Hidden Gems of Anime: Innocent Venus

Dear readers, the thought that many brilliant anime get passed over by the majority of viewers motivates me to write this series of posts.  Of course, anime fans are not at fault: there’s only so much time people can spend watching TV.  Why seek after little known shows, which usually fail due to mediocrity, in the hope of finding a unique show, i.e. a show which failed not because of mediocrity but rather because its idiosyncrasies prevented it from having a mass appeal?  Well, only an otaku would actually seek out such a show, but that doesn’t mean it won’t suit your tastes.  And that’s where I come into the picture.  I have a list of shows and OVA’s which would make a pleasing break from your regimen of Bleach, One Piece, and Naruto–most are only 12 episodes or less.  Now to begin with our first hidden gem: Innocent Venus.

Some of you may be familiar with this show, but the fact that Anime Planet does not have one single review of the show (http://www.anime-planet.com/anime/innocent-venus) makes me feel that it is rather unlikely.  This show would fall into the genres of post-apocalyptic and mecha.  At the beginning, we find two friends who are guarding one girl from hordes of military foes who desire to capture her.  If you have any familiarity with anime, you know that women, particularly young girls, often possess some mystical power which everyone wishes to get their hands on.  This case is no different.  (No!  You can’t know now: there’ll be no spoilers in this review, I promise.)  These two friends, Joe and Jin, were formerly members of an elite military group.  Now, they wish to link up with a resistance group.

Someone remarked that the setting is very similar to Code Geass.  And after refreshing myself with the back story, I couldn’t agree more.  The major difference would have to be that the setting in Code Geass resulted from a change in history, while environmental catastrophes, which killed 5 billion people and froze much of the northern hemisphere, caused changes in power to produce the turbulent political climate of Innocent Venus.  In this one, other countries also tried to take over Japan, but Japan successfully defended itself.  Also, we still have two classes of citizens: the rich who live in major cities, and the poor who are kept out (similar to Solty Rei and Galaxy Express 999).  Does that take away from the greatness of Code Geass?  I don’t think so: everyone borrows from someone else.  What we consider original is only an idea which has not been used for a long time.

This series boasts characters which are unique and likeable.  Joe, as the strong silent type, is one of my favorites.  It has mech fights which are equal to the best of more famous shows.  The other fights aren’t too shabby either: the fight between the soldiers and our protagonists in the first episode effectively hooked me.  The tone is very serious, but it intersperses enough light-heartness and comedy to avoid depressing the viewer.

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Legens, scribe sententias tuas.

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