The Third – The Girl with the Blue Eye, based on a series of light novels by Ryo Hoshino, is a surprising show in many ways. What starts out looking like a fairly predictable action show ends up becoming an intriguing road trip through the eyes of a very strong and likable heroine. Complimented with a strong supporting cast, the girl with the blue eye may end up as one of your new favorite characters.
The series is set many years after a devastating war, which killed 80% of the Earth’s population. Earth is being watched by a group of beings known as The Third from a planet called Hyperion. They are named after a red jewel-like eye on their forehead (Space Eye) that serves as a port for data access and other types of communication. These beings are committed to protecting the humans from harm. One of the main ways is to protect the humans is to control the amount of “technos” or technology that the humans have access to, known as the “technos taboo”. Human found using forbidden technos could be killed by The Third’s best “autoenforcer” an AI robot named Bluebreaker.
It follows the adventures of Honoka, a 17 yr old girl who is human, but was born with a blue third eye as well. The Third found that she could not interface with the rest of The Third and so declared her a mutation and left her with human parents. Her blue eye enables her to see Chi and use it to find cloaked enemies and sense the emotions of all living things. Honoka is a jack-of-all-trades who travels throughout the barren earth with the help of a sand tank operated by Bogie, an AI guardian given to her by her grandfather. She earns a living by doing various jobs with the tank like ridding areas of oversized spiders and ants and escorting or transporting clients. One night while traveling through the desert, she comes upon a strange man named Iks (eeks). He arrived on the planet for a purpose which is not clear until the last episode. The Third is also nervous about his arrival and fears he may seek to harm the humans. In order to understand the world more Iks contracts with Honoka to accompany her for most of her travels. During travel or at night, she recites poems by a writer named “Dona Myfree” (exact spelling unknown at this time).
Various other characters are woven in to bring out more of Honoka’s character and virtues. She grows over the episodes into a person whose personality becomes critical to the very survival of the planet.
The real strength of the series is Honoka herself. She is just a strong, determined character with many endearing qualities that really makes it easy to watch her. While carrying an air of mystery about her, she is equal parts courageous and vulnerable, brash yet caring all while carrying a little bit of a chip on her shoulder due to her “underdeveloped” figure. She is a joy to watch as she interacts with the rest of the cast while travelling though a surprisingly wonderful world full of natural and unnatural sights. Crossing paths with ancient relics of the war, a liquid metal assassin, wild sand dragons and more, Honoka learns from each experience and grows right in front of your eyes.
Now, The Third does have little quirks that bothered me during its run. There are a couple of episodes in the show where the quality of the animation just fell completely off the map. It doesn’t even look like the same show! Perhaps it was a different production house that handled those episodes, I’m not sure. But one of these episodes just happened to be the set up episode for the final little mini arc which really got under my skin. There was also a scene towards the end where the show seemed to forget itself and turned into something out of Dragon Ball Z. Honoka is definitely special and powerful, but one of her actions in the episode was way out of left field.
Finally, I have to voice my displeasure with the use of the show’s narrator. Throughout the show, Bogie acts as a sort of narrator for us. He describes events in the world that may have happened in the past and how they have impacted the planet we see in the present. He also goes on to describe the inner feelings of Honoka in the most inopportune times during the length of the show. Many scenes suffered because of the inclusion of a narration. He just spells out how Honoka is feeling or what her inner conflict is at the moment instead of showing us and letting us feel it. It only served to pull me out of strong, emotional moments. In the English dub, Nozomi Entertainment realized this and tried to lessen this flaw within the show. This effort is definitely appreciated, but it’s a shame it had to be in there to begin with.