In episode one, Ginrei's dress is stolen, only to be used to fool the enemy. The second episode deals with a giant robot made exactly in her image. Finally, the third episode concerns Tetsugyu and Ginrei investigating a lost research team in a "wild west" desert setting.
Giant Robo: The Day the Earth Stood Still was a 90s OVA. It was awesome. It was the good old days. It was an homage to the legendary Mitsuteru Yokoyama, one of manga's earliest icons. Unlike what you'd expect, it wasn't a mecha anime so much as an old-fashioned Japanese superhero anime, a kind of style that's gone to the wayside with the advent of fight shonen anime. The titular Giant Robo appears for a fraction of the OVA's time and is mainly a symbol for both Yokoyama's legacy and Japan itself, as made obvious by its patterned design. Yokoyama himself created the first giant
robot series ever with Tetsujin 28-go. In the middle of the Giant Robo OVA's production, a side OVA was made starring Ginrei, one of the main characters. It sucks.
The three episodes of this "Ginrei Special" are very different from each other, but alas, none of them are good at what they do. The first episode entails Ginrei getting captured by Alberto and put on a joke "trial" for the many times she's thwarted Big Fire's plans. Each time, Ginrei explains that she was actually doing what she did for the sake of good. Which doesn't change their point that she's "guilty" of doing all of this, but whatever. The nonsense doesn't stop there however, as an elaborate body swapping plot that had no need to be done is explained and we go from being very bored to being very confused. Then it's over. 20 minutes and the whole thing takes place either in Ginrei's bedroom or Big Fire's hideout, which is almost all pitch black shadows. Classic spin-off OVA budgeting. Every scene Ginrei is in is meant to highlight her sexuality or body in some way, but it doesn't even show the good bits so no one wins. It's not funny, and it doesn't use Giant Robo's characters or universe for any uniquely delivered jokes.
The second episode is much more involved and has an actual plot yet it somehow makes even less sense. Daisaku (a little boy) gets completely drunk and steals Ginrei Robo, a giant robot meant to look exactly like Ginrei, and joins Big Fire in order to put on a live idol concert. "It's funny because it's random" is the mantra here, but I personally can't laugh at any joke that has zero set-up. They at least try a bit harder to derive the humor from Giant Robo's setting this time. The jokes with the characters are done in contrast to their personalities, and mecha humor is of course very natural in Giant Robo. There's a lot of parodying classic super robot anime in this one. Ginrei Robo gets its own theme music and opening animation which is the highlight of the whole episode right at the beginning, and there's a fight with the drunkenly evil Daisaku in a new robot. This is perhaps the most valuable section of the OVA, if only because Ginrei Robo appears in every Super Robot Wars game that Giant Robo does. They got pretty desperate. Once again, every single scene Ginrei is in highlights her sexuality or body in some way.
The last episode is sadly the longest yet. A half hour special that actually attempts a more serious plot. It takes place out in the desert and is framed like a western. Ginrei and Tetsugyu come to the desert to search for a missing research team. They run into a former outlaw who's taking care of the son of a man he killed, unbeknownst to the kid. What follows is a completely generic western redemption plot with boring original characters that lack the eccentric personality traits of Giant Robo's original cast, all wrapped up in tropes. None of this story is special or interesting, which means it sure feels long and boring. Nothing that happens here matters canonically and none of it is fresh or cool. Perhaps most notably, Ginrei actually avoids being sexualized for most of the episode save for the obligatory fanservice scene. Almost made it! For some reason, most original characters here are made to resemble the regular cast. Like the rest of this episode, it means nothing.
I considered my expectations reasonably low entering this OVA, but it really is totally devoid of anything interesting save for bonus Super Robot Wars knowledge. It doesn't develop the world of Giant Robo in any way, and because it doesn't capitalize on anything that was good about the original OVA it does not feel satisfactory to a fan desperate for more. It feels like something else because it is something else: a terribly unfunny comedy that fails in conveying why anime's traditional origins can still be idolized and idiosyncratic in the modern era. Unlike Giant Robo, everything in Ginrei Special is stale and derivative. I recommend anyone skip it.
Some may disagree, but I actually enjoyed this (the first two episodes at least) more than the actual OVA itself.
I think the reason why is because the whole Giant Robo story is pretty ridiculous just on the face of it. So approaching it from a more comedic stance fits it much better. This spin-off takes place somewhere in between the OVA and includes copious amounts of crude humor and fanservice. I suppose it was also less misleading and more focused since it was just being generally silly and having more fun with the stories. There were parts where I actually laughed out loud. It
almost reminded me of Full Metal Panic: Fumoffu. The exception being the third episode which was more serious and less entertaining.
In retrospect it's kind of sad that there were only two funny episodes, I would've much rather have watched more of this kind of anime.
Basically Ginrei has halted so many crimes, Alberto of "Blue Flower", feels as though he needs to finally do something villainy about this. So he assigns a disciple of his own to take her place, of course after capturing Ginrei herself he falls short when Daisaku saves Ginrei with Giant Robo. Oh, needless nudity from Ginrei lets grab her tit and have it explode! Robo river of blood.
Someone at the office forgot to can this garbage of
an idea and thought "Hey, lets have Daisaku battle a giant Ginrei robot for good measure!" Oh! and lets get him totally smashed because that's what 12 year olds normally do! More needless nudity for Ginrei!
The only half way decent episode in this mess. Ginrei and co take up on a journey in the dessert to solve.. something. Some guy dies protecting his son? Clarity Sad ending, was meh.
Overall this felt like Imagawa came in out of shape and lazy with a script. Even the animation suffered slightly. The plot devices and cheap character development butchered a perception you had for Giant Robo and its characters. In the end, this special is very forgettable and like many specials, a failed experiment to make fans more into Giant Robo. Stop slapping me Imagawa, stahp!