Giant Robo: Ginrei Special - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Giant Robo

Giant Robo: Ginrei Special

By Chris Beveridge     May 26, 2005
Release Date: May 17, 2005


Giant Robo: Ginrei Special
© Media Blasters


What They Say
The evil members of Blue Flower begin their most nefarious plot yet, sending Alberto to kidnap Ginrei and replace her with the nearest available evil twin! Her primary concern, however, is the identity of person who stole her favorite dress. Yet, a more terrifying adventure explodes when the Experts of Justice realize that the BF have better health benefits and a 401K!

The Review!
Proving to be more of a parody and comedy piece instead of following in the direction of the OVA series, the Ginrei special is worth the price of admission.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. With this being more of a comedy based piece but still with lots of giant robot action, it's a much more full sounding show with less directionality but still a big feel to it. It's not a terribly active mix all told but it comes across well and the material doesn't suffer for it. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
While not of the same OVA quality as the series it came from, this three part series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. It maintains a lot of the similarities to the OVA series but a lot of that is due to having clips from the show throughout it. With a lower budget it doesn't have the same kind of fluidity to a lot of the animation but the design is similar enough and the feel is like it's a just slightly less polished version for the most part, though it's dependent on the episode. Colors look good without being over saturated or bleeding, cross coloration is pretty much a non-issue here and there's not much in the way of aliasing. It's pretty easy to enjoy overall.

Packaging:
Using the same character art as the Japanese release but with a darker and very Bond oriented background that mixes in the pinks from the character art nicely. This is a pretty good looking cover that highlights pretty much the main appeal of the show. The back cover is nicely laid out in a very pink and light manner with a good summary of the premise for this volume along the top and a slew of small shots from the show just below that. Add in more character shots just above the production credits and the detailed technical information and you've got a solid looking package all around. No insert is included with this release but they do provide the inserts for the jewel case if you want to put your DVD in that for the special model kit release.

Menu:
Keeping things simple and in theme, the easy route was taken with using the cover artwork zoomed in a bit for the layout here while placing the selections along the right, complete with a gun for the movement cursor. Just like the cover, this sets the mood nicely and it's definitely not a bad looking menu to let sit and look at for awhile. Access times are nice and fast and the menus load quickly. Due to the arrangement of the audio and subtitle tracks, the disc did not correctly read our players' language presets.

Extras:
The only extra included in this release is an art gallery of Ginrei pieces.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When watching the Giant Robo series, one of the things that invariable comes to mind is that you really want to see a full length TV series run for the show that expands on everything. But at the same time, you know that it wouldn't achieve the same kind of level that the OVA series did and by all probabilities it would end up being such a pale imitation by following the basics of most action series and not matching that same kind of magic.

So it was definitely with some trepidation that I was going into the Ginrei specials since it had the potential of just taking one of the favorite characters of the series and giving her the lead role and just not being in the same league, especially after just finishing the last OVA. In a way, it ended up living up to the expectations I had of it but it also really surprised me by what it ended up doing. I wasn't surprised in the slightest when the show really played up the fan service side nature of Ginrei by doing lots of bull body nude shots (no nipples my friends!) and having her clothing in general be exactly what you'd expect; skimpy, easily shredded and often simply not worn. At the same time, they also put some highly amusing twists on this and the show in the first two episodes at least turns into what you'd expect a comedy fanscript of the show to be like. For example, they do this nice shot of Ginrei in the show, switch to another scene and then go back to the shower and pan up the body, only to realize that we're looking at Alberto in the shower.

The fact that they decided to pretty much do a send-up of the show made this a worthwhile show. Having Daisaku decide that he's had enough of the Experts of Justice and the way they keep holding him back and to go with Genya after he makes him an offer he can't refuse just works wonderfully. The giant Ginrei robot was a bit much but it provided some good fanservice in its own way, such as everyone trying to look up its skirt in the middle of battle. The cast simply has a good time with itself here and the script really lets them just joke around and say things you know you want them to say. One of the best lines has the Experts all sitting down eating dinner and Daisaku sits down and orders up a beer, which causes everyone to stammer to a standstill. He looks around the table and starts talking about how he's really twenty-nine and even has a kid, so of course he can have a beer and lets get on with the party. It's such a priceless moment that will last more than most of the other gags in the show.

The first two episodes play up the comedy well but the third episode feels more straightforward and actually in continuity of sorts as it has Ginrei going off in a mission with Tetsuguyu in the desert. It's actually something of a downer after the first two highly funny episodes to go right into this one but it does a decent job overall of showcasing the strengths of the characters and the property as a regular show. But it also highlights exactly what I think a regular series of this series would end up like unless it was handled by someone with that flair for the drama and epic scope. It's not bad but it's definitely the weakest part of the release.

In Summary:
With this being mostly just a send-up of itself and being riddled with jokes, sight gags and other comedy bits, it's not one of the easiest things to review but it is one of the easiest releases to recommend if you loved the Giant Robo series and want to see something done in this manner, to get that last fling with the characters and for it to not be a melodramatic send off like it could be. This was just a lot of fun and definitely something to watch not long after the end of the OVA series – but not right afterwards. Give it a day and then dive into the wacky side of Giant Robo and friends.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery

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.

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