Finished the final episode, and the coda.
Yes, both of the “big reveals” caught me by surprise.
Yes, both are incredible clichÃ©s, absolute groaners.
Yes, I find it hard to believe they could have told that story straight.
But in the end…. I believe they were. I don’t remember if it was Toren, Avatar_ADV or Brickmuppet who said it, but that one moment where they give a sly wink to the audience… it needed to be there for me to believe this is actually a parody, and it wasn’t.
The director set out to see how many clichÃ©s and tropes he could cram into a series, without making a parody of mecha stories. He needed the twenty years of experience, not to make a great parody, but to avoid making it a parody or start mocking it, even unconsciously. Amazingly, he succeeded (I hazard to say, brilliantly) in making a story that is so over-the-top ridiculous that it has to be parody, yet it isn’t.
Update 7/26 9:39 CDT: As I said to Steven in my response:
I really do see your argument; the series is so absurd at times — it just has to be a parody. I just can’t convince myself that it is. Especially given the parallels in flavor to Godannar (which brodcast a year later, and appears to have shared no staff). Granted, the latter is MUCH higher in angst, but it’s got a lot of the same “over the top” feel to it. Camel toes, high heels, and bouncing tits, on mecha? The teams all together, manage to insert just about every fetish there is, except yaoi? Ye gads. Sometimes when an enthusiast is operating in a niche and pushing the envelope, the line between “enthusiasm for your subject” and “parody of your subject” can get awfully thin, and I think that’s what happened in both cases. I seem to recall some reviewers tried to tag Godannar as parody also, but IMHO, if there is parody, it isn’t deliberate. It’s just that mecha shows fail to make a full transfer across the culture gap. I think we can’t wrap our Western minds around the idea that someone might have actually been serious when they made these series.
I mean, hell, we are enjoying Strike Witches enormously, but try explaining that to the average person on the street. Even many animÃ© fans are panning it.
Philistines, the lot of ’em.