Elemental Gelade is a shounen adventure series exploring a young sky pirate named Cou who discovers a girl his age named Ren stashed away in the loot his gang recently stole. She is actually an Edel Raid, magical beings in the form of human women who can form contracts with others to become living weapons. Because of this, Edel Raids are sought out by criminals to exploit for their fighting power or sold off to others for personal gain. Accompanied by members of the organization called Arc Aile that protect Edel Raids, Cou promises to protect Ren by accompanying her to Edel Garden, the homeland and birthplace of all Edel Raids.
What allows Elemental Gelade to stick out from your typical shounen series is that it offers a solid exploration of the relations between humans and Edel Raids. There are humans that disregard the humanity of the Edel Raids, valuing them more as tools for their power as weapons or for monetary value. But there are also humans who recognize the Edel Raids as people with thoughts and try living as normal a life with them as possible. A number of episodes also explore things from the perspective of an Edel Raid, as some show hostile reaction to human treatment of their kind and even show concerns over Arc Aile's protection of them as the protection comes at the expense of their freedom and isolation from those they develop attachments to. This element effects things for some later plot and character developments that adds some intrigue to the series, notably with Cisqua feeling disillusioned with Arc Aile's handling of human and Edel Raid relations and an enemy faction of Edel Raids opposing humanity.
Beyond the solid exploration of Edel Raid and human relations, Elemental Gelade is otherwise standard fare to a great degree for a shounen series. Many of the typical character types for a shounen adventure are there with character Cou your typical good-natured and naive hero, Ren the shy and quiet girl gradually taking romantic interest in the male lead, and Cisqua being the energetic and upbeat leader of the Arc Aile squad accompanying Cou and Ren. A number of episodes focus on Cou and his allies having to fend off enemy threats trying to abduct Ren or another Edel Raid for their own gain that are overcome in battles of varying scale. There is a budding relationship between Cou and Ren that gradually develops throughout the show's run, though both are too archetypal for me to give a hoot about with their romance. Also, a fair amount of convenient deus ex machina is milked for Cou and his allies to defeat the enemy threat and get a rather predictable happy ending. This is nothing horrible in terms of plot and character development, but it doesn't necessarily do anything that breaks the mold either.
Overall, I suppose I'm kind of indifferent toward Elemental Gelade. It offers decent exploration of the relations between humans and Edel Raids that provides it some solid foundation for plot and character development. But many of the parts that make up its story are still pretty standard for adventure titles aimed for the shounen demographic. Still if you are craving for an adventure series to kill time watching, the series is at least worth a rental or single streaming depending on the means you choose to view it.
Rating: 6 of 10
Someday I’ll be gone To somewhere that we belong And God has never played his role 'Cause I’m the one who saves my soul It’s a perfect world we’re longing for
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