Getter Robo Vol. #1 (Mania.com)
Review Date: -
What They Say
Rejoice, classic anime fans, for super robots walk the earth again. Just recently, we've seen the resurgence of popular 1970s robots, due largely to the success of Banpresto's Super Robot Wars video games and a number of recent anime series' and remakes. The chief proponent of this style has been director Yasuhiro Imagawa, who turned the grim, bleak Gundam saga into a larger-than-life super robot battle royale with G-Gundam, and who took the fantastic, retro-futuristic backdrops and innocent, stereotypical characters of Giant Robo and infused them with grit and style. As such, he was the perfect choice to direct Change! Getter Robo, the fourth installment in Go Nagai's popular Getter Robo franchise.
The first episode opens with a somewhat grimmer retelling of how the original Getter and Getter G team saved the world from alien invasion not once but twice (as chronicled, back in the day, in the original Getter Robo and Getter Robo G TV series.). But now, years later, Getter-3 pilots Musashi and Benkei are driving truck, Getter-2 pilot Jin Hayato is missing, and, most shockingly, Getter-1 pilot Ryoma Nagare is behind bars for the murder of Dr. Saotome, the scientist who advised the Getter team and built the robots. Benkei and Musashi, traveling together, are apparently transporting both Getter 3 and an important part of Dr. Saotome's work. As they drive, they discuss their bafflement over Ryoma's murder of the doctor. Their reverie is shattered by the appearance of a mysterious, gruesome alien, who disables the truck and attempts to steal its contents.
The invader is thwarted, however, by a new kind of Getter-1-- an extremely powerful, strangely organic-looking Getter-1. And it's piloted by none other than Dr. Saotome, who makes off with item in the truck. This object of desire turns out to be a mysterious cloning tube with a half-formed figure inside. As the U.N. convenes to discuss this problem (under the advisement of the enigmatic Drs. Stenger and Cohen), Dr. Saotome closes in on the original Getter home base, escorted by hundreds and hundreds of Getter Draguns (from Getter Robo G). Benkei and Musashi attack with Getter-3, but are quickly driven back, and the decision is made to let him handle the enemies. Him, of course, is Ryoma, who proceeds to slaughter literally dozens of the adversary robots in seconds, and closes in on the Doctor. Ryoma tells the Doctor that he mustn't use the tube, that its contents could mean something terrible for the human race. The Doctor, for his part, simply replies that he won't be stopped, that he came back from Hell to accomplish his project. But before the two can do battle, a mysterious voice cries out from the cloning tube...
Technically, this DVD is fine. There are a couple of extras (in this case, a gallery of concept sketches and the opening and closing credit sequences, sans text), but otherwise the disc is rather bare. This isn't a problem, though, because there are three episodes of the show-- all in a package for 5,000 yen (around fifty bucks), which is a very nice deal. I don't know if Change! Getter Robo is an experiment on Bandai Visual's part (the Change! laserdiscs are similarly low-priced) or an honest movement towards lower pricing, but it certainly is nice. There are no noticeable flaws in the video, and the audio is a low-key Dolby stereo mix. This is unfortunate, since the soundtrack, featuring a window-shattering orchestral soundtrack and a new theme song sung by the same guy who sang the original TV themes, is just awesome. Finally, like so many other recent Japanese DVDs, Change! Getter Robo comes in a handsome Amaray keepcase instead of a jewel box.
Unfortunately, after these superb introductory episodes, Imagawa was fired from the project for missing deadlines. That's a shame; I don't think that anyone but Imagawa has any business directing this kind of story. The absence of his deft touch from the rest of this series (planned for 13 episodes, up to about 7 at this point), along with one of my least favorite plot devices (skipping ahead several years) makes me a bit loath to check out the rest of Change! Getter Robo, but these first three episodes are genuinely awesome. Thumbs up!
Japanese Language,Concept Sketch Gallery,Clean OP/ED sequences
Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: A+
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: All
Region: 2 - Japan
Released By: Bandai Visual
Running time: 90
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Getter Robo: Armageddon