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  Solty Rei Adopt an Android todayBuy this film here.
Year: 2005
Director: Yoshimasa Hiraike
Stars: Jouji Nakata, Momoko Saito, Hiro Shimono, Mamiko Noto, Masumi Asano, Natsuko Kuwatani, Ashley Links, Ryu Hirohashi, Sayaka Ohara, Shizuka Itou, Yukari Tamura
Genre: Comedy, Action, Animated, Science Fiction, TV Series
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: In this sci-fi anime from fan favourites Studio Gonzo, hard-bitten bounty hunter Roy Revant (voiced by Jouji Nakata) inhabits a future city recovering from a mysterious event called the “Blast Fall” that killed thousands. Those who survived share the pain of loss, while countless “Resembles” - people whose mangled bodies have been rebuilt with high-tech prosthetic devices - walk the streets. Mourning the disappearance of his daughter, Roy nearly succumbs to an ambush, but saved when by a miracle that literally falls from the sky: Solty (Momoko Saito), a bullet-proof, super-strong robo-girl, on the run from Special Duty Section Seven 7 power armour babes Sylvia Ban (Shizuka Itou) and Integra Martel (Ryu Hirohashi). She follows Roy around like a lovesick puppy and, after rescuing him from a mechanical monster, inveigles her way into his life working for a bounty hunter agency run by leggy Miranda (Sayaka Ohara) and her precocious, little girl Kasha (Natsuko Kuwatani).

Episode Two: “A New Dawn” opens with a flashback that shows the bond between Roy and Miranda goes back to the Blast Fall, where he lost his daughter and she her husband. She and Kasha fawn over the newcomer and take Solty clothes-shopping for a latex, superheroine outfit (“Doesn’t that look tacky?” snipes sassy Kasha), unaware that a rival bounty hunter agency have targeted Miranda for assassination.

Episode Three: “The Girl in Blue” opens with Solty officially designated Roy’s ward, with the grizzled bounty hunter irked that she wants a real father-daughter relationship. A hospital visit for a routine physical ends with the duo assigned to protect a mysterious briefcase from thieves Andy and Larry Anderson and their sister, Rose “the Blue Meteor”, a high-tech motorcycle riding, blue-eyed bombshell. The siblings prove to have purely altruistic motive, even though curmudgeonly Roy dismisses them as “pretentious Robin Hoods.” The episode also introduces Yuto K. Steel (Hiro Shimono), a young science boffin obsessed with the nubile robo-girl, who eventually joins the bounty hunting team.

In episode Four: “Friend”, Yuto reveals Solty is a hitherto unheard of, 100% Resemble. Our heroine helps a lost little girl and bonds with the kid over how to deal with difficult dads. Meanwhile, Sylvia and Integra deal with an escaped Resemble convict. The two plot strands come together with action packed results that sadly traumatize Solty’s first real friend.

The goofy, inconsequential episode Five: “Waterside Panic” takes place amidst a public swimming pool. A shameless excuse for the makers to get the shapely female cast into bikinis. Stealing a priceless emerald, Rose stashes it at the resort where the Section 7 girls happen to be vacationing and concocts a sob story to enlist Solty’s help. The tussle to retrieve the gem winds up looking like a beach volleyball game with added T&A. Mostly inane, this episode does at least reveal a little more about Rose and the poverty-stricken people who live beneath the utopian city.

Episode Six: “Beloved Daughter” finds Roy and Solty on the trail of two stolen power crystals, when a call comes through that Roy’s missing daughter has been found. This leads to an awkward encounter with a blind, wheelchair-bound orphan girl now going by the same name as Roy’s child. In a wild coincidence, her father turns out to be the crook they’re looking for, but overall this is a thoughtful, well-scripted, emotionally charged episode. The sole letdown being some uninspired gunplay during the climax.

A typical Gonzo production, Solty Rei has some lightweight sci-fi concepts, overdoses on jargon, fan-service ogling of comely heroines, and cutesy scenes like Kasha teaching Solty how to eat a hamburger. Anime have done the hulking hero meets robo-waif scenario many times before, most notably in Armitage III (1994) whose lead voice actor Kiefer Sutherland, Roy seems styled to resemble. These initial episodes introduce a large cast of characters - zany Rose being a particular favourite, of whom it looks like we’ll be seeing more in the future - while the leads are likeable with intriguing back-stories.

Kenichi Sonoda, the creative genius behind classics Gall Force (1986) and Bubblegum Crisis (1988), is listed as design consultant and his touch is apparent in the robo-girls and battle-armour babes, while the animation is a fluid amalgam of traditional 2-D with computer generated robots, bullets and cars. The story shows promise and, provided it curbs a few inanities, could prove worth sticking with.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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