Getter Robo Vol. #4 (of 4) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, December 04, 2001
Release Date: Tuesday, December 04, 2001



What They Say
The valiant Getter Robos – human-controlled giant robots – face their darkest hour in a final apocalyptic battle between the forces of good and evil.

The colossal Getter Dragon threatens the Earth with its terrifying power. Its only weak spot rests deep within its enormous, well-protected metal frame. The heroic Getter Robos have no choice but to enter the "belly of the beast" to destroy Getter Dragon and save humanity. It is a nightmare scenario that is guaranteed to claim the lives of many before the horrifying battle is won.

The Review!
The conclusion to the Getter Robo series is just as fast paced as earlier episodes and with just as much screaming as those episodes. To some, it might even make sense. To others, more of the same. Getter Robo is a wonderful exercise in style over substance though.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The audio tracks here are just as the earlier volumes, with a solid sounding forward soundstage with all the characters yelling and the loud almost bombastic music playing. It's almost overwhelming at times, especially if you listen to it loud. There's little in the way of directionality due to this larger than life feel though, but dialogue still remains clear and understandable.

Video:
For the majority of this disc, things look really sweet looking. There's still a lot of vibrant colors used throughout these episodes and they come across wonderfully here without being oversaturated. The most we had for a problem is with some of the reds, but this is due to a chroma bug issue with our player. There's a few scenes with some cross coloration, but this is more due to the tight line artwork used there with some of it reminiscent of manga pages.

Packaging:
With the final volume, the Black Getter gets the center stage with a slightly odd looking Ryoma underneath him. It's a dark flashy cover to be sure, and Black Getter fans will probably be pleased. The back cover follows the previous volumes with some menu shots being the main pictures you can see and softer animation shots placed below the text of the summary and features. The insert provides a different picture than the cover of the newest Getter team in their snazzy outfits while the reverse side is boxart for other titles

Menus:
The menu layout is again the same, but with different animation (presumably from these episodes) playing behind the selections. The menus have again added the scene transition animations, but these are better than the first volume in that there's no massive macroblocking and color banding going on. Access times between menus are decent, transitions considered, and everything is laid out in a straightforward and simple way.

Extras:
For the most part, the extras on the final volume are a replay of earlier volumes. The textless openings and endings make another appearance here, though I do consider it a plus. The production sketches have some new and interesting pieces in it, especially the mini-comics and the general weirdness of the staff that produced it. The behind the scenes with the US voice actors was pretty interesting, thought I'd say Bill Wise is probably the most camera friendly actor I've seen in awhile with his joking and general casual way with it. An entertaining segment to be sure.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
In all honestly, the content grading above should list N/A. With this final volume, I've really got no clue what's going on here.

Things here in the last three episodes are non-stop action. There's maybe five minutes worth of time spent without a Getter flying across the screen. The battle on Earth with the Shin Dragon begins to get more crucial as it and the Tower find themselves locked in combat. The Tower gets evacuated by everyone except for Hayato, and one of the launch "pods" is the medical segment that has Benki, Kay and Go in his tube. The doc also stays onboard the Tower, much to the dismay of Hayato, but he's gone babbling about figuring out what the real reason for everything is.

Of course, the Tower in its weird form still isn't enough to defeat the Shin Dragon, and ends up exploding with Hayato being thrown off and into Getter Two, where he and his old teammates reunite and welcome him back into the saddle. He picks up as if the years haven't passed and the three go back to classic battling with the Shin Dragon.

Once the battle with the Shin Dragon is seemingly done, we now find ourselves with three teams of Getter's flying about. The classic team heads off into space to Ganymede where the Invaders are preparing for their final invasion. The Getter makes its way below the planets surface and into the crust where we see nothing but cocooned and growing Invaders. It's an eerie sight and one worthy of some of my favorite SF novels over the past couple of years.

The two Invader's we've seen since the beginning appear here again and talk about how Getter Rays have been involved in human evolution since the beginning of time on Earth. This section almost feels tacked on as some sort of explanation and motivation to continue the fighting, as the show then proceeds to get back to doing what it does best, giant robots kicking the crap out of things.

Something about these last three episodes just didn't click right with me in how they were telling the story. But upon reflection, it's exactly how I felt with the other discs. I could see segments of a story, but not what's holding it together. In the end, I still can't find myself caring about any of the characters and whether they live or die or to how the final solution would be setup. The ride has definitely been an enjoyable and flashy one, but the destination left a lot to be desired. Of course, since I didn't really "get it", I'm not surprised.

If you've enjoyed the series so far though, you're bound to enjoy this volume. It's got all the stuff that made the action earlier great and it really expands on the variety of Getter combinations with many of them perfectly achieving that 70's cheap toy feel with top of the line production animation values.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Original LD Inserts,Behind the Scenes,Textless Opening,Textless Ending

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.



Mania Grade: C
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: 15 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Getter Robo: Armageddon