Set in the near future, humanity enters another energy revolution following the discovery of Photon Power. Derived from the ore discovered under the foothills of Mt. Fuji, its intended use was to solve the world's energy problems with its unimaginable power. Seeking this energy is Dr. Hell, a madman craving world domination who with his subordinates Baron Ashura, Count Brocken and Viscount Pygman, commands an army of mechanical beasts excavated from the ruins of ancient Greece to seize the Photon Power Lab for himself. Meeting the attack head on is the hot-blooded teenager Kabuto Kouji, who pilots the Photon Powered robot built by his grandfather, Mazinger Z. But in this battle between Dr. Hell and the Kabuto family, many legends surrounding the Mycenaean Civilization and Bardos Island, as well as the secrets of Mazinger Z remain shrouded in mystery.
A new series based on the mecha show that started it all, Mazinger Z. Shin Mazinger Shougeki! Z-Hen starts over from the beginning with a new cast, to tell a new story unrelated to the original show.
Shin Mazinger Shougeki Z Hen is not the average super robot show of this generation. First and foremost, it is a tribute to the bygone days of robots. It is a high quality hot-blooded, testosterone-loaded robot slugfest which will leave you begging for more.
True Mazinger combines a number of the Mazinger universe into one brand new reboot, giving some minor characters spotlighted roles, and reducing the less interesting ones, and is loaded to the brim with tributes and references to the old series. Or so I have been told. Truth be told, this was my first entry into the Mazinger universe, and it was well
worth the trip.
The story is a bit of an interesting beast, managing to be convoluted, while not requiring a lot of thought. Imagawa writes by season, not by episode. The threads all come together at the end, and do so with incredible flair, however this means that not everything will be resolved in an episode.
The art is a tribute to the old style, with thick outlines and strong solid colors. The character/robot designs are hardly changed from the original 70s style. This absolutely looks like a 70s anime with today's production qualities, in a good way. While I was not a big fan to begin with, the style really grew on me, so do not let this be a deterrent to watching the show.
The music is absolutely fabulous as well. Kanjite Knight is one of the best OPs of recent memory, and is used to great effect throughout the show. The background music is strong throughout as well.
True Mazinger Impact! Z Chapter is one of the most fun shows I have ever had the pleasure of watching. However, I believe it will be one of those shows which you'll either love or hate, due both to the writing and art styles. For me, this was a marvelous trip to the classic style, while remaining in today's world of shiny animation.
SIDE NOTE: In an attempt to push the streaming Bandai channel, several minutes of scenes were cut out of each of the first 15 episodes of the TV broadcasts. I recommend Gattai subs, as they have added these scenes in.
True Mazinger is a very good, thoroughly entertaining super robot show.
Pretty much, Kabuto Kouji pilots the original badass super robot, Mazinger Z. Dr. Hell and his psychotic minions are constantly waging war, they want to stop Mazinger Z and get all the various powers and technology from the good guys.
For the most part, the show is dialogue driven, with all the eccentric characters going into great detail about how they feel and why they want what they do. The plot is more explained than actually shown, although this isn't necessarily a bad thing, as it keeps the intrigue going.
The oldschool super robot action is
a lot of fun, pretty much our hero in his Mazinger Z whips out a few signature moves and that's all he needs for the most part. The great rockin' soundtrack helps fuel these scenes with burning passion though.
The show is very quirky, it pays homage to a lot of random Go Nagai comics that for the most part haven't been translated into English before. Lots of random nods to Go Nagai's past works, which admittedly can seem a bit out of place.
Pretty much, this show is very strong throughout, although I have to admit towards the end, after many plot twists, some of the characters motivations really didn't seem to add up.
All in all, this is a very memorable show paying tribute to the father of the genre, and I recommend checking it out. Hopefully it gets the sequel series it deserves.
Build a time machine, tune the dial to 1972, walk the streets of the Japanese suburbs, and you may hear that catchy Mazinger Z opening song blasting from a cathode-ray tube TV set. The famous opening animation introduces a swimming pool separating to allow the first super robot to be controlled by a human being to walk and save Japan. Mazinger Z is one of those influential works you have to know regardless of your interest in the mecha series.
However, one of the main criticisms of the well-loved kid show is that the protagonist is nothing like Go Nagai envisioned. Kabuto Kouji is supposed to
be red-blooded, reckless, and be all GAR. That over-the-top insanity and dark humor Nagai created disappeared.
Imagawa Yasuhiro and his team corrected that mistake by giving birth to Shin Mazinger Z. Every small detail gives off the smell of old school super robot shows with a modern twist. Some may find the previous sentence a good description of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, a Gainax mecha show. But while that show is a good homage to the bygone days in Gainax’s special twist, Shin Mazinger Z is a true homage. The latter is more like a replica!
For example, the animation techniques and art style comes from that era: character designs and mecha designs are simple; the show looks gritty and unpolished; and, for the diehard Mazinger fans, the music from the old show gets a sweet rearrangement by Miyagawa Akira. All of these minor details, when stacked together, fool you into thinking you are watching a classic mecha anime.
But not all of those minor details will be wasted if you don’t have the classic super robot protagonists. Kabuto Kouji, as I mentioned previously, is not just a crazy virile high school student; he is one of the epitomes of GAR. Let us remember what GAR means: it’s a word that describes someone’s masculinity and that it is so overpowering it makes you want to cry like a little girl. Kouji is so reckless and absurd you have to give kudos to the guy. As the show progresses, you sympathize with the protagonist’s family troubles. The secrets that lie in the Kabuto family are complicated and no normal person can take that much pressure; Kouji can. And he’ll rocket punch and BUUUUUREEEEESTOOOO FIRREEEEEEEEE every villain in the face with his MAZINGERRRR ZETTTTOOOOO!!!
His friends and family support his reckless ventures by being badasses themselves. Nishikori Tsubasa, who first appeared not in Mazinger Z but Violent Jack, is my favorite character in Shin Mazinger Z. Supposedly the boss of the Kurogane House onsen, she actually leads a gang of superhumans. She is also the puppet-master combatting for good against the evils of Dr. Hell and his minions. Undeniably the most dynamic character, she is the unsung heroine. While Kouji might be fighting Mechanical Beasts, she is the one that oversees the safety of everyone. In her own way.
Likewise, Kabuto Juzo, the creator of the god mecha Mazinger Z, is a mad professor who is hardcore enough to ride a rocket punch and still scream in joy. His nemesis, Dr. Hell, is a creepy villain who hides in the shadows. He doesn’t appear much, but he lets a creepier monstrosity take the lead: Baron Ashura.
This is where Shin Mazinger Z shines from all the rust that pervades in most animes: a villain where you both sympathize and hate. Ashura is the main henchman but it has no gender -- no, it has two: male and female. Born from the corpses of two lovers, Ashura has two personalities, two voices, and two bodies. It is like a Frankenstein creation, something that should have never been born. Ashura is disgusting and yet, one finds it hard to not pity their tragic love story. To be revived by sharing your lover’s body is indescribable. That unfathomable horror makes the character intriguing and its personality twisted. It blames Zeus, the soul of Mazinger Z, for this disaster. Ashura leaves anyone emotionally confused. How do you hate someone who has a good reason to be a villain?
Sadly, for a show this superb, there are some glaring mistakes. While the story is a beautiful, convoluted mess, one may find it tiring to figure things through. I feel that the length is a bit too long; the Germany arc especially feels a bit stretched for my liking. The worst part about that arc is that they repeat the first scene in every episode. This is different from the other episodes’ openings because it’s the same sequence of animation. And then, there’s that SKE48 ending song. Yes, SKE48 -- the sister group for AKB48. I have no qualms against the group but it’s a huge mismatch. When you have JAM Project playing “The Guardian” in the opening, you can’t honestly think, “Hm, SKE48 might have a good song~”, right?
Of course, with all these small flaws, it still means the show is great. It’s a fun study in anime history for people interested in what the super robot subgenre has to offer. One step into the series and you shall be immersed in the Mazinger franchise. There’s no need to use that time machine anymore; you can sell it off on eBay for a copy of this DVD. It’s worth it.