Heroic Age (HA) is a self-contained series about mankind''s struggle for survival as its initial forays into deep space incurs the wrath of the elder space faring civilizations. Its inspiration draws from Greek epic and the Japanese giant-robot sub-genre of anime. Managing to combine these disparate sources into something half-coherent would have been achievement enough, but the creators of the series do much more than that. HA is a series that thrusts you straight into the action and drama, and adds just enough fantasy to give the story that 'mythic' aspect that really sets it apart.
In the distant past a great civilization presided over the universe. They called themselves the Gold Tribe and using their supreme powers they called out to the nascent races of the cosmos. Their message was simple, 'leave the worlds that are your cradles and reach for the stars.' Three races answered their call '- the Silver Tribe, the Bronze Tribe, and the Heroic Tribe.
Tragedy however strikes the Heroic Tribe, for the personal power of each member of that race is such that they can destroy planets, and all of them have a rage that when triggered can not be appeased. (In this way the members of the Heroic Tribe were Sophoclean heroes, mortals of godly power whose very resolve was their downfall, for once set upon a path they could not change their ways.) This eventually leads the Heroic Tribe to nearly destroy itself, and they are saved only through the intercession of the Gold Tribe. The Gold Tribe takes the last five survivors the Heroic Tribe and binds them to members of the younger races, containing their power and granting it to their hosts (the intricate reasons as to how and why are revealed by the story).
Later, the Gold Tribe decides to leave the universe, but just as they are about to do so, one last younger race, humanity, launches a spaceship. Unlike the other three space faring races, humanity did not hear the Gold Tribe's call. They achieved space travel on their own. Intrigued, the Gold Tribe follows the human ship, and after a crash landing kills all but one child passenger, the Gold Tribe imbues him with the last of the essences of the Heroic Tribe.
For reasons that are initially unclear, the Silver Tribe, aided by the Bronze Tribe, declares war on humanity, dubbed the Iron Tribe. With their superior abilities and technology, the two elder races make short work of Earth''s defences. Now humanity is one the brink. Its only hope is to find this young boy, granted the power of gods by the Gold Tribe, who might save them from extinction.
One of HA's strengths is how incredibly understated the level technology and personal power of the characters are. Normally in shows of this genre the ''look at the shiny powerz!'' factor has a way of taking the place of good storytelling. This does not happen in HA. Consider for example the first episode. We are introduced to a ship which is kilometers long, that launches a drone fleet numbering in the hundreds, that holds an army of giant robot suits each one of which has special, idiosyncratic powers keyed to their human pilot, energy swords, and is ten storeys tall. The ''normal'' humans are capable of everything from telekinesis, clairvoyance, astronavigation, and teleportation. The enemy they face is a race of giant insects, capable of opening spacial gates with their bodies, creating impenetrable barriers of energy with their will, and whose mothership is a small moon.
Despite this, the first episode is not about technology exposition. Instead, it focuses on the discovery of the human boy, Age (for whom the series is named), and it is his human aspects and vulnerabilities, not his godly powers, that are extolled in the show.
This is one beautiful anime. Even by anime standards, the animation level is high. True to its Greek epic roots this show has set piece battles with enough eye candy to satisfy the most ardent geek. Its music is also top notch, with a thought provoking soundtrack that complements well the trials of the characters.
If you want an original story with a strong beginning, middle, and end, or if you just want some good fun with explosions and cosmic powers, then HA is the series for you. Unequivocally, this is one of the best anime series I have ever seen.