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Manga / Pilot Candidate

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The Candidate for Goddess is a manga by Yukiru Sugisaki, later adapted into a 12-Episode Anime series mostly known in the United States for a very brief, one-time run on [adult swim] during the block's early years (when it aired on the weekends and had animated comedies on Sundays and action cartoons on Saturdays) under the title Pilot Candidate. There was a thirteenth episode OVA that never made it out of Japan.

The story takes place in the year 4084. It has been over one thousand years since the Crisis of Systems, which resulted in the destruction of four planetary systems, leaving only a single inhabitable planet named Zion. Mankind is forced to live in space colonies, since that one planet is constantly being invaded by alien life forms that have come to be known as Victim. To stop the aliens and to allow people to land on Zion, mankind has developed the astronomical humanoid weapons, Ingrids, or Goddesses. At the G.O.A. (Goddess Operation Academy), young men are trained to pilot the Ingrids. Each of the pilots has a special power called EX; for example the ability to freeze time or to move at extreme speed.


Pilot Candidate contains examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: There are very few characters with actual Japanese names; some are European, most are straight up fantasy names. And aside from Zero's real name, the ones with Japanese names have theirs written in Katakana.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Zero to Hiead, once. Cue shocked gasps from everyone around.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: The series ended before Zero even got to become a pilot himself.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Zero and Kizna's relationship.
  • Bishōnen: Most of the candidates.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys
  • Digital Bikini: Used in the Cartoon Network-edited version.
  • Falling into the Cockpit: Notably subverted. Zero does this in first episode but immediately refuses to pilot mecha because of his lack of skill.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Kizna's jeans.
  • Fiery Redhead: Kizna, though it might be pink. It's kind of hard to tell.
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  • Gecko Ending
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Many thought that Roose's weight loss was caused by him and Wrecka getting... too close.
    • And in the same episode, there was a scene which looked like Hiead was going to rape Ihkny in the middle of the hallway. Lucky nothing happened (though this was one of many cut scenes in the Cartoon Network version).
  • Gratuitous English: Naming the things attacking you... “Victim” of all things?
  • High School A.U.: In episode 10 or 11, Zero dreams of a world in which he lives a regular Earth life with all the people he's met in GOA, a la Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • Hot-Blooded: Zero.
  • Humongous Mecha
  • Idiot Hero: Zero Enna.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: In place of "episode," the series used "Curriculum." Notably, the first episode is "Curriculum 00," leading to some confusion as to how the episodes should be numbered.
  • Killed Off for Real: Ernest. Fried to death by a Victim.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Hiead can be a scary guy.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Kizna puts Zero through this in episode 05 while she's trying to find signs of EX on his hair.
  • Meaningful Name: Zero's real name, Rei, is written with the kanji representing number 0.
  • Meganekko: Ikhny.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Teela wears a Stripperific one piece leotard, has ridiculously long blur hair, has a well-endowed bust, has long legs... She's quite the package.
  • My Hero, Zero
  • Necessary Drawback: Goddess pilots will eventually lose their ability to pilot them, and suffer a mental and physical breakdown in the process.
  • No Smoking: The Cartoon Network-edited version turned all the cigarettes into toothpicks.
  • Orphaned Series: Both the anime and manga end very abruptly.
    • It's probably more appropriate to say that the manga has been "eternally hiatused", rather than having ended. There is still a very slim chance that Sugisaki will take it back up again, as the manga was rather better than the anime.
  • Prolonged Prologue: The entire series feels like it's setting up for something greater, but it ends before the candidates make it to pilots and doesn't even properly introduce many characters, which is why a lot of people hated the anime (even when it wasn't edited to Toonami standards and shown on [adult swim]).
    • The manga also had similar issues, but at least it tried to explain some of the things happening, as well as giving the characters some depth in the process.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Teela's hair goes down all the way to the floor almost!
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Hiead.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Zero and Hiead. Zero and Erts also had this when they partnered up.
  • Ship Tease: Zero gets this with at least THREE characters throughout the series:
    • Erts, his senior partner prior to Erts' promotion to pilot.
    • Kizna, his repairer. Prominent in promotional artwork.
    • Teela, whom he vaguely has a connection to, but the series never got that far enough for them to "officially" meet each other. Also most prominent in promotional artwork, moreso than Kizna.
  • Shrinking Violet: Ikhny, which doesn't help when she's dealing with someone like Hiead.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Teela is the only female pilot. The other female characters are either repairers or hold supporting jobs.
  • Space Cadet Academy: The setting of Candidate for Goddess.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Since the series is full of made-up, difficult names (hello, Philphleora), it's prone to this.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Hiead looks like he's about to rape Ikhny, but tells her "your job is to support me."
  • Stripperific: The boys' candidate uniforms. You know, the black ones they wear everyday, which seem to show a lot of skin. And given that this series is full of Bishōnen...
  • Tsundere: Philphleora, Rioroute's repairer. Possibly Kizna.
  • Unfortunate Names: Hiead. Take out the "i", and you have "head". How peachy.
  • Unusual Ears: Kizna has fox ears. A flashback reveals that she once had human ears, but what the hell happened was never properly explained.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Zero's biggest obstacle to becoming a pilot is his phobia of zero gravity.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Hiead is The Lancer, but he is also a very cold, asocial guy who has no problems with threatening girls. Decidedly not the most heroic of characters, though he does seem to become nicer by the end (but who can say for sure, really?).
    • In the manga, Hiead was The Rival who was also a vicious Blood Knight who took no qualms with beating down (and nearly killing) a fellow classmate during a training exercise. It got to the point to the point that he and Zero frequently clashed violently and the latter even grew to hate his guts and never tried to befriend him unlike in the anime.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Oh so very much. Let's see... There's Roose, Yamagi, Kizna, Tsukasa, Wrecka (who deserves a mention for literal blue hair), Teela, Gareas, the nurses, and the list goes on... Apparently in the future hairdye will be really popular.


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