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Metallic Rouge First Thoughts

Metallic Rouge First Thoughts

Posted on 27 Feb 2024

This is the first time I've had to watch the first episode of a series twice. Metallic Rouge is certainly a very sharp looking show and obviously has a good budget but I struggled to get into it.

The series is set on Mars, with humans living alongside androids called Neans. Rouge Redstar is an undercover agent looking to track down a terrorist group known as the Immortal 9. She works alongside Naomi Ortman, a special investigator for the government agency "Bureau of Truth" who communicates via a synthetic bird until its demise forces her to come out from behind the curtain. 

The opening scene shows a clearly evil, clownish figure at a dock looking to steal some goods, and while the similarity had occurred to me almost straight away, pulling a Joker out of a pack of cards when asked "who are you" was a tad on the nose. Yes, the character is basically a Joker knock-off (called Jaron Fate), but that's not why I had to watch the show twice. Honestly I felt I'd missed something on my initial viewing.

Metallic Rouge  - Joker
Not even on your best day, pal.

The first episode deals with a singer called "Sara" who is later revealed to be a member of the Immortal 9 named Purgatory Viola. She seems to be a fairly even-handed and gentle soul, and treats Rouge, who has infiltrated her inner circle, with nothing but kindness. Once the two recognise each for what they are, Jaron forces the two into a confrontation, but it seems so unwarranted I just couldn't buy into, no matter how much of an ear worm the soundtrack became, with its Rock-Opera overtones and daft lyrics (the song is "Crimson Lightning" and available on most streaming services if you fancy a listen). 

Viola made the point while fighting that she'd done nothing to Rouge and just wanted to sing. Rouge basically ignores her and the fight ends in an execution. The lack of emotion may have given it a Blade Runner vibe, but it left me completely cold. There simply wasn't any justification, within the episode, for what just transpired and it seemed needlessly vicious - Rouge's indifference and Naomi's jokey attitude also grated - basically, I just don't much care for the protagonists. We really needed some more backstory here, it feels like we're missing an episode.

Metallic Rouge - Viola
"The moment has arrived for fighting..." blares the rock-opera soundtrack. Just not sure whose side I'm on.

As such, I'm not really overly bothered about watching any more of it. I may end up covering the full series for UKA, but it's not a prospect I relish. Production values and soundtrack really don't amount to much if you've no respect for the central characters or their motivations. I suspect this was supposed to be the episode that hooks you with shock and awe, but it backfired in my case and I'd be perfectly content to sit this show out.

Time will tell as to whether it gets better, but I can really only recommend the show off the back of the first episode on the most superficial level - good looks and lots of promise, but not much personality. 

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