In a nutshell: Three
very different people find themselves fighting demons in powerful planes
that can transform into a giant robot.
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.
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.
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 on this disc include a textless opening, and two music videos
along with three previews to other Geneon anime series.
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.