Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Solty Rei

Solty Rei was a 26-episode action anime that ran back in 2005-06. it follows a bounty hunter, Roy, as he struggles with his past and coping with the present, after a city-wide accident claimed his daughter 12 years prior. despite his friend and employer Miranda's best efforts, he remains a gruff, cold man. one day, while on a job, a girl falls from the sky and helps Roy out of a jam. she has no memory of her past or even her name, and follows Roy home, much to his chagrin. eventually he warms to the girl, naming her Solty.
Not quite what he expected.
Solty Rei starts off rather slow, with the characters and setting establishing themselves, going through small one-shot stories to build up some attachment. by the 13th episode, however, the pace picks up like a brakeless steam train, firing plot twist after plot twist to the point where it will leave you reeling, on the edge of your seat. everything happens so rapidly that it's as if the whole world is being slipped out from under you. while that works to the series' advantage, it can make the first and second halves feel like completely separate series (and they're not split into two seasons, either). going in, i had no idea of the sci-fi elements at work here, and even though i somewhat spoiled the ending for myself beforehand, a lot of the events still blind-sided me.
It's always the quiet ones.
furthering this whirlwind are all the elements that come into play. past events such as the Blast Fall are referenced frequently (not unlike the concept of Memories and 40 Years Ago in The Big O), and the corporation R.U.C, a background element at first, is thrust into the spotlight as the series goes on. what results is an ending that one would never anticipate going in. in a way, that makes this series unique.
Here, they use puppets to explain one of the elements of the series, Resemble.
the characters in this series are distinct enough that they aren't easy to mix up, and they don't fall into trope-land. sure, they have their shortcomings, but who doesn't? the R.U.C girls are easy to confuse at first, but over time they develop their own personalities enough that their names can be remembered. the characters are also drawn in a slightly more realistic style than  most series, aiding the serious and sci-fi nature of it.
The CG in this series is really quite tasteful.
the music in this series is key. while the background music is your typical anime sound, the opening, ending, and insert song really resonate within it, being instantly recognizable (especially in the case of the insert song, which becomes a plot point as the series goes on). the english dub was also of great quality, with each character sounding just right.
Expect to hear a lot of one quiet, contemplative Jazz track.
overall, Solty Rei was an enjoyable watch. while it took awhile to get things going, when they did, they did so with a bang (well, many bangs). making it even better is that while the series is action-packed, it's clean. no swearing, no nudity (for the most part), little fanservice (there are some skin-tight suits, but honestly, you can't see that much since they're always in the dark), and not much gore. you could easily show this to a class of middle-schoolers or your 60-something uncle and be just fine. sure, a lot of things get punched, but you know, american tv has a lot more of them than this show.
Solty Rei is available from Exiled Destiny, LIME, and in a joint effort on some websites from Shinsen Subs/Nyanko. Solty Rei was also licensed for distribution in 2006 by Funimation.
The amount of characters can sometimes be staggering, but hey, at least they keep them original. (This would make a great background, btw.)

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