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

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Friday, September 02, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, September 27, 2005



What They Say
Mana is hit by a truck and taken to the hospital. Yuta rushes to be at her side, but she has mysteriously disappeared by the time he arrives. His search leads him to an old mansion rumored to have a mermaid cemetery, where he finds two women, one old, the other young but white-haired. A “deformed” dog attacks Yuta, knocking him unconscious. The sad fate As the three outlaw pilots realize the newly improved Getter Robo has dangerous effects upon Ryoma, four self-proclaimed gods emerge in the sky.  Even the more powerful Getter Robo can't scratch these powerful creatures!  Witnessing the losing battle, Professor Saotome opens the gate of the underground Getter energy well making the Getter Robo so powerful that the pilots can't keep up with the increased speed.  The final battle takes place in the underground galaxy filled with Getter energy!

The Review!
New Getter Robo comes to a close with another feint and then getting to the real villains behind events.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this series in its original language of Japanese. The mix for this show is quite active with a lot of sounds moving back and forth across the forward soundstage. It's the kind of series you really do wish they had done a 5.1 mix for since between the Robo ships and the oni characters there's so much going on and the action scenes are all over the screen. The mix handles things well enough for a stereo mix though and dialogue is clean and clear throughout. During regular playback, we had no issues with either language track in terms of dropouts or distortions.

Video:
Originally released to video in 2004, the transfer for this OVA series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The series really plays up the retro feel while combining with the digital look and the result is something that works to great effect here and the transfer allows it to shine. The show is filled with large areas of bold and bright colors as well as a lot of hyperactive action sequences and it doesn't fail to capture them all in great detail. Outside of one or two areas where some of the blacks had a bit of blocking going on, this is a great looking transfer. With the color palette chosen I was afraid to see a lot of gradient issues but was pleased that there were hardly any there at all and that the transfer is basically problem free for the most part. This is just a very slick looking production.

Packaging:
Using the same artwork as the Japanese release but with a translated logo, the front cover artwork has an image of Ryoma in his flight suit full of rage and fury while behind him is an array of characters from the new villains to his co-pilots. The back cover is a very dark piece that provides a real mix of text and images. Two strips of images run through the back cover with the episode numbers and titles in between them as well as a brief summary of each episode. The very top goes into the premise while the bottom half runs through the discs features and technical information which is mostly easy to find and clear, though as seems to be more common, the run time was hard to find quickly. The insert replicates the front cover on one side while the reverse side has the chapter listings for each episode.

Menu:
The main menu is an interesting piece that takes the darker elements of the show and combines it with the bloody violence that's throughout it with some of the creepy music. It's a well animated piece from Nightjar that uses the right mix of music and additional sound effects and visual together to create a striking piece. Navigation is nicely laid out in a straight row without any quirky movements to get places and access times are nice and fast. The disc also correctly read our players' language presets properly and played as expected.

Extras:
The last round of extras for this release contains the last two music video clips that were made.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After journeys to the past and to the future, New Getter Robo finishes out its run with the last three episodes that provides another feint with what you think the real villain is all about and then shifts gears. The show gets not necessarily quiet or introspective but it stops to take stock of the situation before everything collapses around the cast and they're thrust into the final fight.

With Ryoma having changed his mind to being involved in fighting the last battles instead of running from it, we get the big epic fight against Seimei who has come from the past with his oni in order to destroy everything. As it's come down to the one on one match between the Getter Robo and him, it's a fast and brutal fight as Ryoma's rage and anger fuels the machine better than anything else as he's synched up higher than anyone else with it and it's responding to him much more easily. The fight plays out surprisingly fast as the Getter Robo unleashes its beam and as soon as it connects with the thing that Seimi has become, the destruction is incalculable as all that remains is a massive hole in the ground and a black rain falling around them. It's a powerful scene of destruction.

Where it goes from here with more than two episodes left is where it gets a bit strange. The show moves into a slower paced mode for the remainder of the first episode as we see Hayato going through his investigation and trying to get answers as to why the Getter Robo responds to Ryoma as it does while Benki has reached his limit about what the Getter Robo can do and wants to destroy it so that it can't do what it did to Shinjuku anywhere else. The really curious part is how when the professor comes up to try and settle things down, he doesn't try to hide the way he's apparently been talking to Tatsuhito and simply wants everyone to relax as things are about to get worse and they need to prepare for it.

That worse is the apparent arrival of four "gods", humanoid and human looking, they arrive over the Getter Robo facility and take down the defense grid with ease, relaying that they were the ones that sent the oni to attack and used Seimei for their own purposes. They've come to finish off the job themselves, and with some minor revelations about intent along the way, it turns into two episodes of outright giant robot battling action that goes across space. There are some really great looking scenes as you have them crashing into other planets and the distorted view of space and planets being so close at times, but it's lost some of its emotional punch as it seems more and more like things are happening just for the sake of happening. This has been how its felt since Seimei came into the present/future as the connection and reason for things being done is just… well, almost transitory in a sense.

New Getter Robo plays out well in terms of the giant battles and these last two episodes play it out in a very large scale so the show definitely succeeds on that level. But I can't seem to quite wrap my head around it in the same way I did at the beginning of the series since the characters get pushed further to the background. I can't seem to find a connection with it the way I did when they went to the past which was truly an unexpected move and that provided some fascinating and fun visuals and changes to the plot with how they all arrived at different times. This last trip where they've arrived a few years after they first disappeared hasn't been able to really register in the same way which has made the last few episodes decent to watch since it is extremely well done in terms of action sequences but not quite as fun as the earlier ones where you were excited to see the way Ryoma and Hayato handled situations with their violent natures.

In Summary:
New Getter Robo has been a fun series to watch and one that was much easier to get into that some of the previous versions I've seen, but it ends on something of a fizzle here in terms of story. The action side of it ends just right and will please in that regard but for those looking for something a bit meatier to chew on it will probably disappoint. This last volume has much of the same style as previous episodes and it's great to look at but the characters and the situations just take on an almost surreal feel at times. Overall, I'd still recommend the series to those who are fans of Go Nagai's works as it's a great interpretation of things and for those who enjoy the entire giant robot genre, but there are some basic flaws in the ending of the series, like many anime series, that reduces its overall enjoyment.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Music Clips

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



Mania Grade: C+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
MSRP: 29.98
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: New Getter Robo