Anime: Captain Earth

When I opened the door called Truth, my childhood ended.

It was a summer I could never forget.

Captain Earth is a Humongous Mecha anime from Studio Bones and the team behind Star Driver.

A second-year high school student named Daichi Manatsu spots a weird circular rainbow floating around above Tanegashima Island on TV on the eve of his summer vacation, noting that he's seen it before. Getting a bad feeling about the whole thing, he moves it by himself to Tanegashima Island, which houses Japan's Tanegashima Space Center where his Astronaut father launched on his final ill-fated mission. When he gets there, a 17-year-old guy named Teppei Arashi asks why Daichi has returned to the island. Daichi replies that he came back to fulfill a promise.

Thinking of other mysteries including his dad's accidental demise and the memories of other weird boys and girls he met when he was a kid, Daichi arrives at the island loaded with overwhelming emotions, and as alarms sound at the center, he finds a giant robot known as "Earth Engine" and acquires a strange gun called a "Livlaster."

Oh yeah, there's also this problem that equally-mysterious all-mechanical life forms called Kill-T-Gang are coming from Uranus to invade Earth for...something. Yep, sounds just like your average anime about a kid from high school piloting a giant robot in order to save Earth.

Problem is, not everyone wants him to save it...

Not to be confused with Captain Planet.

This anime contains examples of:

  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: The Livlasters are not guns. They are the physical extensions of a nigh-omnipotent extra dimensional being taking the form of guns.
  • A God Am I: The CEO of Macbeth Enterprises believes that he is destined to lead the humans who will survive the Kiltgang's assault to create a utopia of his design. He believes that the universe gave this destiny to him.
    • Puck declares himself the one true God of the universe after merging with Oberon and becoming Robin Goodfellow.
  • All Just a Dream: Episode 23 has Daichi and Akari stuck in dreams caused by the Blume's Entangle Link. They both manage to break free with sheer willpower.
  • Ambiguous Ending: The finale does not make it clear whether or not Daichi and Hana survive the destruction of the Blume.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Hana Mutou.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: The cause of much drama with the Designer Children due to their Telepathic Kiss.
  • Author Tract: The show is a giant love letter to space exploration.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Episode 19 ends with Hana floating naked in the Blume's control module. While her crotch is obscured by something else, this initially appears to be an instance of Godiva Hair. But no, her hair floats out of the way, giving the audience a clear view of her nipple-less breasts.
  • Batman Gambit: Akari does this in Episode 9, where she threatens Amara and Moco with the Earth's complete destruction if they don't release her, knowing that they would be forced back into hibernation without any of their precious Orgone energy to feast on. Moco finds out she's serious, and they reluctantly let her go.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Invoked by Akari in an attempt to cheer Daichi up. Also Moco, who only wears a tube top.
  • Bishōnen: Teppei
  • Bleached Underpants: The original character designs are by ero-manga creator Minato Fumi (similar to 2013's Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, which had Naruko Hanaharu).
  • Blue and Orange Morality: The Kiltgang believe that having a finite lifespan means you are not truly sentient, and not a "real" person. As a result, they view earthlings as food.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Don't let the gentle tone and bright colors of the show fool you, some pretty dark stuff occurs every other episode.
  • Defector from Decadence: Implied with Teppi, defecting from Kiltgang for reasons not yet known.
  • Determinator: Daichi, Teppei and Hana all perform some pretty impressive feats that should be physically impossible purely because they refused to let their loved ones get hurt.
  • Disappeared Dad: The dad's dead this time around.
    • Teppei's dad or rather, genetic donor, has been in cold sleep for most of Teppei's life. It goes so far that for some time of his life, Teppei didn't even know what a father was. After the episode where Eiji is wakened from his sleep and escapes to Earth, he is never seen again.
  • Discard and Draw: Teppei gave up his Singularity and Killtgang powers... and got a Livlaster, which can draw on Orgone energy without making the wielder evil.
    • Hana switches out the Flare Engine for a ship.
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: Teppei's Singularity is creating rainbows out of thin air.
    • His Killtgang-form Albion is also heavily associated with rainbows, mainly through his sword and shield.
  • Evil Feels Good: The Kiltgang describe piloting their mechs as being immensely pleasurable, and seem to want to feed on humanity just so they can keep doing it.
  • Expy: The Earth Engine/Livelaster has a combination sequence similar to the Final Fusion, shares the look and fins of Gunbuster and has the color scheme of Heroman.
    • The head design and manskirt are also very reminiscent of Tauburn.
    • Young Daichi's jacket bears a heavy resemblance to Renton's.
    • A boy with purple hair? Check. Red eyes? Check. Pilots a white, somewhat girly-looking mecha? Check. Affinity for pastel clothes? Check. Voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya? Check. Has always known he's different from other people, and is later informed his race is humanity's enemy? Gets his own "I am human!" moment? Double-check. Teppei Arashi could be younger (or older?) Tieria Erde.
    • Eiji (Teppei's biological father) is widely considered to be one to Head, mostly by virtue of purple hair and eyes, having Akira Ishida as his seiyuu and being the father of one of the main characters. Sometimes he's also called Head's "good twin", due to his relatively pleasant behaviour in the episode he appears in.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Akari's "SUCK-IT-UP-FORTE!".
  • Government Conspiracy: Of the benevolent variety. The space station holding the Earth Engine is actually a cold sleep ark, meant to keep certain elite humans who can easily rebuild and repopulate safe in the event that the Kiltgang succeed. The public think that it's just a deep space telescope.
  • Hand Cannon: The Livlasters, extremely powerful weapons used by the protagonists to power the Earth Engine. They are also apparently the extension of a benevolent extra-dimensional being given to the worthy to help fight off the Kiltgang.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Daichi's father pulled one in the backstory.
  • Humans Are Bastards: No one's called mankind out on this specifically, but the backgrounds of the various Designer Children all showcase this trope.
  • Humans Through Alien Eyes: The Planetary Gears believe that humanity is not a true sapient species because they are not immortal and have libidos that the Gears can consume. The Gears find the idea of not living forever to be bizarre and confusing, although Siren does mention that the Kiltgang were once mortals.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Earth, Nebula and Flare Engines.
    • Meta Mecha / Mecha Expansion Pack
    • Then there are the Kiltgang's actual robot forms, which are even considerably bigger than the Engine Series Impacters (which are already very huge), making them truly gigantic.
    • Dwarfing even the Kiltgangs is Robin Goodfellow, which appears to be bigger than the Moon.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Implied in Episode 16. While musing on the humans' treatment of their Designer Child forms, Siren admits that while she can't forgive the humans for using her, if they go ahead with their plan to harvest all human energy, they'll be using the humans. She stops just short of asking what the difference would be between them and the humans, but that's clearly what she's thinking.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Hana. She simply doesn't understand what a pretty young girl flashing her undercarriage does to a boy Daichi's age.
  • Jerk Ass: Literally every member of Salty Dog introduced so far. The very first member seen is implied to sexually harass Hana and seems to take sadistic pleasure in announcing to Daichi that he's going to pretty much become their prisoner, complete with a lead gear for whenever he steps out of line. Episode three also confirms that they're willing to endanger the entire planet and sabotage the Earth Engine just to get Daichi out of the picture and in episode 6 they kidnap and hold Hana at gunpoint.
    • It (temporarily) caps in episode 19, where they're trying to get Hana at every cost. They need her alive, but for them it's totally alright to kill Daichi and Teppei to cripple the Intercept faction.
  • Locking Macgyver In The Store Cupboard: In episode 9 the Planetary Gears kidnap Akari, having grown frustrated with her hacking screwing up their plans. Instead of simply imprisoning her or killing her and depending on their own high-tech hacking skills, they give her a computer and tell her to hack for them against her allies. This goes about as well for them as could be expected.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Akari is one to Teppei, Daichi and Hana, being eccentric, playful and doing everything she can to encourage them to lighten up and enjoy life.
  • Meaningful Name: The series has multiple Shout Outs to Shakespeare's works:
    • The evil megacorp is called Macbeth Enterprises.
    • The AI coordinating Macbeth and the Planetary Gears is called Puck, based on the the faerie from English folklore also known as Robin Goodfellow. The special weapons the Planetary Gears use are called Machine Goodfellows, while Puck uses the alias Robin when dealing with people outside Macbeth. Robin Goodfellow is also the name of his final, Kill-T-Gang form.
    • Daichi's team is called the Midsummer's Knights. In a further Shout-Out, the Planetary Gears' mothership is called Oberon.
    • And subtly, while Globe is a perfectly reasonable name for a worldwide space exploration organization, it is also likely a reference to the Globe Theatre, where many of Shakespeare's plays debuted.
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: Machine Goodfellows are Earth-manufacture machines, Kiltgangs are the alien ones.
  • Mini-Mecha: Machine Goodfellows, Earth Engine Ordinary, Nebula Engine Ordinary and Flare Engine Ordinary.
  • Miss Fanservice: The first invader, Moco, wears a skin-tight piloting suit that leaves little to the imagination.
    • Lampshaded by Akari, who comments that exposing so much skin all the time stops it from being special.
      • Mister Fanservice: Amara isn't any slouch either, wearing an equally revealing suit when it's his turn to pilot.
  • Missing Mom: While we do see a picture of Daichi's mother in the first episode, we don't know where or who she is. Though later on her name is revealed as Umi. She died when Daichi was a child
    • Also Akari's mom, who the governor of the Tenkaido space station.
  • The Mole: Salty Dog is working for the Ark Faction, a group of people who want the Kiltgang to get to Earth and eat everyone.
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: The CEO of Macbeth Enterprises, the seeming leader of the Ark Faction. He wants the Kiltgang to succeed so that most of mankind will be eradicated, leaving only the especially important and talented ones selected for cold sleep in the ark as a reserve emergency measure are the only ones left, allowing him to manipulate the world into a utopia of his own design. Until Puck takes control of his body.
  • No Loves Intersect: So far in both the episodes and first opening/ending, they have been pretty consistent on going with Daichi/Hana and Teppei/Akari, with no Love Triangle whatsoever.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In episode 23, Daichi gets stuck in a dream by the Kiltgangs. However, Akari is also trapped in one, and Teppei implies she did just as good of a job escaping, but we don't get to see it.
  • Off with His Head!: Once on Earth, the Planetary Gears can activate their Machine Goodfellows, which after a certain amount of time, transfers their consciousness to their Kiltgang form, meaning they can attack Earth and consume humanity's libidos. To stop this, Daichi must remove or damage the Machine Goodfellow's head before the Kiltgang can activate.
  • Omniscient Council of Vagueness: A small group of sharply dressed men and women known as the Ark Faction are not pleased to find that Earth stands a fighting chance. They are rivals of the Intercept Faction, and they believe that mankind staying on earth is a doomed endeavor, a la Char Aznable.
  • "On the Next Episode of..." Catch Phrase: "Earth Engine, expand!" Later changes to "Earth Engine, scramble!"
  • Ordinary Highschool Student: Daichi, he also lampshades it.
    I'm just a high school student.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Akari seems to have mixed feelings about her divorced father's attempts to hook up with Rita.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Zin.
  • Playful Hacker: Akari. "Logical, logical!"
  • Rapunzel Hair: Hana's reaches just below her back.
  • Ramming Always Works
  • Reasonable Authority Figure
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Pitz, Hana's pet squirrel-looking thing.
    • Setsuna has a pink version of Pitz named Lappa.
  • Rocket Punch: With an interesting twist to the trope: Daichi blows up a rocket behind him so he can push the Earth Engine forward and punch Amarok. It works.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: Daichi is about to shoot you.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Eiji mistakes Akari for Teppei's girlfriend in episode 5. Teppei denies it, Akari is silent, and Eiji is amused and asks Akari to take care of Teppei for him.
  • Ship Tease: A lot between Teppei and Akari, starting episode 5.
  • Shock Collar: The lead gear placed on Teppei, Hana, and later Daichi by Salty Dog in episode 2, which causes pain if they try to leave the area around the base. They're forced to abandon them when Daichi destroys the antenna, rendering them useless.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The camera angles during the Livlaster introduction are evocative of the introduction of the Evas.
    • There are a lot of names that reference the works of William Shakespeare: The organizations Macbeth Enterprises and Globe, the AI Puck, the mothership Oberon, and the robots are called Machine Goodfellows, after Robin Goodfellow, another name for Puck.
    • Daichi's attack in episode 18 is similar to an infamous moment in Gundam Wing.
  • Spiritual Successor: Is widely considered to be one to Star Driver.
  • Supernaturally Young Parent: Eiji Arashi, Teppei's biological father. Teppei is a Designer Child, and Eiji has been in cold sleep for a while.
  • Title Drop: At the end of episode 7, with the Midsummer's Knights team finally formed, Tsutomu dramatically declares to Daichi that, as the pilot of the Earth Engine and leader of the team, "You are Captain Earth!"
    • Done again in the final episode, this time Daichi declaring this name himself before entering the final battle with Robin Goodfellow.
    I'm Captain Earth!
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Hana and Daichi confess their mutual feelings this way in episode 15.
    • Episode 21 has Akari giving one to Teppei.
    • How Daichi frees Hana from Puck's control in the finale.
  • Theme Naming: Outside of the previously mentioned numerous Shout-Out to Shakespeare, the Manatsu family is composed of Daichi (earth), his father Taiyou (sun) and his mother Umi (sea). Naturally, Daichi and Taiyou pilot the Earth Engine and Star Engine respectively. And their last name means "midsummer", which is actually pointed out by Akari at the formation of the Midsummer's Knights.
  • Touch Telepathy: Designer Children can read a person's mind and transfer memories by kissing them. This is how Amara and Moco awaken the Designer Children's former memories.
  • True Companions
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Hana was originally created to be a tool by the Kiltgang for the sole purpose of getting the Livlaster to function, but ultimately defected.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The Macbeth Enterprises CEO and the Ark Faction think that the Kiltgang are this to them, whereas the Kiltgang feel this way about the Ark Faction and CEO. It's not yet clear who will ultimately wind up benefiting or getting screwed over.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: All the Planetary Gears prior to being awakened.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Officially, the Ark Faction is just an alternative approach to allowing humanity to survive the Kiltgang invasion and Salty Dog is a neutral third-party that monitors alien technology on Earth. In reality, the Ark Faction is actively attempting to facilitate the Kiltgang's arrival by sabotaging the Intercept Faction, and Salty Dog are their muscle and spies within GLOBE.
  • When He Smiles: In episode 3, Akari notes that Teppei's cuter when he smiles.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: In episode 3, Akari calls out her father for not having seen her once in the last five years, to the point that he pretty much doesn't know anything about her life at all. Played for laughs, as she deliberately dramatizes it since her personality isn't the sort to be angsty over that sort of thing.
  • Working with the Ex: Akari's divorced parents are the commander of the Tanegashima Launch Center and the governor of the Tenkaidou space station, but they're able to maintain their professional relationship and defend the earth.
  • World of Buxom: While not an ecchi show by any means, a majority of the female characters are very well-endowed.
  • Woman in White: If she's not wearing a pink pilot suit, Hana is seen wearing a white dress.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: The Midsummer's Knights can't stop Amara and Moco from awakening the other Planetary Gears, and can't stop them getting in their Machine Goodfellows.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Arial (the odd little girl with the flute) and Amara have literal blue hair.