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"New Getter Robo": Giant Robots in Ancient Japan!

With all the giant robot anime out there—Gundam, Evangelion, Rahxephon, Gravion, Giant Robo—you need something special to stand out from the crowd. There’s , and then there’s everything else. With New Getter Robo, it’s buckets and buckets of blood.

Cover art for New Getter Robo Volume 2: The Yin-Yang MasterOn the last disc, our heroes Ryoma, Hayato, and Benkei were chosen by Dr. Saotome to pilot three special planes that can transform into the mighty Getter Robo, which is key to destroying these invading creatures called the Oni. However, a particularly slippery Oni escapes the Getter Robo by ducking into a gigantic black whirlwind. Ryoma impulsively follows and ends up in the Heian Era of Ancient Japan. What’s even stranger: this Heian Era has pistols and airships alongside horses and arrows—and Oni are commonplace! As Ryoma wonders what’s going on, a young warlord named Raikou Minamoto mistakes him for an Oni and has him arrested. While all that’s going on, Hayato, who’s been in the Heian Era for over a month, and Benkei, who’s been there over a year, manage to find the Getter Robo buried in a nearby mountain. Just in time too, as the Yin-Yang Master and uber-powerful Oni Seimei Abe commence their attack on our heroes. Just who is this guy? Why is this Heian Era erased from history books? And how exactly does Abe know all about our heroes and the Getter Robo?

This disc continues the excellence of the previous disc, except this time we’re starting to get into the meat of the story. We get a bit more explanation about the previous Getters and how they are connected to the Oni. We see a forgotten chapter in Japanese history. And we finally get the Getter Robo’s third form, which is basically a tank that works underwater. The mysteries of the previous disc are expanded while our heroes slice and dice their way through all the Oni. Speaking of slicing and dicing, the action continues its awesomeness in this disc. I must warn you, though, if you don’t like the 70′s tradition of shouting attacks at full volume and the morphed action of Power Rangers, you’re not going to like the giant robot action of New Getter Robo. Ryoma shouts “GETTER TOMAHAWK!” and “GETTER BEAM!” a lot, as does the terrorist Hayato and the monk Benkei. Not only that, but Getter 3 copies the movements Benkei does, right down to the Buddist prayer, before attacking. The intriguing storyline and the fast, stylized action fits this series well.

Unfortunately, there are some bad things, too, with the blood and gore being the main problem. As I said in my previous review, I’m not a big fan of buckets-o-blood, and since Hayato no longer goes crazy, Ryoma has to take up the slack. Oh boy, does he take up the slack. Throughout these episodes Oni get their skulls chopped in half, and several times we actually see their brains falling out. I wager at least 500 gallons of cartoon blood were spilled in these three episodes, especially when Ryoma attacks an Oni hoard on a bridge and when Hayato and Beneki attack a giant Oni using Getter 2. Aside from that, my other problem is the lack of focus on Michiru. Despite being in the intro, she’s barely had any screen time, especially on this disc. I get the feeling her only purpose is to be angry with her father and to be an object of love for Benkei.

Animation is largely the same as on the previous disc. There’s very little CG (mainly lighting effects and the warp tunnels), and the actual movement is highly stylized and accentuated, giving everything an added sharpness. While watching this volume, it felt like I was watching a moving comic book, which works for this series. I can easily see an ani-manga just looking right, though I doubt we’ll ever see one. Transfer is awesome as usual, and the widescreen aspect is used to great effect, making the animation seem even better than usual. More action series need to use widescreen.

Music-wise, it’s more of the same, which is good. There are a few new tracks to suit Heian Japan, and they all rock. However, for some odd reason Geneon still refuses to subtitle the insert songs, which are played whenever the Getter Robo shows up. This is starting to remind me of Gundam SEED, and not in a good way. Voice-wise, we get continued excellence, though Ryoma and Hayato sound a bit too similar for my tastes. The dub gets major points for having Mona Marshall voice a female character, which is far less often than I like to see. The Japanese dub is pretty good as well, but many of the male voices sound extremely similar. Other than that, it’s decent and you purists will enjoy it well enough.

This is a Geneon DVD, so of course we have few extras worth mentioning. We have the textless ending and trailers, which are standard, but we also get a short music video focused on Benkei and a reversible cover. Sure, it’s not much at all, but it’s half-way decent, which is amazing by Geneon standards.

If you want some fun, dark, cheesy giant robot action, then New Getter Robo‘s for you. If you’re looking for realism, stay far, far away.

Episodes on included on this disc:
Episode #5: “Oni Fire”
Episode #6: “The Mansion Where the Oni Dwell”
Episode #7: “The Yin-Yang Master”

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