-Cheesy 70s action
-Saturday morning cartoon level of plausibility.
then this is not for you.
-If you're looking for a coherent prequel that connects the stories of "Casshern Sins" & "Casshan Robot Hunter"
Look somewhere else.
But if you'll like to see the 1st time these characters were all brought together then keep on reading.
To say that Shinzou Ningen Casshern ( or Neo Human Casshan) is an overlooked title is a understatement. The very fact that there's only 1 review for this show on MAL and sometimes no episode discussions should already say enough. But even
more surprising is that this title, which has been covered up by the passage of time, has a relatively successful reboot called Casshern Sins. And for those reading this review, Casshern Sins is more than likely the only reason you're here to begin with. However is it a bad thing that SNC is a title that not even retro anime fans discuss? Well..... not really, as SNC falls victim to one of the main reasons these relics of anime's past are lost and forgotten, and that's because it's outdated.
From the time SNC was conceived to now, many other anime titles came along and took it's concepts and greatly improved on it. From the questions brought up regarding android and human integration, to the post apocalyptic setting, everything SNC tried to tackle has been better explored and refined to better effect. So when it boils down to it, the real reason for watching this isn't for any pioneering idea or to see a show that "revolutionize" the industry but rather to see the humble beginnings of Casshern Sins.
The story is straight forward and one you've undoubtedly seen countless of times: Save the world from the great evil that wants to take it over.
We follow Tetsuya who is the son of a great scientist named Dr. Azuma. Dr. Azuma is well known for his robot creations, which he makes to better human lives. However after a freak accident, one of his robots named BK-1 became self-aware after being struck by lightening. This robot renamed himself Braiking Boss and waged a full on assault against mankind.
Backed against a wall the only option left to combat Braiking Boss was to turn Dr. Azuma's son Tetsuya into a powerful android. And so Casshern was born.
NOW In order to enjoy this show you need to suspend your disbelief, since the episodic stories can range from somewhat plausible to plain ludicrous. You can go from a straight forward fight against robots to something obscure like puppies seeking revenge. Because of this the tone of SNC is all over the place. Despite the inconsistency, the show still tries to be serious, which in turn makes it rather comical or painful to watch depending on your mindset. With no consistency between the episodic structure, it feels like there's a lack of progression. Being episodic isn't necessarily a bad thing, but with little to no variation to the plot it feels like you're watching the same setup over and over again. The episodes seem to always run along the lines of: A city becomes under-attack by the Android army, Casshan steps in to fight them, android army retreats, rinse and repeat. It takes 26 episodes for an actual plot to take place and even then it's still in an episodic format. You can literally watch the 1st 5 episodes, watch episode 26, then last 4 episodes and you won't miss anything. And the final nail in the proverbial coffin is that SNC have an anticlimactic conclusion, which is unsatisfying to say the least.
If there's one area that SNC can be respected in is its animation. As some of the action sequences are on par with the 1st Mobile Suit Gundam, despite it being made years ahead of it in 79. But it still falls behind similar super hero shows like Hurrican Polmar which was made in 74 and showed greater fluidity and aesthetics. This places SNC above expected standards, making it above average for it's time. With that said the show has aged well given that it's 40+ years old. You can tell they placed alot of effort into Casshern's acrobatics and combat sequences as it can be impressive when the time calls for it. The color pallet presented were a trademark of the 70s with brightly colored robot designs and nicely textured backgrounds.
The character designs had very nice features, note worthy designs being the variation of robot baddies, from the endless drones to the occasional special bots.
Where the animation falls short is it's excessive use of still shots and reused footage which becomes apparent very fast. Also when there isn't any action going on, the animation becomes extremely stiff. However this inconsistency is to be expected given the time period it was made.
Also expect explosions, lots and lots of explosions. As it seems like every fodder robot is made of TNT and flimsy parts that blow up just for the sake of blowing up.
There's very little to say regarding the soundtrack and sound effects of SNC. There's only a instrumental of the opening played during fights and less than a handful tracks played throughout the series with very little variation. The opening however is unbelievably cheesy and will surely bring a chuckle, just try not to laugh when the singer yells "FRIENDER JETTTTT!"
The voice actors all fit their roles well, most notably Braiking Boss for sounding menacing and childish.
Casshan, our protagonist is your "fight for whats right" MC. He's very one note and fits the respective archetype fairly well. There isn't much layer characterization but that is sufficed with moments where he has internal strife regarding his position as an android/human hybrid. Unfortunately this topic is never fully explored but rather skimmed over.
Luna, his childhood friend, is simply treated like a sidekick. Very little screentine is given to develop her. However she is never relegated to being a damsel in distress and holds her own in a fight which makes her a welcomed addition. She also provides moral support for Casshan when needed.
Braiking Boss, our main antagonist, is your typical Saturday morning cartoon brand of villain. He's evil solely for the sake of being evil. This caricature depiction is further escalated when he's portrayed as a tyrannical ruler.
It can also be speculated that they took the inspiration from the Stalin era and Khrushchev era of the Soviet Union as well as Adolf Hitler's radical idealism as inspiration for Braiking Boss's characteristics. May this be a direct social commentary or just the creators trying to make a really 1 sided villain, its up for you to decide.
All the other supporting characters are not worth the mention due to the episodic structure. But they're given enough time to have a sense purpose. The robots all seem incompetent however, as they fall for petty tricks
and are easily outwitted. This in turn makes it hard to take their presence seriously.
The biggest problem with these characters is that they remain stagnant.They never show any sign of development nor do they receive extra characterization during the 35 episode runtime.
Despite this show's numerable problems I found moments of enjoyment while watching. It's easy to see the love and effort the creators placed in it and because of it's ridiculous stories it made for good B-Movie entertainment.
Even disregarding superficial things like animation and sound, SNC is a fundamentally flawed show in many ways. It tries to be taken seriously but is too nonsensical and juvenile to allow the viewer proper immersion. It was onto something but didn't quite live up to it's own ambitious goal.
Unless you're a hardcore Casshern Sins fan or like retro B-Movie entertainment this title isn't a necessary watch. If you're not interested after 5 episodes in then the rest of it will do nothing to impress you.
Ideally, I would say that this is the place you would want to start if you are just getting into the Casshern series. Keeping this in mind, I would inform the readers of this review that I have seen the OVA and the more recent Casshern Sins anime. Unless you care nothing for the actual "story" then I would say proceed straight to Casshern Sins. Do not fool yourself into thinking that you can start with Csins and have a grasp in what Casshern is all about. Though its story is interesting to say at least, it is told from a completely different perspective. This
alone will, in fact, confuse the viewer when watching the original airs (even possibly the OVA).
NHC is one of the older animes dating back to the 1970s. It was where the popular character "Casshern" made his debut, a young man who would give his own life to realize his fathers dream. His father, a brilliant scientist, envisioned a world where machines would assist humanity in a variety of ways. Out of this, a powerful machine called Android BK-1 was created. It's purpose, was to be the ultimate benefactor for generations to come upon serving humanity. But the machine eventually became self aware, turned on its creators and assumed power and dominion. For a sign of any hope in stopping the android, Tetsuya Azuma (the young man I mentioned before) is willingly turned into "Casshern" by his own father. He is no longer a mere human, but part android with superior strength and fighting capabilities.
I'm not exaggerating when I say for a 70s show, the art isn't as complicated as one would figure. This show retained acceptable animation for its time, though it has its share of limits with it being so old to begin with. The animation is indeed colored, and machines are drawn to fit their descriptions of breaking apart and attacking. Most importantly, Casshern is design with some likable features of unique jumping and combat motions to "awe" the viewers attention.
The sound work here isn't the shows strong point. It was the creators intention in my opinion to give the viewers unparalleled action scenes for its time. I found many themes corny to be honest, I say this outta having watching the anime as recently. If I were to go back in the 70s and had watched this, I probably would of enjoyed some of the work here better.
As I mentioned, Casshern's purpose of design was to preform things and measures seen as unique to his audience. For his time and adaption, he has become the centerfold of discussion on how far you can push man and machine intertwined. His impressive skills and abilities should capture any loyalist to the genre. Outside of him, you have a sidekick that being a robotic dog better known as Friender. The dog is a welcomed addition to the pairing and is seen as a staple in Casshern's continuing development. Other characters like Luna, BK-1, etc. play their roles when it is apparent, but the show is clearly dominated by Casshern's performances and actions.
In short, NHC clearly was on the road to better adaptions and quality. The show clearly needed vast improvements in storytelling, but if you can look behind its 70s feel and not-so catchy themes then try it out. I figure it to be a very important watch for true Casshern fans alike.
I'm just going to come out and say it— anime wouldn't be where it is today without Tatsunoko Productions. In fact, I don't think shounen heroes would be what they are today without Casshern. I just hope that someone will try this anime for him or herself and see if I'm right or wrong. I highly recommend it, which is not going to be a secret.
Set in a world where robots cooperate and work for humans, the story of the anime Shinzou Ningen Casshern, a 1973 post-apocalyptic shounen-like anime, revolves around the relationship between both human and machine. Dr. Kotaro Azuma is a genius engineer
who wants to create androids or automatons in order to assist and progress the future of humankind. However, things take a turn for the worst when the renowned scientist creates a powerful android unit named BK-1 and it suddenly spirals out of control. Yeah, this is how the story begins... in a crapsack world. While Casshern is a superhero by all means, this isn't a kiddie tale. This series stays on one tone level for the majority of its episodes-- DARK.
The main story revolves around Casshern butting heads with the out of control android, who names himself Braiking Boss, while protecting the human race and its pride...what's left of it. This feels like a juvenile set-up for a Saturday morning cartoon, but I kid you not-- Casshern kicks butt and takes names almost every episode and his heroism is inspiring, leaving a legacy in anime to this day.
The series is mostly episodic and is presented in a sort of villain-every-week format, however, that doesn't mean that it doesn't have quality.
Shinzou Ningen Casshern develops a very interesting atmosphere within its story, as the humans who once had rule over the robots for a long time are now losing their rights, privileges and even their lives to the might of Braiking Boss and Andro Force, Braiking Boss' army, at a startling and uncontrollable pace. The story also uses its episodic nature interestingly; the anime seems to focus on the robots' call for domination and the dehumanization of mankind. It shows off these concepts through the various characters presented regularly in every episode and the many emotionally striking situations they are roped into over the course of dozens of episodes. This anime doesn't try hard to make you feel for the characters, especially since they may not even make it to the end of the episode alive, but it IS hard not to feel for them since the emotional impact is surprisingly deep. The main character ends up making a grand sacrifice-- giving up his humanity to save everyone else's. At the very least, with Casshern, the pull is there. Watching this show, I begin to think to “what can I do… what should I do?” to myself. Shinzou Ningen Casshern isn't winning a prize for heavy continuity, but it does get major points for pulling off numerous moving and action-packed scenarios that take themselves seriously. Few anime did this in the early 70's, and I believe that this particular anime holds up to today because of its story telling quality.
Honestly, I love Tatsunoko... but this was 1973. You ain't gonna find any pre-rendered vehicles or high definition special attacks. However, I believe that Casshern '73 looked good for what it was. Unlike numerous TV anime from its time, Casshern had very fluid animation including its fight scenes (and there are tons of them). Every now and then, when Casshern is fighting a multitude of robots the scene will rehash the same scene a couple times but it's nothing to get worked up over. One thing that does stand out for Casshern's animaton is the special effects. For once, there aren't a ton of flashing lights that might give you a seizure if you look at them. I love the series, but I can't say the same for Macross and that's a late 80's anime...
Getting back on track, the explosions are detailed and the backgrounds look nice and fit in with the anime. There aren't any real bad points about the art style or animation, but of course, this anime is leagues behind in that respect. It's obvious that it is an old series and whether it aged well or not in terms of animation is irrelevant. Shinzou Ningen Casshern's animation is okay, and most importantly, it gets the job done.
It is a shame that this series never received a dub for North American audiences, but there is no shortage of quality with the Japanese cast. All of the voice actors sound marvelous and fit their roles well, whether they are strong and buff, young and brave or girly but bold. Ikuo Nishikawa as Casshern and Emiko Tsukada as Luna make this show. But the most prestigious voice of them all belongs to good old Braiking Boss played by Kenji Utsumi, who does an excellent job of making me hate him in all three versions of Casshern. There are vast amounts of other actors and minor roles in the anime that do substantially well too, as the production values were very high. The soundtrack is classic orchestral superhero music with stingers, slow, sad songs of defeat and epic battle themes too. It is very memorable, even if you only remember it because the opening and endings for this anime (and many other early 80's anime) are so cheesy... no getting past that fact. Eventually, the soundtrack will grow on you. If not, no big deal.
The only displeasing thing I can say about the characterization in Shinzou Ningen Casshern is that outside of Luna, Casshern and Braiking Boss and company, there are not very many characters with the same level of depth. Development is saved for the climax of the supporting characters, and it is generally slim outside of the main three—Casshern, Luna, and Braiking Boss. Casshern is a boy who put aside his own life to fight for the people who were too weak to do so. He is strong-willed, yet very shaky. There are many scenes in the anime where he is torn between his existence as a "newly-built human,” and his fate as being no longer able to live like a normal man. The irony is crushing, since even if he saves the world and Luna and his family from Andro Force's control, no one can save him from his fate. Despite that, he deals with it. He sets the example for other shounen heroes that came and still exist today. While Braiking Boss is the typical renegade bent on world domination who is very cunning, he treats everyone below him like trash. He is not above breaking promises or breaking bones to get what he desires. Luna is the typical girl companion until her love for her friend turns her into a pivotal and essential character that is soft, but bold. She stands and fights alongside Casshern forgoing the impending doom and I like her a lot, actually.
Even though those three are the ones you get the most interaction out of, it is worth noting that there are a multitude of characters with their own personalities and passions that are set as a basis for the episodes. You are bound to find a character or two that really grows on you throughout the course of any episode, and that can't be overlooked.
Shinzou Nignen Casshern does not falter in the entertainment factor. It SPOILS. I'm not saying this because I'm a nostalgic, because I watched this when I was 17...From episode one I could feel that this anime was not going to be a typical old style anime. It seems almost experimental, especially when it comes to its episodic structure, and the robots are... very silly at times. In fact hilarious, even, to a fault because it is different from the show's overall tone, however, this anime goes outside of the box just slightly and dives deep into a great tale that really gets the ball rolling. Shinzou Ningen Casshern just seems to show off its 35-episode-glory to me very well. I hope others can understand that.
Story: Exciting. Sad. Emotional. Silly. Very silly at times. This anime is just plain fun and enjoyable at times as well as tear jerking and melodramatic. Moreover, it doesn’t try hard at all to get that across. Not to mention that the episodes have brilliant writing and pacing. If the episodic nature really bothers you, take your opinions and toss them aside. Just watch and see what Casshern can do. (10)
Art: It looks fine, and fight scenes look the best over everything else. Sadly, I can’t say much else. The animation is just dated and even in the 70’s this anime was average looking, not the best-looking thing ever. Of course, this is a minor flaw in the series, if you can call it a flaw at all. It isn’t a big deal, so I’m going a half point here. (7.5)
Sound: Wonderful actors who scream and yell boldly. A nostalgic and incredible soundtrack. Tatakae, Casshern! (10)
Characters: I’m just into Luna the most, but the characters are fine and are also the driving force of the anime. Every character has his or her gripes and troubles, strengths and weakness. I think it is interesting to be able to see them all play out over the course of an episode…and even be able to relate to a few of them. It isn’t hard to pick a favorite. (10)
Enjoyment: I relish the chance to watch this anime a third, fourth, or tenth time! I believe that it is wonderful and amazing to just sit and watch this story play out because everything comes together in this anime. Highly entertaining in my opinion. (10)
OVERALL: 9.5(weak 10) OUTSTANDING - For those of you who have seen any of the other versions of Casshern, you understand what I meant earlier. If you haven't, I'll go into more detail: the Robot Hunter OVA is an extravagant battle that blows away your expectations...even though it weirds me out a tad bit. Casshern Sins was a masterpiece; it is probably the best-looking anime of the 2000's and presents a dramatic and thought-provoking story across every episode, which was simply amazing. But Shinzou Ningen Casshern is the opening tale of a classic character in a classic battle of good vs. evil, mixing the roles of humanity and machine. Best of all, there is no pandering or stalling.
This anime strikes one level and keeps going, accomplishing what it sets out to do. If you don't get with that, you don't have to. Casshern may not be for you, but don't bash something you know absolutely nothing about. Instead, educate yourselves--this action-packed, battle-oriented and dramatic animated tale is nothing short of pure entertainment.
I dispel all of the hate that this character and series gets because there is no justification for it. Casshern is top quality and proves himself as such on more than one occasion. Even though this time, it’s actually an opinion, I still won’t hesitate to recommend this to everyone who is an anime fan because you won't be disappointed.
The original Casshern is much different than the “cool, moody” version of the series that was stylistically conceptualized in Casshern Sins. While darker than the typical Tatsunoko series, Casshern is pretty much like a cyborg version of Adam West’s Batman or more accuratelyーa copypasta Megaman, because that game series obviously borrowed many of its designs and aesthetics from Casshern! There are way too many similarities to say otherwise!
• In a world ruled by the evil Braiking Boss and his evil, robotic minionsーbattling these heinous foes is a tremendous burden; with the risk of Casshern foregoing his humanity at the helm, a more accurate description of the
cataclysmic fight against the powers that be is more explicitly described in Casshern’s near-episodic catchphrase of, “Who will do it, if not Casshern?” This series doesn’t dive as deeply as a series like Galaxy Express 999 into what makes a person a person, but Casshern is surprisingly complex and melancholic for a jaunty, superhero, action cartoon that is similar, in tone, to Devilman (1972).
• There’s an android dog that is loyal and can transform into practically any vehicle imaginable, so to those of you who have an inner-child side―Friender will be that pet that your internal eight-year-old has always wished for! There’s a love interest, Luna, who actually isn’t useless (like most heroines of the time) and has powers of her own.
• Casshern’s duality and indifference towards Luna while having his manly, single-tear moments might be an annoyance to some viewers, but I found the melodrama quite amusing. The visuals aren’t bad, compared to other series that I’ve seen come out of the early 70’s, and the OP is something that’s a “yes, please” download to your cellphone or something that you save to a secret file―so your friends don’t think that you’re a miscreant geek.
• I won’t write a review for Casshern: Robot Hunter, that unmentionable reimagining of Casshern from the 90’s, that’s pretty much a culmination of every awful OVA that was ever conceived at the time. EDGE, GORE, NUDITY! All the components in the edgelord fantasy, Parasite Doll, without an interesting cyberpunk atmosphere… so: it’s completely skippable! It reminded me of every bad Fist of the North Star OVA that I’ve seen, coupled with X/1999… I definitely do not miss that aspect of Japanese animation in the 1990’s!
• Overall, I would suggest this series to someone who wants something fun and noncommittal, in the vein of Gatchaman and the classic Devilman TV series. Especially if you’re a fan of either Casshern Sins or a video game otaku who’s still obsessed with the Megaman franchise. I give this semiotic action series a 6/10 and Casshern: Robot Hunter a 3/10.
• Blurb & SN: At the time of this review, I hadn’t finished Casshern Sins, so I will be writing a separate review for that TV show―shock! I practically only do franchise reviews! I also bought the BD of this series and while there are little to no special features, I’m glad that I purchased the collection because this series is highly enjoyable!