Genres: Action, Military, Sci-Fi, Historical, Drama, Mecha
Alien lifeforms known as the BETA arrived on Earth with the goal of destroying all life. Soldiers pilot robots known as Tactical Surface Fighters (TSF) in order to combat the BETA, but instead are slowly being pushed back towards surviving cities. The show follows Second Lieutenant Theodor Eberbach and the other members of the 666th TSF Squadron, otherwise known as the Schwarzesmarken. Specialising in counterassault attacks on laser class BETA, the squadron is led by the war hero Captain Irisdina Bernhard and stationed in East Germany. However, the Schwarzesmarken find that they have more enemies than just the BETA when rookie Katia Waldheim joins the squadron, which draws attention from East Germany’s secret police, the Stasi.
The show was overall decent in my opinion, but there were some things that could have been expanded on and I felt that it was too short. Examples would be the events leading up to the murder of Irisdina’s brother Jurgen or the origin and background of the BETA. To me, the lack of background of the BETA made it seem that the show could have stood alone with just the conflict with the Stasi. The ending could have been better too. On the other hand, I liked the mech fights, both against the BETA and the Stasi. The mystery of Katia’s identity served as a good hook and the revelation was satisfying. Lise was also an interesting character, though I disliked her. I also liked that the show chose a setting where Germany was divided, as I don’t think I have seen an anime with that setting. Also, fripSide did a great job with the opening theme, I really enjoyed it.
I would recommend Schwarzesmarken if you are looking for a mecha, military, sci-fi anime or an anime with a historical setting to it. Again, specifically when Germany was still divided into West Germany and East Germany.