Animation: Weak
Depth: Good
Design: Weak
Characters: Fair
Story: Fair

Type: TV   (24 episodes)

Vintage: 1998

Category:

» giant monster
Verdict: meh
Next in series:
Review:

Neo Ranga - S1


Summary: >

Three sisters lived a rather ordinary unassuming life in Japan. While a bit poor, they managed to get by pretty well. Years ago their brother had disappeared. Then suddenly a young boy appeared at their doorstep. Eventually they found that their brother had married a princess on a small island in the Pacific, and had a son (the boy). Even stranger was the fact that the god of the island selected the three sisters to be the king. But then the god; Neo Ranga, came to them. The three sisters now have control over a gigantic mecha which is practically indestructible. When life is unfair, temptation is high to use such power for personal gain. Even worse, where do you park a giant mecha?


Thoughts: >

This is one anime I'd have to say I'm disappointed in that it never managed to fully realize its potential. While there is a long lineage of Godzilla movies ingrained into Japanese society at large, when is the last time you saw a giant monster anime? This could actually be the first as I can't really think of any others. But as such Neo Ranga doesn't really focus so much on the giant monster aspect as the people's reaction to the monster. That aspect is genius in a way.

You see it's easy to say "I'd never want some big Polynesian god-mecha thing in my back yard", but really think about that. Business owners are suddenly swamped with the influx of tourists. You've got a view of something completely unique to the world. You can also probably get on TV from time to time. And Neo Ranga explores this side of Japanese (and probably every) culture. While no one likes to have their car stomped on a big monster by accident; in the land of earth quakes aplenty - cashing in on a tourist attraction is far more beneficial.

Now as far as the story goes... it's lacking in vitality quite often. I'd actually say this is partially due to Neo Ranga's time slot in Japan, which is only 15 minutes long (including commercials). While it could have opted to go the "to be continued" route, it actually did try to wrap many plot lines up in the 12 minutes it had - and as such it never had time to fully develop many stories as it probably could have. The story also loses direction easily, and that's starting from a shaky direction to begin with. This anime feels like the full plot should have been better drawn out from the beginning, but instead they just jumped in to see where it would all go.

Characters are also somewhat of a weak point. There are three sisters who are considered to be the king of Baro, however the vast majority of it focuses on Ushio: the most dull of the three. Minami, the oldest; takes care of her sisters. She is principally concerned with money as she's the one that has to pay the bills. She sees the utility in Ranga. The ability to do stuff like carry groceries, and make some added money from tourists. Ushio is the girl in the middle. She is mainly concerned with doing things with Ranga to help others. Yuhii is the youngest and sees Ranga as power. Yuhii's power trip is crazy, amusing, and interesting all at the same time.

So in regard to the characters there is a lot that could have been fleshed out with their relation to how they would use Neo Ranga. That however never really comes to fruit either, so it ends up being another squandered chance.

Anyway, with the cool concepts, and at least a few interesting stories - Neo Ranga is probably worth watching for most anime fans. It's got this unique feel to it that makes it interesting, but it seems like an opportunity squandered in that it could have been so much more. Overall the score is average - and that's what I basically came away with as far as this anime went. Not having seen the entire series, I will not pass judgment completely on this title, but I've heard more than a few times that this anime loses its way around the middle of the series. The soundtrack is however quite awesome.


Screen Caps: >

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reviewed by archen in 1999