ago would’ve been given to a male. Of course, Japanese anime is one of the pioneers of putting women in traditionally male roles, the other being French (ugh) cinema. I know this has been done to death, but consider:
It would be quite convenient to let Lynn have feelings for Kifa – what a guy! He’s a man full of mystery, a man without many words except peculiar phrases like “the machine picks its rider”, highly skilled and taking on the role of a mentor, not to mention a personality quite similar to Gundam antagonists (Char, Quartro, Zechs, Rau Le Cruset, etc). He could be a father figure in Japanese drama, but more like that dangerous man that makes girls’ hearts pound.
Now forget all that, ‘cause Lynn wasn’t looking at that man. She was looking at what man was demonstrating. For once, the pupil was focused on the lesson, on her temporary dance partner’s skills, and not on his handsome face. We have a level-headed heroine that doesn’t go gaga over mysterious guys; we have an apprentice eager to learn from a master.
And that’s refreshing to me. Although I’d watch service shows and other junk any day for comfort and the lack of need for thinking (just no more Akikan, please), this seems to catch my mind as well as my heart. Everything I mentioned above requires great animation and choreography, which Madhouse did splendidly. Even despite the fact that knowing something about the US military, that having bikes with arms would NOT overtake a heavily armed US military base, and even that happened, it would NOT turn the tide in a war against Americans (we’re gods and you can just get over it), despite some military elements being more like a backdrop in the far back, this show has guts to buck against the contemporary-Otaku-catering-Service-trend.
And despite myself, I like it.