ANIME & MANGA - Article
15:00 - 2nd March 2016, by Matt Kamen

Overman King Gainer

Climate change is a reality – but hopefully the real world won’t be quite as harshly affected as it is in Overman King Gainer. After an environmental cataclysm rendered the Earth an icy wasteland, humanity has retreated to live in domed cities. Linking the domes are vast railways, owned and fiercely controlled by private companies – and unauthorised travel between cities is harshly penalised.

In the Siberian Domepolis, Gainer Sanga doesn’t care about going anywhere else. He’s happy in his life as a professional gamer. His friends Sara and Bello, and even his teacher Mamado are less content though – they’re part of a local militia planning an illegal exodus to the Yapan dome. Unfortunately, Gainer is the one arrested for their conspiracies, landing him in a jail cell with “exodus specialist”, Gain Bijou.

Fast forward through a jailbreak, stealing a biomechanical defence robot called an “Overman”, the fake kidnapping of a princess all too eager to leave her sheltered life, and an escape from the Siberian dome under the cover of a pop star-turned-rebel leader, and Gainer is a firm part of the illegal exodus. And as pilot of the Overman, he’ll finally have chance to put his finely honed gaming skills to good use in the real world – if the corporate police chasing him don’t put a brutal end to the escape first!

Directed by Gundam co-creator Yoshiyuki Tomino and written by Code Geass screenwriter Ichiro Okouchi, Overman King Gainer is very loosely based on The Ice Company, a series of post-apocalyptic novels by French author Georges-Jean Arnaud. Tomino takes it in a vastly different direction though, crafting a series that’s equal parts pulp sci-fi, classic mecha action, and even outright comedy. Its colourful cast of civilians, soldiers, royalty and musicians makes it tonally closer to Macross than Gundam, making it interesting territory for Tomino to explore.

Where the show really stands out though is its designs. Kenichi Yoshida’s weird, dreadlocked look for Gainer’s Overman – and the even stranger rival units he battles over the show’s 26 episodes – make this stand out. Couple it with outstanding animation and some truly epic battles during the Exodus, and this remains one of the most unique, memorable mecha shows you’ll see.

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