On the forgotten penal colony/planet of Endless Illusion, a lanky vagabond in a tuxedo named Van wanders the land on a mission of vengeance against a nameless figure known only as "The Claw". His weapon is a metal sash that straightens into a sword which he can use to call down a special type of "Armor" (i.e., giant robot) that he calls "Dan". Along the way he teams up with a young girl named Wendy who is also seeking out The Claw in an effort to find her missing older brother. In their quest they encounter more villains, more Armor, more friends, and plenty of opportunities for Wild-West-type mecha battles.
This show mostly uses bits and pieces from other shows -- like Cowboy Bebop and Trigun -- and tries to piece them together using a basic lonely-wanderer-seeking-revenge story. Some of the references were less rip-off than they were homage though. For instance, at one point we are introduced to a team of old retired Armor pilots who used to be the protectors of their town. This is (I'm guessing) a nod to vintage shows like Voltron or Gotchaman that involved a team of heroes fighting to save the world. There is another scene at the beginning of one of the episodes that is a blatant reference to the final scene in Pulp Fiction. Those kinds of things were kind if amusing if for no other reason than I knew what they were referencing. (Go me.)
The high point of this show is the first episode, which is a great introduction to Van, Wendy, and "Dan". It has some great action and funky-cool characters. Van's personality especially shines in this episode because you see a few of his little quirks like insisting on putting tons of condiments on his food and the fact that he never remembers anyone's name -- both of which are meant to illustrate his apathy toward the world. His and his face-off with the bandits is also a lot of fun to watch.
After that first episode -- although there were some parts here and there that I liked -- for the most part the story is very cut-and-dry, the mecha battles are redundant, and most of the characters have weak personalities making for an overall disappointing series.
The animation and music are fine, but nothing to write home about. The only character design that I thought was worth anything was Van and, I guess, Wendy (there's something about those pig-tails!) but the other characters and even the mecha designs didn't do anything for me.
So in summary this show has a few good ideas scattered within a very basic storyline. There are pieces of the art, characters, and story that I like, but as a whole the show is average and doesn't live up to the spectacular first episode.