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Casshan Robot Hunter


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Title Info

  • seen: 1-2 of 4
  • type: OAV
  • grade: watchable
  • form: dub
  • source: Kiseki
  • dur: 60
  • made: 1993
  • Review created: Wed May 2 10:38:55 EST 2001
  • mod: none

I would like to thank Louis Patterson for locating this material and the University of Melbourne for both owning it and providing viewing facilities. Although admittedly it was the Melbourne Teacher's College (my old school) that probably purchased the tape.

What to say, this post-holocaust tale is sort of cool in some ways, and really dated in others. As such while it is sort of interesting it can't really be called a hidden classic. Although fans of cyborg angst may find it an interesting early example.


There are several important rules that any sensible person will follow. The first is if you are about to build an artificial intelligence put lots of limits on how `free' it is. The second is not to give it an open ended mission which can be creatively and destructively misinterpreted. And the final one is pay attention in case it builds an army of killer high tech robots as its army of world domination. Sadly a bunch of well meaning scientists manage to flub all three rules, and before you know it humanity is on the ropes again against an implacable robot foe.

It also becomes obvious that AI's have quite a habit of fascist tendencies. As this one has built itself an `evil overlord' body, a brooding castle, a legion of strange looking AI henchmen and huge numbers of robotic troops. Still, it seems to be working, with the last remnants of humanity either working as slave labour or fighting a hopeless resistance against the endless robot hordes. Only one thing keeps the hopes of humanity alive, a mysterious figure with super-human powers, known only as Casshan, the robot hunter.


The first thing to mention is that this looks old, in style and especially in design and concept. A lone mysterious figure and his trusty shape changing robot dog? A hopeless struggle against endless hordes of cannon fodder robots. A hero who looks like a guy in a body suit? There's all sorts of hints that the origin is of a previous age. And indeed the anime movie guide confirms this, mentioning the original source as a 1973 TV series, which we can assume was fairly popular.

Once you've got over that fact, which may be difficult, you've got to face the fact that anime of that period was fairly simple. Effectively it's good guys fight the evil robots for an awful lot of the running time. By todays standards, at best, it's a watchable but unimpressive show. The story sounding awfully cliche in too many ways, which reinforces the old style of the title.

Still, there are some positives to be found. For one thing there's quite a romance element in the show, although it's a touch simplistic. And this element is merged with the, now quite familiar, cyborg angst. The man who became Casshan has lost a lot of his humanity, and his precious memories, in his enforced conversion. And he can never be sure how long his humanity will survive in his new form. He even fears that he may become a `monster' like the enemy he fights. This all coming out because he meets the girl his human self once loved, who is now a fighter for the resistance. It feels sort of familiar by todays standards, but it must have been pretty cutting edge and novel in its time. And, if nothing else, it adds some nice elements of depth and character to the show.

Interestingly this show also got an R rating. There certainly is some blood, a fan service friendly costume, and even a flash of breast when she is captured by the robots, but it doesn't seem to deserve an R. I guess it stems from the period where the shock of any `adult' concept appearing in a `kids' medium was enough to get an R rating.

As mentioned while the animation is old the design and story are even older. In addition this was not the greatest period for shounen anime. It tries to impress by having quite complex backgrounds, mecha designs and shading along with some quite bright coloring. Which looks fine as a still but is clearly too hard to animate. As a result there's lots of `sliding frames' and simplified motion in order to reduce the complexity. As a result it looks a touch stilted and somewhat dated. Still, it's quite watchable. I also saw the dub (another Carl Macek production) and it's actually quite decent. The music, both closing and ambient, was noticeable unimpressive.

Other Reviews

  • THEM review It seems that THEM saw a TV broadcast of this title, and their review is colored by their confusion of why something so clunky and silly was shown. In any case they find very little to like in this title and a lot to criticise. I wish I could say that most of their criticism wasn't valid, but the problems they raise do exist in the series (1/5).


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:16 WST 2009