Set in a far flung medieval-looking world of Arst, Prince Jordy Volder takes up the fight against the ambitions of the conqueror Marder. Jordy uses the legendary giant robot "panzer" Galient, which is one of many panzers that have been preserved underground for thousands of years. Using an army of advanced robot panzers, Marder is conquering all of Arst in preparation of his plan for dominance of the Crescent Galaxy.
When we look at the past we often face the predicament of conceptualising how people lived with primitive technology, and how they would have behaved if they had come into contact with more advanced technology. This issue is the continual focus of Panzer World Galient.
Panzer World Galient was aired in the 'golden age' of anime, smack bang in the middle of the 80's. It's not an adaptation, rather it's the third anime conceived and directed by mecha legend Ryousuke Takahashi- succeeding his projects Dagram and Votoms.
Votoms and Dagram were both highly successful, Dagram running 75 episodes and Votoms 52. Galient however, ran only 25
episodes. Takahashi was informed episode 19 that the show was cancelled. As such, Galient's ending is rushed and devalues the overall quality of the show, but additionally are the problems that caused the lack of appeal that saw its demise in the first place. This is not to entirely say that Panzer World Galient is a failure though, because it's not.
The setting of Galient is a fantasy world, where iron-age societies are desperately trying to defend themselves from the Marder empire. The Marder empire possesses more advanced technology, obtained from excavating artifacts and researching a now extinct ancient civiliisation, giving them access to a wide range of different mechas, called Panzers. This is where the cast comes into play. Jordy, our boy protagonist, with the help of his now-girlfriend Chururu, discovers in a cave the legendary mecha Galient. Piloting Galient, Jordy defends the less advanced societies, opposing the Marder empire, but not without the help of Red (a thief), Hilmuka, and stepfather Azubes. Hilmuka is a member of a third civilisation, who has even more advanced technology than the Marder empire. However, they are a pacifist society.
As earlier eluded to, this triumvirate relationship between these three societies and their disparate levels of technology sets an interesting dialogue within the show. As the central theme, it's an effective pull that repetitively asks the viewer questions of how humans behave.
Unfortunately, this is almost the sole attraction of Panzer World Galient. Our protagonist Jordy acts like a typical twelve-year-old boy, and his girlfriend an even more annoying ten-year-old girl. Ryousuke Takahashi did this quite cognisantly, as Panzer World Galient was aired in an earlier time slot and aired on a more family friendly network than his previous works. The mistake, perhaps, is that Takahashi is a master when it comes to more mature, seinen, plots. Tailoring Galient towards younger viewers majorly degraded the depth of his script, and complexity of his plot.
Another drawback within Galient is the dichotomy between"real robot" and "super robot". Takahashi had made his name as the founder (though not progenitor) of "real robot" anime. This "real robot" is a genre term that typifies in conventions of 'hard' science fiction, that is, the mecha or robots depicted within these anime had seemingly factual exposition, and were based in dynamics of reality. "Super robots" were those who had no flaws, who did not denigrate themselves to logical outcomes in battles. While arguably the line is often blurred, Takahashi actively moved away from "real robot" conventions in Galient. This effectively spurned his numerous fans who had enjoyed Votoms and Dagram, severely decreasing sales of merchandise related to Panzer World Galient- a large reason for Galient's financial failure.
Regarding production quality, Galient is quite well done. While unfortunately the series is only available on DVD (with a very dark transfer), it's evident that as much work was put into Galient as other airing anime at the time such as L-Gaim and Lezarion, if not more. It does have the inherently 80's look, in both mechanical and character designs. For this we can thank the famous names of Norio Shioyama and Yutaka Izubuchi who worked on innumerable other anime, Izubuchi going on to create and direct Rahxephon.
The music is quite catchy, especially the opening. While some obviously don't like the opening, equally as many found it highly enjoyable, and catchy. It really defines Panzer World Galient. Especially as it was, like many 80's OPs, created exclusively for the anime.
While there are obvious problems with Panzer World Galient, overall the series does sort of overcome it. It is very battle-heavy, which is entertaining in base, and it does have an interesting dialogue about how technology affects the lives of humans. Albeit Galient does somewhat fall apart with the immaturity of its characters (and their actions which subsequently changes the narrative). The infallability of Galient as a mecha is additionally somewhat tiresome, coming to the fore in the majority of episodes. Overall, Panzer World Galient remains engaging, and quite a nice example of 80's anime. Galient remained for some time forgotten before the generous Crinn decided to fansub it. Now, slowly there is a growing popularity for Galient, and in the future we might call it a 'hidden gem' or 'cult classic' for the interesting themes it presents.