Recently Nozomi has been putting up some of their older titles on their youtube channel for streaming (dubbed only sadly) so I've been trying out a few things but the only show I've finished so far is this one, partially because of said dubs. I've seen this series for sale on TRSI's site a few times (the box art is rather pretty, although it looks like it uses art from the original novel instead of the anime) and was wondering if the show was as good as it's packaging.
The Third: Girl With The Blue Eye
Summary: Honoka is a jack of all trades who lives and works by a great desert in Earth's future, a future where much of the planet was destroyed by war and advanced technology is strictly controlled by The Third. Most of the time this doesn't affect her life but sometimes her odd jobs take her to some very interesting people and places.
The Good: While it's easy to see that the series is based off a light novel series (with how separate each adventure feels) and none of the individual stories were something so original I hadn't seen them before a lot of them were alright or even good. The series isn't a drag to watch either one a weekly basis or when marathoning the episodes and the desert setting is less common in anime than it is in say Western science-fiction* so that makes for a nice change.
The Bad: It seems that this story tried to create a myth arc in the end to connect a lot of the other stories in the series but it just doesn't quite work. For one reason or another it just feels silly and didn't logically work for me and it was frustrating to see the show not end on it's highest note. There's nothing really bad about this show per-say but in the end it just doesn't do anything that I haven't seen before and would recommend people to watch it for. Perhaps there was something in the original books that made this a really special series but here it just doesn't really stand out.
The Audio: For some reason this show decided that it needed a voice over to explain what Honoka is thinking IN EVERY SCENE and every time this happened I had the urge to throw something at my screen. Thankfully this mysterious narrator shows up less as the show goes on but it's still an utterly bizarre and pointless choice, internal narration works well in the printed word and plays but almost never in television. As mentioned earlier, I saw the dub and it seems to be one of Nozomi's better dubs, possibly their best one, but it's not a great dub. To their credit, the voice actors do better as the show goes on but the early episodes sound just so awkward. I really can't recommend watching the dub at all and, from a quick look around, it seems like the sub was fine. One final note is that while the show uses the same openers and closers as the Japanese version did, the ending songs play over the image up top (with the credits scrolling in English) instead of the more sketchy pictures of the characters used in the Japanese version. It's an odd change (maybe they couldn't get a clean version of the closers?) but since the songs are subtitled it's not really a problem.
The Visuals: As Erin Finnegan said on Shelf Life once, the character designs in this show just aren't that interesting most of the time and sometimes are downright strange (such as one characters huge breasts and a wolf with tentacles). The designs aren't bad per-say, it's just obvious that this is from a light novel instead of a manga where the outfits would have more detail and the art style would look less generic. There is at least one, possibly two episodes where everyone is drawn off model (for the entire episode, not just a few scenes) and there just weren't any really high-budget fight scenes elsewhere in the series to justify why those episodes looked so crappy.
In short, this series just felt average and, well, why watch something average when you could be watching something great? Maybe someone who hasn't spent their entire summer watching/reading science fiction *cough* would like this more, or maybe someone who just hasn't seen as much anime would also enjoy this a lot but I don't feel the need to buy this or rewatch the series, guess the box art really was better than the show itself.
*although at times it did remind me of one of Yen Press's light novel/manga series, Kieli.