English: Giant Robo the Animation: The Day the Earth Stood Still
Japanese: ジャイアントロボ THE ANIMATION 地球が静止する日
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jul 23, 1992 to Jan 25, 1998
49 min. per episode
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.011 (scored by 2364 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
Synopsis10 years ago Dr. Shizuma and his colleagues invented the Shizuma drive which is a revolutionizing new form of renewable and recyclable energy. Though they had to pay a heavy price for their success in a catastrophic accident that the world only wants to forget about. However, all is not well as the secret organization Big Fire is hell-bent on taking over the world. They have obtained two of three mysterious Shizuma drive samples with an unknown function, which are an integral part of their world domination plans. The third sample has however been stolen by Dr. Shizuma who during his escape is saved by Daisaku, Giant Robo and the Experts of Justice. Then a desperate struggle begins between the Experts of Justice and Big Fire for the control of the last sample as Big Fire unleashes their mightiest weapon, the Eye of Volger, upon the unsuspecting world. Soon everything points towards the hidden truth behind the accident 10 years ago as the starting point of everything.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Giant Robo
Spin-off: Giant Robo Gaiden Ginrei
Alternative setting: GR: Giant Robo
Characters & Voice Actors
Take a good greek tragedy, add some Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (or a similar wuxia based tale, throw in a bit of steampunk, and add a dash of giant robots. Mix together for 8 years, then serve to the public.
A recipe for disaster? One would normally think so, but Giant Robo: The Day the Earth Stood Still defies all expectations to that end.
The brainchild of Yokoyama Mitsuteru (Tesujin 28-go, Babel II, Outlaws of the Marsh), the manga first appeared in 1967, and immediately spawned a live action production in that same year. Over 20 years later, the series was "reinvented" for release as an anime OVA, however the original form had been drastically altered due to restrictions on the use of characters from the manga and live action versions. The director, Imagawa Yasuhiro, being a self confessed fan of Yokoyama's work, approached the mangaka for permission to use characters from his other works.
To many this may seem like a haphazard approach to an anime adaptation however this OVA stands as a testament to how good a re-envisioning of a story can be (I'm looking at you in particular NGE). The fact that production for the entire series took 8 years in total, an average of just over one year per episode, should highlight how seriously Imagawa and his staff approached the project, especially as he wrote the screenplay for it.
The story centres around Kusama Daisaku, a young boy who is a member of the International Police Organisation, a quasi=superhuman group of individuals who have come together under international charter to protect the earth from the ravages of the shadowy syndicate known as Big Fire.
At the time of the story the world has undergone an energy revolution with the invention of the Shizuma Drive, a device that makes nuclear power and fossil fuel dependency obsolete. The drive is a clean, renewable source of energy, however the development of it came at a huge cost. The tale begins with the creator of the drive, Professor Shizuma, on the run and fearing for his life. The IPO is charged with his protection, and whilst the group members may all have superhuman abilities, Daisaku is simply a normal boy who inherited his father's greatest creation, the most powerful robot on earth - Giant Robo.
As far as anime goes, Giant Robo is one of a select few titles that can literally be said to have everything. Love, war, tragedy, action, friendship, revenge, rage, desperation, sacrifice, and much more. Watching this show is quite literally a rollercoaster of emotions, all leading up to an extremely bittersweet ending, with a twist that you'll never see coming.
The animation is excellent given today's standards. The action scenes are very simple, extremely fluid, and have a visceral edge that is lacking in shows like DBZ. Given that this is a show with giant robots, it's wonderful to see that the majority of action centres around the humans instead. Most of the combat is hand-to-hand in the best wuxia style, and the addition of "super powers" can sometimes make this seem a bit like Dragonball (without the lengthy power ups I hasten to add).The background visuals are nicely drawn, although they are sometimes very stylised to reflect the origins of the OVA.
The character designs were purposely made to emulate the style of Yokoyama's manga, and as with everything else in this anime, they have a certain "retro" feel to them because of this. That said, the characters are well animated, and are sometimes very expressive in their actions.
The score used for the series was composed by Masamichi Amano, a reknowned composer and Academy Award nominee, and performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. The music is often very grand and operatic, however there are some lighthearted pieces, as well as Giant Robo's own version of Dies Irae (Days of Wrath), entitled Tragedy Strikes Again. The sound effects are extremely good throughout the series and, barring a few events where the expolosions drown out everything else, are well used and add to the atmosphere.
The voice actors for both the English and Japanese dubs are extremely good. Yamaguchi Kappei, who always plays Inuyasha, dramatically brings to life the character of Daisaku, especially through his trials and tribulations as he strives to find out if happiness can be achieved without sacrifice. Similarly, Michelle Newman, who takes the role of Daisaku for the English dub, also manages to convey Daisaku's anger, fear, love, despair, and a whole range of other emotions. The other voice actors are just as good as these two for both dubs, and Giant Robo stands as one of the few anime that I will happily watch in either Jaanese or English.
Given the emphasis on combat and the inclusion of giant robots it's easy to think that characterisations or development play a minimal role in this show, however nothing could be further from the truth. Giant Robo is as much a character driven piece as Maria-sama ga Miteru or Kare Kano, something which is highlighted by the enormous amount of growth Daisaku goes through during the course of the series. The viewer is treated to something rarely seen in anime, and barring Clannad, I can't think of another show from recent years where the audience can see the boy grow into a man.
One thing I should mention is the naming conventions used in the show. Imagawa was followed Yoyoyama's naming tradition in Outlaws of the Marsh, as well as other wuxia tales where names are given based on skill, appearance or demeanour. Hence, names like "Shockwave Alberto" and "The Immortal Kenji" abound in this show, a nice change from the norm to my mind.
So, will you enjoy this? To say I was blown away by the show would be an understatement. I had the opportunity to watch it on it's first release in the UK, and scenes from it have remained in my mind ever since. From it's retro stylings, in particular the black and white depictions of the tragedy at Bashtarle, to the fights to the death (no resurrections here - one life is all you get), to the epic and tragic storyline with it's scorpion sting at the end, Giant Robo has remained a firm favourite of mine for over a decade.
Fans of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann will find themselves warming to this show in a way that is familiar, as this series is in many way the spiritual older brother of TTGL. Likewise, fans of mecha or giant robot shows should check this out as it literally contains everything, including the coolest Frenchman since Lupin III.
If you're after some extremely well rounded characters, and you don't mind the odd punch up here and there, then this may also be right up your street.
The anime does have it's detractors, as purists would have you believe that this is inferior to the manga. I prefer to view this as an alternative to the manga, especially given the fact that Yokoyama was consulted at length about the series.
This has all the hallmarks of a classic in the retro style, something which TTGL has tried to duplicate in recent years, with some success I might add. It's a show that has everything, and it should be no surprise that it appears in my top five anime.
Try it, and see for yourself what I'm talking about. read more
A few of the things in my review have been covered by others already, but I wrote all this anyway so I might as well just post it. The first thing I would say is that Giant Robo isn't as bad as you might be led to believe. The second thing I'd say is that Giant Robo also isn't as good as you might hope. It is heavily dependent on your perspective, preference, expectations and experience.
Sure, it's epic and has plenty of action and drama and charm, but it's far from flawless. It's about as long as 14 regular episodes, and though I personally enjoyed it, I would not recommend it without several caveats. It's very up and down and hit and/or miss.
Giant Robo definitely has the feel of classic anime. Most of the recognizable staples are there, making it a good choice for an introduction to anime perhaps, but if you are an anime veteran, what may be considered classic by someone may come across as cliche to someone else. The story isn't bad, but not much about it is really innovative or unique. It has good foreshadowing and does a good job of gradually resolving mysteries in the main plot. However it also can be quite absurd at times, not to mention deceptive.
Most notably, for a show called Giant Robo, you would expect, well, more robots. Every episode teases you with this opening presenting different possible robo-nemisis but robotic combat actually plays a very small role in this anime. In fact, the robots are largely overshadowed by the characters incredible special abilities. Their powers are so fantastic, it doesn't really make any sense why robots/mecha are even involved at all. People can practically fly, destroy buildings, carry several tons of weight, and are ridiculously hard to kill. It makes the whole robot angle superfluous at best, and arbitrary at worst.
The overall plot is pretty good, it reminded me almost of Fullmetal Alchemist, and the twist ending is so ripe with irony it's almost redeeming. I really wish the story would've just jumped right away to and revolved around BF vs IPO. Unfortunately, the show gets really melodramatic and over-the-top towards the end which almost completely undoes its merits. There are also little annoyances like characters being able to talk to each other from unbelievable distances. The character's are extremely overpowered, especially the villains. It's a wonder the world isn't half destroyed from their conflicts and supersonic voices alone.
Did I mention at some point Robo cries? Apparently he was programmed for two things: to fight... and feel pain? There's nothing wrong with machines having emotions, it's a common plot device, but it's out of place here. He doesn't have steam vents to show when he gets angry, so not only is this inconsistent, but there's no possible logical reason for adding this feature.
The worst part of the story is probably how much they overplay Daisaku's importance. The way the character's bend over backwards for him felt really forced. Giant Robo isn't even the biggest or strongest robot really, he's just a big robot with something "unique." Their whole presence in the show felt like it was a token they were contractually obligated to include amidst the real story.
The ending is a mixed bag. Some parts of it are touching, surprising, and gratifying. The rest is just contrived and ridiculous. Some of it gets so cheesy your eyes may roll right out of your head. As if that wasn't bad enough, everything but the main story arc is left kind of up in the air. So after watching about a season's worth of episodes the end result is basically one big "To Be Continued..."
Some of the characters like Alberto or Ko-Enshaku or GinRei are kind of cool and central to the story, others not so much. Some of them had a lot of potential to be cool but most are just so sudden and random they aren't much more than cameos. With a few exceptions, the "bad guys" aren't even that bad, you almost want to root for them instead.
The tragedy in this is that it feels like they're trying way too hard to convince you Daisaku/Giant Robo are more important than they really are. I think I probably enjoyed them least of all. You could probably remove Daisaku and the few robots in it and have a better show.
The names are classicly generic. "So the Magnificent Ten are on the move again." Then there's "Big Fire" or the "Experts of Justice" and of course "GIANT ROBO." One guy might as well have been called Fingersnaps McDoom, it would've fit in just as well.
The mech design is very much like Big O, and the art's pretty good. It's bright and full of color and nice and clean for the most part. I'm not a big fan of the older anime style/look. Such as the tight modelesque Astroboy look or the weird long-nosed Cyborg 009 character designs, but something about this still felt kind of fresh.
The music's also pretty good. I thought the whole orchestral sound fit pretty well and probably wouldn't mind having the soundtrack. The English dub is ok, and it certainly sounds a lot better than the older English dub. I still prefer the sub (of course). read more
Giant Robo and Shin Mazinger were directed by Yasuhiro Imagawa. Giant Robo is based on the collective works of Mitsuteru Yokoyama and Shin Mazinger uses elements from many of Go Nagai's previous projects. Both series attempt to present a comprehensive tribute to the authors of their respective source materials through an entirely new story.
Both of them are insane "WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON" for the first episode, and they have the same director.
Over-the-top and retro mecha shows directed by Yasuhiro Imagawa. Both are revivals of classic series, but discard the old continuity to tell an all-new story that can be enjoyed by both old and new viewers. They're also huge tributes to the careers of the original creators, featuring characters and plotlines from the original creator's entire body of work. However, it's not necessary to be familiar with the source material to enjoy them.
Shares the same director, Imagawa. Both shows contain humans with superpowers, and both have plenty of plot twists.
While Giant Robo was imagawa's take yokoyama's works, Shin Mazinger is imagawa's take on nagai's works.
If you loved Gurren Lagann, I guarantee you'll love Giant Robo. Both feature wonderfully over-the-top "hot-blooded" action, GAR characters, epic scope, and excellent production values, especially in the case of Giant Robo, which took six years to finish animating the 7 episodes.
Similar style of storytelling. Action-packed yet touching adventures.
Giant Robo: The Day the Earth Stood Still is, in a sense, the spiritual older brother to TTGL, especially as both involve a young boy's journey to manhood.
It has the same wow factor, however Giant Robo conveys a greater depth of heroic nobility and cunning villainy, and the action is more over-the-top than TTGL, especially as most of it is hand-to-hand. When you see the Big Bang Punch you'll understand what I mean.
Both anime are fast-paced super robot shows in which the villains are just as passionate as the heroes. They follow their own rules, and willpower is what will eventually triumph.
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