If you're interested in weird surreal anime...

Look no further than the series Avenger. It’s short, only 13 episodes. Most people will either love it or hate it, but you’ll be able to tell which category you fall into right after the first episode.

It’s hard to give you the premise without ruining stuff, because part of the coolness of Avenger is gradually discovering what’s going on. The series takes place in the future, on Mars. It’s been terraformed to the point of a breathable atmosphere, but it’s still a wasteland. People for the most part live in domed cities, but there are a few vagabonds who roam the wilderness. Short child-like androids called Dolls are very commonplace. For reasons which you discover later, there are no children on Mars. Also, there is some impending natural disaster involving the moon – which interestingly enough, is not one of the Martian moons, but Earth’s moon, whose blood-red shape hovers dangerously close to Mars.

The reason to watch Avenger is for the mood, the sheer creepiness of it. The Martian landscapes have a Dali-esque quality to them, and it’s perpetually twilight. There are ruined buildings everywhere on the planet, but we never learn exactly why. Lastly, the music is indescribably unsettling. The soundtrack is done by Ali Project, which also did the music for Noir. The opening and endings are some of the best I’ve ever seen, not just because of the music, but because of the weird imagery they have going on. You gotta see it to fully grasp what I’m talking about.

Finally, the characters are great. At first they seem too one-dimensional… nearly everyone is cold and stoic, but this changes later. It also makes an interesting point about what it means to be human. The people of Mars have managed to attain immortality (for a select few) but they have sacrificed their humanity (which has to do with the missing children). Ironically, the character who shows the most emotional depth is Nei, the Doll.

This gem of a series is somewhat hard to find. I have the complete series, fansubbed by Chronogen and Shounen-ai, and I seed it on BT when I have bandwidth to spare. If you’re interested in a taste of Avenger, I can hook you up if you PM me.