August 29, 2012

Solty Rei - full series

Writers have a lot of tools they can use to create.  Some use typewriters, some use word processors, some even use pen and paper.

The writer of Solty Rei, however, clearly employed a sledgehammer and a crowbar.  It's got a little bit of everything, and none of it makes a heck of a lot of sense.

So, at the beginning, We have Roy Revant, Blade Runner.  Okay, actually he's some kind of bounty hunter, or private security, something like that.  Basically he gets to run around with a MASSIVE handgun with an underslung micro-missile launcher and built-in brass knucks.  It's a beast.  And he needs it while he hunts down replicants, er, Resembles.  Okay, they aren't robots, they're people with "Military grade" cybernetic prosthetic limbs, which usually transform into a gun of some kind.

Okay, you can make an anime out of that.  Making about one eighth of an anime out of that and filling the rest of it with other stuff, not so much.

You see, Roy is severely outclassed by the Knight Sabers.  Okay, that's not what they're called, but there's a four-girl armored crew, sponsored by the governing corporation out there nabbing the bad cyborgs too, under the direct command of the mysterious man who runs the corporation.  Now while Roy is getting his clock cleaned by a particularly nasty villain, the ersatz Knight Sabers are chasing after a strange girl clad in nothing but a tarp who is leaping from building top to building top.  She evades them, and then makes a bad leap, smashing through the abandoned building Roy is getting killed in, and manages to fall multiple stories through the structure and smash into the baddie just before he kills our hero.

He thanks her, so she follows him home like a lost puppy, and we discover she's some kind of super android with a wiped memory.  Aha!  So this is a variant on the Broken Doll storyline!  Since I haven't done a full write-up of that idea, let me recap:

Our hero is a loner, not interested in women.  Check.  In Roy's case, it's because the horrible disaster 12 years before took out his wife and daughter, and now he's a recovering alcoholic, rather than just being a high schooler living alone.

The girl next door has, or had, a thing for our hero, but sighs, knowing it will never be, but still helps him out, usually pressuring him to be good to the Broken Doll, Check.  In this case, she's his boss.  Her dead husband was friends with Roy when they were cops, and she also owns the building they both live in.

And then there's the doll, a mechanical, technological, alien, or magical non-human girl, with no memory, often no or rudimentary language skills - a problem that gets dispensed with very quickly - and no understanding of social skills, but filled with an intense desire to be helpful or useful to Our Hero.  This almost always takes the form of domestic servitude, including horrible cooking, which improves with the help of the GND, and at least one awkward scene of rejected sexual advances (In DearS there were two).

You can make an Anime of that too.  There have been many.  Most aren't as annoying as this.  Anyway, she gets named Solty, based on the title of a record album in Roy's apartment.  I'll explain why that record shouldn't even be there later.

Then they take her out to get clothes, at a nifty little mall that has a holographic dressing room, a technology that isn't seen anywhere else in the rest of the series (there's the crowbar at work).  Roy couldn't care less, and as she's flashing through outfits -  when she's got on some particularly bizarre outfit that is half Mezzo Forte cosplay (an orange Shorty surf wetsuit as the base), and half the author's weird fetish for flared gauntlets and boots with a matching collar, an outfit that has no business being in the store's database - he makes some comment about whatever you've got is fine with me.  She insists on taking the bizarre costume and wearing it all the time, and thanking him for it, attaching some special meaning to it.  And oddly, nobody else ever comments again on how bizarrely dressed she is.

Aside from leaping tall buildings in a single bound, while following Roy around at his work, she shows off the power to make her hand vibrate really hard and deliver a tank-killing punch, taking out a crude mech stolen by two guys Roy just put away.

But wait, there's MORE!  You see, this isn't some Earth city.  Oh no, this is a totally isolated colony world!  Totally isolated by the "Aurora Shield' that blasts with matter-anti-matter lightning anything that gets too high in the sky.  This was the source of the disaster 12 years earlier, BTW.  The Evil Corporation that runs everything was running an experiment and ran up an antenna from the tallest building in the middle of the city, and blew away most of the city.

So this city, the only one on the planet, well, has an underground city beneath it.  And you see, the registered citizens live above ground, and the unregistered are cursed to live in poverty in the under city.  That could be the setting for a whole 'nother show.  And for a while it is, because this trio of robin-hood theives, who somehow want to be famous as well as free, makes their appearance and gets Roy after them.  Solty fades to the background as we see these thieves go up against the Knight Sabers and Roy, but nothing gets resolved.

Even more bizarrely, the female member of the trio, Rose Anderson, ends up crashing at Roy's place, where for some reason he can't just arrest her and collect a bounty.  Don't ask me how this works.  She spends her time trying to recruit Solty for her crusade for social justice and fame, while still committing the occasional crime.

Meanwhile, when she's hanging out in the park, she is hit upon by a peculiar older man in uniform, who turns out to be the president of the evil RUC corporation that runs everything.

Oh, but we're just getting warmed up.  Roy's got a psychopathic enemy who is killing people off in a very SAW-like manner with bombs, and he grabs Rose at some point, but he rescues her against all odds.  But while on another job to stop another experimenter from taunting the happy fun Aurora Shield, a building gets dropped on her.  This of course is right after Roy finds out that Rose is his long-presumed-dead daughter, and she rejects him because she doesn't want to turn her life upside-down.

buh-what?

Oh, there are more sledgehammer strokes to come.  This is only the halfway point.

In season two, we find out Rose isn't as dead as we thought she was.  In an ultimate cheap-out, we find out that she was scooped out at the last millisecond by the speedster of the Knight Sabers.  Not only that, we get some ret-conning explaining why Rose is blonde, while long-presumed-dead Rita was auburn.  The Aurora Shield is actually an atmospheric layer of nanites!  And when they blew it up, a lot of people on the surface got infected.  Most needing the cybernetic replacements for the limbs that fell off, but others, got turned into some kind of super-powered meta-humans.  Like the four Knight Sabers.  And, it turns out, Rita/Rose.  Oh, and it changed her hair color.

Roy is a wreck, thinking he's lost his daughter yet again, kicks Solty out, and crawls back into the bottle.

Rose is very much alive, at the RUC, getting experiments done on her to figure out what her power is, and being made the latest member of the Knight Sabers, which pisses them off to no end.  It gets even worse though, as Ashley Lynx, the aforementioned director of the RUC decides that she is so superior to the rest of them, that he doesn't need them alive any more, frames the team for murder of one of their own, and sends Rose after the remainder with extreme prejudice.  He must have made quite an impression, turning the Glamorous Thief into the paragon of law and order and state-sanctioned murder.

There are some other elements.  One of the last of the Knight Sabers manages to get into the flying battleship the RUC was building, and launches an attack on RUC headquarters, causing Rose to don her battlesuit and fly up to fight her, while Solty comes back out of the shadows and shows she can actually fly, and tries to make peace with everyone, and of course, failing.

Now, I'm trying to figure out how I can use the author's crowbar to fit some of the other nonsensical elements of this show into this review.  I'll just throw them out there.

At one point, Solty runs away and ends up in the sparsely settled countryside.  She meets a boy who is building an airplane, but he plans to fly at low altitude so he doesn't get blown away by the sky.  He dies anyway before finishing it because he's terminally ill.  Solty finishes the plane and flies it for him in his memory, and is visited by his ghost sitting on the wing.

The boy was living with an old man who apparently Knows Things about the RUC, but has withdrawn from the game, until Roy, looking for Solty, comes to him just as he's been gunned down in his home by RUC thugs.  He gives Roy a key that will shut down the RUC computer that actually runs everything, long enough for them to accomplish... something.

The RUC apparently was the colonization committee.  200 years ago, they landed, part of the crew settled down, built an underground city while they terraformed the surface.  But disease swept through the rest of the colonists on the ship, and the ship's AI decided to quarantine the planet with the Aurora Shield, then it went mad.  The other AI was used to run the civilization, and RUC had isolated it and was trying to wrest control of the city from it.  On the other hand, it was also the thing that gave them cybernetics.  In fact, Ashley Lynx was one of the original colonists, and half roboticized by the AI.

So the whole first half of the show makes no sense, because with only one city, why is there military grade anything?  If the RUC controls the Resemble technology, AND the security forces, why did they equip thugs with arm cannons?  If the technology is good enough to produce Solty, and make Lynx live for 200+ years, why is it so crude and inhuman-looking?  If they're all colonists, how did they divide into an upper class and a lower class? (Answer, the AI is insane and thought they needed it).

But Lynx is insane too.  He wants to get past the shield, at the expense of the entire colony, for, well, self-aggrandizement I guess, since his lover lost aboard the ship is centuries dead.

Oh, and the AI in space is insane too.  Since it has digital backups of all the colonists, it decided that THIS is the better way to preserve humanity, and that wiping out all the humans on the colony is a good idea before it leaves to go protect its precious backups.

And to save the world, Solty is allowed to get her memory back.  She was the third AI, and the only one in a human form, and called Dike (That's pronounced "Dee-kay" sheesh!), and apparently a bit of a cold-hearted bitch.  Solty has to take Lynx's spaceship, and fight off the colony ship before it blows up the colony.

In one last stub of the Broken Doll meme, it's very important for Our Hero to finally admit love for the Broken Doll in order for her to acheive her great purpose.  At the very end, years later, Roy makes it into space where he retrieves the blasted remains of Solty in hopes of restoring her to her previous, adorably mind-wiped condition....

Oh yeah, the record thing.  Simple really.  Space Colonies won't have antiques.  They can't afford to bring them.  All technology will start evenly with what's available at the time the ship is launched, and develop from there.  There won't be retro anything.  On the other hand, with all tech coming from the RUC, and the technology running the gamut from the Knight Sabers' lithe and revealing battle suits to the chunky, crude Resemble prosthesis, it's possible it went backwards enough for vinyl records.

And if THAT makes sense to you, then maybe you'll like this 26 episode disaster area.

And you know, it was watching this thing from NetFlix that made me start to fall behind on Mysterious Girlfriend X.

Posted by: Mauser at 01:48 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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