Spring Anime 2015: Gunslinger Stratos: The Animation

Gunslinger Stratos is definitely my first (possibly my only) disappointment of the season so far.  Based on a series of arcade light gun shooters by Square-Enix, Gunslinger Stratos has all the hallmarks of a video game-turned-anime--it's all beautiful character designs with no substance to the actual characters.  

The actual high concept behind Gunslinger isn't bad--one hundred years from now, there are two parallel timelines where Earth developed completely differently.   But for a reason unknown to everyone involved, these two timelines are now tearing at one another, and warriors from each timeline are being sent to the past to battle over which one gets to survive.   "Coincidentally", the warriors are actually battling alternate versions of themselves from the other timeline. 

Now, that's actually crazy enough to be a pretty good high concept.  The trouble is, I'm two episodes in and the show just...isn't interesting.  The characters are fairly cliche--from the pacifist main character to the fairly non-descript female lead.  There's a busty nurse who's "smarter than she looks", a loli that's obsessed with a male character on the show--even the actual relationships between these characters aren't anything particularly new. 

But I'd let even that go if the show was doing anything with the plot I thought was worth my attention.   The concept itself is great but the characters aren't asking the right questions about it.  There's a mysterious box that's been sent to both Earths from a powerful third party, capable of "evolving" regular weapons into powerful, futuristic tech.   Who are these peopleWhere do they come from?   Why are there only two timelines fighting and not billions, or at least dozens?   The idea is huge but the approach to turning it into a story isn't big enough. 

There's still plenty of time to answer these questions and hopefully more, but considering this is an adaptation of a third-person shooter, there's a strong possibility the lore just isn't deep enough to actually answer them.   The bigger problem is that none of these characters stand out in a way that makes me feel its warranted to keep watching. 

Result: Needs something to hook me by episode 5, or this is going to be my first drop.


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