"New Getter Robo" Vol. 1 Exceeds Flying Internal Organ Quota
While not nearly as prolific a franchise as its giant robot cousin Mobile Suit Gundam, the Getter Robo franchise is still pretty strong, around in some form or another since 1975. Today’s digital paint generation makes it very difficult to release an older series, much less a thirty year-old series, so somebody over in Japan decided that it was time to re-invent the franchise for a new audience. However, unlike other retellings, New Getter Robo doesn’t create a whole new cast and a whole new setting, but instead brings the old cast back for the new century.
Humanity, having conquered Earth, is feeling pretty good about itself when out of nowhere these freaky demons called Oni appear and start eating humans (and turning them into Oni). To combat this new threat, Professor Saotome creates the Getter Robo, three powerful ships that can combine into three different super robots. Of course, not just anybody can pilot these badass machines, only the craziest people in Japan can. These turn out to be Ryoma Nagare, a street brawler with a huge debt, Hayato Jin, whose greatest pleasure is slicing and dicing people with his extra-long fingernails, and Benkei Musashinobou, an Oni turned Buddist Monk. Together, this rag-tag team of heroes must face off against not only the small fry Oni, but the huge Oni that appear later on. That is, if the three can cooperate long enough to do anything at all.
I have never seen any of the previous incarnations of the Getter Robo franchise, and as such, I have no clue how much of the original series, movies, and OAVs was changed for this remake. I do know that the original team had to face off against dinosaur robots instead of Oni, which makes me thankful they changed that particular detail. However, my ignorance didn’t hamper my enjoyment of this series. Though Ryoma took to the leader role a bit too easily for my taste, the characters are all interesting in their own little way. I would especially single out Benkei, with his goofy personality and excellent backstory. The demons look pretty cool (especially one in Episode 4 that reminded me of ThunderCats), and the mecha battles are all fun to watch. Watching Hayato try to discover the secrets behind Saotome’s robots was also enjoyable.
Unfortunately, the over-the-top violence constantly interrupts the story. I don’t mind seeing two guys hit each other thirty times in a row, nor do I mind a little blood here or there. However, a simple backhand causing two gallons of blood to come rushing out is just absurd. Hayato’s fighting scenes are especially gory. He basically tears apart any enemy he comes across, and the anime doesn’t shy away from flying organs. Hell, even the menus are covered in blood.
The animation itself is pretty good but not nearly as detailed as in some other action anime, relying more on stylization than details. It reminds me a lot of Dai-Guard and Kikaider, so if you didn’t mind the animation in those series, you’ll be fine here too. Design-wise, New Getter Robo has a definitive “grunge” look to it, with jagged lines everywhere. It didn’t do much for me, but it does give the series a visual punch. And before I forget, I must mention that Geneon did something nice for the opening theme: they used a special font (I think it’s “Japan”) for the credits instead of using the same boring old Arial font 99% of other releases use. It’s a nice little touch and shows that Geneon actually put effort into this release.
Getter sees yet another Bang Zoom dub, with two of the more iconic voice actors/actresses, Lex Lang and Wendee Lee, providing the voices for Ryoma and Saotome’s daughter, respectively. While the rest of the cast isn’t quite as prolific, most of them are still veterans and make this a very enjoyable dub. The opening and ending themes are both decent and work very well with the show. Also, Geneon actually includes a sign-and-song only subtitle option, which is nice.
While they don’t exactly go all-out, Geneon actually gives us some decent extras. There are the usual trailers, credits, and clean opening theme, but there are also two short music videos set to two different songs by the same group that performs the opening. Though the video is limited to clips from the show, it’s still a nice addition. A reversible cover and a sort of mini-pin-up with Japanese release art round out the extras.
If you’re looking for a giant robot show with tons of blood and a bit of a harder edge, New Getter Robo is for you. But if you have any aversion at all to inside-out anatomy, you might wanna steer clear.
Episodes on Volume 1: Rude Awakenings:
Episode #1: There Goes Ryoma
Episode #2: Hayato is Coming
Episode #3: Benkei Musashinobou
Episode #4: The Three On the Loose