In the year 1999, humanity begins to advance beyond the solar system. The planet Gishin, led by the Emperor Zule, which aims to conquer the galaxy, runs into conflict with Earth. He targets Earth for elimination and to do this, he sends a baby called Mars to live among humanity. Accompanying the baby is a giant robot named Gaia, which utilizes a new power source strong enough to destroy an entire planet. As planned, Mars is expected to grow up, where he will activate the bomb within Gaia to fulfill the mission of destroying the Earth. However, when Mars arrives on Earth his is adopted into a Japanese family and given the name Takeru. Seventeen years later, Takeru would grow up with a love for humanity and refuses to detonate the bomb as ordered by Zule. However, if Takeru was to die, the bomb within Gaia would explode destroying the earth.
Takeru possesses psychic powers ( ESP ) and decides to join the Earth defense forces and becomes a member of the Crasher Squad (an elite space defense force) where he and his friends take a last stand against the Gishin's attack.
The relationship of Takeru with his brother Maag, which fate would have it, pitted the two against each other in the war.
Unknown to the Gishin five other robots were created in secrecy along side Gaia by Takeru's father and sent with Gaia to protect Takeru. Whenever Earth is in danger, Takeru is able to summon the five other robots to combine with Gaia form the giant robot Godmars. The five other robots are Sphinx, Uranus, Titan, Shin and Ra.
As of this writing, I am only the 68th person on MAL to complete the show Rokushin Gattai God Mars and the first to write a review for it. That being the case, there's a very strong chance that you haven't even heard of this show. I hope that my review can give people an idea as to just what God Mars is all about and if they want to check this rare series out.
God Mars is a 1981-82 show in the Super Robot tradition. If you haven't seen God Mars, you may have at least seen footage of other Super Robot shows, where a
bunch of small, quasi-magical robots combine to form a superhero-like giant robot. Our hero or heroes pilot the Super Robot to fend off bad guy giant robots, evil aliens and things like that. Like many other anime from the 70s and 80s, God Mars follows this popular premise with its own spin on things.
Our hero, Takeru, is a 17-year old member of the military Crasher Squad on Earth. One day, he finds out that he's actually an alien from the planet Gishin who is supposed to blow up the Earth for the warlike Emperor Zool. Takeru grew up on Earth and loves the Earth, so he decides to fight back. He of course gets control of six robots which can combine to form the show's eponymous giant robot, God Mars. (Also, if Takeru dies, the world explodes anyway.) Very simple premise to start the show.
If this already sounds childish and boring, I don't blame you. I wanted to drop the show five episodes in, thinking this wasn't going to go anywhere. I thought I had figured the show out. "Okay, so every episode, Zool is going to send an assassin after Takeru. Every episode, they're going to fight, jump into robots, then Takeru will finish them off. Repeat times 64." Fortunately, the show got better, or I would've scored it much lower.
At the risk of scaring people away, I am going to mention the bad parts about God Mars before the positives. First, the animation is extremely cheap. Not only does God Mars rely on stock animation during the robot battles, but even the stock animation isn't well-animated! The show uses a lot of laser beams and sliding backdrops and other things to disguise the fact that there's not a lot of animation going on.
Another downside is the fact that there is always a monster-of-the-day, and the battles almost always go exactly the same way. The only episode in the entire series where we don't see the formation and butt-kicking power of God Mars is in the very first episode. After that, you can set your watch to the robot battle, even if the episode isn't leading up to one. To give an example, there's one episode halfway through the series where Takeru and the Crasher Squad are transporting stuff from one planet to another planet while the bad guys are running away. With about two minutes left in the episode, all of a sudden a giant robot comes out of nowhere, and Takeru says, "What? A battle NOW?" So he kills it quickly and goes back to work.
The good thing about God Mars, the thing that gives this show REAL value among a sea of Giant Robot shows and other children's stock of the early 80s, is the fact that they start to take the focus away from the show's weak point (the robot action), and focus more on its strong point, character development and a decent story. I wasn't big on Takeru's teammates in the Crasher Squad, but Takeru meets a lot of other interesting characters along the way: Marg, Rosee, Flore, Gyron, Gasshu, to name, well, all of them. They all go through their own metamorphoses as characters and show growth.
Takeru himself must deal with a lot of issues that weaken his resolve: His own identity, death of people around him, the seemingly inevitable death of himself, what it means to have free will...
The story is neatly divided into three complete story arcs. The second arc is the best one, because it has the least emphasis on the robot battles. They take up only a few minutes of each episode, which are otherwise spent entirely on telling this great tale about a foreign war in which Takeru gets swept up, despite not wanting to take either side.
There's also romance! I liked the romance, as it was tasteful and slow-building and never overbearing. There are three ladies in the show around Takeru's age, but I won't tell you which one he hooks up with! You have to watch to find out.
God Mars is definitely not going to be a show for everyone. You have to be open-minded to old-school anime and their style. You have to be patient when there are episodes which don't advance the plot much. You have to stop wondering why they didn't just build one big robot instead of six small ones if they always have to combine anyway (it's to sell more toys). It may get a bit repetitive and be far from perfect, but the solid characters and story make God Mars something of a hidden gem.