In writing this, I think that I will finally making at least one person happy. Possibly even more. Looking at you, Blinky. Solty Rei is a show that has spread amongst some people on Jon Spencer’s discord server that you can find right here if you want to join: Link. In general, this is all Blinky’s fault, but thank you for this. As of this moment, I think I am the last one to write about this show for the spread of Solty Rei supremacy. Yeah, I am always going to be a bit behind when writing about shows. It feels like my lot in life at the moment. So here it is, my post that I will deliver to the Solty Rei cult or society or whatever the hell it is. In writing this post, I don’t think it matters whichever it is. Maybe you can join us if you like what you here. ?
Solty Rei is a series that takes place in a seemingly future enough year or time period which adds to the mystery of what is going on in a few ways. In some ways, it reminds me of a version of Macbeth that I’ve watched in high school whose time period was unknown and its technology was all over the place in scope. Why did that version of the play work? Because it didn’t matter when and where it happened, it’s a show about the characters and the drama between them. Solty Rei just happens to be a science fiction story in a way that feels like an older show, but a lot of the things in the story, not all of them, could be replaced with fantasy elements and it could work in the same way. To me, this is why Solty Rei is so good. It has a wonderful cast and a very self-contained and human story.
Twelve years before the story of Solty Rei officially starts, a major incident occurred which shook up the entire world of Solty Rei from beginning to end. This is an incident called the Blast Fall that fell onto the Reestablishment Universe Committee (R.U.C.) building leading to the deaths of lots of people. It also led to the gene splicing of so many children who will never be the same. The side effects started with the changing of the hair color of individual kids at a minimum to these children having enhanced abilities which make them beyond human. Also, a large amount of people lost limbs leading to them getting prosthetics called Proceeds. What a terrible incident that occurred. How and why did this happen? I’m not telling you. Watch the show.
The story of Solty Rei proper starts with the escapades of the angry and hidden sadness of one Roy Revant as he works as a bounty hunter for an agency whose leader’s family was also affected by the Blast Fall. That would be the very attractive Miranda Maverick and her spunky daughter Kasha Maverick who lost their husband/dad in the horror. There is a certain comradery between the two, but this anime is still Roy’s story. One day on his bounty hunter duties, he ran into a mysterious girl named Solty Rei who has no memories. A girl that will not leave Roy alone at all, follows him to his apartment, and Roy eventually adopts after finding out that she is a sweet and innocent robot girl with unlimited fighting capabilities. And that’s where Roy’s troubles end and yet begin again.
Solty Rei is a show that, like a lot of anime, comes in two equal and wonderful parts. The first half feels like a magician’s card trick. It’s the setting of a massive trick that you can see coming a few miles away, yet you can be unsure how that trick is going to affect you once it is fully revealed. How is that you say? It’s all set up. It’s the magician showing you all sorts of false signals in a way that you can enjoy it. One could call the first half a slice of life portion because it’s just characters interacting with each other and the world around them. Roy and his crew meet up with the Anderson thieving group that includes the young blond thief girl Rose Anderson, the older brother and care taker Larry Anderson, and the younger brother and expert hacker, Andy Anderson. Not to mention the cool R.U.C. security girls. I like them. They remind me of the Knight Sabers from Bubblegum Crisis.
With this magician’s hat trick in the first comes a lot of things in the form of the set up and establishing of a lot of concepts. Even if the city Solty Rei takes place in doesn’t have a name, it’s possible to completely understand how this city works, moves, and breathes by all of these characters interacting in so many unique looney tunes and lupin like situations when they are around each other. It’s pretty genius and some of the magician’s tells are more obvious than others. Like how Rose Anderson just invites herself over to stay at Roy and Solty’s apartment, how Roy fully adopts Solty as a daughter, and a lot of fun character beats that don’t seem like anything in the moment but become everything later on. Seeing Solty embrace family and humanity by learning to cook and Roy becoming more open are great beats for this.
Half way through Solty Rei, the cards are finally revealed and the walls the anime has been building fall down to reveal some great drama pieces on the truths of this world. Man, does it hit harder than a truck. It’s almost like truck-kun isekai-ed the viewer into another world. (Sorry). At least, it did for me and I knew that something was going to hit at the half way point just wasn’t prepared for what. That is just standard anime patterns at this point. All of those elements keep hitting more and more after one truth reveals another truth and some characters will never make it out alive and it’s kind of terrifying. The survival of no one is guaranteed because it really does feel like there is no armor out to protect anyone because everyone is injured one way or another. Relationships are stress tested to see how long they can last and it can be pretty harrowing.
Without giving away the ending besides the “Gainax ending” which I don’t enjoy as much, is that everything that happens has been hinted or developed in some way. This is one of the few anime where you can go over it with a comb and magnifying glass, or a tooth pick if you baked something, yet find nothing missing. For some people that might result in a very stale kind of series, but it works wonders for Solty Rei. Nothing is stale about this show and it expresses everything in a very honest and heart felt way that I can’t help but enjoy. Even a lot of fanservice and sexy moments in the show go the Eva route by being very characterizing in a way. Oh man, the R.U.C. girls even did their sync tests naked in tanks and took showers after wards. Sounds like normal routines for the maintenance of their powers even if it’s very fanservicey. Especially since it’s like a daily routine of some characters.
I also think that Solty Rei is one of Gonzo’s best looking anime series? I do think that some of the CG is outdated but was good for the mid 2000’s. Other ten that, in general it looks fantastic. Could that possibly be where AIC’s help came from? I do think that a lot of the girls in the show, the R.U.C. girls and Rose, look very similar with only slightly changes through height and hair style/colors, but I really do dig the distinctive character designs that you can tell something about them by looking at them and the clothes they wear. The city of Solty Rei is very unique and can feel very alive and warming. I also think the action scenes with Solty Rei and otherwise are more than solid. Finally, the mecha designs are ones that I enjoy. They aren’t the focus, but I have to mention how utilitarian and everyday functional they are. Overall, the world of Solty Rei is very believable in so many ways.
In the end, I am going to give Solty Rei a solid. It’s my best rating and I really enjoyed everything in it. Good character stories and drama with a lot of science fiction elements is always going to work for me and that is what Solty Rei is. As I said in the opening, this could be a fantasy story and I would be able to say the same thing even if I am not as big of a fan of that genre. I mentioned a lot of things that I enjoyed about the show already, but I literally can’t find any major problems in it because even the ending of the show works thematically. If you are looking for a science fiction show that you haven’t heard of before that is enjoyable, then I guess I have one for you.
Great post – really agree about the two halves of this show, yeah. I miss this kind of series from studios like Gonzo.
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I miss these kinds of shows too. At this point, I am just glad that Gonzo is still going somehow at this point though.
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Me too. I’ve also been looking back through some of their works from the same era recently and boy, the studio was really releasing some interesting things that I feel might not get made today.
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