There are many ways to encounter an anime you’ve never heard of and the way I stumbled over Zegapain was the following, some month ago the figure manufacturer ALTER announced a figure called Ryoko Kaminagi -Resurrection- which will be released in January 2012.
At first I thought it was a rather plain figure showing a guy crossdressing *lol*, but I really wanted to know what Zegapain ought to be? I guessed that it was an anime and typed the title in the seach box of MAL, the description sounded quite interesting and the ratings were good.
I was searching for a new anime anyway and so this show ended in my Plan to watch list.
Zegapain is from the year 2006 and was made by Studio Sunrise, who are well known for their mecha related anime, like Gundam. Zegapain has a different feel to it than their usual kind of show, since it’s more focused on the characters and their emotions than the mecha fights.
The story takes place in Japan, in the small city of Maihama, where Kyo, an athletic and smart higschooler, lives his daily life with his bubbly childhood friend Ryoko, unlike my first impression Ryoko is actually a girl 😀 . One day Kyo meets a mysterious girl named Shizuno who leads him into a secret organisation called Celeblum as pilot of a strange looking mecha.
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I want to spoiler as less of Zegapain as possible, but at least I have to give you the informations about the obvious parts of the main story, otherwise the review would be kind of superfluous.
In 2020 killer virus caused the extinction of mankind, to prevent mankind from dissapearing completely, it is decided that the remaining humans should live on as data with all their emotions and personalities stored inside Quantum servers which are stationed all over the world, the virtual humans live in small virtually created cities without knowing that they actually aren’t real.
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The real world still exist, but without humans. Everything which is left from mankind are ruined building and Quantum servers. A small group of people called Celebrants know about living in a virtual world and they are the ones who protect the servers in the real world from the Gards-orm who are trying to destroy the Quantum servers. What can they do when they just consist of data? Advanced ships and mechs were created by the remaining humans to fight in the real world. Inside these machines Celebrants can enter the real world and fight against the Gards-orms.
A lot of Quantum servers have already been destroyed, but nevertheless they keep on fighting.
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Zegapain left a big impression on me, I’ve enjoyed it a lot and it was quite addictive, there was one night where I’ve watched 9 episodes in one go. The setting is Zegapain is melancholy, but not all the time. It has a good balance of drama, philosophic aspects, action and even humoristic elements. Everything is placed into a very well intertwined and interesting story.
What makes human human? Why keep on living an artificial life as data? Why do keep on figthing in this endless seeming war against? In 26 episodes this anime raises several philosophical questions, without being boring. These questions are brought to the audience when it is shown how Kyo struggles with accepting the world he lives in and with his interactions with other people.
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Another good point of Zegapain is a bit of romance, I love romance in anime. the growing love story between Kyo and Ryoko is nice, Kyo is the tough and caring boyfriend and Ryoko is the adorable childhood friend character. In this anime she is one of the more interesting characters, not very hot in terms of looks, but she has a lovely kind and upbeat personality, voice actress Hanazawa Kana did a great job with bringing Ryoko to life. There are even more interesting characters in the big cast, most of them are fleshed out very well and help in developing the story
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I also should talk about the technical aspects of Zegapain, the normal 2d animations do look very good for a production from 2006, only the CG animations for the mechs takes time to getting used to, they look a bit strange with their neon half transparent armor, and let the fights appear a bit static from time to time, zhe action scenes improve during the show, but nevertheless 2d would have been the better choice.
The audio is also very well made, with Hanazawa Kana and Kawasumi Ayako as the voices of the two female main characters and more good voice actors who bring the characters to life.
The outstanding pieces from the score would definetely be the OP “Kimi e Mukau Hikari” by Akino Arai and the 3 different ED from Rocky Chack, with “Little Goodbye” as my personal favorite, all the songs manage to capture the essence of Zegapain perfectly.
Zegapain is a good and overall a multilayered anime with many good plot twists. It can be funny, sad, romantic and dramatic. The interactions between the characters are a big and interesting part of this show. The apocaliptic setting gives this show a melancholic touch, but maybe just the right show for the autumm months. I admit that I had wet eyes sometimes, but it’s not that Zegapain left me in despair in the end. I’ve enjoyed the setting and the interesting story of this anime. If this sounded a bit interesting to you and when you aren’t afraid of getting your mood dragged down a bit, you should give Zegapain a try.
Are you on good terms with slightly sad animes or do you try to avoid such animes?
BTW: The character of Kaminagi Ryoko really grow on me during watching this show and I ended up placing an order for the upcoming figure of her from ALTER.