Brian Niemeier’s masterpiece, Combat Frame XSeed, is out! Check it out here.
Combat Frame XSeed is one of the #Gundam4us books I’ve been looking out for for quite some time. It’s a triumph of mecha action. Taking cues from Gundam, Macross and other famous anime mecha shows, Brian Niemeier weaves a fast paced and violent plot filled with fleshed out characters and awesome ideas that never fail to entertain the reader. It is a masterclass in tight plotting and mecha action. All the pieces come together from chapter climax to book climax in a never ending, glorious climb.
It almost begs to be made into a sunrise anime. While I could see this more as a six episode OVA than some fully realized 12 to 24 episode series, which is really what it needs. It needs that time to speed to its next proper point than slow-burn its way through a plot that might have been great if it had moved faster.
I can see the OP now. You start with Sieg Friedhandler watching his friends burn to death, before his unconscious body falls through a lake into a sea of skulls. Sanzen forms out of one of the skulls and laughs at him, before devouring Sieg. Notably, all the other skulls turn into white or black haired Kazoku, who will glare at Sanzen.
Todd Ritter and the rest of the EGE will stand, looking at different directions. Characters who die will look down, those that live will look up. Behind them, the worlds flags are burning. Todd will rotate to facing away from Sieg to his Mab while Sieg stares at his prototype combat frame. By now the flags will be burnt up, leaving the SOC’s flag. Jean-Claude will hold a fallen French flag while Veilantif (sorry for the misspelling) will stand in the background. Naryal Prem will split the screen, looking up, with her custom Combat Frame behind her.
There will be some action scenes at this point, mostly shen long and Granzmarks dueling, with the Shen Longs getting the worst of it. Zane’s Dead Drop should fight Masz’ Zwei Dolph Custom. Sieg will reach out to the camera, but his hand will be stopped by cracked glass, and Megami will be caressing the glass above him. She’ll flick her eyes up from Sieg to Masz, who will himself look up to the silhouette of the XSeed.
I think that will just about do it. Introduces all the characters and hints at their motivations and combat Frames. I think the music should be a rocking soundtrack with weight. Not quite Gothic. Something that Band-Maid would do, rather than Lady-baby. Honestly, the music is important, but less important than the imagery.
By comparison, the ED will be far simpler. Art Nouveau portraits of each of the characters with a nice slow ballad to accompany it. Each one should switch with the other. While it shouldn’t be explicit, EGE characters should be opposite SOC characters whenever possible.
Brian Niemeier knocks the novel out of the park at every level. The characters are well done, from Sieg’s constant revelations to Todd Ritter’s choices to Masz’ slavish obedience to Jean Claude’s nobility, not a single character is left undeveloped or unused. It all moves together on greased wheels.
The plot changes and unfolds itself every time you turn a page. From Todd Ritter defending Chinese colonists in Africa to his acceptance into the EGE, to his flying the Mab, to his final climax at the very end, he provides an excellent main view point for the reader to follow. It is his new eyes that see the introduction of the Dolphs, the appearance of the Mabs, the XSeed combat frames and everything else.
Over all, I have no major complaints. Perhaps I’d like more Zeklov and Tesla Browning. While the plot was fast and exciting, the switch from Ein to Zwei dolphs so fast hurt the menace the Dolphs generally had, and I would have have had just one or two Zweis with Eins making up the bulk of the force. Lastly, there are some things introduced or mentioned that are unremarked on by characters who probably should have went “60 million what now? Years? WAT.” But these are small things that in no way took away from my enjoyment and will certainly be answered in the sequels.
This book is like watching a mecha anime with not-slow pacing. It is fast, furious and adventurous. I heartily recommend Combat Frame, XSeed to anyone fond of the Mecha Genre and recommend it above just about everything else coming out of Japan.
Because screw light novels and their issekai garbage.
This has been a Reading Rainbow Emperor Review, check out my youtube channel here!