Inglorious and engaging.
Sun Wukong | 02/22/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"For something so deeply steeped in history and reputation, 'New Getter Robo' may be the most interesting Getter anime incarnation yet.
Then again, I've only fully watched 'Getter Robo', 'Shin Getter Robo Vs. Neo Getter Robo' and 'Getter Robo: Armageddon' previously (Have never completed 'Getter Robo G' and 'Getter Robo Go'), so that could be a hollow statement. But I'll start off by saying that this is probably the best way to enter the Getter Robo universe. It has a very bold look using heavy, sketchy blacks, a scattering of hatching lines and vivid colors that work very well, making itself distinct against the modern template as well as a throwback to the classic. The series requires no previous knowledge, though there are various salutes to older fans, doesn't play to the villain of the week model and makes some relatively daring moves for a genre based on basic good vs. evil plot-lines.
The series protagonists are stock in many ways, but there's a lovable repugnancy they share that's uncommon. Getter pilots Ryoma, Hayato and Benkei and Getter Robo inventor Dr. Saotome are sociopathic maniacs. Somewhat excluding Benkei, who's vices are more or less limited to being a lazy hornball, the characters are hyper-violent, ego-centric and hypocritical. They seek to protect humanity but at the same time have a burning animus towards it. It's hard to say they're even anti-heroes and some of their antics are genuinely upsetting, but I think its reason for praise. It can be challenging to follow despicable people without any guarantee of redemption; to be only able to relate to characters through a shared, dark sense of misanthropy. There's a dissonance to them and it's easy to become affixed as they develop along with their adventures. Some of the characters even become better human beings (Key word is 'Some'.)
But, as I've mentioned, there's plenty of mediocre commonality to its genre mates; It's just generally less so. For example, there is a stock transformation scene reused through the series, but it's about 5 seconds long. Character development is minimal, but the characters never truly say exactly what they're feeling. The ending's vague, but there's definite thematic intent. There's more testosterone-fueled punching than anything but...well...at least it's exciting. Moreso than anything, it's not thoughtless and doesn't feature the constant, shrieking emoting considered to be 'good characterization' in anime today. The series also has an interesting take on the tired theme of violence and delves into anime-existentialism (I'm guessing a reader just wished they could slap me.)
Point being, I recommend this series. The price-tag is hefty and it doesn't stray drastically from the mold but 'New Getter Robo' uses an arguably successful formula and brings something fresh to the table."