Two mecha have an epic battle in the snow using swords that look suspiciously like lightsabers. But there’s no time for that – it’s time to go to school! A girl named Yukina is chastised for her low grades and her desire to move to Mars rather than pursue a more normal career. After school, Yukina and her friend Mika visit the lab where Yukina’s mother works as a mecha developer.
While wandering the lab, Yukina witnesses a mysterious cube that was excavated 60 years ago. Suddenly, something collides with the facility, and an army of robotic figures appear and begin fighting the manmade mecha. However, even the newest models of mecha are useless against the invaders.
Yukina touches the cube, which bursts open, revealing a naked man. He wields a glowing sword and promises to defend Yukina, calling her “Princess”. He quickly defeats one of the invaders, but is shot and apprehended by the facility’s security.
Kuromukuro quickly falls into two traps common for mecha series: it focuses an inordinate amount of time on students at school, and the first episode throws a bunch of information at the viewer without explaining any of it. I can never understand how shows set in worlds where things like giant robots and alien invaders exist can expect its viewers to care about high school students living ordinary high school lives. Eight or so minutes of this episode were devoted entirely to Yukina’s poor grades and bizarre career goal (going to Mars). Why do the people who create these shows think cutting from an epic giant robot battle to high school girls talking about their lives is ever a good idea?
Because of the aforementioned length of time spent on Yukina’s school life, the second half of the episode threw a lot of information at the viewer in quick succession. It was hard to keep track of it, and I had to keep pausing the video to write down information for this review’s plot summary. It certainly wasn’t the worst example of this that I’ve ever encountered, but Kuromukuro definitely needs to work on its pacing in future episodes.
However, this episode was not entirely without its positives. There are actually several interesting adult characters, including Yukina’s mother and some of the other scientists who work at the lab. The design of the robots is interesting, especially the (alien?) invaders. And I was pleasantly surprised by the subversion of the “mysterious girl appears/falls from the sky” trope. Instead, we got “naked man appears from inside mysterious artifact”. I think more strange cubes need to have attractive men in them for sure.
While it’s not something I’m interested in watching further, Kuromukuro seems so far to be a solid series for fans of action, sci-fi and especially mecha. Not the best first episode of this season, but far from the worst. Out of 5 Dios: