There are some anime series that seem fun at first, but have flaws that become increasingly obvious as you spend more time with them. On the other hand there are some series that just seem to get better and better the more often I rewatch them.
Figure 17 is in the latter category. I just finished watching it again and I am even more impressed with it.
This time there was something that struck me about the OP and ED that I hadn’t noticed before. This is pretty spoilerish so I added it at the end of my spoiler notes. (Don’t read it if you haven’t seen the show; it’s not that interesting.)
ANI-NOUTO has some comments on Figure 17. Some of them are fair but I am going to take issue with the following:
if Hikaru is made out of liquid metal, a-la T-1000, why does she eat, and how does she digest the food?
The answer, I think, is that she isn’t made of liquid metal. The alien technology is much more advanced than that, crossing into Clarke’s Law territory. A Ribers can assume multiple forms; when she is in human form she is indistinguishable from a flesh-and-blood human.
(Conversely, when they merge Tsubasa is no longer flesh and blood. That’s the main reason why she finds the process so frightening.)
About half-way through this series it occurred to me that I was watching two loosely-connected but very different stories:
- A coming of age story about twin girls living on a farm in Hokkaido.
- A science fiction adventure about fighting monsters with the help of an unusual type of mecha.
The two stories even look different: the first has a bright, cheerful hand-drawn appearance; the second is dark, with the rather soulless look that comes from over-reliance on computer-generated images.
The coming of age story is very well done (though very sentimental) and gets most of the screen time.
The science fiction story is definitely the lesser of the two. It is not particularly original and not as thrilling as it wants to be.
This led me to wonder if the science fiction story could have been eliminated entirely. Something similar to the first story could have been written without including the SF elements, but I don’t think it would really have worked. There is one important respect in which the main story needs the science fiction story.
If you like sentimental stories about children growing up then you probably will like this one a lot. On the other hand if you can’t stand stories like that, you should consider yourself warned.