The Indiana Jones films, for better or for worse, are some of the most popular films of modern history. They don't have incredibly strong plots, necessarily, but they do have an incredible charm about them. Part of the charm is the historical setting that serves as background; another is the almost non-stop action; a third is the way that clever and inventive scripting whips us through the narrative to quickly get us back on target. The first episode of Kishin Corps follows the same pattern, and it does so quite well. It doesn't quite reach classic status, but it is a great start.
Kishin Corps starts with Taishi, a young boy who's entrusted with a special black box by his father when their train comes to a screeching halt. Moments later, Mr. Takamura is taken out by the Kanto army, and Taishi tries to run for safety. As he attempts to escape, a second party arrives--strange, ghost-like alien beings descend from the sky and begin attacking. Just as Taishi gets cornered, a third party joins the fray...the Kishin Corps. Now this isn't really giving anything away, mind you, as it happens before the title card! The episode continues from there as Maria Braun, the twin sister of Hitler's mistress, tries to find Taishi and protect him from those who would steal his safeguarded box. Taishi's been living with a bunch of street kids, and they take to Maria quickly. However, danger lurks not far behind, and it's clear that the Kishin Corps are also somehow involved in all this.
Let me start with the show's main failing--the frame rate. The character motion is often a little jerky, moreso than is typical for animation. The art is done well and the character design is OK, but I wished that a bit more budget had gone into movement. It's off-putting at times. However, most everything else is enjoyable and entertaining. The action is sometimes frantic and rarely slows down. The designs are intelligent and well thought out--it's shown how the mecha used in that day would use common power sources available, and it's not unlike the concept in the "Tale of Two Robots" section of Robot Carnival. The plot is interesting, and it has a good cliffhanger. It's not one that absolutely requires you see the next episode, but it makes it something you'll want to check out.
Ultimately, it works just like a 1930s serial. It is an enjoyable ride that I look forward to continuing, as long as the show stays at this high level.
Kishin Corps Vol. 1 -- violence -- A-
Kishin Corps Vol. 2 -- violence, language -- A-