Thursday, March 12, 2015

Mechanime: New Getter Robo

This is the very first review powered by Getter Rays.

Original Run: Released piecemeal from 2004 to 2006
Number of Episodes: 13
Average Episode Length: 22 minutes
Subgenres: Shounen
Dub?: No

Geez, its been awhile hasn’t it? No worry, I have a good one for you today: the latest in the long standing Getter Robo series, New Getter Robo! This is a review of the whole OVA, but I’ll try to avoid spoilers. Ready? Let’s get going!


NGR’s opening, called “Dragon,” is easily the weakest one I’ve listened to. Its not a bad song; it's fairly pleasant to the ears, and the chanting adds a nice stylistic element. But compared to other openings, its just boring. Even when it sounds like it's picking up, it regresses back to being just the same. What’s surprising is that the rest of the soundtrack is very strong. Its a shame the OP had to be the weakest of it.

The Earth lays in the hands of these three. Somehow I don't feel any safer.
Humanity is under attack from a mysterious race known as the Oni. With conventional weapons proving ineffective against the demonic menace, Doctor Saotome deploys the New Getter Robo, a mech with three separate forms. He forcefully enlists three men capable of withstanding the radiation given off by the Getter Rays (the power source of the Getter Robo), as they prove deadly against any ordinary pilot. However, as the battle rages, its seems that there’s more to both the Getter and the Onis than thought....

Benkei is just as confused as you are.

The story of this anime is dark in tone and light on sense. Often, its just a backdrop for the action, which would be fine, if the damn story made any sense. As the story unfolded, I found myself asking more questions rather than have ones answered. Some plot points remain in the air rather than being sufficiently explained. While I do give it points on trying to be original and creative (our heroes follow the Onis to the Heian period, for starters), I have to deduct points for not telling its story well.

Top going clockwise: Hayato, Ryoma, Benkei

Like Macross Zero, NGR has a small cast. You have Ryoma Nagare, a martial artist and pilot of Getter 1, Hayato Jin, a former terrorist and pilot of Getter 2, and Benkei Musashibo, a Buddhist monk and pilot of Getter 3. Supporting them are Doctor Saotome, the main figure in Getter Ray research, and his daughter Michiru, an anthropologist studying the Oni. There are a handful of secondary characters, such as Abe no Seimei, the leader of the Oni in the Heian period, and Raikou Minamoto, a Heian samurai dedicated to defeating the demonic hordes.

Ryoma is about to engage an entire army. And win. Sweet mother of Mazinger...

The characters of NGR aren’t very strong. They aren’t terribly complex and get next to no development. I couldn’t get invested in them because of how flat they were. Most aren’t even likable. Hayato is a total psychopath, Ryoma is an antisocial Blood Knight, Saotome is apathetic to the countless researchers he’s killed, and Benkei...actually Benkei isn’t that bad. These characters are usually saved by how badass they are- Ryoma takes on an army of Onis with two hatchets and fifteen katanas. NGR doesn’t have a strong cast, but they still have a lot to do.

The best and worst line of the OVA simultaneously. 

As I’ve said before, competent writing can save a story or characters if they are lacking. Unfortunately for NGR, the writing here isn’t that great. Most of it is basic, and it does little to help develop the characters or even competently explain some of the more confusing story elements. Granted, it has a few amusing lines, but for the most part, the writing is average. Its clear the writers put more effort in choreographing the fights.

I'm holding an axe! In space! Has your mind exploded yet?!

For all the crap I’ve given NGR, I can say for certain that this OVA’s animation is great. I like the art style a whole lot, and every action flows quickly and cleanly. What may turn many people off about the animation, however, is how gory it can be. This OVA features tons of blood, bones being broken, and severed body parts, and given how well animated this is, it can be pretty disturbing. Still, this is a great looking OVA; just be aware this is NSFW in many areas.

Mecha and Fight Scenes
Getter 1 is red, Getter 2 is white, and Getter 3 is yellow. Sorry I have to use toy photos; I wanted to get all three Getters in one shot.

The Getter Robo is formed of three Get Machines (special jets). Based on who forms the head, the robot takes a different form. Ryoma forming the head creates Getter One, the form used for aerial combat, Hayato forming the head creates Getter Two, a robot equipped with a drill and with great speed, and Benkei forming the head creates Getter Three, a robot with tank treads and extendable arms.

The New Getter Robo is a great robot. Its a pastiche of past Getter Robos, and its still very super robot-y looking. All three borrow the retro color scheme and look of the first Getter Robo and incorporate elements of Shin Getter Robo. Its a very effective combination, and its one of the best looking super robots I’ve seen so far because of its simplicity and effectiveness. The giant Onis the Getter fights aren’t too shabby either, with some creative concepts and monstrous designs behind each one.

He's fighting a god. Who has three other godly buddies to back him up. And its one of the best finales ever.

The fights here are a real treat, and easily the highlight of the whole OVA. Each fight shows off the Getter’s powers in cool ways, and is loaded with flashy combos and tons of collateral damage. Every one gets your blood pumping, and is filled with ridiculously awesome moments, including vaporizing a giant plant monster with a laser beam and causing a tidal wave with a missile volley. The fights are the reason to watch this OVA.

New Getter Robo isn’t the smartest or well constructed OVA, but that doesn’t change how badass it is. With great animation and amazing fights, this OVA channels the old super robot spirit with flying colors. Its story and characters leave a lot to be desired, but the action makes up for it.

7/10 - Good

Next up is Gundam Wing, which will be my first Gundam series. Get hyped!

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