Anime Meta-Review


Glossary Entry : Go Nagai


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    Abstract:   The master of the anime `Nasty', prolific and popular. He's actually a manga author, but none of that has been translated.

Normally this section is for famous and important people. But in this case infamous and prolific will have to do. The first thing to know is that Go-Nagai is a prolific manga author who's been in the trade for a long period of time. Indeed many of his fans, and he appears to have a fair number, consider him instrumental in making `adult' (not mature) anime and the birth of the Giant Robot anime genre. Many of his manga have also been adopted to anime, and the titles seem to generate an awesome amount of merchandise. This serves as a pretty good indicator of his popularity.

I must also mention that, as far as I know, none of his material has been translated or released in the western market. As a result I can only know his material through the anime, which conversely has been agressively released to the western market. This may be doing Go-Nagai a grave injustice...especially since it does appear that most of the anime efforts are variable and often short. So in that case consider this entry to really be "anime adaptions of Go-Nagai manga".

The next comment to make is that Go-Nagai didn't make his mark crafting beautiful stories about the depths of the human condition. He did it by offering smut and violence to school children. This being in the form of "Cutey Honey", a sort of smut version of mahou shoujo, and "Devilman" which had lots of violence and epic destruction. And indeed the theme's of power, cruelty, violence and sex are dominant within this material. It also tends towards shallow and superficial, dishing up the needed thrills without any great sense of care or concern with quality. Indeed some amount of his work attempts to merge the above elements with comedy, which serves only to make the mixture even stranger.

All in all I can't help but think of Go-Nagai as someone who never made it out of lower high-school. Physically I assume he's past schooling, but his mind is still stuck in the dreams of power, violence and being entranced with perversion. The stories are feeble beyond words, but the fantasies of power and excess still bubble in his brain. And because the thrill of exploring these forbidden area's still excites school-children, and some percentage of the mature fan-base, there's a ready market for his output.

Mind you I have frequent (somewhat friendly) verbal arguments with some Go-Nagai fans, so i'm relatively biased. I will, and have, state that if all of Go-Nagai's anime output was to fall into a deep, dark, pit (ideally along with Go-Nagai himself) the world would not be much poorer for the experience. The only title I might miss being devilman lady.

Written: Mon Feb 19 20:07:27 EST 2001

Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:49 WST 2009