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Anime / Simoun

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"I came here to fight."

In the world of Daikuuriku, everyone is born female, and chooses which sex they wish to become at age 17 with a trip to a magical spring. In this world, the peaceful theocracy of Simulacrum is guarded by magical flying machines called "Simoun," which can only be piloted by young girls who haven't chosen a sex yet. The Simoun can activate a magical power known as "Ri Maajon" (by inscribing enormous magical glyphs in the sky) that can destroy large numbers of enemy aircraft at once.

When the industrialized nation of Argentum decides that it needs to invade Simulacrum to acquire the secret of the Simoun, war breaks out, drawing the Simoun pilots into a lopsided battle. Because the war is raging, the Simoun pilots are granted an exemption from going to the spring for as long as they're willing to keep flying. One such pilot in particular vows to stay with her squadron until she becomes the ultimate Simoun pilot, and badgers her squadron-mates to do the same...

Simoun aired from April to September 2006 on Japanese TV, with an all-star (and all-female) voice acting cast, and two stage actresses portraying the series' romantic leads. The series has been licensed, and the (subtitled only) DVDs are available in North America.

A serial manga of the same name was released in Yuri Hime, with a completely different storyline.

No relation to anyone named "Simon" with his name pronounced "See-MOAN", nor to the antihero protagonist of El Filibusterismo, although that is his name (yes, including the U). Quite possibly related, however, to the 30s airplane, which a certain French writer crashed into the Sahara desert.

Provides examples of:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: Subverted. Three characters actually stay retired and one is shell shocked into inactivity for several episodes after coming back.
  • The Ace: While Neviril is renowned as the "Pride of all Sybillae"...until she becomes a Broken Ace. The Sybillae as a whole is renowned as being the elite of the elite, until they’re decimated by combined power of the Highlands and their arch rivals. In reality, Aer plays this much more straight, being a highly skilled, if not well known pilot, and someone who almost never loses her cool.
  • Achilles in His Tent: Early on, after losing the love of her life, Neviril refuses to participate in duty and later Dominura, after suffering Sanity Slippage.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: Lots of 'em.
  • Almost Dead Guy: There's quite a few examples of badly injured pilots coming back to warn the crew, before perishing..
  • Alpha Bitch: Mamiina is a subversion. She acts like this at first (before her following Character Development) despite the fact she's not rich, but poor.
  • Anyone Can Die: As poor Mamiina finds out....
  • Anime Accent Absence: When Plumbish priestesses speak in the language of Simulacrum, they sound exactly like native Simulacrans, with no traces of a foreign accent.
  • Art Evolution: As the series continues, Wapourif's features become a bit rougher, and his chest shrinks. Possibly a justified use of the trope - Wapourif is one of the youngest male characters, and it's very probable that what we're seeing is the effects of the Spring as his body continues changing and becoming more masculine.
  • Arc Words: Shin Tenchi e no Tobira ("The Door to the New World").
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: When Plumbish officials are shown to speak their own language, what is actually heard is Japanese phrases replayed backwards.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Aer, Neviril, Dominura, and Rimone in one sense; Onasia and possibly (eventually) Yun in another; Mamiina and possibly Anglas in a third.
  • Ax-Crazy: Aer is a minor example, she clearly enjoys the thrill of combat and she can be seen grinning when she's exterminating enemy pilots.
  • Babies Ever After: Morinas and Wapourif have a child together, and Morinas is visibly pregnant with number 2 during the final episode. Wauf also has a fairly young kid in that same episode.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: Averted. The only character who thinks this is also the only character who is truly and unremittingly evil. The idea that it is somehow a sign of weakness to have faith in someone or something greater than yourself is treated as highly sketchy and hubristic.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Guragief, as demonstrated in the penultimate episode when he knocks out a Plumbish soldier who was trying to prevent Aer and Neviril from escaping. Lampshaded by Anubituf.
  • Bifauxnen: Paraietta.
  • Bittersweet Ending: It's the little things, you know?
  • Blessed with Suck: Not going to the Spring makes you immortal, but leaves you stuck in a Time Abyss and unable to interact with anyone ever again.
  • Blood Knight: Aer to borderline Sociopathic Hero levels, at several points she's laughing when she's engaging an enemy recon patrol and filling them with bullet holes. The most terrifying aspect is unlike all the others, she fully understands that's she's killing people and she still loves it. Played for Drama, as she's so enthralled by war, it's practically the only thing she understands, which causes major friction between her and Nerivil.
  • Broken Ace: Neviril was once considered the Ace Pilot of Ace Pilots and she was considerably skilled. After losing her girlfriend, she becomes extremely withdrawn, cynical and almost lifeless. It takes considerable encouragement for Aer to get her groove back, and even then, the show heavily implies she'll never truly be over losing Amuria.
  • Broken Bird: A majority of the cast could qualify, but special mention goes to Neviril and Dominura.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Sibling incest, at least. It isn't treated as some awful, disgusting taboo when brought up; what's important is how each party feels toward the other, not the act itself. Yet another testament to how things like gender barriers are downplayed in the world of Simoun.
  • Character Development:
  • Cheerful Child: Rimone.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Paraietta's been Neviril Best Friend since childhood, and she's always harboured romantic feelings for her. This strong emotions give her endless pain, since Neviril, while loving her platonically, doesn't return them
  • Child Prodigy: Rimone.
  • Color-Coded Speech: The fansubs do this.
  • Combined Energy Attack: The Iron Ri Maajon, among others.
  • The Comically Serious: Yun.
  • Cool Ship: Arcus Prima, actually a former luxury liner converted to ad-hoc aircraft carrier. Certainly one way around the foolishly expansive glass-encased rooms and lush accommodations often seen in anime. When they get transferred to the Messis after the Arcus Prima needs to be repaired, their quarters are much more spartan.
  • Covers Always Lie: The front cover of the North American DVD release featured Neveril and Aer sort of... hugging? Dancing? Playing patty-cake? Whatever they are doing they are close together and naked, but somehow their embrace has no sexual overtones at all, so the whole thing just looks weird. Also, there is not a single Simoun visible on the front cover, back cover, or spine. The series is named Simoun and the machines are nowhere to be found. Without already knowing the background to the series there is no way to determine even what genre the show is, first guess would probably go to Magical Girl or an Ecchi series.
  • Dead Star Walking: Amuria gets her own spot in the opening, despite being killed off in the first ten minutes. To be fair, she casts a very long shadow over the series.
  • Distant Finale: The finale takes place after a massive Time Skip.
  • The Ditz: Floe, with a bit of Jerkass too. Aer also has her moments.
  • Dramatic Wind: Flight deck, episode 8; observation platform, episode 24.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Pretty much anyone who has just chosen the male gender, as their sexual characteristics don't immediately alter. Notably, Wapourif still has very big breasts and wears his hair long.
  • Ensemble Cast: None of the Simoun pilots-err, priestesses can be called the overarching protagonist. Everyone in Chor Tempest has an important role to play. Aer is introduced in a manner that indicates she would be a protagonist, but there's more than one episode where she has very little focus, if any. Even Neveril takes a back seat sometimes to let one of the others have the spotlight.
  • Expy:
    • Onasia is one of Ayesha, She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed, from H. Rider Haggard's adventure novels.
    • Aer bears a striking resemblance to Sailor Moon.
  • Faceless Mooks: The enemies of Simulacrum attack in swarms and wear full-body pilot suits and helmets that obscure even the tiniest bit of flesh. This de-personalizes them not just to the audience, but to the Sybillae as well. When Neveril looks into the eyes of an enemy pilot just before he is pulled into the Emerald Ri Majon, Amuria herself says that she will no longer be able to kill them once she has looked into their eyes.
  • Fanservice:
    • Kiss-powered airships, several kinds of skintight outfits.
    • Dominura. In her nightgown. With bed-head. This stuff writes itself.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry (one bare shoulder, illustrated above)
  • Fat Bastard: The Defense Minister.
  • First-Episode Twist: Amuria dies, Aer arrives in Chor Tempest as a replacement, and Neviril suffers a massive Heroic BSoD.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: One pair in particular in episode 1.
  • Form-Fitting Wardrobe: The anime keeps a prominent butt crack visible through skirts, dresses, and even baggy cargo pants. Though the Sybillae uniform strangely justifies it for breasts in one scene where Paraietta's top retains its shape after it's removed.
  • Freedom from Choice: A major theme. Choice (specifically the gender choice, but encapsulating other things as well) is the source of most of the main characters' internal conflict throughout the story not directly related to the war. The availability of choice is a good thing, but actually engaging in either/or decision-making erases other possibilities and hence, paradoxically, stunts potential, particularly spiritual potential. Characters sometimes attempt to go the traditional Freedom from Choice route and submit to military, political, or social marching orders, but the only actual freedom lies in a particular kind of simultaneously static and "wavering" mindset.
  • Gainax Ending: Definitely more sweet than bitter, but it's not clear exactly how and to what extent everything's been made right, where the Eternal Maidens are, and where Simulacrum is going as a country.
  • Gendercide: It's only seen in the titles of the soundtrack songs, but this was apparently done to men after a sex-based civil war/armed rebellion in the backstory.
    The Woman-Nation, First Movement: Ancient Mankind (Track 3)
    The Woman-Nation, Second Movement: Collapse and Eradication of Male-Dominated Civilisation (Track 4)
    The Woman-Nation, Third Movement: Engineering and Preservation of a New Species (Track 5)
    The Woman-Nation, Fourth Movement: Founding of the Woman-Nation (Track 6)
    -Simoun OST 1
  • Gender-Restricted Ability: The two female pilots must kiss each other and then the Simoun in order to turn it on.
  • Genki Girl: Aer.
  • Growing Up Sucks: The girls lose their ability to fly a Simoun once they have chosen their gender.
  • Ham and Cheese: Mamiina is this in-universe, even after her Character Development away from being the Token Evil Teammate.
  • Heroic BSoD: Neviril after the events of the first episode.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Mamiina.
  • He's Back!: Neviril.
  • Hopeless War: The series starts with the protagonists' nation easily fending off all comers through superior Applied Phlebotinum... and then the neighbors start catching up.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: Paraietta, despite being around the same age as the rest of the Sybillae (barring Rimone) can stand almost eye-to-eye with Dominura.
  • Human Outside, Alien Inside: Their reproductive cycle only results in female children.
  • Immigrant Patriotism: Dominura.
  • Important Haircut:
    • Roatreamon.
    • Mamiina.
  • Insistent Terminology: "WE! ARE! NOT! AT! WAR! WE ARE PRAYING TO THE SKY!!!"
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Possibly the ultimate example (and possibly more than a friendship): Yun is sixteen. Onasia is a Time Abyss.
  • It Gets Easier: Though the Sybillae are originally very clear that they are priestesses, not soldiers, and that they are praying, not fighting, (See Insistent Terminology above), as the series progresses they stop "Offering prayers to Tempus Spatium" and begin "patrolling," and they stop "inscribing Ri Maajon" and begin "fighting." No one notices the transition as it happens, until one day it is pointed out that even the Sybillae have begun to "fight." Needless to say, they do not take this realization well.
  • Ki Manipulation: Or Energy Weapons, or a mix of the two.
  • Killed Off for Real: Mamiina, among others.
  • Kawaiiko: Rimone, who is really just a little kid.
  • Losing the Team Spirit: Amuria's death is bad enough, but Neviril's subsequent Heroic BSoD leaves Chor Tempest in tatters.
  • Meaningful Name: Aer in Greek mythology refers to the air that mortals breathe, as opposed to the aether the gods breathe.
  • Mercy Kill: The Plumbum priestesses to Mamiina and Yun to Onasia.
  • Miko: Most of the cast.
  • Missing Man Formation: The Ri Maajon of the Fields.
  • The Mole: More than one of them.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: This is the show that gives us Yun, Mamiina, Paraietta, the nations of Argentum and Plumbum, and the Defence Minister of Simulacrum.
  • The Mourning After: Neviril with regards to Amuria; Roatreamon with regards to Mamiina.
  • Mr. Exposition: Guragief in episode 2, Wapourif in episode 3, Onasia and the High Priestess in episode 21.
  • Mr. Fixit: Wapourif.
  • Mysterious Parent: Actually, a mysterious grandparent: Aer's grandfather.
  • Never Found the Body: Amuria.
  • Near-Rape Experience: Almost done to Neviril by Paraietta.
  • Number Two: Guragief on the Arcus Prima. The Messis doesn't seem to have one.
  • Old Maid: Dominura is actually not one, as her official profile lists her age as 19 years old. Talk about Younger Than They Look. Still, in the context of the Simoun universe, she qualifies, as she still has yet to choose a gender.
  • Only One Name: Namely in the anime. In the manga, Aer and Roatreamon get last names, but even then they're the only ones.
  • Prohibited Hero Saves the Day: In episode 19 Aaeru and Yun are inexplicably grounded while the rest of Chor Tempest are sent after the enemy's elusive Airborne Aircraft Carrier. The two of them eventually decide to violate their orders and sortie to save the day, but not before Mamiina is killed in action.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: Episode 12 in regards to the sexual encounter between Kaim and Alty. Each of them claims that the other initiated the act.
  • Rays from Heaven:
    • These are used frequently to indicate normal levels of peace and happiness, especially in flashbacks. It's needed when the series is not exactly cheerful.
    • The Spring has these shining down, particularly onto Onasia, making it look as magical as it is.
    • When Aer and Neviril goes back in time, they are seen descending from one.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Chor Tempest's transfer from Arcus Prima to Messis.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: The flight suits that the Sybillae wear.
  • Say My Name: AA! E! RU! (Aer)
  • Shower of Angst: A few times.
  • The Sky Is an Ocean: And the ships even have a nautilus motif.
  • Sleazy Politician: The other countries are nominally the antagonists, but the real Big Bad is the Simulacran Defense Minister, an Obstructive Bureaucrat General Ripper Hollywood Atheist Sleazy Politician. He's such a bastard that we cheer when the peace treaty deposes half of the Simulacran government, because at least it's possible for Anubituf to negotiate constructively with Plumbum.
  • Snub by Omission: When Chor Tempest gets asked to show a Plumbum priestess around their ship, they naturally start off with introductions, with the priestess repeating each name as she's told it... except Aer's.
  • Spell My Name With An S: In spades. Aaeru/Aeru/Aer/Aelle, Rodoreamon/Lodreamon/Roatreamon, Angulas/Anguras/Angurasu, and more. It didn't help that the producers had rather odd romanizations in mind, and didn't communicate them until after the fansubs were finished.
  • Spoiler Opening: Aer and Neviril are shown to be a Pair in the opening, but it actually takes several episodes before Neviril accepts Aer as her Pair.
  • Steampunk: The Argentum army.
  • Stable Time Loop: Two of the pilots find themselves transported back in time and wind up founding the tradition of flying Simoun.
  • Stripperiffic: Stockings and exposed garter belts... worn by fighter pilots. Luckily their cockpits are heated, during the fight in the blizzard at episode 5 Alty says "It must be pretty cold out there", but still...
  • Sucking-In Lines: The Emerald Ri Maajon.
  • Suicide Attack: Under the guise of a peace conference, a Plumbish priestess commits a suicide attack with something like an explosive belt to destory the Simouns.
  • Supporting Leader: Anubituf.
  • Team Mom: Yun, by the end.
  • Team Dad: Technically Neviril, but Dominura fills in for her a lot.
  • Team Spirit: Kiss-powered airships, and the more powerful Ri Maajon effects require the coordinated action of several Simoun.
  • Temporal Paradox: One country intentionally tries to change history to avoid losing a war.
  • Thanks for the Mammary: Subverted—it's not played for laughs. After Wapourif deconstructs a Simoun and Dominura sees whatever she does within it and goes nuts , Wapourif has a crisis of faith, leading to this little exchange between him and Morinas. After regretting "touching something so holy", Morinas does this to him and storms off in a huff. They make up later.
  • There Is Only One Bed: Rimone and Dominura in the past.
  • Those Two Guys: Anubituf and Guragief, with a healthy bit of UST between them. In the Commentary, the director mentioned that, when they where Sybillae, they both decided to end up together, but when they went to The Spring, they both assumed that the other would be the woman.
  • Time Abyss: Onasia.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Mamiina pre-Character Development.
  • Token Mini-Moe: Rimone. She is exempt from fanservice shots, although she still has to kiss her co-pilot. She doesn't mind though, which leads to very heartwarming interaction between her and Dominura
  • Twisted-Knee Collapse: Mamiina, at the end of episode 7.
  • Underdogs Never Lose: Inverted. The enemy nations eventually manage to defeat the Simouns.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Let's do a Ri Maajon."
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Amuria herself points out that, once you look an enemy in the eye (And thus recognize them as a person, instead of just "the enemy") it is suddenly a lot harder to kill them.
  • We Have Reserves: The enemies of Simulacrum have thousands, perhaps millions, more planes than there are Simouns, but even in such lopsided battles they still suffer massive casualties. Their only viable option in the war is to keep replacing their slaughtered soldiers with fresh fodder as they slowly grind down the Simoun, which exist only in very limited numbers.
  • Zerg Rush: The predominant tactic of all enemies of Simulacrum. There is simply no way they can match the Simoun on a 1-to-1, or even 100-to-1, basis, so they throw thousands of their own fighters at them in the hopes of downing even one or two. Since they have reserves, this becomes surprisingly (and disturbingly) effective.