I've just finished watching Cluster Edge. I'm really in two minds about this anime. Summary:
A major war has just ended. Both sides used artificial soldiers
for the fighting. Now the war has ended those soldiers aren't needed anymore, confined to asylums, the production sides sealed. A young man, Chalce, fights for human rights for the soldiers. But he is killed. A group of soldiers tries to fight for his legacy while at the same time a mysterious boy, Agate, arrives at Cluster E.A. Cluster E.A. is an elite forming school for those who aspire to become leaders in their respective countries. There are several factions (the army, rebells, the church) fighting for power / trying to capture Agate for his powers. Some students at the academy must decide where they stand. Slowly Chalce's reason for protecting the artificial soldiers and Agate's identity are revealed.
The plot is confusing, progresses only slowly (aargh, the recaps! but it picks up speed nicely in the second half of the show) and has holes a mile wide. The production team really saved the trouble to work on details (almost no character beside the main ones actually has a name).
So, how come I was still glued to the screen? The anime raises some interesting questions about being human, tolerance, morality. Sometimes the anime reminded me a little bit of Gundam Wing (and not because of a (kind of) futuristic setting with stuffy aristocrats as the ruling class).
There are several characters that are just interesting. As the story goes on they develop. I still wanted to know more about them. Some charas get more and more background info as the story continues. Many watchers complain that the plot is too slow. In some respects that may be correct. Still I wish there were more episodes. The story tends to "jump". People change their views, act in a certain way and it's only hinted to as to why. Take for example Chrome. First he decides to kill Agate (not that I really understood why), then he meets and rescues him. Agate's kindness reminds him of Chalce. But you have to watch closely and do some thinking not to miss it. It all happens so fast. Beside all the chara development and background information I'd have appreaciated a bit more depth.
I really grew fond of that group of artificial soldiers, their innocence, curiosity, desperate wish to become human (Bladerunner, anyone?). And, okay, I adored those triplets. They were cute, scary
In the end I guess it's just these failures, the missing details / plot holes that held me captive. You can imagine so much into the show. Kinda like Weiss Kreuz. Weiss Kreuz the anime was just strange. But that just made Weiss Kreuz the fanfiction so effective. I mean there was so much left to explain and that was what fanfiction did. And in so many different ways. I wish there was fanfiction for Cluster Edge. I haven't checked yet. But I'm not very hopeful seeing that the anime is not very popular.
The anime is hard to get. It has 25 episodes. Up till ep. 18 it was subbed by AnimeYuki (&Shining Fansubs). The last episodes are almost impossible to get. I finally stumbled across the complete series at crunchyroll.com
You can watch it streamed on the site. (Actually the site is worth checking out, less for anime, but definitely for live action series and drama)
So, this all boils down to: watch the show. You'll probably scratch your head and still can't get enough.