There are no shortage of anime which put a mecha genre spin on the “modern-day character ends up in fantasy/alien world” (isekai) theme. From Aura Battler Dunbine through arguably series like Orguss into ones like Magic Knight Rayearth or The Visions of Escaflowne it has strong precedent, and it is a genre that brings a few additional interesting themes to the traditional science-fiction and fantasy ones. I am personally very interested in stories of culture shock, or outsiders to a society trying to fit in; it is for this reason I was quite disappointed in the TV adaptation of Crest of the Stars because it hinted at being a story of a human living as the ward of aliens and learning their culture, and then did not really deliver so much on that. One could almost consider, actually, a story like Crest of the Stars as the pure science-fiction equivalent to the isekai story – a human living among aliens.
Episodes 16-17 of Macross Delta combine advancement of the romantic plot (something that is proceeding nicely and adorably) with some subtle – and then not at all subtle – bombshells regarding the main conflict. These articles have not really discussed the love-story aspect of Delta too much; it feels gauche to dissect the very cute relationship between Hayate and Freyja, and as soon as one begins factoring Mirage in as the other wing of a love triangle I feel a distinct ennui at how Mirage is being handled as a character.
While relatively little happens in episode 7 of Macross Delta compared to other episodes, as it is primarily setup and exposition for the first in a continued storyline across multiple episodes, it offers much food for thought in terms of speculation and interpretation of what is known. The nature of the grand conspiracy is beginning to become clear, and this feels like a series which unlike, say, Rahxephon will wear its answers relatively plainly on its sleeve. The heroes proactively seek intelligence, find some and are captured by the enemy; SDF Macross did this (leading to very good rescue sequences both in series and film versions).
The initial draw of Super Dimension Century Orguss is its gentle introduction into the world at a pace led by the characters; the process of discovering the mysteries of the societies Kei encounters and trying to understand what is happening is made into the main narrative driving-force. As the series develops, and the viewer learns more about the setting (and how it ties into the main narrative), some of the finer setting details develop into miniature plot arcs that contribute to a further development of the world being depicted; such digressions are interesting, and presented in a way which is not simply expository. The act of “in-character” worldbuilding suits a story like Orguss well, in which a character unfamiliar with a new world must live within it – but the risk is ever-present of an overreliance on explanation to benefit the viewer. Too much exposition in too short a time breaks the illusion of it being in-character and makes it too plainly artificial.
Note: This article will contain specific plot details for Super Dimension Century Orguss
The recently-begun animé series Suisei no Gargantia attracted my interest primarily because of how similar its premise seemed to the much earlier series Super Dimension Century Orguss; in both series, a pilot is thrown into an alien world as a result of some kind of space phenomenon and must cope with the culture shock inherent to it. It is currently too early in Gargantia to see where it is taking this premise, but watching its opening episode led to me rewatching the opening episodes of Orguss to see how they compared, and subsequently continuing with the series past the few episodes I had seen.