Year Released: 2017
Running Time: TV series, 12 episodes, 24 minutes
Rating/Recommended Audience: TV-14
Related Films/Series: N/A
For Fans Of: Planetes, Mighty Space Miners, Moonlight Mile, Ghost in the Shell, Stellvia, Firefly, Outlaw Star
-The English dub was used for this review.
-The anime is pronounced “Eye-Dee-Zero”.
-ID-0 was animated by Sanzigen. They have also produced works such as the New Initial D movie series, The Heroic Legend of Arslan remake, and Arpeggio of Blue Steel.
-Director Bonus/Hilarious in Hindsight(?): Could there be references to other works by Goro Taniguchi? There’s a character named Clair who shares a name with someone from Planetes. The Excavate Company crew are in the Leo constellation briefly which is kind of funny because Taniguchi directed the Jungle Emperor Leo 2009 remake movie.
-Ido is played in the English dub by Todd Haberkorn. You might know him from voicing characters such as Genthru, the lead villain from the Greed Island Arc in the Hunter X Hunter remake, Watanuki from xxxHolic/Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, and Death the Kid from Soul Eater.
-ID-0 has the concept of the Miguel Jump which allows the characters to teleport across the galaxy. That’s named after a Mexican physicist named Miguel Alcubierre who came up with a theory of warp driving that’s faster than the speed of light in a way that doesn’t bend the reality of the physical principle of exceeding light-speed travel.
I know I’m not the best when it comes to checking out the newest anime series. I have a huge queue of live-action and animated properties that I want to watch and many of them are older. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly give props to anibloggers who review things by the season. It takes time and effort to archive all of one’s thoughts on the newest shows on an episode-by-episode basis. Before anyone complains that I only review anime that came out at least a decade ago, I’ve reviewed some anime that came out in the 2010s such as two different Cyborg 009 properties, several of the Ghost in the Shell: Arise prequels, The Garden of Words, and Your Name to name a few. Well, here’s another recent anime (maybe only recent to me?) that’s getting the Iridium Eye treatment. Calm down, my otaku friends.
ID-0 takes place in the very distant future in a distant galaxy where humanity is all over the universe on different planets. There’s an energy source called orichalt which has powered so many aspects of human society and it’s become a pillar of the economy. Several companies mine orichalt with the usage of I-Machines which allow a human’s consciousness to be placed in a robot to do the menial labor through a process called “mind jumping”. If anything bad happens, the human consciousness returns to the human, so they won’t die. One college student by the name of Maya Mikuri is majoring in astrogeology, so she’s training to work in the mining business. On one fateful day, she becomes framed for the crime of leaking orichalt trade secrets, so she’s forced to work for a rag-tag group of illegal miners known as the Excavate Company aboard their ship the Stulti. They consist of mostly I-Machines led by the captain Grayman. There’s also a hotheaded I-Machine named Rick Ayer, the cool and calculated Karla, the intelligent Clair (who’s the token human of the group), the pet Fa-Loser, and the mysterious and snarky Ido who doesn’t remember anything from his past unlike the rest of the group. They go on mining jobs, but they become involved in a controversy that could threaten several human colonies.
I do admit that ID-0 has some interesting concepts like how important resources can be in space in what’s presumably a post-fossil fuel civilization. I was reminded of Goro Taniguchi’s other directorial work Planetes even though that anime was more believable. Many characters have jobs that don’t seem as interesting compared to being mecha pilots, astronauts, or Jedi knights as other sci-fi flicks. The world-building was solid with how the orichalt is presented, the Miguel Jumps, and even the ethics of cloning and being an “Evertrancer” are brought up. There was some noticeable effort put into how the universe is portrayed. ID-0 does start out slow, but it gets much better a few episodes in as they expand on several ideas.
The characters in ID-0 kept me interested throughout all twelve episodes. Maya is the smart, yet overly idealistic rookie of the Stulti. She reminds me of Ai Tanabe from Planetes if she were way more academic in her approach. Maya knows she’s in over her head, but she has an undying optimism which was a nice touch even when she gets made fun of by the other crew members. Rick was some funny comic relief. While he’s effective at mining and battling other I-Machines, he tries way too hard to be a ladies’ man who gets rejected. He even has a tragic backstory which partially explains why he is always seen in his I-Machine form even in the augmented reality segments where most of the other crew members look like their human selves. Ido is a character who basically becomes the real lead character later on. He is seen as way too scientific and deadpan, but he’s great at his job and cares about the crew in ways he wouldn’t admit at first. Ido knows he did something bad in his past, but doesn’t know what, so he vows to find out why he became the way he was. Some of those reasons were things I didn’t see coming. The antagonist Addams was a really complex anti-villain. He knows a ton about Ido’s past and he has a surprisingly legit reason to hate him because of what he did in their history together. A character like Addams would’ve been some typical spurned ex-friend who wants to take over the world, but his goals are nothing like that. While he has good intent, Addams is doing some things for the wrong reasons.
While ID-0 kept me interested enough to watch the whole anime, there were things that underwhelmed me. For starters, I wasn’t a fan of both opening and ending themes even though the BGM was great. The opening theme was some generic J-Pop that I thought was way too peppy for the anime and the ending theme was a schmaltzy piano ballad where the singer had trouble singing in English. I was reminded for all the wrong reasons of another song called “Wind” by Akeboshi which one may know as the first ending theme of Naruto. There were characters that were just pointless like secondary antagonist Hakubei who looked like he had a bigger role than I expected only for him to do barely anything. While there were creative elements in ID-0, there were periods of un-originality. The mind trance system is totally from Ghost in the Shell and the character Amanza looks like an older version of Motoko Kusanagi just with a different hairstyle. The space colony the characters are in to find one character looks straight out of multiple Gundam series with this cityscape in a cylindrical station complete with artificial lighting. There’s an interplanetary police group called the Alliance? Someone’s clearly been watching Firefly. The character designs were left to be desired as some of the I-Machines look like Virtual On rejects and Maya looks like the result of Ai from Planetes and Mai Tokiha from Mai-HiME if they did a fusion dance DBZ-style. Also, why does Alice have those cat ears and artificial tail? It makes no sense and there’s no meaning or symbolism for it. There were plot points that were too predictable for me. I literally called some of those reveals when they happened including the obvious correlation between Ido and the title of the anime itself. I won’t spoil it for you, but look at the pronunciation in the Notes section because it partially explains Ido’s condition as an Evertrancer, and then you’ll see why I found it to be un-creative.
ID-0 was a fun show although it was far from a masterpiece. The story had a solid amount of effort even though the full effect doesn’t kick in until a few episodes in. The characters are quite lively and I certainly cared about them. The background music really set the tone and some parts were great such as one scene where Maya gives an optimistic, yet unrealistic speech before the music slows down like someone halting a record on a turntable. However, some story elements were too easy to predict and some unoriginal aspects turned me off. ID-0 is good for newer fans of anime sci-fi, but someone who’s watched several sci-fi media (anime and otherwise) may be a bit underwhelmed.
Adjustable Point System:
Add 1-2 points if you like anime sci-fi.
Add 1 point if you’re a Goro Taniguchi fan.
Subtract 1-2 points if you hate predictable plot or character elements.
Subtract 1 point if you can’t stand tons of CGI.
-Great background music
-Mediocre theme songs
Final Score: 7/10 points
Content Warning: ID-0 got a TV-14 rating on Netflix, and I can see why later on in the series. There’s some violence, but most of it is on the level of Gundam battles. Some language and fanservice are there, but they aren’t excessive. The biggest issues would be the concepts of human experimentation and some really disturbing elements of Ido’s backstory when his past is revealed by Addams. There’s a suicide scene where one character shoots themselves in the head. Their corpse is smiling eerily while globs of blood are floating in zero gravity which will creep out so many viewers.
All photos property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws. ID-0 is property of Netflix. The poster is from My Anime List and is property of Netflix.