Glass Fleet, ABC
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streaming sites: Funimation
Okay... I can't say I completely followed everything that happened in this series, because a lot of it was based on things which had happened at some point in the past, though I'm not sure exactly how long... perhaps a couple of decades earlier. It's set in another galaxy, and there was an empire, whose rulers had been overthrown, and currently there's a new empire, led by a man named Vetti Sforza (the "Holy Emperor"), and there's a whole new aristocracy in place. Over the course of the series we'll learn a bit about how Vetti rose to power. At the start of the series, Vetti crushes the last of the forces of the Allied Nobility, which I guess was the corrupt government which had arisen after the fall of the royal family, years earlier. However, a resistant to Vetti's new Holy Empire arises, the People's Army, which is led by a man named Michel Volban. They believe that the empire Vetti established was at least as corrupt as that of the Allied Nobility, and wish to unify the galaxy for the benefit of the masses, rather than the aristocracy. Ironically, I think Michel himself was a member of the former aristocracy, though I'm not really clear on that point, and anyway, his desire to help the common people is genuine. I should mentio, though, that there's a secret about Michel which you might well guess right away, and the truth will eventually be revealed, though even at the end of the series relatively few people are aware of it. I won't tell you what that secret is, but I will say the explanation for it is a bit more interesting than I would have expected, even if I still think it's kind of ridiculous.
Anyway, early on, Michel and his followers, including a butler named Jean and his granddaughter, a maid named Sylua, cross paths with the crew of a pirate ship (which I don't recall anyone ever referring to as anything but "the glass battleship"). The captain is a man called Cleo of the Wind, who apparently is part of the former royal family, and who wants to take over the galaxy. His crew includes the pilot, a scrappy girl named Eimer (who kinda reminds me of Leena Toros from Zoids New Century/Zero); Nowy, a shy genius who is in charge of communications; Heizak, the weapons officer, who always gets really intense when he puts on his helmet, and who is very proud of the glass battleship, which contains "secret technology of the royal family"; and the engineer, Barrett, who drinks heavily and claims to have once served under the legendary Admiral Gawain. For a time, Michel, Jean Luc, and Sylua travel on the glass battleship, which is clearly the most powerful ship in the galaxy. It seems like Cleo's goals are the same as those of Michel and the People's Army, though at first it doesn't seem like he has any interest in working with him. But eventually he returns Michel and the others to the People's Army, including a man named Theodoric and his wife, Isabel, who are among the leaders of the resistance. Though Michel now takes command of his own ship, the glass battleship's crew gets caught up in the rebellion against Vetti, largely because of a chance encounter earlier. Vetti and Cleo had met each other, and instantly started a swordfight, though neither of them quite knew why. After that, the two of them became obsessed with defeating each other. I should also mention that they each, separately, had visited a prophet named Guildy, who told them both the same prophecy, though they would spend the rest of the series trying to decipher what exactly it meant.
Um... so anyway, I watched this series on DVD in July 2011, then started writing a review. Then I thought, I should at least skim through episodes again to remind myself of certain points, since I couldn't find anything online that summarized the episodes. So then I thought, as long as I'm doing that, I should write episode recaps for TV.com. After submitting several recaps, I thought I should wait and see if they get accepted before doing any more. And as I worked on recaps, I could edit the review I'd started for my site. Eventually a few recaps were added to TV.com's episode guide, but the others took longer... and eventually I kind of backburnered the whole project. And since I was moving soon, I sold my DVDs. Which I now regret, particularly because I got very little for them. I could still watch episodes on Hulu, but whatever... like I said, backburnered. Then in November, I thought I should check back in at TV.com, and in my list of contributions, they all say "accepted," but when I check the actual episode guide, my recaps haven't been added. Which is very confusing and annoying. And it makes me think I shouldn't even bother watching the show again or trying to write more recaps. And by now my memory of things from the first time I watched is even worse than it was back in July. There was some more stuff already in this review from before, but I need to do some editing and add as many details as I can think of. I'll do my best, but it will likely be years before I actually watch the show again, or it may be never. I apologize for not remembering when or in what order things happened from this point on, and leaving out lots of plot points.
At some point, Vetti had had an alliance with a duchess named B.B., though he eventually abandoned her for a new alliance with Pope Gorna, leader of the Cross Star religion, which has many followers throughout the galaxy, and which espouses a supposed prophecy that someday they will reach the Black Cross (which is like this black hole with a cross symbol on it), and the followers of the religion will attain a new galaxy. Eventually the People's Army forges their own alliance with B.B. Also at some point, Cleo and Eimer were captured by Imperial forces, and were imprisoned in some penal colony or whatever. There was a doctor there (I forget her name, but we liked her), who was clearly a psychopath. She did experiments on Cleo, and stuff. Meanwhile, Cleo and Eimer met a few other prisoners, with whom they would eventually escape, and who joined their crew. Or something. And they met Admiral Gawain as well. And I should mention that there was this guy named Ralph Fitzlard, who was in Vetti's Royal Guard or whatever. He seemed like a young boy, in both size and temperament, and he was pretty annoying and disturbing, because he was clearly in love with Vetti, and I think Vetti possibly loved him (I'm not sure if they were actually lovers, but they may have been). Anyway, Ralph was the only one Vetti ever treated with anything that seemed like genuine affection, though just as often he treated him badly. Meanwhile, there was a woman named Rachel, the daughter of Gorna, who Vetti was supposed to marry. In the first season she wanted nothing to do with Vetti, in spite of her father's wishes, though in the second season she inexplicably was madly in love with him, though he treated her badly. I should say I generally liked the second season better than the first, aside from the whole Rachel thing. I don't get why she seemed so sensible in the first season, then suddenly turned into an idiot. Of course it was also annoying having Ralph constantly acting jealous of her relationship with Vetti, even though he knew Vetti didn't really care about her. I should mention that the prison doctor starts treating Vetti, as he and Cleo both suffered from... an affliction involving... um, a substance which is like fuel or something. It was mentioned throughout the series in various capacities, but now I forget what it was called. Sigh.
Anyway, lots of stuff happens and there's lots of characters I couldn't even keep straight. There's lots that's confusing and lots that just plain doesn't make sense (for example, there are numerous times when it appears as if there's breatheable air in space). I should also mention that every episode (save the finale) begins with some sort of philosophical musings by Michel, which sound deep, but which don't really mean anything to me, and don't add anything to my understanding or appreciation of the episode or the series in general. While these musings are fairly calm, quiet, sort of wistful, every episode (save the last) ends with Michel saying things about the next episode in a much harder, more militaristic tone, though these endings have a similar philosophic form to the openings, which likewise make no particular senese to me. And um, I'm leaving out various characters and plot developments and whatnot. I really should watch the series again someday so I can edit this review. I wouldn't want to say how it all ends even if I did remember it properly, but I'm sure there are other things I should mention. Like a flashback to when Eimer first met Cleo, that was possibly my favorite episode, because Eimer's my favorite character in the show. I'm sorry to have forgotten so much of the plot, but most of it is redonkulous, anyway. The animation itself is pretty decent, and the girls are all attractive. Though the space battles, which should have been the coolest part, were kind of too big to be meaningful. They just always had opposing sides, each with like thousands of ships simultaneously firing at each other, and you pretty much can only tell who's winning by what the characters say about the battles. I mean, aside from when the glass battleship itself does anything. And I guess that's all I'll say, for now....