A boy, Tsuwabaki Daiya found a black fire in an ocean when he and his father were in a small boat. A big monster came out of the fire, and the father and the crews were disappeared into the sea. When he was about to become the next victim, a large mecka dragon appeared and saved him.
5 years later since then, Daiya becomes a junior high school student. A big monster reappear, and he meets the mecha dragon,"Daiku Maryu". The head of the dragon separates from the body, and it turns into the body of a super robot, Gaiking. He gets in Gaiking, fights against the monster, and beats it.
He learns that there is an enemy that plots to conquer the world, and he leaves for another world, Darius, to stop the plot.
The remake of the classic Gaiking generally stays true to the general aesthetic of classic Super Robot shows of the 70's. But there are subtle changes. The evil villains are not always so evil, and the heroes are never invincible; a simple final move away from winning the match. Like Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann after it, Gaiking successfully homages and parodies the super robot shows of the past, while creating its own unique flavor to make in the end, an incredibly satisfying watching experience.
The music is evocative; an outstanding vocal theme kicking in as the heroes turn the situation in their favor, and the voice
actress of lead character Daiya is emotional, intense, and enthralling; as is the voice work of almost everyone else in the show. The artwork is a mixed back - while the character artwork sometimes goes between the outstanding and the generic anime look, the mechanical artwork for Gaiking and the rest of the mecha on screen is nine out of ten times absolutely gorgeous and action packed.
This show is a modern super robot classic, and any fan of the genre shouldn't miss it.
Gaiking is extremely enjoyable, but does require the same kind of acceptance of genre tropes as most "traditional" super robot shows, as its a genre I like though this is something of a non-issue for myself (and really should be a non-issue for anyone - its like watching a slasher flick and complaining when someone goes off alone). The robot designs are fairly "retro" in appearance, which isn’t overly surprising as this is a "re-imagining" of an earlier anime series (one which you don’t need to be familiar with). The animation is fluid and the plot development, while not amazing, is certainly a cut above
average with some nice twists and a fairly interesting setting explanation (I found it particularly interesting as it would be eminently thieveable for an rpg setting). It also avoids some plot clichés which I find annoying, particularly the protagonist whingeing about having to kill - while it works in some contexts it often feels forced and so I’m glad Gaiking didn’t really bother it (as I don’t feel it fits).
In terms of giant robot action Gaiking certainly delivers, nearly every episode a new weapon or combination or mecha is revealed and its all done in a very enjoyable fashion. In many ways I rate giant robot shows (and a lot of other things) by how many times they make you think "Fuck yeah" (or your affirmative phrase of choice) and Gaiking is packed with moments like this.
Its intro is also worth a mention, Super-Robot shows tend to have cool (for certain values of cool) intro's with amazingly cheesey lyrics and a veritable symphony of hair rock, in fact I've watched or purchased some shows based purely on the intro alone. Gaiking's intro is among the very best, while the song is catchy enough it’s the manner in which it ties into the intro animation that really sells it (it’s the island exploding, just does it for me).
In a lot of ways, Gaiking feels like Eureka Seven. Boy meets girl, big mecha, boy boards a big ship, girl has mysterious power, etc., except to compare Gaiking to E7 is simply an insult to the latter one. But let's do some comparisons anyways:
E7: communication leads to understanding, understanding leads to trust.
Gaiking: kill monsters
E7: finding out the mysteries surrounding the Corallians
Gaiking: kill monsters
Eureka VS Lulu: Eureka was inspired by Rei from EVA but with genuine character development and actual feelings, the two things make her such a great character (she also has some steels in her!). Lulu likes Daiya, that's it.
Renton VS Daiya: Renton
is the most realistic shounen character I've seen. Not only does he receive such a huge amount of development throughout the show, but a lot of things he does, even though making 100% sense, are not entirely right or entirely wrong. Daiya is a good person too. He likes to help out people, he likes to fight off monsters, he works hard, but in terms of a character, he lacks depth.
Sleek post-EVA-ish mecha VS what looks like when someone took a dump
Not even a fair comparison between the two.
My final comment is that Gaiking is not worth investing your time in.