I just finished translating episode two for Conclave and episode one is
rumoured to be being encoded right now. Sorry for taking forever… Since it’s going to be released soon (really), I’ve decided to blog about the first episode (a few weeks late).
But anyway, Gunparade Orchestra is based on the PS2 game by the same title and is a sequel of Gunparade March. It’s a sequel in the sense that they are (supposedly) set in the same universe, but there is no real continuity from the first series. In fact, the GPO has quite a different feel in terms of character and mecha designs that give it a lighter atmosphere, but judging by the first two episodes it could very well get more serious later on.
Just like in the original series, GPO is about a world that has been plagued by monsters called genjuu (幻獣) for fifty years and Japan is one of the few places on the planet still holding out. A Diet act was passed to conscript children to be pilots for HWT (Humanoid Walking Tanks), a new weapon developed by the Shibamura Group in 1978. Each high school has a company of HWT pilots and areas designated for military use. The pilots are drafted from the school population based on compatibility tests and have a seperate class of their own. In the original series, there was also a special genetically modified (if my memory serves me right) child who was responsible for activating PBE bombs which generate mini-blackholes that are used to destroy genjuu brain units. (Think Starship Trooper) But GPO doesn’t seem to have that.
The OP theme of GPO is “Faze to love” by Miyuki Hashimoto. It’s another fast-paced song by her, which I prefer over her normal style, but it’s not as good as “Be Ambitious, Guys!”, the OP for Tick! Tack!. The ED is “Futari ga Wasurenai” by Aki Misato (My-HiME ED) in her usual style.
Episode 01: First Campaign
The main character is Sara Ishida, a graduate of an elite officer-training school called Shinbudai in Tokyo. She has been assigned as company commander in a remote division located somewhere in Tohoko (northeast of Japan), where the scenery won’t be out of place in Siberia.
However, she soon finds that it’s such a remote area that no genjuu have ever appeared there and because of this the Aomori District 108th Guard Division 4th Company is a bunch of undisciplined weirdos. She, being a highly qualified Shinbudai graduate, has a hard time dealing with her subordinates. A few of them soon take a distaking in her.
And just when everything seems to be going wrong, a genjuu appears. The 4th Company deploys for the first time since its creation with a newbie commander to boot.
A note about the mechas in GPO. There are two models that the 4th Company uses, the one-seater eikougou (栄光号) and the two-seater koukigou (光輝号), literally “Glory” and “Splendor”. They are both based on the Type-99 shikongou (士魂号) model used in Gunparade March, but I have yet to hear them refered to as “HWT” like in the original. They are also very brightly-coloured, as oppose to the original which has more standard dark military colours.
Sara tries to take charge upon arriving at the battlefield, but the inexperienced team soon falls apart and no one listens to her. People start panicking when they see the genjuu for the first time. After flattening an entire town with random volleys, the team somehow survives after the genjuu disappears suddenly.
One interesting note is that this penguin appears sometimes for two or three seconds to utter some cryptic messages at the viewer. The penguin is voiced by Norio Wakamoto, who also did Onsokumaru from 2×2 = Shinobuden. His memorable line from the first episode is 世界は全てお芝居だ (The world is just a play).
I will blog about episode two later…