When Ryuu is born his tribe tries to sacrifice him to a Tyrannosaurus named Shirano because of the color of his skin. He is however saved by a monkey who raises him as her own son. Meanwhile Ryuu's mother has left the tribe and is out on a quest to find Ryuu.
16 years later Ryuu meets a girl named Ran who was sold to the tribe Ryuu originaly came from. The tribe is not happy to see Ryuu alive and tries to sacrifice him again, this time by burning him alive. Before they can get the deed done the tribe is massacred along with Ryuu's adoptive mother by Shirano. Ryuu then sets out on a quest together with Ran to find his mother and Ran's brother Don.
It's true what they say about modern anime, they don't make 'em like they used to, and sometimes, a lot of the times, it's a good thing. Cause if you go back far enough, anime like Genshi Shounen Ryuu start popping up and even watching one episode will be enough to explain why people don't watch much old anime aside from time tested classics. Be warned of spoilers ahead if for some reason if you want to watch this yourself.
Genshi Shounen Ryuu follows a rather simple story structure that's present in a lot of episodic anime of that era. First episode sets up the premise,
main characters, their goals and motivations. Everything in-between is largely composed of self-contained episodes that occasionally feature recurring characters and occasionally provide the illusion of progressing the main plot by mentioning how close the goal is until it's all get tied up in the last episode.
Rather unimpressive main narrative revolves around Ryu trying to find his mother he was separated from at birth. Due to his skin color baby Ryu was chosen as a sacrifice to the gigantic dinosaur called Tyranno. Luckily he was saved and then raised by a monkey he lived with until she died. On his journey Ryu is chased by Taka, member of a tribe that once captured Ryu but was destroyed by a sudden attack from Tyranno. Now Taka wants to kill him because of his hate for "whiteskins" caused by past traumas and to get Ran, the girl who accompanies Ryu on his quest.
A lot of the episodic plots have a repeating structure of Ryu and company getting in some trouble and then resolving it in the most straightforward and dull manner. For example there's an episode where Ryu comes across a few runaway slaves and decides to protect them, slave owners get mad and try to kill him but Ryu kills them and... that's it. I'm not even trying to make it seem much worse than it is, these episodic plots are so plain and unimaginative that I can't really find a redeeming quality. Usually even when the execution is bad I can commend novel ideas and GSR has neither. There isn't even any tension there because from the start you know that this isn't the kind of story where anything bad happens to main characters. You know that no matter what sort of threat appears, by the end of the episode it will be thwarted and everything will go back to how it was at the start of the episode.
Better part of the show to me was a recurring subplot about a hunter called Kiba whose sole purpose in life is to kill Tyranno after it destroyed a tribe he was a leader of. Even though you know he'll never succeed since they can't kill The Nemesis until the show is over it's still somewhat interesting to see what he will come up with next time to try and bring down this invincible beast. It helps that on top of that he's one of the more likable characters in the show. At one point he even serves as Ryu's mentor and tries to teach him the difference between humans and wild animals. In that brief period GSR tries to be a bit more than it is.
There are repeating themes about relying on others and cyclic nature of violence but don't worry, the show doesn't go in-depth about either and it ends up being nothing more than an attempt to make one episode seem a little bit different than the others.
Conclusion to this unremarkable story offers no surprises. Ryu kills Taka and Tyranno, reunites with his mother and they all start living together like a happy family, the end.
On a technical level this show is much worse. I know full and well how bad cheap anime can look, but this is something else. From start to finish the anime is choke full of panning shots over still frames, characters talking with their backs to the screen, lots of reused footage, short animation loops and pastel still shots. At least I can commend the former for occasionally providing some really stylish drawings but that hardly redeems it all. So, animation is not smooth but what about art? Well it's just as spotty, there are countless examples within each episode where animators forget about proportions and perspective which leads to a lot of pretty hilariously bad frames.
One thing I actually thoroughly enjoyed are the beautiful backgrounds that look like they were made using oil paint instead of the usual water based paint. This adds a very distinct gloss and texture to them that makes it stand out, they all look so pleasantly vibrant that even during the weaker parts of the show I could still enjoy looking at them.
Character designs I assume are copies of their manga alternatives, there's a distinct Shoutaro flare to them, mostly when you look at the hair styles. Can't say I'm a fan of his aesthetic but it looks decent enough. All the relevant characters look distinctly different from one another. There's also a really goofy looking dinosaur towards the end that looks stoned 24/7.
Music is just standard, inline with everything else. It mimics a lot of the sounds that were dominating late 60s early 70s Japan that's closer to jazz fusion if I had to categorize it. Soundtrack features a few themes used throughout the show that usually correspond to whatever is happening on screen: danger music, sad music, fight music etc.
Overall: Bland show that's characteristic of its era, unless you're a masochist, give this one a pass.
Genshi Shounen Ryu or Ryu The Primitive Boy is a 22 episode series by Toei Animation, and it was directed by Akihi Masayuki.
This anime is set in a primitive world and it follows our main character Ryu. Ryu is a white boy born into a black tribe and is concidered the devil. He is to be sacrifised due to his skin color, but he gets picked up by a monkey who also raises him. The story follows Ryu who's on a journey to find his mother. On the way he meets many other people, such as Ran (the love interest), Don (Ran's little brother), and
Taka (the antagonist). He also meets a man named Kiba who wants to kill the T-Rex who wiped out his tribe.
There's not really all that much to Genshi Shounen Ryu. It's a pretty straight forward story of a boy who wishes to be reunited with his mother. The show does however touch slightly upon topics such as what differentiates humans from animals and discrimination, but it's never prevelent enough to be concidered a main focus of the show.
Overall I thought Genshi Shounen Ryu was an average show. It had some moments I liked and some moments that I found quite funny, though that was mostly unintentional on the shows part. I will say though that for the first 3 episodes the show looked a lot better than I was expecting. Not too many stillframes and very little reused animation, but they definitely made up for that in the later episodes. However some poor writing at times and weird cuts that were just confusing or made no sense stopped me from enjoying this show more.