Like many otaku, the thing that got me interesting in anime was the
giant robots. Robotech is still a favorite of mine, the various
Gundam hold a special place in my heart, and I get a lump in my
throat every time I think about how amazing Neon Genesis is (well,
except for the last two episodes...) Over the last few years however,
the genre has grown tired and stale. It seems like every series is
just like the previous one with young kids battling monsters to no real
end. Shows like Divergence Eve and Gravion have worn
me down so when I hear that a new mecha series is coming out I no longer
get excited. One show that puts a lot of the fun back into giant
robots however is Godannar. The series was previously released
over seven volumes (you can read Todd Douglass' reviews here)
and now the series has been collected in thinpack and is available at a
bargain price when compared to the original releases. While the extras
have been stripped off, this is still a great way to watch this solid series.
year 2042 saw the conclusion of the war with the Mimetic Beasts, giant
monster that want to destroy humanity. The beasts were ultimately
defeated by the Dannars, huge human controlled robotic suits that were
the only thing that could face the Mimetic Beasts. These giant instruments
are really two mecha robots, one male, one female, that can link together
to form the perfect fighting machine. Near the end of the war, the
best Dannar pilot, Goh, lost his partner, and lover, Mira. The guilt
and anguish caused him to leave the corps.
As the series opens, five years has passed and things have been pretty
quiet. Goh still feels ten loss of his partner, but has managed to
move on and is even getting married to Anna, the 17 year old daughter of
the woman who runs the Dannar base located in Japan. As they are
saying their vows however, a Mimetic Beast attacks and Anna's mother and
husband-to-be fly off to see what they can do. Not being one to be
left behind, Anna jumps on a motor-scooter and follows them and eventually
ends up in a robot fighting the monster. This in turn convinces Goh
(eventually) to become a pilot once more. He and his wife form the
first, this seems to be a monster-of-the-week show, but it's really more
than that. There is a fairly substantial plot which takes some unexpected
twist and turns over the course of the series. There is more to the
Mimetic Beasts than meets the eye, and when some pilots are captured and
ingested by the creatures, they seem to be different when they escape.
The show has a nice balance between the monster battles and character
interaction too. While the characters are never fully fleshed out
into three dimensional people, they do get deeper than I thought they would.
As the Mimetic Beast attacks become more and more frequent, the stress
the pilots are under increases dramatically. They start to crack
at a time when they can least afford it. Anna is particularly well
developed. She's only a teenager but over the course of the series
she matures and grows stronger. There's a lot she has to deal with
too, not only being killed by a horrible monster, but dealing with the
emotions that well up when her husband's ex-lover comes back from the dead,
a woman who turns out to be better than Anna at just about everything.
series is a fun tribute to the mecha shows of the 80's. It doesn't
make fun of those programs, rather it embraces the genre and all of its
rather silly aspects. Every time someone climbs into a robot they
have to shout its name and pose, and yelling really loud makes an attack
even more powerful, or so it seems. Instead of making the series
dumb, this makes it enjoyable and humorous. The program doesn't take
itself too seriously. There is a lot of comic relief but never so
much that the show becomes a farce. (I particularly enjoyed the mecha
mechanics who always provided some good laughs.) It's like the creators
are winking at the audience saying "This may be corny, but isn't it cool."
The battles are exciting and visually interesting but they don't go on
for ever, which is another nice part of the show.
The only aspect of the show that got a little old was the excessive
fan service. Every woman had DDD breasts, at least, and perfectly
rounded rears that showed their panties every time they bent over.
The women all jiggled obscenely as they jogged down the corridors, and
every hug had a man's face squished between to massive mammaries.
Even the female robots had excessively large breasts. Come on, give
me a break.
The complete series of 26 episodes comes on five DVDs each of which
has its own thinpack case. The five cases are housed in a nice, sturdy
skipcase that has images from the show on all sides.
Like the original release, these discs come with the original stereo
audio track (with optional English sub-titles) and a DD 5.1 English dub.
I have to admit that I found myself watching more episodes with the dub
that with the Japanese track. The 5.1 track just has more *umph*
which works well during the mecha battles. These fights were enveloping
with sound coming from all corners of the soundstage and this track had
a nice lower end. The Japanese track sounded a bit anemic in comparison.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic image looked really good. The colors really
jumped off the screen and the lines were nice and tight. On the digital
side, things also looked really good. There was some minor aliasing
but otherwise the disc looked fine. A really nice transfer.
If you wanted extras you'd have to pony up the money for the individual
releases. This set has none.
This was a good series that puts the fun back into mecha shows.
While the characters and situations are all things we've seen before, the
creators managed to throw in enough surprises to keep the series interesting
while not taking it far from is 'giant robot' roots. This isn't the
type of show where you'll call up your friends and demand that they watch
it, but if you're looking for an enjoyable series that's pretty solid you
could do worse than this. Recommended.