In an effort to learn more about metallic aliens that have been plaguing the planet for the past years, Dr. Noguchi and assistant Maki Agata try to bring to life a construct pieced together from various destroyed aliens. They recruit Takuto Kaneshiro, Maki's boyfriend at the college they both attend, into the project because of his talent for metallurgy. While Takuto is unhappy with Maki keeping secrets from him again, he reluctantly helps with the project — but in the process of reviving the monster that Noguchi has aptly called Frank (short for Frankenstein), unidentified soldiers invade the facility known as MORGUE. The soldiers cut the power, which leads to a power surge that violently brings Frank to life and causes an explosion which kills everyone in the facility — except Takuto."Mr. X" visits the scarred (emotionally and physically) Takuto in the hospital and offers him a chance to get his vengeance on the monster he blames for killing Maki and destroying his life. Months later, Lt. Ryu Soma is born from the ashes of Takuto's soul; he re-enters life as a military pilot for the organization known as FUNERAL, which deals with the attacking aliens (and has also recaptured Frank, who escaped after the explosion at MORGUE). It quickly becomes clear that Frank has become the best weapon FUNERAL has to defend against the aliens, which leaves Ryu torn between getting revenge for the woman he loved and protecting his newfound comrades.Further complicating the picture is a young girl named Hattie; besides being the only person who can communicate with Frank, she also bears a striking resemblance to Maki. As it becomes apparent that Frank is more than a simple monster, Ryu and his FUNERAL comrades have to come to terms with questions of human identity, grief, and loss.Argento Soma originally aired on TV Tokyo with 25 episodes from 2000 to 2001, and was followed by the OVA "Alone and By Myself".
Argento Soma has examples of:
- Beard of Evil: Mr. X, whose epic red goatee fits the part spot on. He's not in the least evil, though, just a manipulative asshole.
- Deal Withthe Devil: Soma's deal with Mr. X to get into FUNERAL. Down to the apple motif (Which Soma later adopts himself).
- Fluffy the Terrible: Frank, the giant alien robot.
- Four-Star Badass: General Lawrence, AKA Mr. X. He's more of a Manipulative Bastard, true, but hanging the outcome of his Batman Gambit on himself and dancing through a Gambit Pileup basically unscathed takes serious balls.
- Gambit Roulette:
Mr. XGen. Lawrence danced through the Gambit Pileup in the finale with the nothing worse to wear than a limp and a walking stick, but everything ended his way — and, to the everyone's surprise, that way was the best.
- "Get out of Jail Free" Card: Refreshingly averted, when all the charade went up in smoke, Soma was court-martialed and got a six years sentence. Though, for all his troubles, he wasn't stripped of his rank and was even promoted while behind bars.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Half of Soma's face was scarred in the accident. Which side is in focus is usually indicative of how heartless he's being at the time. Worth noting that he refused plastic surgery to have the scars removed.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode name is of the form "A and B" and the next episode is "B and C", followed by "C and D", etc. The final episode closes the loop back to the first.
- Jerk Ass: Even before his Start of Darkness, Takuto hardly treated his girlfriend well.
- Kaiju: The aliens of the series are giant monsters.
- Morality Pet: The little girl that reminds Soma of his deceased girlfriend is probably the only thing stopping him from Jumping Off the Slippery Slope. Hattie and Frank are sort of a compound Morality Pet.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Soma feels this towards Frank, the 'Giant Alien Robot'. Amusingly enough, at one point, Frank is in danger, and Soma is desperate to get close enough to finish him off. His teammates, however, interpret this is him trying to rescue Frank, and join in, ultimately succeeding in the 'rescue'.
- Recycled IN SPACE!: A reinterpretation of the story of Frankenstein's Monster set 20 Minutes into the Future and with mecha!
- Survival Mantra/ Madness Mantra: In the first episode, right after the accident. "Maki... Maki... Maki... Maki... Maki..."
- Stealth Mentor: Mr. X to Soma, who definitely hates the guy's guts, but could do nothing but learn from him.
- Tempting Apple: Mr. X likes to toss an apple when he tries to make an impression. Later Soma adopts the same habit, though his apple is green, not red.
- That Man Is Dead: Soma refers to Takuto as "some jerk I used to know."
- There Are No Therapists: An interesting subversion: There are no therapists in the show, but instead it's chock full of Warrior Therapists, and nobody's mental problems are all that severe to begin with.
- Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: Averted; the show is set in North America. (Along the eastern part of the USA/Canada border, to be precise.)
- Took a Level in Badass: From a calm and peaceful scientific type to a brash and confrontational Ace Pilot. There is a short scene in episode 1 when we learn Takuto once applied to be an astronaut/pilot. Presumably he had some training.
- Transforming Mecha: Justified; part of the reason why the SARGs can do this is so that the public won't be alarmed by their humanoid forms and mistake them for, say, the aliens that FUNERAL is fighting.
- UST: Captain Hartland and Major Ines. Notable for still remaining unresolved in the Distant Finale, though Madame President does look a bit too disturbed when Ulysses departs.