Agate Fluorite is the typical happy-go-lucky protagonist with a dark and angst-y side, literally, yet he manages to be completely different from that stereotype. You can't just help but love his character and his actions and morals and what he does for other people. I also love the fact that he doesn't go typically saint on us either. I'm glad he can hate.
The character designs are pretty much gorgeous, and becomes even more beautiful with the development of the story. I have to admit that at first I didn't like how some characters looked (Chrome, in the first episode, was admittedly a bad first impression, but his art gets better later on and he becomes one of my favorites.) The music at first isn't all that great either, but once again, it gets better (in fact, I absolutely adore the second ED theme song). It's a series that you have to be patient with, because everything improves in the best ways.
However, to disappoint, the series isn't BL. The characters do have their moments though, such as the hate-love triangle between the older characters (the alumni of Cluster E.A.) of Chalce, Hema, and Vesuvia. Their relationship is very complicated. Vesuvia, a military official, is first introduced as a close friend to Hema, who currently teaches at Cluster E.A. as a professor. In that same scene, it is revealed that Chalce, who was their mutual friend during their time together at Cluster E.A., was actually killed by Vesuvia himself. Vesuvia had always saw Chalce as a rival, while Chalce considered Vesuvia as a friend, and Hema and Chalce were inseparable and very close friends back then. Because of this, Vesuvia and Hema's interactions later on in the series is strained and usually involves Hema acting with hesitancy in whatever he does with Vesuvia acting high and mighty.
In the first episode, there's also a bubbly, slow-motioned scene with Agate and Beryl's first sighting of each other. It's the corniest version of "love at first sight" that I've ever seen, but thank the damned they don't do that again. However, although one would assume they'd have a lot of moments together with this bubbly, very shoujo-like meeting, they don't. I was completely miffed by this, but they do have their moments... (maybe about three or so of them, anyway).
The story development is pretty slow, even though the storyline itself rushes through everything. Certain scenes seem like they should be a bit more dramatic / have more emphasis, but it's a pretty nice change to those anime's that are slow enough to be epics. There isn't much comedy here because they emphasize on controversial topics, such as the dilemma of how Artificial Soldiers should be treated, the Church and God, and corrupt political figures. And of course, the drama with elite families and their heartless relatives (in reference to Beryl's).
Now, usually I'm not particularly interested in these sort of topics, and I'm pretty sure that the only motivation I had at the beginning of the series to watch it through was the slight hope I for some BL, but the story enticed me. The drama in the story is amazing and the scenes that should make you cry, actually achieve this. Every character has their own story, like most anime's, but they don't do the typical character-based episodes. Instead, they tell each story and develop each one little by little with each episode. Unfortunately, even with 25 total, they fail to explain many things. The story of the unstable relationship between Chalce, Hema, and Vesuvia is still unclear until the very last episode, where they show Hema and Vesuvia in front of a flowered grave (presumably, Chalce's), with Vesuvia in a wheelchair and Hema helping him. The scene ends with a close-up of Hema's insecure and pained expression.
Strong patience is needed to watch the series, and I have to admit that sometimes I skimmed through some scenes that didn't involve my favorite characters (screwing me on the story, so... I guess what I said above with the story being confusing and rushed, well, uh...), but the last ten or so episodes are so worth it, and completely compensates for any unpleasantness you find in the series while watching it.
And for being a person so tired of pointless endings and they all lived-happily-ever-after ones, Cluster Edge's ending made me glad to watch all 25 episodes. So completely and terribly glad. I'm definitely set that the whole series was worth it for that ending. It was incredibly moving and beautiful and I didn't see thatcoming. I rewound it several times, crying, because at first I couldn't believe what I was seeing, at second I was completely miffed, and at third I didn't even know what to do, because it literally left me blank and happy and satisfied. I can't say that I'm happy of the sacrifice, but it was almost as if it was necessary. It was completely beautiful.
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