Genre: Sci fi Mech Action Romantic Comedy
Length: 26 episodes
Score: OK

Women are monsters! So proclaims the propoganda in the entirely-male Taraak, locked in constant conflict with the women from the nearby planet Majere. Hibiki is a low-ranking grease monkey who’s goaded into stowing away on the relaunch after 100 years of the colonisation flagship. But the ship is attacked by a band of female pirates, and its temperamental engine reacts by transporting both ships some distance across space into stange and hostile territory. Hibiki is one of only three remaining men, on a ship with 150 bloodthirsty pirate women. Good job they’re mostly hot.

For reasons of pure deus ex machina, the two ships become merged, resulting in a new ship that is constantly redesigning itself. Hibiki becomes a pilot of one of the remaining male fighter mecha, the Vanguard. The women pilot a similar (but prettier) type of mech called a Dreadnought. For the same reasons as the ships, it’s discovered that the two types of mech can combine into something stronger – and that combining Hibiki’s Van with each of the three main female pilot’s Dreads produces a different result. The other two men are a silent bishy doctor who gets along well with the girl who heads engineering, and a spoiled coward of an officer who ends up as the ship’s helm.

Both sides grew up in a single-gender culture, without any concept of sex, and in fact regard each other as different species. The male doctor is completely unfamiliar with pregnancy – both cultures reproduce using technology, though the women are at least a little more natural in it. Male technology is very utilitarian, while the females put more care into presentation. The pirate ship has a spa and decent food, and the armory for the fighters feels more like a maid cafe.

This series has a neat idea. By comparing the two cultures and the way the people interact, it can explore the differences between the male and female mindsets, and the ways in which both develop as a result of each other. The male culture in particular is seen to have raised a generation of men who are missing a real sense of responsibility or compassion – something women can provide. At the start of the series, the three men are each to some degree selfish, arrogant and cowardly; by the end, they’re stronger, humbler and more understanding. The allegorical character development is quite well done.

But there is a down side. The journey is clearly similar to Star Trek: Voyager, in that they’re making their way home the long way through unfamiliar territory, and unfortunately that’s the show’s main weakness. The crew encounter various cultures, and take a moral lesson from each. They also struggle against a massive and unknown enemy, whose agenda is gradually revealed. While individual episodes, characters and aspects are entertaining, too often the effect is annoyingly preachy.