Interstellar travel has become feasible due to the peculiar properties of a mineral called Orichalt, and mining that mineral has become feasible due to the development of the "Mind Trance [Transfer] System", which allows people to transfer their minds into robot bodies called I-Machines. Maya Mikuri is a young aspiring cosmogeologist in a work-study program to locate Orichalt, but who suddenly finds herself- in an I-Machine body- separated from her party. She's rescued by the crew of the Stulti, who happen to be wildcat miners operating outside the law. Things get even more challenging for Maya as she not only has fallen in with outlaws, but gets branded one herself by the Alliance Government, AND has to deal with new challenges presented by the Orichalt itself, which literally has a mind of its own.
I'd say that Maya doesn't get quite as raw a deal as she thinks at first, for it turns out that the interstellar Alliance government, and her "sponsor", are corrupt and don't have her best interests at heart. (This is a severe understatement, by the way.) Still, most of the Stulti folks (who call themselves the Excavate Company) have checkered pasts themselves. The Captain uses the alias of Grayman to avoid association with his past deeds, and another character uses the name Ido because he doesn't have any memories of his past; they seem to have been deliberately erased. (The name Ido is from "ID-0", as in, "Identification: Zero".) With the exception of the Captain's daughter Clair, the rest of the crew seem to be stuck inside their I-Machines. We'll find out all about THAT.
I was a little disoriented at first by the issue of scale. When we first see humans assume I-Machine form, back on the ship Maya came from, I had the idea that the robot forms were about the same size as their human bodies, but nope- the robot bodies, in the classic Mecha tradition, are HUGE. This means that Clair (and Maya, when she joins them- she somehow gets her human body back) literally can't be in the same ROOM with the rest of the crew. So when they all need to get together to plan their strategies, it's done in "virtual spaces", and I have to give the show credit for a lot of creativity and variety in how these are conceived.
A few notes on the cast here. Grayman (the Captain), Clair, and Ido I've mentioned. There's also Karla Milla-Foden, apparently a financier gone bad (I'm avoiding the temptation to make the obvious comment here); and Rick Ayer, a brash (to the point of being obnoxious) space "racer" in his previous life, who seems to have the cleanest past of any of the Stulti crew, save Clair herself. (Clair is my favorite character here. At one point an Alliance official accuses Grayman of forcing his daughter into piracy against her will, but Clair quietly tells Maya than no, she's there by her own choice.) As a result of an altercation with the Alliance, they also acquire an Alliance soldier named Amanza Volchkova, who turns out to be a pretty sensible person, though much less idealistic than Maya. (Maya herself becomes much more assertive during the course of the show.)
The critical even propelling the bulk of the story is the discovery of a weird little girl inside a deposit of Orichalt (!), who Ido seems to vaguely recall; this inspires Ido to search for his past, an activity the crew fully supports despite battles with the Alliance (great space action scenes!) and with the Orichalt itself, which seems to be sentient and attacks our heroes in the form of a rogue planet which is named (for some reason) Rajeev. As to the form of Rajeev's attacks, I suppose that if one happens to be made of rock it's quite logical to pelt your enemy with chunks of yourself. (Orichalt also has subtle quantum-mechanical properties too, which I guess are also to be expected of something that can create spacewarps.)
I got pretty caught up in Ido's quest for his identity- but I was a little disappointed when the full story was told. We really have TWO villains in the show: one whose obsessions led to a heartless deed, the other who's driven by jealousy, and both our villains do penances of sorts- one by being cut off from the past, and the other being forced to re-enter it. The show at times reminded me of A.I.C.O Incarnation (while the alien life form made me think of Eureka Seven), but I found the ending neither as elegant nor as poignant as A.I.C.O's, and the confrontations preceding it a bit overblown.
And the customary random observations:
-The closing song (sung in English!) is one of the WORST I've ever heard; it's like being at the karaoke bar LATER in the evening, after the "performers" have imbibed too much.
-You keep hearing the name "Miguel" (Miguel Drive, Miguel Storm, etc.). Miguel was obviously an important dude in the history of space exploration in THIS universe, so why can't we have a show about HIM?
-It seems to me a LITTLE unfair that the women all get something that the men DON'T (and I'll say no more about that.)
-Speaking of the women, Karla's I-Machine has boobs. Maybe her vanity made her spend a bit more for a custom job?
-Most scientists who work on the structure and composition of Solar System bodies are still called "geologists" though they are, after all, analyzing objects with a common origin (the ancient Solar nebula.) If we ever catch up with one of those bodies that we've known since 2017 to come from interstellar space, maybe we'll be forced to acknowledge "cosmogeology" (or astrogeology) as a completely separate discipline. (The first one discovered, Oumuamua, had some pretty weird properties; maybe it was made of Orichalt???)
It's well-paced (I marathoned it in a couple of sessions), with plenty of action, and the computer animation (including the character animation) is all OK. But the final showdowns, and the ending, seem a bit clumsy, in my opinion, and that CLOSING SONG....UGGGGH! — Allen Moody
Recommended Audience: Netflix rates TV-PG. Some violence, and (very mild) fanservice.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream on Netflix.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
ID-0 © 2017 Sanzigen
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