Metallic Rouge Ep.1 Review: A not very impressive first episode

Metallic Rouge is a wild card anime series of Winter 2024 – original anime series produced by Bones, the studio behind RahXephon, Eureka Seven and Star Driver, to celebrate its 25th anniversary, with a similar premise to Blade Runner/Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? . The interesting premise and the reputation of Bones attracted the attention of me and probably many others, hoping that this could be a good and unique anime, maybe even a new cult classic. However, after its premiere, the first episode of the series did not live up to these expectations.

Episode one of Metallic Rouge lets viewers get acquainted with the two main characters, Rouge and Naomi, through one of Rouge’s missions. There’s nothing wrong with the story itself; it is just a simple story about how Rouge approaches and assassinates her target. It’s nothing too special, but it’s not bad either. The problem lies in the way this episode presents information. It throws viewers right into the middle of the story, mentioning many things like Neans, Nectar, Immortal Nine, etc and many characters. Still, there is almost no explanation at all, and it continues to throw characters that viewers are confused about into events that are even more confusing. The episode seems to have been produced with the thought that all viewers have read the entire synopsis and character introductions before jumping in, and this may cause some viewers to feel disconnected from the story.

However, if we put this aside, believe that the stuff introduced in this episode will be explained in future episodes, and only care about the story itself, then the plot of the first episode is okay. Through this episode, viewers witnessed Rouge’s cold-bloodedness through the way she took advantage of her kindness to approach and kill her “prey” without any side thought. Besides, the episode also reveals the humanistic side of the Nean androids through the character Sarah Fitzgerald/Viola Keane, one of Immortal Nine but just wants to have a normal life and is willing to bring in stranger in difficulties, as well as their scary side through Hell Giallon (I like to call him crazy Vash the Stampede), a crazy and manipulative clown, and the unfair treatment of Nean through the death of a Nean nicknamed Scar Head. In addition, one thing I found interesting about the content in episode one is that Metallic Rouge uses Asimov’s three Robot Laws, and Rouge’s first target in the series is a singer, quite similar to Rick Deckard’s first target, Luba Luft in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Visually, it seems like the series still wants to hide its hand. As the main focus of the anime, it is not surprising that Rouge and Naomi are the most creatively designed, with appearances that easily make them the waifu of many people at first sight. The power armour’s designs are all quite nice, especially Rouge’s armour, which has a perfect classic red and green colour scheme. Otherwise, the designs of the supporting characters are quite monotonous and boring. The appearance of most of the characters, especially their costumes, looks quite contemporary and doesn’t look too futuristic, even though the film is set in a cyberpunk setting. The background and environment design are enough for viewers to know that this is a science fiction anime, but not too unique and creative. The design of the Nean robots is pretty lazy – just grey-skinned humans with circuits showing under their skin. However, the animation quality in the first episode is quite good, the battle between Rouge and Viola is not too flashy yet I really like its choreography. Besides, some frames are storyboarded to purposely create a cinematic feel, like when Sarah/Viola disguises herself as a nun to meet crazy Vash in the church, immediately catching my attention.
As for the music, episode one showcases a lineup of absolutely fantastic tracks. The background music at the film’s beginning immediately lets viewers know this is a dystopian future. Not long after, viewers were captivated by Sarah Fitzgerald’s enchanting voice and continued to be impressed by the unique, suspenseful music. Next, the viewer’s emotions when witnessing the battle between Rouge and Viola are heightened by Rouge’s heroic insert song. Finally, the opening “Rouge” makes viewers want to jump out of their seats to dance to its cheerful rhythm.

Metallic Rouge had a rather humble beginning, with some controversial directions, but it still has merits. Because it’s only the first episode, it doesn’t reflect much of the quality of the entire series, so I’m still looking forward to the next episodes. Hopefully, the Metallic Rouge team can maintain this form and try harder in the upcoming episodes.

Getter Andy
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