Now this is an anime that I had never heard of before. It’s a Sci-fi title with a fairly original premise and it’s very unique. You couldn’t say that this one was emulating any other anime on the block. That said, while being original is good and all, I can see why this one didn’t ultimately get a second season. It starts off very slow and while it builds up by the end, it’s a little too late for this one to have really hit it big. I liked it well enough, but it does have its share of issues.
The show starts off by explaining that we are in the distant future and now one of the big ways to get rich is to farm the material known as Orichalt. It’s sort of like the great gold rush has returned, only now everyone is working on getting this material. You’ve got the government who is going after this as well as local pirates and such. In order to extract this material from deep space, people can put their soul inside of an I-Robot and control it virtually. It’s very safe since if the robot dies you just get booted back to your body at least. That’s true for most characters at least.
The main character here is Maya and she is still a student but has big aspirations for the future. Unfortunately there is a hitch to this plan as she has a run in with local pirates and is now framed for working with them to steal the Orichalt. Until she clears her name she will have to work with this group but gradually sees that they really aren’t bad people. Why was she even framed in the first place? She will have to work through these answers while also getting to know her new friends who are actually permanent I-Machines meaning that their bodies are long gone. This means that if they die, there is no coming back from that.
So lets tackle what I would consider to be the weak points of the show first. One is the main thing you may have guessed from the poster and that is that the animation isn’t very good. This is a CGI show and one that is very rough around the edges. While I’m not the biggest supporter of CGI, I can say that there are high end shows, medium, and lower tier. This one would be in the fairly low side as it’s all just very janky and at times the movement is off. Not to say there are no cuts here as the show does turn it up for the climax but for around 9-10 episodes it just doesn’t feel very natural.
A visual issue isn’t one that would hurt the series all that much on a score level though. While it may prevent it from taking the next stage, it wouldn’t make it a 4 or anything like that though. Animation is more like the frosting on top of the foundation so if your foundation is good then you’ll be okay. The other weak part I’d say is the story which is a bit more serious. It feels like the show is a bit more aimless for the first half and things don’t kick off for a while.
It’s hard to really care about the hunt for Orichalt. There is some tension between the government and the main pirates group regarding the hunt and how the government monopolizes this. The pirates basically hunt for it because they need the funds and there aren’t many other options. They also do like the thrill of the hunt as well. The show doesn’t pause on the ethics of this too much as it’s fairly direct. Think of these guys like the Strawhat Pirates. They’re on the wrong side of the law but at least they don’t hurt anybody and so it’s still easy to root for them. We’re not really given much of a downside to the pirates going hunting with how much Orichalt there seems to be everywhere.
The characters are fairly dry though and so you need something from the story to really get the cast going. Once the climax does start, then things get more interesting. We actually get a fairly deep dive into personas, the soul, and how it all intersects. One character has amnesia for example and part of the show is about finding out more about his past and the inevitable dilemma of what he’ll do if his personality was different back then. We’ll get into that more later but the show does get really interesting by the end, I just wish it did that a bit sooner.
The soundtrack is also virtually nonexistent for the most part. I wouldn’t say I remember any tunes and the theme song wasn’t my favorite. It wasn’t catchy and there wasn’t a whole lot of animation in it. So the show just feels low budget on all fronts and that spills into the experience a bit. Now lets talk about the characters. Maya is the main heroine here and she’s a nice enough person. There isn’t much to her beyond this and she goes through a fairly standard character arc of not trusting these pirates until she finally sees what nice people they are. By the end she is ready to take more risks and is more confident in her navigational skills.
Ultimately there isn’t a ton for her to do beyond that especially as Ido seems to be just as good as her in this area. Often times he will come up with a plan and just ask her to confirm it or vice versa. It helps the group be doubly sure about everything but for the most part she doesn’t change much of what would have happened without her. She is here to give them a bit of an emotional push though as it can be easy to think of everything scientifically after being a robot for so long. Maya is still more on the emotional side. It’s annoying when she gets held hostage but in the end she’s okay, there’s just not much to her.
Ido is the best character though and does his best to hold up the show. So he has lost his memory which is why he calls himself Ido. (Get it? ID 0? As in his Identification is zero because he doesn’t know who he is) Ido doesn’t exist on any record and he doesn’t have an ID code like every other ID machine. He wants to find the truth to his past but without any hint at all it seems like a lost cause and so he’s really thrown himself into his work, almost to a dangerous degree. He takes a lot of risks because he just doesn’t think it matters all that much.
This all changes when a little girl named Alice appears and then we start to slowly get more info on the plot. I’ll touch on that second half a bit later. Going on with the character introductions, Alice is a little kid so there’s not a whole lot that she can do. She seems to possibly have some kind of powers and at the very least everyone is after her but there’s not a whole lot that she can do about it. Alice is mainly a tool for the plot but barely a character for most of this.
Grayman is the leader of the pirates and is always ready to make the tough calls. He’s a rather stern guy who is nice deep down but is careful not to get too entangled in the emotions from the crew. His role is a bit smaller than you’d expect but he does a good job of leading the troops. Rick is the comic relief member of the group although his backstory is rather tragic. The guy is always joking around and he can go really fast which comes in handy by the climax. It would be nice if he could dial down the flirting a bit though. They really need this guy to focus instead of trying to make moves all the time! Plus as a giant robot who will never have a human body again, it feels like he may be out of luck there. It’s good that he stays optimistic though.
Karla is a character who was good for the most part. She was a reasonable member of the crew who kept everyone grounded and was good at strategy. Unfortunately I lost a ton of respect for her later on. Lets just say that she made a deal which was awful and took huge risks with very limited upside. It leads to Ido’s best scene in the series but it wasn’t something that was going to help her win back any points. She really lost all likability from this point on and got off rather easy. This is not the kind of character that you want to have at your back.
Clair probably gets the smallest role in the group. As Grayman’s daughter she helps to be a mediator when he is arguing with someone. She’s always calm and nice about everything but there just isn’t much of a role for her here. I expect she would have done more in season 2. Amanza joins the crew later on in the show and she was a fun addition. She can fight which is always appreciated and has some good plans. The group would have had a much tougher time without her and she starts to contribute right away.
There’s a character in here called Sam Taylor who only appears for one episode but was a great character. Not only did he nearly outsmart the whole crew but he was talking really tough considering that he is only a human while they’re in giant mech suits. That takes a whole lot of confidence in your own abilities and he pulled this off with ease. On a separate note, the heroes do need to work on keeping their guards up though. They seem to drop their guards immediately when they let people in which is something that Amanza took advantage of as well. This guy just left a big impact and I remember him partially because this was the first really solid moment in the show that made me take notice.
Okay so now I’m going to talk about the meat of the plot from episodes 9-12 so big spoilers will ensue from here on out. Skip to the last paragraph if you haven’t seen the show yet and don’t want to know about this yet. This is when the series got really interesting and ambitious. If you ask me this should have been the focus from the start and that would have been perfect. So Ido used to be a guy named Kain. He was actually a rather extreme scientist back in the day and was willing to do anything to save his daughter Alice. This led into him working with the Orichalt and messing with its very essence which was related to a dark god. So Addams stopped Kain by sealing him away and Kain effectively died but was such a genius that he was able to transfer to an I-Robot but lost his memories.
Then we had Kain mass cloned and one of his clones got big ideas to replace him and assume his identity. It gets more convoluted by then and it’s all very interesting. This is the kind of story I like to see because while it can be tough to follow, it lends itself well to a lot of theory crafting. It’s just interesting to ponder all of the possibilities and the show gives you a lot of ammo for this because there is a ton of dialogue and flashbacks in these episodes.
It’s also interesting how Kain an Addams basically reversed positions after the memory erasure. Now Addams is the extremist while Kain has mellowed out and is trying to find a solution for everybody. I actually thought Addams was a really good villain throughout this. He is absolutely a villain of course but the objectives were sound here and you could absolutely see why he was going with the old plan. The situation was tricky enough where saving everyone seemed impossible so the idea was to guarantee a few rather than risking everyone.
At the end of the show the government has to decide if they trust Ido’s gamble to use the last of the Orichalt to possibly save everyone or everyone will die, or go with Addam’s plan which guarantees survival for a group but will definitely doom the others. Always a tough decision but I tend to go with the group of either everyone lives or everyone dies. It’s an equal playing field and no time for regrets since everyone will be dead anyway.
I haven’t even touched on this yet but with the dark god, basically he needs to reabsorb Alice to be complete and it’s why those dark crystals are constantly chasing her and attacking the heroes. It’s like a living version of Orichalt but interestingly his weakness is to weaponize actual Orichalt and stop him. Of course the ship can only carry so much of it and it’s like shooting money at the guy so that’s not unlimited either. It’s an interesting concept going on here.
Although I wouldn’t say it’s the most visually interesting plot. You can only see the heroes blasting away as pixelated objects for so long. The objects can’t even fight back per say, but touching them is bad and they can crush you with sheer numbers. It’s like fighting a never ending blob of pure matter which is certainly dangerous in space since if you’re caught, that’s it. It just doesn’t make for particularly interesting action scenes.
We do get some real mecha fights near the end though. Addams has his own mech suit of course and Ido is able to have a proper fight there. We also got an excellent scene where Ido was seemingly cornered but then moved with incredible speed and took out quite a few fighters. That was one of the best animated cuts in the show and likewise for the fight with Addams. It felt like they saved up a lot of budget to spend on the end and they delivered there.
The ending is fairly definitive so it’s the kind of show that did not need a sequel anyway although it still would have been pretty fun. I think if they built on the ending well enough then season 2 would have been stronger. You could mostly avoid the slow start because we already know the characters and that way you could jump right into the story. While I didn’t think the cast was very impressive, maybe they would be able to look better in a high stakes environment.
With the whole clones angle, there could always be another one out there so you could use that as a plot thread and of course even if the dark god is gone, you could have other pirate groups that are less friendly show up. Just don’t focus on the actual mining too much, that’s the part that won’t be as interesting even if we do understand that it’s super dangerous. One wrong move and you could die while getting the Orichalt but that would be such an anti climactic way to go out.
Overall, ID-0 is a unique show that just suffers from a very slow start and a fairly low budget. Once we get to the meat of the plot then things get very interesting. As long as you enjoy the discussions and what they’re talking about then you’ll love the climax. If you don’t tend to like all of the sci-fi jargon then you may not enjoy it quite as much but we also have a lot more action so that should help balance things out. I can also finally say that I’ve seen a whole anime about space miners so that’s nice bragging rights. The show is very short either at 12 episodes so I’d still say it’s worth a shot if you’re looking for another sci-fi show. Think of this more like an adventure like Star Trek as opposed to an action and you’ll be going in with the right mindset.
I’ve never heard of this either, and I imagine that was probably a major issue for the show if it flew under the radar of so many people, especially with the slow start.
Definitely, it’s a real issue that nobody’s heard of it. I think it’s official now that they won’t be going through with a sequel so game over for this one. Hopefully Netflix markets their next titles a bit more