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Machine Robo


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Title Info

  • seen: 1-5 of 47
  • type: TV
  • grade: archaic
  • genre: mecha
  • form: sub
  • source: Software Sculptors
  • made: 1986
  • Review created: Mon Feb 19 19:12:42 EST 2001
  • mod: none

Another addition that sits comfortably in the archaic category, despite having a fairly modern western release. This is `giant robot' anime in it's simplest and purest simple that I do wonder whether or not it was aimed at fairly young children.

The story is simple, yet still strange, and seems to have some serious structural flaws. Effectively we visit a planet called cronos that that is into robots in a big way. This is because everyone on cronos is actually a `living robot' of some sort. What is strange is that, given every person is a technological marvel, they seem to have a fairly basic, pastoral society. This includes having local militia, armed with bows and spears no less, as the primary armed forces. Then again, since the land is largely peaceful they don't need much more.

That is until an alien spaceship full of evil robotic monsters turns up. They're after some mysterious force that is hidden on the planet. And, being the bad guys, they're delighted at the prospect of killing everything in their way. And the warriors of this world seem powerless against them. At which point we get to meet the hero robots. It turns out that the one person on the planet who guards the secret is also a master of robotic martial arts. And he has passed this knowledge onto his son, and two other robots. And while they arrive too late to save him they inherit a powerful artifact, the wolf sword, with which to avenge him.

That's the set-up anyway. What it basically means is that our hero's wander the world, which seems to be dotted with `relics of interest', one per episode in fact, and have skirmish's with the alien warriors. The people of the planet occassionally get involved, in both the action and the story, but they're as often pawns of the aliens as allies to our heroes. The stories tend to be fairly simple, focusing on one `trick' per story.

Before I can describe the hero's i'd like to give a feel for what is wrong with this whole picture. The main problem is that the world feels half-baked and artificial. While they're robots there's all sorts of `biological' elements, like harvesting crops and bandaging wounds. They even have robotic women and children. Combined with their primitive technology it just doesn't make much sense. It makes even less sense when you consider the types we get to meet. That is most robots look a lot like humans in armor, with a convenient system of pink for females and blue for males, and are largely interchangeable...barring the occasional `character'.

The leads are more varied. There's the heroic leader (who's always spouting off terrible dramatics) and his sister who are humanoid robots, with human faces and metal bodies. Then there's some varied mechanical robots that have no human elements. This is because they can transform into a plane or a drill and travel through air and earth. They've got great names too, Jet and Drill respectively. While the sister exists largely to get captured our hero bears the power of the wolf sword. While he can't transform, he can summon and merge with a powerful robot, and then summon and merge with an even bigger one. The aliens themselves are generally monster robots, once again with hand to hand weapons, who also tend to have a group transform to fight with the hero's big robot.

It's really simple and contrived, which was what leads me to suspect it's originally a kids show. The characters are impressively flat, never gaining much personality, and the interaction between them is likewise uncomplicated. They don't even plan, the `sword' acts like a compass to lead them from story to story. Once there they find there's something to locate, a village to free or a hidden plan by the aliens to foil. It's real cookie cutter stuff that tires really quickly. It's hard to believe there was a time when anime like this was actually considered interesting.

And then there's the `action' component...shudder. As mentioned the robots don't make much sense. This is reflected in their design which is either `human in armor' or `bunch of boxes'. There's so little logic behind the design, or events, that only a child could enjoy it. The transform scenes are a disastrous jumble and the `huge' forms look no better. Even with this the complexity of the figures is such that the animation is fairly basic, and the action often just a sequence of still frames. The only times it's not is in the endlessly repeated transformation or combat sequences. It might be retro to some, but to most this is just tedious and uninteresting. The voices are reasonable, the music should be locked back in the vault. I also notice it's got different creators per episode, which helps explain why it doesn't hang together very well.

Other Reviews

None of my regular sources have a review of this title. And considering how archaic it is I doubt this situation will change. In fact there's very few reviews, albeit lots of places willing to sell it, anywhere on the net.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:21 WST 2009