Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: C+
- Age Rating: 15 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: ADV Films
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Getter Robo: Armageddon
Getter Robo Vol. #1
By David Kapp
February 16, 2002
Release Date: July 17, 2001
Overview: Ahh, a trip back to the good old world of Go Nagai. Well, as much as I felt that when I started watching this show, it feels considerably different from his older shows. At any rate, I was drawn to watch this new Getter Robo show by people's descriptions of it as being similar to Giant Robo. I do agree, in part, but I really enjoyed this show for its own unique feel. The quality of the DVD was quite nice overall, with only one point about the audio that stands out as odd... but I'll cover that in the Audio Section.
Audio Grade: Getter Robo Armageddon has a pretty nice recording quality overall, but there's a little problem with the Japanese audio track: it's very quiet. The menus had no problems audio-wise, and I could hear them just fine, but I had to turn up my tv a decent amount before I could really hear the voices or the sound effects in the Japanese track. Once I turned the volume up some, it was just fine though, so it doesn't really detract from the disc much.
Video Grade: The transfer quality overall looked very nice. There was some color blurring in some of the scenes where the whole screen is covered in dark colors, but it only happened on occasion. This show is full of moments where the screen is covered in dark colors though, so you may notice this more or less depending on your setup, I'm assuming. For a TV series, the quality of animation is very high (I'm guessing that is due to the show being from 1998), and I was happy not to experience any interlacing problems. (For the record, the show does call itself an OVA series at the beginning, but at 13 episodes all with commerical breaks built in, I'm considering it a TV series. So nyah. ^_^)
Packaging Grade: The front cover of the disc is very striking, with a nice image of our (sort of) hero being overshadowed by the Shin Getter Robo (covered in dramatic fog) and the title on the left side and bottom. I love this cover image, as it seems very dynamic and striking, at least to my eyes. The spine is functional. The back cover, however, leaves something to be desired, as it is dominated by a bland image of the Getter One and some text in various font sizes. The screen shots on the back are both from the extras section, oddly enough, so there aren't any real indications of how this show actually looks on the case. Overall, I'll look at the cover more than the back, so I'm quite pleased with this case overall.
Menu Grade: The menus are fuctional and semi-stylish. I like them, but I wish the transition time was a tad bit faster. Nothing major though. As long as the menus work (at a decent rate), I'm happy.
Extras Grade: The extras included are all pretty pointless. The image gallery and Laserdisc Cover gallery are both neat to have, but both have such small picures that they reduce their attractiveness considerably. One extra I would have really appreciated would have been a summary of the original Getter Robo show, but that is not included. Oh well. Maybe next time. Overall, the extras aren't bad, but they don't really enhance the disc much. But I buy my shows for the content, so I didn't really care..
Content Review: I'll admit it: I love cheesy robot shows. I'll happily take all the over-cheesed 70's and 80's shows in this vein and watch them with a stupid grin the whole time. That sort of background helped me to appreciate the admittedly darker premise for this show: imagine a happy little beat-up-the-villan-of-the-week-robot-show. Now, just so you know, the orignial Getter Robo was a lot like that. Not quite as happy-go-lucky as some of them, but it was pretty chipper overall. Now, Getter Robo: Armageddon is basically one of those shows gone horribly wrong. And I love it. The energetic little mascot from the original show, Genki, in this show becomes a mute, autistic child after seeing his father murdered. The man who saved the earth with his super robots now wants to destroy it. The man who bravely and heroically piloted the robots now is a psychopath bent on revenge. I think you can see where this is going, and this is the dark angle on the show that I love.
If you're not familiar with the original Getter Robo show, don't worry too much, as the show does make sense without knowledge of it. Just be ready to accept some things as happening for an unstated reason -- it's not too much of a stretch, really. Plus, since this show is so convoluted, you won't really be missing out on much. (There was a nice article about the background of Getter Robo in Animerica magazine around July or so of 2001, so take a look at that if you really want to know.) I'm familiar with the original to some extent, so I was able to follow along pretty well. The show has all sorts of fights and betrayals and such, all wonderfully rendered in the harsh brushstroke style of Go Nagai and Ken Ishikawa. Oddly enough, according to the credits, they didn't have much to do with this show, but their influence permeates the show to its core.
If you like shows that move at a fast pace, you'll loooove this. This show starts off at a frantic sprint and somehow manages to gain speed like a marathon runner on crack going downhill. And then some. In the beginning, we are briefly reminded of how the world was saved by Professor Saotome and his Getter Robo's, but then mankind turned against him out of fear, and he seemed to be murdered by the pilot of the Getter One. From there, we are told a quick summary of how the raison d'etre for the Getters was to fight against an alien menace, the Invaders, on the moon. They seemed to succeed, but we soon find out that this is not the case. It seems that the good and dead Doctor Saotome is now neither dead nor good. He's back, and he's preaching armageddon in a fashion that would make Nostradamus blush.
We see two members of the former Getter Team racing a secret cargo to a secret location (lots of secrets, eh? Get used to it ^_^.) and they are attacked by... Invaders? Looks like a good heroic robot team's job is never done. Strangely enough, the thought-to-be-gone Getter Robo's seem to be back too, and they're ready (sort of) to fight the Invaders again, this time on Earth. The citizens of the world don't like Doctor Saotome in his new and angry condition, so they resort to the man who allegedly killed him in the first place to try and do it again. Strange justice eh?
If this sounds like a lot happening, this doesn't even cover the whole first episode. Seeing as how this disc has four episodes, you can easily understand that a lot happens. This show borrows the patented anime technique of telling a story without telling you what is really going on (think Evangelion or Giant Robo or Gasaraki or... etc), and does it quite well. In the end though, it seems to all make sense (somehow), yet there's still plenty of room for expansion in the future episodes. I can't wait.
For a good dose of evil, violent, and chaotic giant robot action in a very mature vein, you can't go wrong with Getter Robo: Armageddon. It takes plenty of oft-used plot devices yet uses them in a way that feels wonderfully fresh. I loved it, and you might too. ^_^
Feel free to agree/disagree with me if you see me on chat as Cthulhu27. ^_^
Samsung 13" TV, Sony Playstation 2