The Defective

Title:The Defective
Keywords: , , ,
Notables: LX Animation Studio
In year 270 of the New Star Era, General Lin Jinhang of the Star Alliance is framed and banished to the edge of space. Five years later upon the invasion of interstellar pirates, Lin has to start the interstellar adventure and expose the mastermind behind the conspiracy with his "defectives".
(Synopsis courtesy of Bilibili)

16 episodes
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent Stretch [series:4365#628]

(All episodes watched):

Based only on the title, I had guessed that this would be a parody of detective shows, but that was not the case. Episode one of this apparently Chinese animation didn't exactly make crystal clear what was going on and why. My impression after watching was that General Lin was believed to be dead after his ship was destroyed in a battle with space pirates (how do mere pirates have a fleet big enough to take on that of the Interstellar Alliance?). Something about one of his ships was unprepared for battle. But he had in fact ejected in some sort of escape capsule and was rescued by some salvage crew. For some reason five years later he is the head of the 'Black Hole' gang on the lowly 'North Tower Planet' (this 'gang' seems to do more good than harm). The idea that he had been 'framed', as per the synopsis above, was news to me, but that would explain his lowly status and new name. While watching background scenes and the big battle early in this show the quality of the animation seemed to verge on live action, but character designs aren't quite as good. One confusing aspect of this show is that in the high tech world of the future it's hard to tell what's real and what's virtual; even a person you seem to be talking to (or fighting with) might actually be just a simulation. The episode seemed to end abruptly without making clear just what the premise was or where it was going. But I thought it was good enough for me to watch episode two as well. Episodes are a little shorter than what we are used to, at 18 or 19 minutes.

In episode two we learn of the intriguing concept of 'Eden', which is 'a neural network' which has 'removed the barrier between the physical and mental universes'. Anyone fortunate enough to qualify feels no suffering of any sort from the moment of birth to that of death. This plot element opens up virtually unlimited possibilities for expansion, like, how do residents of Eden deal with space pirates? For the moment, however, the plot doesn't expand in this direction. Obviously, the 8th Galaxy, where NTP is located does not qualify for Eden. We are also told of 'Brainless Syndrome', a condition which apparently makes people more independent and less reliant on this Eden network, with both advantages and risks. Perhaps 'brainless' people and 'defectives' are one and the same. And then we get more detail about the big battle five years ago, but it remains unclear just what happened; Lin apparently 'invaded' the neural network in order to screw up the pirates (but this can't be the Eden network, can it, since surely pirates wouldn't have access to that). Though I wish just what matters and what doesn't would be clarified better, this was seeming like an enjoyable show.

It seems that yes, the privledged folks back in the center of the galaxy (including their military leaders) do indeed believe Lin is dead; just how this happened, and why he is operating under an alias is unclear. A pretty girl--his sister, I think--is likewise unaware of his fate. But shouldn't they be enjoying the Eden system rather than mourning? Lin's loyal aide is linked to a high tech mecha which is in danger of being captured by somebody, even though it's security should be flawless. Some nefarious group outside the galaxy is dealing with the Venom Nest gang, and for some reason it wants small children kidnapped and delivered to them (Lin foiled one of these abductions in episode one). All things considered, I thought this show is balancing intrigue and uncertainty fairly well. Too much uncertainty would be confusing, but I remained interested to see where this was all going. There have been missteps--why is Lin in hiding? What did he do wrong during that big battle? But I can forgive those.

In episode four we learn what Venom Nest has been up to. These incredible computer chips can basically augment humans into being superior in every way--everything from physical strength to skill as a mecha pilot. This threatens to serve as a superweapon that would upset the established system and place ordinary humans at the mercy of the augmented. Lin being an outcast at the moment, they let him and other gang leaders onto their secret. I had figured that despite being an outcast, Lin would prevent a catastrophe befalling the Alliance and thereby clear his name. But it looks more like instead of preventing a catastrophe he will have to undo one, as (if I understood correctly) the villains swiftly overthrow the government and seize control of everything. Has that really happened? That would be a pretty big deal which you would think everyone would be talking about 24/7. In episode six Lin tells us that something definitely isn't as it seems--namely, Venom Nest was not the prime mover behind recent events. I was kind of annoyed by the way Lin and a group of teenage geeks could make fools of the heavily armed small army that Venom Nest deploys. It was sort of like the way Imperial Stormtroopers couldn't even handle those teddy bears in the third Star Wars movie. But, while it was not one of my favorites, this show remained interesting enough for me to keep watching. Perhaps that's because the basic problem is made clear--somebody has gotten their hands on incredible technology that threatens to overthrow everything that is held dear unless they are stopped, and only Lin knows it.

In episode seven we are told about Prince Kelet, the younger son of the assassinated aristocrat. Kelet is a leader who is believed to be gathering strength on the outskirts of the galaxy to strike back at his father's killers. He seems to have gathered a good deal of it, because (if I understood things correctly) he wipes out two planets, one of them NTP. Why he held such a grudge wasn't clear to me. With no one else to call on, Lin will need to employ Headmaster Lu's four teenagers as mecha pilots. One, being 'brainless' (unable to use the neural network) should be useless, but I bet she will in fact be the star pilot, thanks entirely to her unaided quick thinking. Some mysterious evil organization seems to be pulling the strings from behind units like Venom Nest and Prince Kelet. There's also something funny about the relationship between Lu and 'One Eyed Hawk', who is supposed to be his father, but I became confused. There's an exciting close call in episode nine as the shock wave from a planet being wiped sweeps over the space station where Lin and the others have taken refuge. Somehow, this show feels much closer to American-style drama than typical Japanese anime (it is actually Chinese, of course). Perhaps it's the fairly plentiful action--stuff getting blown up and people getting killed. Or maybe this show having a fairly complex plot paradoxically makes that plot easier to remember than the simplistic ones of many anime.

I was surprised to learn that this show would have only 16 episodes, because it was clearly in the midst of a minor subplot and nowhere near the end of the story. Lin has gotten captured by a mermaid-like minor villain, 'Inhuman', while searching for some secret warp portals or something like that (I must have missed why they were important), and must escape. He's a little too cool and too good at fighting--the show almost crosses over into the old 'he never misses, his opponents never hit' syndrome which has the effect of making us feel that he's not really in danger at all. But not quite. The acrobatics he performs in episode 15 were hard to believe (but maybe all the high-tech neural augmentation or whatever that he has gotten makes such feats possible). But this snake-man is only a subordinate of Prince Kelet, Lu's kids (and especially the 'brainless' girl) have yet to truly distinguish themselves, the Empire is still under evil control, Lin's sister is still a prisoner, etc, etc. There must be a second season in the works, but there's no mention of it in the final episode. Things cut off so abruptly that I had to double check whether an episode 17 was available for download (it wasn't). I fear that by the time season two arrives I may have largely forgotten what's going on, but if it arrives fairly soon I remain curious about where this unusual space opera might be headed.

My favorite line: "No way! That looked like cheap CGI!"

Last updated Friday, December 03 2021. Created Saturday, August 28 2021.

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