Tuesday, December 17, 2013

IGPX Immortal Grand Prix Season Two Anime Review

IGPX Immortal Grand Prix Season Two
Bandai Entertainment
Complete Collection - 3 discs
290 mins. - 13 episodes
$39.98 (2007)
$24.98 (2006) Vol. 1-7/ea.
ISBN 669198227882
English/Japanese Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Mitsuru Hongo
Studio - Production I.G

Synopsis: In the year 2048 the ultimate race is the Immortal Grand Prix using giant high-performance robots!  The mecha race along a 60-mile track at speeds upwards of 350 miles per hour in teams of three.  Each team battles the other in order to finish the race and the fastest ones win.  Team Satomi returns after a successful rookie season in the highest IG-1 racing level and amidst a bevy of financial troubles.  The team is made up of Takeshi Jin (talented forward and avid kendo practitioner), Liz Ricarro (spirited tomboy and martial arts expert), Amy Stapleton (former child prodigy and empathic midfielder), and Amy's co-pilot Luca (a cat!).
The IGPX racetrack has an entire city built around it
Now a new team called White Snow joins the IG-1 league.  What is their secret agenda?  Team Satomi made a lot of enemies in their first season and everyone seems to be targeting them.  Alex, the ace pilot from Team Velshtein still considers Takeshi his chief rival.  Even Fantine from Team Skylark can't decide whether she likes Takeshi as a boyfriend or an opponent.  The poor guy is being crushed by an overwhelming pressure to succeed.  Takeshi is starting to crack under the psychological strain and lashing out at his teammates.
Team Satomi struggles under the pressure of the IG-1
(from left) Amy Stapleton, Takeshi Jin, and Liz Ricarro
It's a perfect time for Team White Snow to strike using their computer hacker tactics.  Can even the talented chief mechanic, Mark Ramsey, keep them from messing with his prize mechs?  Just wait until Team Satomi faces White Snow on the racetrack - sparks will fly!  Does Team Satomi's coach, Andrei Rublev, still have a few tricks up his sleeve to save the day?  What is his mysterious connection to the famous Rocket G, former race champion who disappeared over a decade ago?  It's the final race to the finish and Team White Snow has an ultimate attack!
Team White Snow join the IG-1 and cause a major uproar
Pros: Good soundtrack, lots of mecha racing battles, animation is nice, decent CG graphics, Team Satomi have a cat co-pilot, the races/battles get kicked up a notch compared to the first season, likable characters, good voice acting, fair ending, broad appeal
Team Satomi battles Team White Snow!
Cons: Takeshi and the rest of Team Satomi turn into a bunch of whiners, the commercial break visuals (eyecatch) had really weak CG renderings, Team Satomi does far too well for a rather fresh team to the IG-1, final attach by Team White Snow as a bit silly
Fantine has doubts about her relationship with Takeshi
Mike Tells It Straight: The first season of IGPX was exciting as we meet the members of Team Satomi and their support cast while they compete as rookies against more experienced opponents.  It was fun to root for the underdogs, but things changed in the second season.  Now they're no longer rookies and have established themselves among the other teams.  Replacing the excitement of the first season we have a fractured team with Takeshi bowing under the pressure of fame.
Team Satomi faces Team Sledge Mamma
A lot of episodes are just Takeshi being a total pill and fighting with his teammates.  The only good thing which came out of this season was more intense mecha racing battles!  This time robots are smashed apart and pilots actually get injured.  The first season seemed pretty tame in comparison.  I thought Andrei's big reveal was well-played especially during the actual races.  The voice-acting continued to be top notch in the series (although I swear they changed up Fantine's voice).
Coach Andrei, owner Michiru Satomi, and assistant Jesse Martin
watch as Team Satomi flounders!
My expectations for the second season were high and I think the first season ending kind of blew it for the series.  They could have easily ended it right there without dragging out another season.  The ending for the series was still fairly decent and it's a good little show.  Definitely has broad appeal and can be watched by younger viewers.  This second season is ridiculously hard to buy at a reasonable price (as of this review) and I was incredibly lucky to find it after years of searching.  From the box cover art I expected things to get violent (red racing suits), but the show doesn't fall out of it's giant mecha racing theme.  It's not worth the inflated price and hopefully an affordable re-release will hit the market.
Can Team Satomi pull it together in time?
TO BUY and Recommendations: