Getter Robo Vol. #1 (of 4) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, July 17, 2001
Release Date: Tuesday, July 17, 2001
What They Say
Based upon the original Getter Robo and Getter Robo G series. The Getter Robos were created during the lunar wars in an effort to defend the Earth against the seemingly endless threat of alien invasion.
In mankind's darkest hour, the Getter Robos arrived on the cold lunar battlefield and saved mankind from its impending demise at the hands of the ruthless alien invaders. As the years passed, the weapons that once saved mankind became an element of fear that drove humanity to destroy their protectors and the man responsible for their creation.
Now like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the man behind the Getter Robos has returned from the dead with an army of Getter Robo G's bent on seeking revenge against those who would use the Getter technology for their own evil purposes. As nuclear annihilation and alien invasion loom on the horizon, old heroes as well as new ones must heed the call to battle as the war for Earth's survival begins anew!
Uh oh. Another title based on the comics of Go Nagai. At times I'm tempted to lump him in with Koichi Ohata as someone whose material I generally just don't care for. Getter Robo doesn't come close to some of Ohata's material, but it's not good when during the first two episodes you simply sit there going "huh?".
For our primary review session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The show, which I believe is an OVA series, has a pretty typical stereo mix that's very strong in the center channel with dialogue and uses the left/right channels for a lot of the music and more varied battle effects. Dialogue throughout is very strong and sounds great when it's moving across the front soundstage. The battle sequences also sound quite good here.
For the most part, this is a solid looking transfer with only a few minor problems. The show is awash in reds for the big old robots, which leads to a number of color banding issues throughout. It's more noticeable on some scenes than others, and individual players are going to handle it in different ways. Some of the reds broke up a bit more than I would have cared for, but a lot of them looked quite strong. The only other noticeable thing is some line noise during various panning sequences. The part that impressed me is the nearly absolute lack of rainbows with a show whose characters have a lot of close lines along their faces and outfits. Very nice looking in that respect.
The front cover does a nice job of capturing both the essence of the 70's style character designs and robots mixed with the flashiness of more recent ventures. The problem is that it all looks a little busy. The back cover is a bit less busy with a couple of screenshots mixed with some animation. The story summary is both short and in smaller text, with most attention being given to sound bites about the show. The insert has a nice "angry" Go picture with his Getter while the reverse side shows off a few other ADV titles.
There's good and bad in here. The good is that the menus are nice and bright and look great, very much in the Getter style with a bit of flair. The downside is that it doesn't look good when the animation you use for the menus shows blocky artifacts and when the menu transition screens are a bit long. Not overly so, but it just felt too repetitive after a couple of movements around the layout.
There's a fair number of extras included here as well as a couple that tickle our fancy. The production sketches has four nice pictures to check out. The behind the scenes piece is a look into the dubbing of the show, following the voice actor testing out various lines to get the one that works best for the emotion trying to be conveyed. The textless opening and closing is a really nice treat to have as the animation for both have some nice pieces to them that really deserve to be seen uncluttered. My favorite extra here though is the section that shows off the 7 laserdisc covers for the series. Very cool!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
For the first two episodes, my basic expression for the show was "huh? What? Am I getting too old for this?" What I think is closer to the truth is that I'm not old enough for this. Getter Robo is apparently a follow-up from the original series back in the 70's, or some variant thereof. The show really jumps in feet first where you should know the characters, their histories and why a team of friends are now angry and violent against each other. And some of them are apparently dead and being revived.
Ok, well, my basic feel into this is like this. There's a brief recap of the past that shows an alien race that invaded the moon and completely took it over. They then moved onto the Earth, but a group of scientists created "Getter", something that allows the creation of massive robots that can take on this bizarre and twisted aliens. Said invasion was beaten back, presumably in the series itself, and it's now a few years later. Some members of the team are dead, others are missing, some are in prison while a number of them have moved into positions of power. But the man who really pushed through the creation of "Getter" was murdered by Ryoma, one of the team.
Or so we think! The lead man in the creation of Getter, Dr. Saotome, is apparently alive and is building something quite devious in the middle of Japan. He's acquired the comatose?/dead? bodies of three people, one of which is, I guess, an ex-pilot of one of the Robo's known as Go. Through these first two episodes of fast and furious action and angst, the world reaches the breaking point as Dr. Saotome unleashes a de-evolution ray that instantly brings dinosaurs into play and turns barren wasteland into lush tropical land.
This prompts a couple of spies for the aliens to push the country into launching proton missiles at itself in order to eliminate the threat. Hello sunshine, goodbye world.
The opening episodes are just bloody confusing. I really like the style of the show, the feel of the robots and the character designs, but the storytelling leaves me completely baffled. On the plus side, the next two episodes take place something like ten or so years later and deal with the ruined Earth and the Japanese believing they're the only ones left. We start to get more flashbacks into the past of the various characters and understanding slowly starts to grow out of it, which helps bring up the scoring for the content as some of the revelations are quite interesting.
And to be honest, any show that destroys the world early on and goes forward is good in my book. The moving forward allows new characters to be introduced and new sensibilities about their situation. While not a complete break from the past, it helps the folks new to the series to get more personally attached to it.
This looks like a show with some potential, or I'm just completely off my keister. The similarities to Giant Robo are unmistakable and likely add to my allure to it, but the confusing nature of the opening episodes are going to throw off a lot of folks. But if you're looking for something even remotely close to the classic anime of years gone by, this is probably one of the better ones, especially in character designs.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Production Sketches,Behind the Scenes,Textless Opening,Textless Closing,Original LD Covers
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.
Mania Grade: B-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: A
Age Rating: 15 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Getter Robo: Armageddon