Anime Meta-Review


Giant Robo


By Date




Title Info

  • seen: 1-2 of 6
  • type: OAV
  • grade: watchable
  • Other elements of this title:
    • This title has been commercially released in Australia.
  • made: 1992
  • Review created: A while ago, i'll revise it eventually.
  • mod: none

Holy B Movie Batman! This energetic anime has all the energy and epic nature of a certain class of early sci-fi, along with a good sense of retro-tech, to make an interesting experience. The story, as mentioned, is epic with the world having entirely converted over to a wonderful new energy source. However the origins of this invention is not without its dark secrets that threaten a world now entirely dependant upon it. The criminal group `big fire', proponents of destruction can only be stopped by the `experts of justice' with their powerhouse weapon `giant robo'. Apart from the multitude of faceless hordes, on both sides, there are a number of super-powered characters who we get to follow. These include a large number of insane scientists and sinister killers on the `bad' side. The good side includes some unruly martial artists, mysterious mystic masters and dashing gun-wielding agents.

As you can see every archetype you would expect in such a production, all done with energy and style, but not without a certain element of charicature. Standing above this is a young man with a radio wrist-watch, not much of a power until you consider that the epic `Giant Robo' is on the other side. This is the greatest power amongst the experts of justice and the answer to big fires preference for huge war machines. In other words a good opportunity for some giant robot fights alongside the normal super-powered conflicts. The story events are also as expected, destruction is on the epic scale, plot elements are loud and dramatic and dialogue is energetic and in character for the movie.

This is where the problem comes in, the energy of the production comes at a certain cost in depth, and the retro-style and homage to early movies comes at some cost in novelty. If you can sit back and accept this as a polished modern refinement of an older style then you are in for a great ride, but you could just as easily think it all sounds a bit familiar and a tad corny. The animation is also very definite in its style, the complex backgrounds and items, simple character drawings and flat blocks of color give it an unusual look. It combines both technical accomplishment, along with computer enhancement, with a look reminiscent of an older animation style. This is enhanced by the design work which is unusual and carefully designed to enhance this feel. Those who have seen the `batman' cartoons should feel right at home. In essence the production values are great and the energy high, but if you are not in the mood for a big serving of retro style you might tire of this, and long for more in the way of subtlety.

It also seems that the first tape is better value than it appears, as I am fairly certain the first episode was longer than standard, giving far more than the 60 minutes promised on the cover. The dub is acceptable, and fits the character of the movie, but gets a bit loud (as in unsubtle) in some parts.

Most reviewers seem to like it, but not enough to write really good reviews. There's a guest review (here, have a mouthful of salt) at Akemi's AnimeWorld which is full of errors and a bit too positive, but still probably the best. There is also a short review at the Anime Review page which is good as far as it goes.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:18 WST 2009