Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mazinkaiser Anime Review

ADV Films
Complete Collection - 2 discs
200 mins. - 7 episodes
$26.98 (2009) w/Shuten Doji
$29.98 (2003) Vol. 1
$29.98 (2003) Vol. 2
ISBN 702727206221
Japanese/English Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Masahiko Murata
Studio - Dynamic Planning/Bandai Visual

Synopsis: Dr. Hell sends his army of mechanical monsters led by Baron Ashura to subjugate the world, but they are opposed by Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger, Aphrodite A, and Boss Borot.  The combined onslaught of robot monsters proves too much for our heroes and they are defeated.  Mazinger Z is captured and its pilot Kouji Kabuto goes missing.  Capitalizing on the weakness of the Mazinger team, Dr. Hell retrofits the stolen Mazinger Z into the Ashura Mazinger and sends it to destroy the Photon Power Lab.
Kouji Kabuto stares up at the imposing figure of Mazinkaiser!
All seems lost as the weakened Great Mazinger falls to the Ashura Mazinger's attacks.  Out of nowhere comes an incredibly powerful new robot who stops the attacking monsters with ease, but then begins attacking the lab.  The robot is Mazinkaiser piloted by the missing Kouji Kabuto!  Originally built by Kouji's grandfather as the third in the Mazinger series, Mazinkaiser is the perfect Mazinger, but contains so much power it can overwhelm or even kill its pilot.  Kouji must become even stronger in order to pilot Mazinkaiser or risk losing himself.
Mazinkaiser prepares to charge forward with Boss Borot (left)
and Venus A (right) backing him up
Dr. Hell and Baron Ashura (who is a creepy half man/half woman person) are furious with their defeat and attempt to capture/defeat Mazinkaiser by any means possible.  Ashura sends his three daughters to assassinate Kouji, but things go awry when they mistake Boss for him.  Two new additions are brought to the Photon Lab to assist Dr. Yumi, Lori and Loru are hot American twins.
Baron Ashura's daughters - deadly robot assassins!
The Mazinger team take a day for R&R at the beach (with the two hot twins' skimpy bikinis causing quite a stir between Kouji and his 'girlfriend' Sayaka), but they can never truly escape the perils of being Mazinger pilots as Baron Ashura's forces attack them from the ocean depths.
Dr. Hell unleashes a new wave of mechanical monsters
Its a final, all-out assault by Dr. Hell on the Photon Lab with a new set of even more powerful mechanical monsters.  This time they have been fused together into bigger, stronger forms.  Can even the might of Mazinkaiser prevail against these titans or will Dr. Hell finally win?
Mazinkaiser and Great Mazinger stand ready for the
next battle with Dr. Hell's monsters
Pros: Hardcore super robot action, opening theme song is awesome - reminded me of hair metal bands from the 1980s, Boss Borot is great comedy relief, the beach episode had awesome fan-service
Lori and Loru's ridiculously skimpy swimwear
Cons: Super robot genre is over-the-top and silly, animation is highly stylized (not very realistic although holds close to look of the original manga), Baron Ashura's character is super creepy (especially the shower scene!?), mechanical monsters get slagged pretty easily (unless they're the freaky combined monsters), the original Mazingers (Z and Great) were kind of wussy, predictable - no surprises
Boss (piloting Boss Borot) and Sayaka (piloting Venus A)
gather their thoughts during a battle
Mike Tells It Straight: Mazinkaiser is a pure adrenaline thrill-ride of giant robot-smashing action!  What else would you expect from a show based on Go Nagai's (Getter Robo, Demon Lord Dante, Devilman, and a score of others) Mazinger Z?  The protagonist, Kouji Kobuto, is a hot-head who uses his fists to solve his problems, but it always seems to work out.
Side by side comparison on Mazinger Z, Great
Mazinger and Mazinkaiser
I think fans of the original Mazinger Z will enjoy seeing all of the old heroes and villains brought back for another adventure.   No real character development and the ending is predictable.  The super robot genre is pretty much played out in its original form.  Great for folks seeking the nostalgia factor (along with a killer/cheesy opening theme song) and early anime fans, but nothing new or unique for seasoned viewers (unlike Neon Genesis Evangelion which turned the super robot genre on its ear).  

TO BUY and Recommendations: