Giant Robo - OVA
In the future, the world has transformed with the invention of the Shizuma Drive: a new energy source cheap to produce, creates no pollution and is easily recyclable. It's been 10 years since the first Shizuma drive was brought on line. Still some mysteries haunt the legacy of the drive. Like the tragic explosion which killed thousands during its development. Now an organization bent on taking over the world known as the BF Group is interested in kidnapping Professor Shizuma who has recently perfected a modified Shizuma drive. The only ones who can stop them are the Experts of Justice. One of them is the young boy Kusama Daisaku and his metal companion Giant Robo.
What exactly does this new device do, and why does the BF group want it?
I've gotten to the point where I avoid giant robot shows, so obviously the last title you could push on me is a giant robot show actually titled "Giant Robo". How long has this stuff been going? Since the 50s or 60s? As it turns out Giant Robo is a manga from 1967. Seriously. It was also made into a live action series on par with low budget Godzilla movie cheesy special effects, with guys in rubber suits demolishing toy props. In America, this was dubbed and released as Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot. The anime OVA is a homage to works of manga artist Mitsuteru Yokoyama - particularly giant robo. While a simple idea, and masterfully executed, the OVA was plagued with budget problems and deadline issues throughout its creation. At each step it wasn't clear it would actually finish, which made it a relief when the last episode was finally released years later. With a back story like this, I became intrigued with Giant Robo even if it didn't look like my kind of show.
Modern mecha anime is generally the same basic concept covered by many layers of paint, almost like trying to hide their roots. Giant Robo strips all that away and starts from scratch. However, instead of simply attempting a period piece, Giant Robo gives homage to Yokoyama's works but is very much its own thing. The designs for Giant Robo are described as "retro", but this makes Giant Robo look timeless it never looks the least bit dated.
From first impressions it's easy to see the animation is well done. The retro designs made me assume this would never top some of the more elaborate titles I could name, however some incredible sequences quickly changed my mind on that. Giant Robo sports top tier animation. Likewise the music is a classic score that further pushes Giant Robo into the realm of truly epic. It's not synthesized as expected these days, but is played by an actual orchestra.
Both the characters and story are in line with giving homage to an older style series, but also vibrant and deep. Yet like the animation style, the story and characters are clean and timeless instead of being dated. The story is good, but I can't elaborate on it much because it's best experienced when seeing how it progresses. The first two episodes show high potential. From there each episode tops the previous.
It's not a matter of if I can recommend Giant Robo, its more a matter of how could I not recommend it. Giant Robo embodies nearly everything you could want in a good anime. Great action, great characters, cool story, awesome plot twists, and raw emotion. Anime fans have changed a lot over the years, so perhaps the new crop may not enjoy this one as much as older fans (I guess). Oddly enough it wasn't rabidly popular in Japan either. Even so, highly recommended quality anime.
Everything for Big Fire!
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reviewed by archen in 2007