Shin Getter Robo
This looks a lot like a modern revival of Go-Nagai's dusty, but classic, old giant robo show. And the modern version is high energy and packed with impressive action sequences. It's just a shame it's almost completely incomprehensible. Normally I like to start a review with a bit of story flavor and synopsis, but after five episodes I still don't have any feel for what is going on. I assume that if you know the original material things are clearer, but amongst western audiences that's probably a pretty small minority. And the shows intense pace aggravates this by continuously introducing new elements while you are still trying to work out stuff from three scenes back.
If I had to make a best guess I would say that the original show was about an alien invasion. Think `devilman' monsters but on a much larger scale. For some reason mankind unites behind the Japanese, meaning our answer to the threat is giant (and I mean really giant) transforming robots. Along the way there's a bit of tragedy and drama, but mankind is ultimately successful. Then this version feels a lot like round two. It turns out that the aliens are still alive, the murdered `father' of getter robo technology is alive (and well on his way to mad scientist status) and the getter's incorporate alien technology themselves. The scientist has some weird plan, the aliens have a weird plan, the old characters from the series have various weird plans and the collateral damage from the series is near certain to relegate the earth to `smoking crater' status.
I assume the best way to enjoy this is to turn the brain to neutral, sit back, and enjoy the energy and eye-candy. The writing is loud, aggressive and attempts to be deep by being incomplete. In all the episodes I watched no one managed to complete a explanation of what the hell was going on before `action' interrupted. And what was said (yelled) seemed largely disconnected. The atmosphere is that of human dramatics (yelling) amidst endless getter action scenes. These action scenes constantly introducing and demolishing new alien and getter threats. The scenes also monkey with physics and continuity to keep the action flowing. Robots will take immense impacts, aliens will re-generate from tiny remnants, all to keep things going. Characters will `die' amongst splashes and pools of blood then `recover' so that they can keep complicating and mumbling about the action. In other words this story, while seemingly complex, is actually very fragile. Those who demand character, story and sense will eventually realise there is precious little of those qualities here. On the other hand those who demand epic action, huge special effects, screaming robot pilots, machismo and an endless cavalcade of brightly colored combatants should be in there element. I am not one of these people, and thus the review is where it is. Even if you think you are, watch this one before buying it.
As mentioned the animation, and the action, defies any sort of technical or physical logic in its search for energy. The alien is basically `black goo with teeth' that can shape into whatever amuses the animator, while the robots are immense box-like things echoing their historical ancestors. As such both of them look pretty damn silly, and the transformation sequences will have people who like `mecha-tech', such as gundam fans, going slowly insane. These really are `comic-book' robots given new life. In addition the action animation, while modern and reasonable, enhances the action with quick editing and close camera angles. This does add energy, no doubt, but it also makes following what is going on quite difficult. The characters retain an interesting `retro' appearance and a propensity for going into still-frame at critical moments. The dialog is basic and a lot of it is `dramatic' (ie. yelling and screaming). This includes many instances of the basic rule that mecha work better if the pilot is screaming. The music is agressive and relentless heavy rock type stuff to emphasis the energy of the piece. The scale of destruction is immense, and there's a reasonable helping of gore, in some pretty competent (and ever-present) action animation.
None of my regular sources have a review for this title.