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Dated 8 October 2006: Innocent Venus

Joe and Sana
A turning point in Joe and Sana's lives.

Innocent Venus is shaping up to be a pretty good series. I initially gave the series a casual perusal merely because it involved futuristic mecha fights and good guys on the run. It didn't seem to be anything special, but was a good enough way to pass the time.

I nearly stopped watching on more than one occasion due to the fact that Gora is stupendously irritating. I'm glad I kept watching, though, as the last few episodes have been pretty interesting.

I'm not the first person to call Gora the Jar Jar Binks of Innocent Venus.

There are a number of revelations and one major twist in episode eight (that I won't spoil) that are good enough to elevate the status of Innocent Venus as a whole. Normally I would consider the big twist of episode eight to be a mere ruse, simply for the fact that such big twists in other shows have almost always turned out to be red herrings. Still, there are indisputable facts that seem to support the genuineness of the Big Twist, since there's nothing else to explain the matters of (a) Sana's father, (b) the tears (or more accurately, the lack thereof), and (c) Sana playing the piano until she collapsed.

Now, I did say I wouldn't spoil the major plot twist of episode eight, but it's going to be pretty apparent to anyone capable of putting two-and-two together. I.e., if you're watching the show, and you read the rest of this entry, you're going to figure it out, yo.

Joe and Sana
Joe and Sana in a flashback.

I'm going to be pretty disgusted if Innocent Venus backpeddles later and resets everything it accomplished in episodes eight and nine. Perhaps my optimism is unwarrated, but I remain hopeful that what started out as a mediocre series can keep getting better and better by not listening to convention, and instead exceeding its viewers expectations. I'm referring here to the rise of Joe's character from taciturn background sidekick man to hero status. Barring some contrived reset, Innocent Venus will have taken a bold move by suddenly making Joe the new lead character two-thirds of the way through the show. I sheepishly confess that I, too, jumped to conclusions early on by assuming Joe's crying was a mawkish attempt at making him mysterious; it didn't even occur to me that he was normal—that it would only be odd if he didn't cry.

I hope the final three episodes of Innocent Venus don't disappoint. The best thing the series has going for it is the recent unconventional turns. It would be a damn shame if some misguided insistence at orchestrating a happy ending prevented Innocent Venus from taking the brave path towards being different.

Dated 29 October 2006: Innocent Venus

Joe Katsuragi.

I am mostly satisfied with the conclusion of Innocent Venus, but I am a little disappointed that the series never seemed to reach its full potential. To be fair, it was clearly hampered by the constraints of the 12 episodes alloted to it. Given Innocent Venus' somewhat ambitious storyline; there just wasn't time to fully flesh everything out.

Joe and Jin
Joe and Jin. [SPOILERS]

At least Innocent Venus had the integrity not to cave and backtrack after the episode eight twist—no flipflopping here. Like just about everything else, though, I think it would have worked even better in a longer series. Well, Gora wouldn't have been any better in a longer series, unless he was killed shortly after the "Oh shit, PIRATES!" episode.

Sana and Wataru

I do wish Sana had played a more prominent role in the series (or at least a less passive one). Innocent Venus ended right when she was just starting to play a more active part.

The ending sets up the series for a possible sequel, but that's probably very unlikely to happen, barring exciting DVD sales figures. It does make me wonder if the series was based on a manga or novel, though, since I can't shake the feeling that there's more story and material out there to tell. Personally, I wouldn't mind watching a follow-up series to Innocent Venus reuniting Joe and Sana a year or two after the events of episode 12.

Sana and Joe part.

For some reason I can't quite understand, the final episode of Innocent Venus kept giving me Jinki:Extend vibes. The shows are only superficially alike, but the tone and style felt similar for some reason I can't quite explain. For the record, I think Innocent Venus was more successful overall than Jinki:Extend, although further comparisons between the two shows are probably unjustified.

Jo from Bakuretsu Tenshi.

Joe from Innocent Venus.

In other news, I wonder what it is about mecha pilot characters named Jo/Joe and these coats?

Dated 12 March 2016: Revisiting Innocent Venus

Steve and Toraji
It's your own fault for only bringing a gun to a sword fight.

Innocent Venus is "pretty good," but it sort of feels as if viewers forgot about it somewhat quickly. When was the last time you even thought about this 2006 series? I liked it quite a bit when it first aired, but even I haven't thought about it much after it ended. I want to say it was at least popular enough to get licensed, but basically everything was getting licensed back then just before the crash. I see it sure didn't take long for the DVDs to go out of print, so good luck finding it now if you haven't secured a copy already.