A giant sea monster known as "Dragonsaurus" has emerged from out of nowhere, terrorizing the depths of the oceans. Great Mazinger, Grendizer and the Getter Robo G team join forces to combat the new threat. But their task becomes more complicated when Dragonsaurus swallows up Boss Borot and makes its way toward Tokyo.
I decided to watch this as a soft introduction to UFO Robo Grendizer, which has yet to be fully subbed. Well, at least not by people who speak English. Getter Robo G and Great Mazinger also aren't fully available yet as far as I know, but I'm more familiar with their respective franchises. In this 30 minute crossover movie, the aforementioned main characters team up to tackle the deadly DRAGONSAURUS... which looks neither like a dragon nor a dinosaur. It's more like a giant jellyfish with a face and sea serpent hydra-like heads instead of tentacles.But hey, in this universe Japan's greatest scientists aren't known
for their etymology skills but rather for creating the "world's most powerful robot army". You'd assume there wouldn't be much competition if Texas Mack is anything to go off of, but hey, they're our only defense against the Dragonsaurus which literally eats oil tankers like crackers. The Dragonsaurus is specifically after Japan's oil in the vein of classic not-so-subtle environmentalist kaiju monsters. There's a line thrown aside by one of the scientists that this is humanity's fault for dumping oil into the ocean. A pretty immoral practice in any case, but I'm not so sure they really deserve the blame for this one. It's not like the Dragonsaurus didn't exist until oil got dumped into the water, and it's reasonable to assume no giant monsters or living creatures of any sort would live off oil but hey whatever. And oil has no mutating powers. Whatever the reason, Dragonsaurus was there, now it's here, and it's famished for fossil fuels.
Crossover aside, this is completely classic mecha action. This means a lot of our heroes getting slapped around as they call out the names of each of their attacks that do nothing to the Jellyhydrasaurus. Boss Borot makes a special guest appearance here but only manages to get himself eaten. The highlight of the movie is when Great Mazinger enters the monster's stomach to save him and for some reason the entire place is bathed in a rotating rainbow light. Diana A and Venus A appear as well and shout "lady robots can fight too!" but as always end up doing absolutely nothing. It takes until the end of the movie until our heroes realize that since the monster is a living oil keg that they could just kill it by tossing a lit match down its throat, but naturally they go for a much more grandiose explosion because that's what would make this job worth doing.
Anyway, eh... even in the context of its era, "Grendizer, Getter Robo G, Great Mazinger: Battle! Giant Sea Beast" doesn't particularly stand out. As far as I know no additional lore is developed here like in Great Mazinger vs. Getter Robo which introduced GilGilGan, who would make several Super Robot Wars appearances. (Edit: I was incorrect! Dragonsaurus does make some SRW appearances, just not in any I've finished.) The culled cast from each series almost don't interact with each other, and when they do it's in the context of their work and nothing personal to develop a relationship between them. So it all feels like a standard monster-of-the-week episode that just happens to feature more attacks than usual in one place. The animation is fairly fluid for a 1976 anime but otherwise not spectacular, and the score is the usual other than the cute, short original theme song written for the movie. I generally don't go for this kind of mecha anime, and if you do you don't really need my opinion to know that you can't get enough of this stuff. Thank you to /m/subs for allowing us all to watch this in such great quality, and the subs themselves are pretty much perfect. If by chance any of you are reading this, I hope some day you can find time to transfer your subs to the Layzner blu-rays. It looks like a great series, and I'm holding out for it! Well, that's about enough. This crossover is all of the first things you'd probably expect.
One would think that if you were to put the incredibly similar series from the same time period, like Grendizer, Getter Robo and Mazinger that you would have a pretty epic event on your hands. All three are known for being incredibly beloved mecha franchises, which were all the building blocks for the future of Super Robots and putting them into one movie would probably make a great film. However, Grendizer: Getter Robo G - great Mazinger Kessen! Daikaijuu (what a mouthful) is not a fantastic movie. In fact, it may just be the worst crossover I've ever seen.
There's a lot wrong with this movie,
in everything from technical aspects (direction, animation) to the writing, this movie misses every mark by a mile. I would first like to touch on the technical aspects of this, as I feel they're what could have saved this wreak if they were any good. The animation, is, to put it nicely, really bad. it looks the same as any of the three franchises represented's TV series which were running at the time. The characters are constantly going off-model, but not for stylistic choices, as it doesn't improve the look of the movement, instead the characters are off model in still-frames, which makes it incredibly awkward. That's another problem as well, the movie consists mostly of still frames or things sliding across the screen, there's not much actual animation at all. They also don't really try anything super interesting with the directing. There are no cool transitions or camera angles, and a lot of the time the frames feel very cluttered.
Compare this to the Mazinger Z Tai Devilman crossover film, which came out three years prior, and was a bit longer. It featured fantastic, inventive animation, really interesting directing choices, and was overall an incredibly well-made film. It respected both of the characters featured in the crossover, and made sure to stay true to the respective franchises (or at least true to their television versions). But that's the biggest problem with this Grendizer film, it doesn't respect the properties other than Grendizer.
Now, I may just feel this way because I cam into the film as a Getter Robo fan first, a Mazinger fan second, and a Grendizer fan, well, not at all. As a Getter Robo and Mazinger fan, seeing these two series that I really adore quite thoroughly be marginalized by a series that I couldn't give less of a shit about really wasn't great. But that's fine. I would be okay with these two franchises being placed in the background of the film if it weren't for the fact that they got so much wrong.
Really the most glaring issues come from the characterization of Kabuto Kouji, as well as the treatment of the entire Getter Team. Kabuto Kouji is a man without fear (like Daredevil). He'll do anything to save those in need, and to protect the lives of the human race. But for some reason, he doesn't try and fight the monster until halfway through the movie. He isn't even there in the first fight and doesn't rush out to save Boss as soon as he hears that Boss was eaten. This is not the Kabuto I know. Pushing this character to the sidelines really doesn't work, because he wouldn't realistically be operating from the sidelines (which was my biggest problem with Great Mazinger) he would be out there on the front lines, not waiting for everyone else to do the fighting for him.
They also treat the Getter Team really badly in this film. They show absolutely no character whatsoever, other than the fact that you can tell Benkei is a baseball fan (but, that's almost inherent with his character). The team seems to have entirely forgotten how to fight, at all seeing as they've beaten much worse enemies than this one. Hell, there's even a point where they get trapped by a tentacle and don't open Get to get out. That's one of their biggest tricks, they use it in all iterations of the franchise. That fact alone makes it seem like the people behind this film had no idea what they were doing with any of the franchises other than Grendizer at all.
I recommend this film to no one. It was a poorly animated, poorly directed, poorly written movie which marginalizes and really just insults the characters. It makes everyone except for Grendizer seem totally incompetent, something that they're not, and obviously doesn't care about being anything other than a simple advert for the TV series.
The ultimate fantasy for any anime fan is the anime crossover. How cool would it be if one of your favorite anime characters teamed up with another one of your favorite characters to make animated magic? Very, indeed. Let's explore some of the most creative anime crossovers of all time.