Next up for the Not so Secret Santa Project we have ghostlightning! He use to run a blog too but stopped that this year. That's ok though he did what he set out to do! His choice for me was Flag. Yet another anime on my radar that I just hadn't gotten around to. Glad ghosty made me watch it!
Shirasu is a young photographer trying to find her place in the photo taking world. She snaps the picture above and it instantly explodes her career. This picture, and more importantly, that flag becomes a symbol of peace in the war torn country of Uddiyana. Unfortunately the flag gets stolen by extremists and the race is on to get that flag back so a peace treaty can be signed. Who better than Shirasu to document the retrieval of the flag by going along with the SDC, Special Development Command unit tasked in getting the flag back. What makes the SDC so special is the equipment they have being a mecha called HAVWC, High Agility Versatile Weapon Carrier.
This show is definitely not for everyone. The unique way it is done might be too much for some people as it is almost entirely "shot" through the camera lens of Shirasu, or her mentor Akagi's. Much like those movies that are shot through the perspective of a video camera like Cloverfield or The Blair Witch Project. I enjoyed this perspective greatly because no other anime has really done this before. Everything was animated and drawn to look very realistic too which is always a bonus. Especially when it comes to mecha. The HAVWC is one of the coolest mecha's I've ever seen in anime because it realistically could be made in real life! I also really enjoyed that the dubbing in this show wasn't terrible. Felt like a lot of effort was actually put into making the voices good and not ridiculous sounding like most other dubbed anime. The OP was pretty interesting too because of it's simplicity and the music really dragged you into the show.
For such a simplistic story of a group of people going to retrieve something with a civilian tag along, Flag keeps the viewer interested even though the pacing is super slow. Unbearably slow at times actually but we are always tossed just enough tidbits of information about every character, the surrounding area, and the situation their world is in to keep us engaged. Really makes you think about stuff happening now in the world at the moment too. At least it did for me. The SDC crew was a bunch of super fun people that made the anime fun to watch. Seeing Shirasu's enthusiasm was also great! She shows such strength and fearlessness that a lot of regular anime characters lack even though she was pretty scared a lot of the time too. Her mentor Akagi was a great secondary character. His been there done that attitude was interesting to me since he still had that spark for it all after all the years he'd been doing it. Right from episode 1 you know what's going to happen in the end but it's all about the journey to get there!
I'd only suggest this show to people who like a change from the norm when it comes to anime. And to people who really like mecha and political shows of course.
* Story 8/10
* Animation 8/10
* Sound 8/10
* Characters 10/10
* Overall 8/10