When the robot’s AI said how much combat hours our main character had clocked in, I paused the video, pulled up the calculator and did some quick maths. That kid has been fighting for 16.5 straight years. Now I’m not sure as of yet how much of that includes his time sleeping in the mech, or whether that counts from when he was very young and in training, but even without that degree of knowledge it’s still a shocking statistic. One of the other guys remarks that this guy is still ‘young’, which implies to clock up over 16 years of service, he’d either have to have been enlisted from birth or started military training as part of his kindergarten level education.
The amount of detail about the world those lines pack in is phenomenal. We already know the entire population is militaristic to the extreme. The opening segment gave us a view of the propaganda-driven totalitarian regime they were forced to adopt to organise the population so that military fighting is required simply to gain citizenship. And even after 16 years of service, all this kid got was limited citizenship and 4 days on the planet’s surface. It’s interesting to see how big of a deal they make out of his right to reproduce. When you see how many people die in that epic space battle, it’s fairly clear that well 0ver 99% of people will never get out of their first battle, let alone survive over 16 years of service.
But they have to keep the population going to fight these space snails, so why would they limit their amount of reproducing men? Well, they probably want the best genes possible, and what’s better than natural selection through continuous fighting. Those who gain citizenship and can reproduce will clearly be the greatest fighters and any offspring should have the same fighting genes. To keep the population growing then, that one fighter will probably be the father of 60 bajillion children, living in some kind of space stud farm for humans. Maybe that’s why everyone in that colony looked the same with that same white hair? Or maybe I’m reading too much into that…
It’s not as though it’s 16 years of training either. The main character remarked that he’s so used to fighting he doesn’t even get scared anymore. His response to being woken up by the AI is to yell “where’s the enemy!” which implies he’s used to being woken up with the space snails already attacking. Well, I suppose he could have just been having a bad dream. And in all that time, he’s never stepped foot on a planet. He’s either been on space stations or living that vat-life he has in the robot. So basically civilisation is now producing vat-babies to create the best fighters who spend all their lives inside giant robots regulating their growth and health fighting several years worth of battles until only the best survive, who then create the next generation of kids who are stuck into service with their robot and the cycle begins again.
You know what I love about all that? They did all of that with so few lines and without ever showing most of that directly. Sure I may be a bit off base with a few of those predictions, but I can go into that much depth because of how much information is packed into these little signs. It does all that without infodumping either. It was through some natural dialogue that still giving the characters personality through how they received and reacted to the information. The directing was marvellous too in how it framed shots, such as the spinning camera when the main character got on deck. It even managed to be funny, something Butch Gen isn’t particularly known for. This was one of the best first episodes I’ve ever seen and I loved every goddamn second of it.