“Calling For Help” – Project Blue Earth SOS (anime) – 5/10 Snowballs

 

My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth. ~Abraham Lincoln

Genre: Action/Adventure/Sci-fi/Shounen

Review Status: Complete (6 Episodes/6 Episodes)

Licensed: Yes, this anime is licensed in the US.

Art/Animation: This looks really good- it channels 50’s sci-fi, with character designs, gadgets, and other things that could come straight out of any comic book from that era. The CG is pretty nice if obvious, and the animation is quite good.

Dub Vs. Sub: Both the dub and the sub are quite good, though I actually prefer the sub because of Margaret’s voice.

Summary: In this exhilarating series paying homage to classic 50’s era science fiction, the disappearance of revolutionary G-Reaction engines is but the beginning of the ghastly end for mankind. While deranged alien forces prepare a fleet of flying saucers for the invasion of all invasions, teenage geniuses Penny Carter and Billy Kimura join forces with a clandestine secret alliance to save humanity from the extra-terrestrial helmet worms and their tentacles of doom! Avoiding alien attacks and dodging disintegration rays won’t be easy, but these courageous kids will have help from above as Ace pilot James and his mentor Cpt. Clayton enter the fray to stave off a threat incomprehensible to mere mortals! (Funimation.com)

Review: Visually and in spirit, this is the one of the best homages to 50’s sci-fi that I’ve ever seen. You have classic characters in the forms of spunky child geniuses, to genius scientists, to invading aliens. They have the names to go with it, Penny and Emely (yes, a misspelling on part of the creator, but the spirit of it is there, and yes, Penny is a boy), Billy and Margaret. And the plotline can’t get more into it, with invading aliens and mindless minions!

This has some amazing moments that range from the campiness that can fill them (getting into the spaceship), that are full of drama and horror (the discovery of the missing people), to the heartbreaking (Margaret’s fate). These moments shine in the show, standing out in a show that really is a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, those well-timed moments are rare. This is honestly a decent series on its own, but is far too fast to really draw you in. There are moments that are meant to be meaningful and moving and fail at it simply because the story is too rushed and you haven’t known the character for longer than fifteen minutes. A few things actually end up taking away from the story at hand with unnecessary storylines and revelations. Some mess with the pacing of the show, and not usually in the good way that means character and plot development.

And of course, the character development is as minimal as it can get when the runtime is so short. It’s hard to really feel for anything that happens, and there’s no growth or change in them over the course of the story. Even if this stuck to the tried-and-true of 50’s stories and there was no change, it’s hard to root for any of the good guys for any other reason than they’re fighting the aliens.

Project Blue Earth does have a few good twists to it, though, and I appreciate those. It does give some depth to the invaders instead of leaving them simply ‘bad guys’, which many shows are prone to do. But even this can’t really save a rushed story and characters you can’t get into. I want to like this show, and I really do enjoy some parts of it, but it leaves me wanting for more development and an actual, honest-to-goodness series.

Overall, while it’s fun to watch if you’re a fan of older sci-fi, there are better ones out there that are more fulfilling as a story.

Recommended: 13+. There are a few non-gruesome deaths onscreen, and you do see a few dead bodies though there’s no gore- they just look asleep.

Other titles you might enjoy:

Macross Frontier (anime and movies)

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (anime)

Heroic Age (anime)

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