Animation: Fair
Depth: Excellent
Design: Weak
Characters: Weak
Story: Fair

Type: TV   (13 episodes)

Vintage: 2006


» sci-fi
» drama
Verdict: Reviews @ Archen's Anime Page


Summary: >

As mankind spread across the galaxy, humanity split into two factions at war with each other. The Galactic Union developed mecha known as strains, requiring interfaces called "mimics", created from the brain cells of the pilot at birth - thus cannot be replaced.

Sara Warec followed the footsteps of the brother she always looked up to, and joined the military as well. Unexpectedly, he betrays the Galactic Union and defects. He also leads an attack on the academy she was attending, killing her friends as well as destroying her mimic. She can no longer pilot a strain.

A year later, she's now "Sara Cruz". Sara's become detached, emotionless and generally disliked. Driven by the thirst for revenge, her only goal is to discover the reasons behind her brothers actions, and make him pay.

Thoughts: >

Strain is a solid sci-fi show which even does giant robots in space well (pet peeve of mine). This could be a totally awesome book. Or it could be the lacking anime we got here.

The biggest problem with Strain is the characters suck. None of them are developed well, they interact poorly, and there's little to like about them. Strain has two modes: "tender moments" and "venomous hatred", doing little else. Using a gentle touch rather than a sledge hammer to the face with drama would have worked wonders. Animosity among characters is used to create drama and coerce audience sympathy, but it's overplayed and gets old.

Bridging the great concept and shoddy character development is the story, which I still can't decide if I like or not. Sara becomes detached, and the story predictably becomes about breaking her shell. This isn't a bad idea but they way it plays out doesn't work well. I will say Strain isn't shy about character deaths and you can never be sure who (aside from Sara) will die next. That may keep you on your toes.

I didn't like Strain much, but something about it kept me watching. It has good ideas, decent action and feels like true sci-fi, but severely fails in most other ways. I'd steer clear of this one, but it may be worth checking out if you're patient and craving decent sci-fi. A so-so watch in that case, but just barely.

Screen Caps: >

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reviewed by archen in 2014