"Humanity is a bug."—Lord Sneak
Geneshaft: Mobius is a worthy wrap up to an above-average anime series. You have to appreciate a series that is unafraid to kill off several major characters halfway through. Geneshaft stays true to its course, never relenting in its dogged pursuit of cosmic tragedy.
Several aspects of Geneshaft clicked for me in these final episodes. Most startling was the fluid integration of cel and 3D animation. There are minor digitization artifacts, but there are also some truly beautiful three-dimensional effects. This animation is clean and bright, not completely solid but good enough to dazzle on occasion.
The music was equally noticeable, but for a different reason. There seem to be three heavy metal riffs employed throughout the season. After 13 episodes, you may grow tired of them. It only took me six; as soon as I heard the familiar strains upon playing this final DVD, I realized I was already sick of the songs. Even a slight modification of the basic riffs would be welcome relief.
Mir is hot. I mean really, really hot. She has that whole "haughty and unapproachable, but secretly starved for human contact" thing that I totally dig. If I wasn't happily married, and she wasn't an animated character, there might be a chance for us.
But these are mere surface characteristics. What of the deeper elements of Geneshaft?
I've finally realized that it doesn't just rip off Star Trek: The Next Generation, it also relies heavily on the pacing and mood established in 2001: A Space Odyssey. My first clue should have been the first line of Judge Pinsky's review of Geneshaft: Ring where he writes "Call it the love child of Gattaca and 2001: A Space Odyssey," but I sort of breezed past that part. Nonetheless, it is true. There were many moments of ponderous emptiness in Geneshaft: Mobius with close-ups of Jupiter set to pounding bass rolls. At first it seemed the pace was slipping a bit, but eventually I realized there was a quiet malevolent entity at work and it all clicked. Actually, two things clicked simultaneously: "Hey, there is a quiet malevolent entity at work" and "Hey, this is just like 2001: A Space Odyssey."
By the end of the series, so many people have sacrificed themselves for the good of humanity that it is a shock when some people live. In fact, this frequent death rattle accounts for much of the weirdness at the end. People who are dead are present, and people you thought were dead are not, and people you didn't know were dead are. Along with the copious melodramatic deaths are deep philosophical treatises on genetic predetermination and the nature of humanity. These soliloquies would be more gripping if the denouement wasn't so readily apparent. At least we finally learn why Lord Sneak is such an ass to Mir.
All things considered, Mobius is a fitting end to Geneshaft. The things we all expect to happen happen, some things we don't expect occur, and the series sustains its premise through to the end. Early foreshadowing makes later pacing seem slow and the characters perform predictable actions, but enough edginess creeps in to mask my faint disdain. It is definitely worth a look if you like science fiction…and have a hundred bucks eating a hole in your pocket.
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