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Godannar, Vol. 4: Two's a Combat Team, Three's a Crowd
Simply put, Godannar has absolutely everything a robo-fanatic could ever dream of. First off you have giant robots clashing and fighting through cityscapes with equally titanic monsters. Secondly those massive robots can combine with others to form even bigger robots to unleash yet more destruction and havoc. Even better is that the organization of pilots are paired into teams, so there are many partners to get to know and see in action. This series pays homage to shows of the past while slightly parodying itself with a great sense of humor and gratuitous amounts of fanservice. It doesn't take itself too serious and proves to be a ton of fun as it takes you along for the ride.
It's the year 2047 and five years have passed since the Mimetic Beast War had come to an end. The Earth was on the verge of annihilation and many of its cities lie in ruin due to the fierce battles. The planet had been saved thanks to the Dannars, who were a group that operated giant robots that were used to battle the monsters during the war. Those pilots are still operational, though one of the most quintessential among their ranks has been out of service since the end of the conflict.
Goh Saruwatari was revered among his colleagues thanks to his service and skill, but no matter how good he was, he couldn't prevent his partner and lover (Mira) from getting killed. Even though five years have passed, Goh is still haunted by her memory and has been out of commission. Time passes and old wounds begin to heal, so we join him as he is about to wed a pink haired girl named Anna, whom he happened to save during the war. Even though she is significantly younger than Goh, she quickly becomes a formidable pilot and member of the team. It also helps that her mother is running the whole show.
All along the series has been following the same pattern though in the last volume things got shaken up a bit. Anna became extremely jealous of Mira and Goh's relationship and ran away to live on her own. This was a good way to show her immaturity towards relationships because you have to remember that even though she and Goh are married, she is still a teenager. Lou ran off with the mysterious warrior Ken in order to train and become a better pilot, while Shizuru was mortally wounded after a fight with a slew of Mimetic Beasts. All of this turmoil came to a boiling point that signaled the end of the first season and left me on the edge of my seat for the next volume.
Unfortunately the second season of Godannar doesn't start out with a bang. The first episode on this volume features the resurrection of Shizuru and we get to see some past events through her ghostly eyes. I suppose every anime does a flashback episode at some point in its run, but I've always felt that it breaks up the continuity of things. At any rate Anna is still living by herself and refuses to go back to Goh because of Mira. Of course, since the show is supposed to be all about Goh and Anna you know that they aren't going to stay separated for ever. Some things happen in this volume that brings about their return to each other and most of it has to do with Shizuru.
The same pattern of the show is followed as many Mimetic Beasts continue to appear randomly across the globe. As much as I love the action and as much as I can't get enough of the animation, I do have to admit that I'm getting a little bored with the flow of things. Things arguably get better once Goh and Anna are back together, but I want answers for the Mimetic Beast problem and I want them now. The last episode on this volume is a throw-away story about budding romances between some of the sub-characters, which feels really out of place.
As Godannar continues to move forward into its second season the show is still providing a lot of action, humor, and T&A. This batch of episodes doesn't feel as strong as previous ones thanks to the recap episode and the love one, but this is still a show to be reckoned with. The giant robot genre has been pretty stale in recent years so having a series with as much energy as Godannar on the market is a great thing. Don't come to the series looking for an epic story or emotional plot. Instead if you come wanting to be mindlessly entertained you will not be disappointed.
Godannar is presented with a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and is positively gorgeous. I didn't notice a single bit of cross coloration, or pixilation. There were a few extremely minor moments where some aliasing and grain seeped into the image, but those were few and far between. The palette for this show is just about as vibrant as I have ever seen with a lot of very well pronounced colors and nice contrast.
I absolutely loved the design and overall style of the show as well. The style is a little old school mixed with new, and the animation is very frenetic and fluid. The artwork on the show makes use of a lot of dramatically thick lines that gives it almost a comic book quality. Many robot animations are reused, but those are symbolic of the genre and not the result of a low budget (at least that's my impression). Overall this is a fantastic looking series that features some slick fast paced animation and a very high quality DVD transfer.
Godannar gets the standard English 5.1 and Japanese 2.0 audio treatments. The English track provides a better sound effect and music presentation with some very nice directionality, but a couple of the voices leave something to be desired. The Japanese track offers the best voiceovers, but lower quality because of the stereo sound. This is a particularly loud show with a lot of screaming and explosions, plus all kinds of mechanical bits. Godannar is a good sounding show with a catchy soundtrack that I can't get out of my head.
Just like the previous three volumes of the show, the fourth installment features a Mimetic-sized collection of bonus material. For starters there are the clean opening and closing animations and previews, but this volume also features a gratuitous collection of images in the Swimsuit Gallery. There is also a little feature that breaks down Seven Mysteries from the first season in case you didn't pick up on them.
Also just like previous volumes there are some character profiles, mechanical profiles, and top secret case files for the Mimetic Beasts. A few production sketches rounds things out on this installment.
It may be a little corny thanks to all of the fanservice, but I have to admit that I really, REALLY, have gotten into Godannar. The show has a great personality and sense of humor, plus offers up a ton of action and eye candy. The second season kicks off on a somewhat quiet note with only a few real points of interest in these episodes. I'm getting to the point with this series where I need more answers about the Mimetic Beasts because up to this point there have been nothing but questions. Hopefully the next volume with offer some closure to things. If you love giant robots and being overloaded by fanservice you can't go wrong with Godannar. Recommended