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In an effort to learn more about metallic aliens that have been plaguing the planet for the past years, Dr. Noguchi and assistant Maki Agata try to bring to life a construct pieced together from various destroyed aliens. They recruit Takuto Kaneshiro, Maki's boyfriend at the college they both attend, into the project because of his talent for metallurgy. While Takuto is unhappy with Maki keeping secrets from him again, he reluctantly helps with the project -- but in the process of reviving the monster that Noguchi has aptly called Frank (short for Frankenstein), unidentified soldiers invade the facility known as MORGUE. The soldiers cut the power, which leads to a power surge that violently brings Frank to life and causes an explosion which kills everyone in the facility -- except Takuto.
"Mr. X" visits the scarred (emotionally and physically) Takuto in the hospital and offers him a chance to get his vengeance on the monster he blames for killing Maki and destroying his life. Months later, Lt. Ryu Soma is born from the ashes of Takuto's soul; he re-enters life as a military pilot for the organization known as FUNERAL, which deals with the attacking aliens (and has also recaptured Frank, who escaped after the explosion at MORGUE). It quickly becomes clear that Frank has become the best weapon FUNERAL has to defend against the aliens, which leaves Ryu torn between getting revenge for the woman he loved and protecting his newfound comrades.
Further complicating the picture is a young girl named Hattie; besides being the only person who can communicate with Frank, she also bears a striking resemblance to Maki. As it becomes apparent that Frank is more than a simple monster, Ryu and his FUNERAL comrades have to come to terms with questions of human identity, grief, and loss.
Argento Soma origially aired with 25 episodes, and was followed by the OVA "Alone and By Myself".
Argento Soma has examples of:
- Badass Grandpa
- Beard of Evil: Mr. X, whose epic red goatee fits the part spot on. He's not in the least evil, though, just a manipulative asshole.
- Big Friendly Dog: Walton.
- Blind Idiot Translation: "ROCK ON".
- Crowning Moment of Awesome: Frank punches an alien so hard its head flies into space, leaving a hole in some clouds on the way.
- Dark-Skinned Blond
- Deal with the Devil: Soma's deal with Mr. X to get into FUNERAL.
- Down to the apple motif (Which Soma later adopts himself).
- Fauxlosophic Narration
- Fluffy the Terrible: Frank, the giant alien robot.
- Four-Star Badass: General Lawrence, AKA Mr. X. He's more of a Manipulative Bastard, true, but hanging the outcome of his Batman Gambit on himself and dancing through a Gambit Pileup basically unscathed takes serious balls.
- Fun with Acronyms: FUNERAL and MORGUE.
- Gambit Roulette:
Mr. XGen. Lawrence danced through the Gambit Pileup in the finale with the nothing worse to wear than a limp and a walking stick, but everything ended his way -- and, to the everyone's surprise, that way was the best.
- "Get Out of Jail Free" Card: Refreshingly averted, when all the charade went up in smoke, Soma was court-martialed and got a six years sentence. Though, for all his troubles, he wasn't stripped of his rank and was even promoted while behind bars.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Half of Soma's face was scarred in the accident. Which side is in focus is usually indicative of how heartless he's being at the time. Worth noting that he refused plastic surgery to have the scars removed.
- Heroic Sociopath / Villain Protagonist: Soma is definitely the former, and sometimes borders on the latter at the peak of his obsession.
- Hey, It's That Voice!
- How Do You Like Them Apples?: Mr. X likes to toss an apple when he tries to make an impression. Later Soma adopts the same habit, though his apple is green, not red.
- Humongous Mecha
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode name is of the form "A and B" and the next episode is "B and C", followed by "C and D", etc. The final episode closes the loop back to the first.
- Insufferable Genius: Takuto.
- It's Personal
- Jerkass: (Soma, certainly - but even before his Start of Darkness, Takuto hardly treated his girlfriend well.
- Well, from all the snark that was tossed between them, they were definitely in the Masochism Tango.
- Kaiju: The aliens of the series.
- Lightning Can Do Anything
- Magnificent Bastard: Mr X, AKA General Lawrence.
- Morality Pet: The little girl that reminds Soma of his deceased girlfriend is probably the only thing stopping him from Jumping Off the Slippery Slope.
- Hattie and Frank are sort of a compound Morality Pet.
- Needs More Love: It's a great show (in a calm, understated sort of way) that hardly anyone has seen or remember.
- Nice Hat: Hattie, of course.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Soma feels this towards Frank, the 'Giant Alien Robot'.
- Amusingly enough, at one point, Frank is in danger, and Soma is desperate to get close enough to finish him off. His teammates, however, interpret this is him trying to rescue Frank, and join in, ultimately succeeding in the 'rescue'.
- Oracular Urchin: Harriet 'Hattie' Bartholomew.
- Our Elves Are Better / Our Fairies Are Different: Hattie refers to Frank as "Yôsei-kun," translated in Bandai's R1 release as "Mr. Elf," although "yôsei" can also be translated as "fairy." Hattie's grandfather also makes wood carvings of elves and fairies he claims to have seen.
- Recycled in Space: A reinterpretation of the story of Frankenstein's Monster set Twenty Minutes Into the Future and with mecha!
- Survival Mantra/ Madness Mantra: In the first episode, right after the accident. "Maki... Maki... Maki... Maki... Maki..."
- Stealth Mentor: Mr. X to Soma, who definitely hates the guy's guts, but could do nothing but learn from him.
- Take That: See above.
- Tall, Dark and Snarky: Ooh, booy, where to start...
- There Are No Therapists: An interesting subversion: There are no therapists in the show, but instead it's chock full of Warrior Therapists, and nobody's mental problems are all that severe to begin with.
- That Man Is Dead: How Soma feels about Takuto, who he refers to as "some jerk I used to know."
- Team Mom: Major Lana Ines, the CO of FUNERAL.
- Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: Averted; the show is set in North America. (Along the eastern part of the USA/Canada border, to be precise.)
- Took a Level In Badass: From a calm and peaceful scientific type to a brash and confrontational Ace Pilot. Also notable for not explaining it at all.
- There is a short scene in episode 1 when we learn Takuto once applied to be an astronaut/pilot. Presumably he had some training.
- Transforming Mecha: Justified; part of the reason why the SARGs can do this is so that the public won't be alarmed by their humanoid forms and mistake them for, say, the aliens that FUNERAL is fighting.
- Twist Ending: The aliens are...not what one might expect.
- Two-Faced: Soma.
- UST: Captain Hartland and Major Ines. Notable for still remaining unresolved in the Distant Finale, though Madame President does look a bit too disturbed when Ulysses departs.
- ↑ Not really.