HEY MACHINE-FUCKERS! (and also giant robot g/t fans)
Just letting you all know that there’s an animu for us out there. YES, US. And it’s good. Like, I-bought-the-DVDs-and-I-have-NEVER-done-that good.
It’s called Idolmaster: Xenoglossia.
LET ME TELL U ABOUT IT
So Xenoglossia is speculative fiction in a near-future Earth where the moon’s been destroyed, and pieces of it constantly threaten to crash into the planet and destroy whole countries. Modenkind is the organization responsible for keeping those chunks of moon from actually making it into the atmosphere, and they employ giant mecha to accomplish this.
The mecha, as it were, are sentient, and feel feelings, though in a decidedly nonhuman way. They never speak or communicate to humans through any sort of language, and they don’t have faces or facial expressions, and they rarely convey any sort of meaningful human-like body language. They are nonhuman intelligences, through and through. (Mechanophiles who only like their machines with eyes and mouths and genitals or tentacles need not apply.)
Most of the time, they allow themselves to be piloted, but a lot of the plot involves them exercising agency around who can pilot them and the circumstances around which they let a pilot do the piloting, which is super cool to me.
Did I mention, also, that they only let themselves be piloted by young women that they have some sort of emotional interest in? (This includes “romantic”, but also other kinds too.)
And HEY, SPEAKING OF WOMEN, this series passes even the strictest iteration of the Bechdel test (that two women talk about something other than a man, for at least 60 seconds, and then do not talk about a man subsequently) and the Mako Mori test, but it passes both of them in almost every episode, if not every episode. The cast is a LOT of women of all ages, with only two supporting roles for the men who aren’t villains. (And they’re great male characters too.)
So for those of you who might be interested in a story about nonhuman intelligence, what that looks like, what to do when humans invariably want to exploit that intelligence, and most importantly, what a romance between a human and a gigantic, mute, vaguely-human-looking machine* might look like, then fucking WATCH THIS SHIT ALREADY.
Here’s the official blurb:
107 years ago, the Moon was destroyed in a massive cataclysm that shattered Earth’s former satellite into 81 quintillion tons of orbital debris. However, thanks to super-science, the Earth itself was saved and today no one really thinks much about that century-past disaster. Which is why when teenage Haruka Amami auditions for something called the Idolmaster Project, she THINKS she’s trying out to be a singing idol. Instead, Haruka finds herself at a secret school run by the Mondenkind Agency, living with a group of other girls who have also been selected as candidates to pilot an iDOL – an advanced robot specifically designed to intercept falling chunks of moon rock. Except, the people who run the Mondenkind Agency aren’t exactly knights in shining armor. And then there’s the question of whether the iDOLs are really JUST robots. Because from almost the first moment, Haruka starts to feel emotions resonating from within the iDOL called Imber.
All 26 episodes are here: http://kissanime.to/Anime/iDOLMASTER-Xenoglossia
*Without going into spoiler territory, one of them is literally just a big ball. About as far from human as you can get, and yet IT HAS FEELINGS TOO.