Once again, the Capital Army decides to send some more of their apparently expendable soldiers at the space pirates. This time, Mask forms an all-Kuntala squadron in an attempt to rescue Bellri and avenge Dellensen, despite how apparent it is that the Army is only using Bellri as a justifier for their military actions. Meanwhile, Bellri’s mom attempts to escape from Capital Army surveillance and find her son.
Like Kill la Kill, G-Reco somehow manages to become crazier every week. Unlike it though, G-Reco also grows more confounding and incomprehensible as well. The characterization and narrative events in this show have reached the point where I can barely understand what’s going on. That’s not to say I don’t, everything that’s happened in the last two episodes has made sense from a narrative standpoint and overall, G-Reco’s overarching plot is followable. It’s the execution and the actions of its characters that make it so unbelievably bizarre. From Bellri’s mother’s anguish over forgetting to bring her son’s favorite snacks to Mask’s inability to notice that he’s attacking a giant balloon, the events are so squarely in the “Happy and Weird” school of Tomino that it’s hard to take seriously.
Inherently, this isn’t a bad thing. Tomino has done wacky shows before, and you can have a mecha anime like this with no issue. Where G-Reco runs into problems for me is that it has repeatedly killed off characters and introduced some form of personal drama to its narrative multiple times. These moments clash horribly with G-Reco’s more bizarre moments. On one hand, you have Raraiya acting like her usual mentally impaired self because apparently that’s what Japan thinks is funny. On the other, you have Bellri huddled in a corner sobbing himself to sleep after realizing he’s killed his mentor. The sheer tonal dissonance that G-Reco straddles makes it extremely difficult to figure out what exactly it’s trying to be. If it could only commit to one or the other, I think the show would benefit vastly.
And finally, the mecha fan in me despairs over the relatively uninteresting fights that go on in G-Reco. I’ll wholly admit I got into this genre for the interesting designs and cool fights, and G-Reco handily takes care of the former. Ippei Gyobu’s fantastic mecha designs continue to be the shining bastion of the show. It makes it all the more disappointing that the fights themselves are handled so poorly. There’s nothing wrong with animating action on a limited budget. In fact, I honestly welcome the classic directing style that Tomino brings to the table. The issue is that from a narrative standpoint, the fights barely matter. Beyond the character deaths, it never feels like there’s something at stake. And for the past few weeks now it’s been the same tune of the Capital Army attacking the pirates and Bellri fending them off with some new Gundam bullshit, only for them to play the same game next week. Even this format isn’t inherently a bad thing, but because of the kind of show G-Reco wants to be, it ends up adding to the tonal dissonance that pervades the show.
I really want to like G-Reco, and even at its worst, it still manages to be levels above some of the recent outings in the mecha genre over the past few years. I want it to be better though, and the pieces are there, but time will tell if Tomino can put them together in a satisfying manner.