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Silent Mobius Vol 1 Cover

Silent Möbius Volume 1 Cover “Earth Under Attack”

I’m currently enjoying a second look at the Silent Möbius TV series which was released in 1992 1998 (EDIT: I misread the Wikipedia page. Oops). I’m slightly [1] surprised that this is only the second look [2]. The DVDs were released as three two disc sets so I’ll probably write a post about each set.

Set-up and Continuity

The first thing to be aware of with the Silent Möbius TV series is that it is an alternate continuity to the manga and movies. The two are very similar in terms of the set-up, but Katsumi’s introduction to the Attacked Mystification Police (AMP) Department [3] is in no way compatible with the movies.

For a start Katsumi is much more accepting of, and much less traumatised by, the experience of being more or less conscripted into the AMP.

There is also much more attention given to Katsumi’s (abbreviated and hasty) training as a police officer, and her implied development as a sorceress of increasing power.

Overall I think the TV series works better than the movies in these aspects, but that shouldn’t be a surprise given the extra screen time that a TV series provides.

Doing so also provided a foundation for key characters that later episodes in the first set build upon.

The Limelight Episodes

Speaking of key characters, one of the things that always attracted me to the early manga volumes were the Day in the Limelight chapters. Kia Asamiya had a deft touch for exploring the backgrounds and motivations that made these chapters really sing, and that made you care about the characters.

Two of the best of these dealt with the cyborg Kiddy Phenil and the Shinto priestess Nami Yamigumo.

The first 9 episodes include the adaptations of both chapters, and both are well handled.

Neither adaptation slavishly follows the manga, instead both cleverly adjust the story to fit the different medium of anime whilst still capturing the same core message.

Kiddy Phenil’s episode Megadyne deftly mixes comedy with action whilst capturing an oddly sweet romance, Kiddy’s grief for her lost humanity, and Ralph’s assertion of her humanity.

Nami Yamigumo’s episode Kagome Kagome is also in some ways an improvement on the matching manga chapter. The set up for Nami’s trials makes more sense, and the character growth that resolves it also works better than the manga [4].

The Heroine

Nevertheless it is Katsumi Liqueur who is the main character of Silent Möbius that the major plot arc revolves around. In the first third of the series Katsumi has been developing as a policewoman and sorceress to the point where she has now acquired [5] her father’s magical (and sentient) sword Grospoliner [6].

Katsumi’s developing powers, and connections to the other members of the AMP, have been well handled so far but there is one troubling note with respect to Grospoliner.

Grospoliner is withholding information that Katsumi is asking for about her parents at the request of Rally Cheyenne, and is arguably lying to Katsumi to do so. Grospoliner has also not told Katsumi that he can also talk to Rally.

So far these things are being done with the best of intentions, but this sort of thing rarely ends well [7].

Summary

Overall I’m really enjoying this viewing of Silent Möbius: the character work has been good, it’s nice to have mostly adult characters, and there are some hidden depths to explore in the coming episodes. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing Yuki’s Limelight episode in the next set, and as I recall Lebia Maverick’s [8] story was also quite good in the manga.

The first 9 episodes of Silent Möbius are definitely worth a look. Stay tuned for more, and in the meantime here’s the fabulous opening.



[1] It took a while for these to be released on DVD, and also for me to track them down.


[2] Given that I’ve already reviewed the movies, picked the AMP as my favourite Five Team, favourite soundtrack, and once used the AMP as my desktop image.


[3] That name is really one of the silliest things in the show. Some manga translations use the somewhat better Abnormal Mystery Police but this isn’t possible in the TV series (unfortunately).


[4] This is obviously a situation where “Your Mileage May Vary” applies.


[5] This acquisition involved a contract of blood so the usual caveats about Blood Magic being bad may apply (although not nearly as explicitly as currently being shown in the Fall 2013 anime Beyond the Boundary).


[6] Grospoliner is also referred to as “The Emperor of Swords” in some places. It is worth noting that this might actually be true within the Silent Möbius universe…


[7] To be honest it’s been so long since I’ve seen the Silent Möbius TV series that this may as well be a first viewing. I can’t remember if this comes back to bite the AMP or not, but I suspect that it will.


[8] Yes that is her name. I sometimes wonder if someone should slap Kia Asamiya any time he tries to come up with an English language name.