AICN-Anime has another spotlight on a series that draws my interest:
Glass Fleet definitely isn’t a “steam punk space opera”, but that aggregate label suggests the general idea at work in the series. It opens with a well-heeled space-noble sipping tea in a monumental library as he philosophizes. From his wonderings at the number of lives lost to the capriciousness of the universe, the anime cuts to the decisive battle that set the stage for its central conflict. Squadron after squadron of battle ships form 100 vessel grids in front of a floating mountain range. Though the exteriors of these ships aren’t that far from the typical, metallic idea of a space ship, inside they are full of manual workings and Babbage style computer systems. Men in 18th century military regalia meet in marble chambers to make their final plans. Then, the opposing lines of ships begin to pass through each other, firing mid-20th century style turrets.
When the battle ends, Vetti Lunard Sforza de Roselait has been declared Holy Emperor and a new oligarchy has replaced the defeated assembly of noble families. In response to the corruption of Vetti’s regime, Michel Volban de Cabelle raises up a People’s Army to revolt. Initially, this opposition is little more than a nuisance. The People’s Army is far outmatched by Vetti and his fleets. However, Michel becomes swept up with the motley crew of the titular (literally glass) ship, the captain of which is Cleo of the Wind, a pirate and claimed descendant of the exiled royal family, with intentions of supplanting the strongest party around.
As the review notes, this invites comparisons with other series – Last Exile coming immediately to mind. Not least of which being the fact that the anime, in the reviewer’s estimation, is possessed of deep flaws, for trying too hard to be visually striking rather than exploring the genuinely innovative plot ideas and elements more fully. The praise however is enough to get me to give it a shot, at some point anyway.