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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » New Getter Robo - Rude Awakenings
New Getter Robo - Rude Awakenings
Geneon // Unrated // March 1, 2005
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted March 26, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
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In a nutshell:  Three very different people find themselves fighting demons in powerful planes that can transform into a giant robot.

The Show:

Go Nagai's manga Getter Robo was first brought to Japanese TV screens in 1974.  One of the first transforming robot shows, the series told the adventures of three young pilots, Ryo, Hayato and Musashi.  These three piloted special ships developed by Dr. Saotome in a war against alien invaders.  The series was so successful that it spawned a sequel and a movie.  Now, thirty years after the original TV show, an OVA series is released that revisits the Getter Robo universe and restarts the franchise.  New Getter Robo doesn't rely on the previous series, but starts the story anew.

Oni, monsters from Japanese mythology, have started appearing on earth.  They take over regular people and turn them into blood thirsty ogres.  In order to battle this threat to humanity, Dr. Saotome creates three special planes 'Get machines" that are powered by mysterious Getter rays.  When these ships combine together, they can transform into various different giant robots that are able to take on the giant Oni.

In this first volume, Dr. Saotome has managed to prefect the 'Get Machines', but he hasn't been able to find the right pilots to man them.  He needs men who are brave fighters that won't be bothered by the violence and blood that fighting the Oni will entail.  In the first three episodes he gathers a trio of unlikely heros to protect humanity:  Ryoma, a martial artist whose deeply in debt to the mob, Hayato, the leader of a street gang, and a Buddhist monk, Benki.    Being of vastly different temperaments, these three need to learn to work together and fight as a team, but that is easier said than done.

These four episodes serve to introduce the main characters, and establish the menace of the Oni.  There are a few mysteries that crop up for future exploration, like just what is hiding under Dr. Saotome's lab, but there really wasn't much of an overriding plot being developed, at least not yet.  With each of the first three episodes devoted to recruiting a new member, there really wasn't much time to get the main plot rolling.

Though I have heard of Getter Robo before, and its many sequals, I haven't seen much of the older series.  I was happy to discover that knowing the background of the series wasn't necessary.  This show starts off fresh from square one, and doesn't refer to the older series at all.  Of course there were a couple of in-jokes like the password for a computer being "Cutey Honey", another one of Nagai's creations, but you can enjoy the series just fine even if you miss these.

The show is done in a retro style that's popular today.  With series like Big O and Cyborg 009 adopting older styling, it's now surprise that New Getter Robo does too, after all the original did come out 30 years ago.  I'm not a huge fan of this retro style, but it did work well in this series.  The Getter Robo looks good, though some of the monsters are a little hokey for my tastes.  (Especially the plant monster in the fourth episode.)

The animation was generally very good, with the battle scenes running smoothly.  There weren't any jerky movements in the fast paced action scenes, and the character design gave the show the feel of an older anime without the poor animation that often hampered classic anime series.

This show is rated 16+, and there is a reason for that.  It is a fairly bloody show, with people getting their heads beaten into wall until there's nothing left but a red stain, and limbs are frequently severed.  There isn't very much nudity, but this still isn't a show for younger viewers.

The DVD:


Audio:

This DVD comes with the original Japanese soundtrack and an English dub, both in stereo.  I alternated between the tracks while watching this series, and liked both of them.  In both tracks good use was made of the front sound stage, with the voices and action panning across the front speakers effectively.  It's too bad that they didn't include a 5.1 English track.  With all the battle scenes this show would have benefitted from one.  Audio defects and hiss weren't present, making this a good sounding DVD.

Video:

The widescreen transfer (1.78:1)  is anamorphically enhanced and looks very good.  The lines are tight, and the colors are bright and vivid.  Digital artifacts are practically nonexistent, with even aliasing being a minor problem.  A very nice looking transfer.

Extras:

Extras on this disc include a textless opening, and two music videos along with three previews to other Geneon anime series.

Final Thoughts:

This show has gotten off to a good start.  This volume pretty much lays the ground work for the rest of the series, by introducing the characters and setting up premise.  The interactions between the main characters and the mysteries surrounding the Getter Rays and the robots themselves lays the groundwork for an interesting series.  Recommended.
 

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