One of the most bizarre anime by Yoshiyuki Tomino
, Brain Powerd
takes place in a future Earth ravaged by earthquakes and flood, all of which are the result of the activity of a mysterious sentient alien spacecraft called Orphan, buried in the depths of the Pacific Ocean and home to a group of scientists and researchers known to the world as Reclaimers. Orphan's true objective is to eventually rise from the ocean and start a new journey into space... which, however, would cause The End of the World as We Know It
, since Orphan needs to feed on the organic energy of all living beings to sustain itself in its journey. The Reclaimers do not seem to care much, though, and are willing to go through with Orphan's plans, seeing themselves as Orphan's chosen ones that will become the seeds of a new humanity. To fulfill their plans, Reclaimers make use of Empathic Weapons
, living organic mechas known as Antibodies or Gran Chers, and endlessly search for the Plates from which they originate, in order to swell their numbers. However, not all is lost, since the Novice Noah, a group of Antibody pilots using the Brain Powerd, infant forms of Gran Cher, rises to stop the Reclaimers' plans.
The series mostly follows the adventures of Yuu Isami, a renegade Reclaimer seeking freedom from Orphan's oppressive environment and his family's aloofness, and Hime Utsumiya, an orphaned girl who accidentally stumbles upon a Plate under Revival process and finds her own Brain Powerd, which she almost immediately makes friends with. After their first encounter results in a battle, the two teenagers find themselves reunited when Yuu escapes Orphan and a group of Reclaimers gunning for his blood; this is only the start of an adventure rife with surprising reveals, well-developed characters and government conspiracies, which will allow Yuu and Hime to understand more about themselves, the world around them and the complexities of human feelings and mutual relationships.Brain Powerd
focuses quite a bit more on Character Development
than Humongous Mecha
action compared to many other anime of this genre.
The series is also notable for being Yoshiyuki Tomino
& Mamoru Nagano
's first collaboration in over a decade. They had allegedly had a falling out during the production of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
over a woman, probably seiyuu Maria Kawamura who eventually became Nagano's wife.
The show is basically Tomino's take on Neon Genesis Evangelion
This series provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Hime. Higgins and Kanan also count.
- Aloof Big Brother: Played straight and subverted: Quincy is an Aloof Big Sister (to Yuu) when she's the fanatical leader of the Antibody attack squads, but a warm and caring individual when showing her true personality.
- Anti-Villain: The Reclaimers aren't really bad guys, with the exception of Igor. They're mostly people with a tragic past who were drawn to Orphan in an attempt to find a place where they could belong and ease their suffering. Come to think of it, Orphan itself is very much an Anti-Villain.
- Arab Oil Sheikh: Mohammed, assumedly.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Yuu and Hime.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: The Isami and Glenn families. Not really that big, but most definitely screwed up.
- Broken Bird: Sheila. With three younger sibling who died horribly before her eyes, while she was unable to do anything about it, it is quite understandable why she turned out like this.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Both Yuu and Jonathan do this. In the former case, his parents just shrug it off and stubbornly continue on their path. In the latter... well, it did not quite go as planned...
- Character Development
- Chess Master: Gaybridge
- Combat Tentacles: The Baronzs' shoulders can grow into tentacles with blades on the ends.
- Cool Ship: The Novus Noah.
- Dark Action Girl: Quincy and Sheila.
- Deadly Upgrade: The Baronz, an evolved form of Antibody who results from the revival of a Gran Cher. Both Jonathan and Quincy obtain it. Moreover, Yuu's Brain gets upgraded about halfway through the series, through an Heroic Sacrifice on Nelly's part.
- Dream Team: Tomino and Nagano, back together at last! With a soundtrack by Yoko Kanno to boot.
- Dysfunction Junction: Pretty much everyone except Hime and the children have problems with their life. Mostly Freudian.
- Eagleland: The United States at one point attempts to claim Orphan for themselves, going so far as to call it their "51st State." It doesn't go too well.
- The End of the World as We Know It: What will happen if Orphan leaves the atmosphere.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: No matter how much Jonathan says otherwise.
- Everybody Lives: The death count for this show, apart from backstories, is pretty much nil. Shocking considering that Tomino worked on it.
- Face-Heel Turn: Captain Anoha.
- Fake Out Spoiler Opening: The opening animation is filled with naked girls and maybe three shots of the Humongous Mecha, along with a song about a woman dreaming of endlessly being made love to. The series itself barely has shirtless males. On the other hand, it does show all of the female pilots, regardless of when they appear in the series.
- Fan Nickname: Jonathan = Johnny Boy; Quincy = DTR Girl, short for 'Deaf To Reason Girl'.
- First Kiss: Hime got hers in a manner she probably didn't expect at all...
- Freudian Excuse: Everyone has one in this series.
- Gentle Giant: Nanga.
- Giant Robot Hands Save Lives: All over the place...
- Heel-Face Turn: Kanan. Quincy/Iiko almost does this as well, but...
- Heroes Want Redheads
- Heroic Sacrifice: Lasse almost does one, but miraculously survives. Later on, this is played straight with Nelly.
- Humongous Mecha
- I Banged Your Mom
- Ill Girl: Nelly. Also, Lasse, a rare male example, who suffers from leukemia.
- Improbable Age: Kant is a world authority of Organic energy and the Vital Net... and he's only 10 years old!
- Ineffectual Loner: Yuu at the beginning.
- Jerkass: Jonathan.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Nakki Guys. Some fans refer to him as "the anti-Jonathan."
- Karma Houdini: Debatable. Jonathan doesn't really get a tangible comeuppance by the heroes, but... when in the end he discovers that Baron Maximillian, the person he respected the most in the world, is actually the mother he hated so much, his whole world crumbles.
- Kick the Dog: We did say Jonathan is a jerkass, right?
- Killed Off for Real: Igor, then Nelly.
- Kill 'em All: Averted, despite Tomino being in charge. Very few characters die.
- Love Makes You Evil: Captain Anoha aka Baron Maximillian.
- Mad Scientist: Yuu's parents show traces of this.
- Mama Bear: Probably the most twisted version of this ever the things Captain Anoha is willing to do for Johnathan at the end of the series is truly something to behold.
- Mask Power: Baron Maximillian, complete with a voice synthesizer and a pretty cool armor and cape to make her impossible to recognize.
- Mildly Military: The Novis Noah doesn't exactly have the strictest discipline.
- Nipple and Dimed: Pretty much the entire OP.
- Not Quite Dead
- Not So Different: Higgins and Sheila are more alike than either would care to admit...
- Official Couple: Quite a few. Yuu and Hime, Kanan and Lasse, Higgins and the Kimerias commanding officer, possibly Nanga and Komodo.
- Parental Abandonment: Pretty much this anime's breath, bread and water!
- Pigeonholed Voice Actor: Quincy is played by Watanabe Kumiko, who usually plays very mean characters if the said character is a girl (but usually good if the said character is boy). Don't believe it? Look at another bitch in Tomino's other work.
- The Power of Friendship
- The Power of Love
- Reality Subtext: The later part of the show's central themes of forgiveness and reconciliation are especially poignant in view of Yoshiyuki Tomino's reunion with Mamoru Nagano.
- The Reveal: So, so many of these...
- Rousseau Was Right
- Screw Destiny: "We make our own fate!", says Sheila to Higgins.
- Shout-Out: Mostly to Aura Battler Dunbine, one of Tomino's earlier works.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Definitely on the idealistic side of it.
- Smug Snake: Jonathan.
- The Social Darwinist: The Reclaimers.
- Split Personality: Quincy Issa. Or is it Iiko Isami? Oh, well...
- Super Robot Wars: Has appeared in J and Alpha 2.
- (Pre)-Teen Genius: Kant.
- Tsundere: Definitely Hime. Also, Higgins, who is an aloof-warm type.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Gaybridge.
- Wig, Dress, Accent: Taken to an extreme with Baron Maximillian. Remember that Captain that fell off the boat some dozen episodes ago? Yeah. Same person. Between the mask, the extremely buff figure and voice synthesizer, it really does a good job at throwing the viewers off.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Jonathan, Quincy and Baron Maximillian are much more unhinged when piloting a Baronz. Earlier on, Igor also plays this trope.