The year is now 2041 AD. A new enemy called Zeravire suddenly appears in the solar system, destroying all military installations it comes across. However, a wealthy man named Klein Sandman is already aware of this planned invasion and had been secretly preparing his army for battle. His trump card is Gravion, a giant robot that utilizes gravity as its source of energy. Meanwhile a young man named Eiji secretly enters Sandman's base in search for his missing sister. It is there that he meets another young man by the name of Toga... These two must now fight together with four other individuals aboard the super robot, Gravion to fend off the Zeravire threat.
I would like to state this first, I am a sucker for any show that features JAM Project. The only thing I had known about this was: This is a super robot show and it has lots of fanservice. Usually, this may turn off a lot of people, but I am one of those people where fanservice doesn’t really faze me. I will admit most of the women in this show have nothing less then a D cup, but that never really got me distracted from the show. If that was the only thing that you were focusing on then, you should really get that
taken care of.
As far as the story, since the second season of the show is where most of the “plot” related episodes happen, I can’t really say that this season has a real story. The short of it is, guy is looking for his sister and ends up having to fight space aliens with a mech. What this show does is do a good job using the simple “monster of the week” super robot formula. That being said, you are going to get the recurring stock footage of the mech parts combining at least once every episode. Luckily, it comes with a good JAM Project song. If this ends up bothering you, don’t complain, just fast forward through it.
Now regarding the robot itself, it is not that bad of a design. It is very simple. The one humanoid mech combines with the three planes and the drill tank, really it’s more like putting armor then it is a transformation. The weapons are ok. They have one sword, then they get a bigger sword. What I thought was interesting was that since the pilots are in the hands and feet of Gravion, when they use their rocket punch, the pilot in the hand has to actually guide the fist to the monster. Kind of a nice touch.
The characters are not that different from other shows you have seen. Again, this show is not trying to be original. What I thought was funny was that the character that you thought was going to be the leader of the pack and will eventually be the one that is going to be the head of the robot, ends up piloting one of the feet. The one character that most people may end up enjoying is Sandman. He is a bit over the top since his role is to be the very dramatic commander. As every commander of a super robot show should be.
I decided to watch the dub and it wasn’t so bad. Most of the voices fit and Sandman was perfect, so that is all that matters. Plus, the dub helped going through this show a lot easier. I ended up switching between the tracks towards end, mainly just to hear how everyone sounded. The cast is fine in either language, so it is up to you.
To sum up, the first season was not too bad. I enjoyed the show as a whole. The show picks up more during the second season, but I think the first was still fine as a stand alone. It’s short, so that’s a good thing. I ended up burning through this show very quickly. If you want a masterpiece, you are not going to get it. As a mech show, it is worth a shot. Not everyone will enjoy this show, but if you are open-minded, watch it.
Gravion is a very fun show which has a particularly retro feel, and that's why it's so enjoyable. It completely embraces every cliche of the super robot genre and does so so openly that you can't help but enjoy it in the same way as a show like GaoGaiGar.
The plot of the first season is mostly simplistic - enemies invade from space, conventional weapons don't work and the super robot is all that can fight them effectively. There's a slight plot about the main character's search for a missing sister but really nothing is done with this until the second season. Instead, you get lots
of explosions, shouting, nicely animated fights and interesting enemies. Some people might think this too simple, but at 13 episodes it's a lot more manageable than say the 50 of a show like Voltes V or the nearly 100 episodes of Mazinger Z.
The music is consistently great, with JAM Project doing a sterling job with the incredibly catchy opening and action themes. Similarly, the little details both in sound and visual design give Gravion a sense of weight and power that some robots don't have - the way it takes a steady stance and clamps itself down before using a rocket punch is a great detail.
However, the action is only half the appeal of Gravion. The other half is the comedy, which is at least on a par with Full Metal Panic, and to my mind better. It's mostly simple harem stuff like cross-dressing, voyeurism and so on, but it's done well and generally raises a good few laughs each episode. The cast of characters is amusing, from the mostly female robot team to the two male pilots and Sandman, the dramatic operator.
This brings this review quite nicely into the strongest point of Gravion - its English dub. The voice actor for Sandman is excellent, getting the right tone while sounding like he's really enjoying himself.
All that said, it definitely warrants saying that Gravion has elements of the ecchi genre in it as well as the mecha action. The girls are carefully chosen to fit all the core fetishes of a harem show, and most of the humour is sexual. However, it reminded me more of Kotetsushin Jeeg's laddish humour than Godannar's more awkward sexual jokes.
If you don't mind a good amount of risque humour and bouncing boobies in your mecha show, and love JAM Project and oldschool super robot action, then Gravion is well worth watching. The main complaint, though, has to be the reduced significance of the main arc plot in season 1 - it sets itself mostly up for season 2.