With many of its central personnel lost in the war, the Earth Federation Government is forced to rebuild, and Brian Midcrid, president of the Unified Colonies, takes the position of its president. During an emergency session of the Federation Diet, he publicly acknowledges the existence of extraterrestrials, and reveals the events of the L5 campaign to the masses in what will later come to be called the "Tokyo Declaration." He goes on to state that these aliens pose a serious threat to humanity.
Well the Inspectors is based off part two of the "Original Generations" saga sub-line of the "Super Robot Wars" franchise. In case you're wondering, Super robot Wars is a video game franchise known for being a crossover of many mecha series. In these games, some original characters are made and inserted. Over time these original character grew so numerous, they made a crossover game purely consisting of original characters. This is the "OG" saga line of games. If you came here expecting to see Gundam Vs Evangelion, you won't get it (though what you do get isn't far off).
Basically, this show is kinda all over
the place and is hardly comparable to a regular anime (mostly because of its lack of a specific overarching plot and the fact that there are like a hundred characters. Literally.), so writing a standard review would take too many words. Instead I'll do this in a Q&A format:
Q:What is the plot of The Inspectors?
A:There is no overarching plot. But there are millions of small sub plots. This sets it apart from most anime, because rather than create a setting and use all of 0.00001% of it to tell a story, this show heavily utilises its setting. For instance, unlike, say, the original Gundam, where Char and Amuro was the only significant rivalry to ever develop in the whole, supposedly large, one-year-war. In The Inspectors however, there are dozens (to make the comparison worse, SRW's earth and enemy forces are orders of magnitude smaller than they are in gundam). So right off the bat, I can guarantee you that The Inspectors has much more content than does most standard shows (mech or otherwise).
Q:Does having this much content clutter the show?
A:Yes, but not because the show is cluttered (ie: poorly written), but mostly because viewers don't have a 20-minute attention span. Unlike many anime series, where forgetting 70% of an episode doesn't have squat influence on the plot, you would do well to remember what was in each episode of the Inspectors, as much of it is important. Indeed, if you watch a particularly fast episode twice I can effectively guarantee that you'll see something new the second time round, especially if you leave a day or two between watches.
Q:So what are the upsides to having this many characters?
A:The usual answer would be "to please fans of the character from the game". This is a stupid statement. I mean think about it, this just begs the question as to why the character was in the game in the first place. That's not particularly helpful. So instead I'll offer an actually useful answer: Because having loads of characters from different backgrounds working toward their various goals is PRECISELY what the SRW franchise has sought to do from its inception.
I mean honestly, in this show you can do something nigh on impossible in almost every other anime. Watch the show from different points of view. Take Axel in the first episode. Then the end of ep6. then the beginning of ep8, etc. The perspective you get is radically different to the one you'll get if you watch the show in full. Then you can re-watch from Rai or Gilliam's point of view, etc. To me, this is the appeal of the OG saga lines, everyone and everything is an actual character, not just a puppet with a face being pulled by the strings of one or two lead actors in a play. Everyone is legitimately different.
Q:But if these characters are just from a game, aren't we just getting the "same old" stuff rehashed?
A:NO. This is NOT an adptation of a game (or at least, not one that has been released so far). It would be much more useful to think of this as an expansion pack. The general gist of the show is along the same lines and the game, but there are so many (often very large) differences between the game and show that calling it an adptation does an injustice, there is a large volume of content added that you'll never see if you only play the games released thus far.
Q:So, are there any changes that make it worse than the game?
A:Only one- Wodan Ymir. Saying why would be a spoiler, but suffice to say, when a character is popular because of nothing but raw strenght, then you have to be very careful how you depict that strength. A point of reference must be made, because unlike the game, the anime has no health bars and damage meters (excluding those awesome computer menu screens). Compared to the game Wodan was not done well. That's not to say he was done badly, just that the game did it much, much better.
Q:so that's plot and characters, what about art and sound?
A:Sound, firstly, is friggin AMAZING. The original score is really really good, and the score recycled from the game is incredible, since the games have had years and years of refinemnt go into them. Voice acting and sound effects too, are amazing. The first OP is the only thing I'll criticise- it really lacked "flow" so I felt it doesn't really work as a theme, though this is minor considering how many other good pieces of music they had. And some people liked that song. (I must admit the full version is better than the TV version)
But art is the big one.
Firsly, the art is very VERY flashy. Crisp colors with loads of contrast and special effects make this show a pleasure to watch.
The 3D CG is excellent. It is used in only a few specific instances (such as the lion series and explosions and battleships), and even then, only when it fits. But more importantly, it is shaded very vibrantly, so it fits in very well with the show, so unlike many other mech shows with 3D in them it is entierly possible people won't even notice the CG at all.
There is also a liberal amount of VERY high-quality artwork (still frames) employed in the show (these make GREAT backgrounds xD), which serves to boost the show and deliver eyecandy to keep up the bombardment of awesome that comprises almost every scene in this show.
But there are downsides. There is a lot of stock footage that gets recycled. This is used approriately and in varied circumstances, so even when it is heavily employed, it feels fresh, but it is noticable.
The bigger issue is the regular drops in quality in minor scenes. the producers obviously were stretched for resources (I'd say manpower, since I've seen shows with a low budget, and the Inspectors doesn't have those symptoms) and in some scenes it is quite apprant.
But frankly, at its lowest quality this show is still of a much higher standard than most anime.
A: Simple. This show is PACKED. And I mean PACKED with stuff. Art, sound, stories, characters, mechs, new stuff, old stuff, you name it. Sure, some people like their anime simple, shallow and two-dimentional, but if you're up for something bigger, the inspectors delivers.
-Also, this show is a sequel. the first season was ridiculously mediocre, with obvious CG, bland BGMS (except for the ones from the games) and dated character designs. But that said, it may help you get familiar with the cast, which, being as huge as it is, is no lean feat. I suggest watching it, but be aware that the Inspectors is RADICALLY different.
Some time ago (I.E. a few hours ago) I reviewed Super Robot Wars Divine Wars. A middle of the road mecha anime that adapted a pretty decent game. However someone must've really liked it considering that it got a sequel based on the second game. And apparently they had more budget this time around, as they decided to bring on the perfect man for this kind of show: Masami Obari! Yes, I may make fun of this man as much as the next guy, but you can te he loved giant robots, and this time around he needs to write around a pre-existing scripts so
the chances of there being a better director for this were basically non existent.
As I said before, the plot is based on the second OG game. This was around the time the series started to hit its stride, and it shows. The plot is far more complex this time around, with far more complex villains and heroes.
It's also somewhat darker, but only so much. At its core, the OG series is a love letter to mecha anime, so expect tons of cliches and for it to only occasionally take itself seriously.
My only complaint is that they sometimes forshafoe stuff that straight up never happen, mostly because those were meant to foreshadow later games and so far we haven't gotten anything for any of the games after OG2.
The cast is freaking massive to say the least. Thankfully only some of them actually get focus. The two with most focus are Kyosuke and Excellen, who are just so lovable together that I'm pretty sure it should be ilegal to ship them with anyone but each other. Slightly behind them in terms of focus is newcomer Lamia Loveless, who gets a rather generic but otherwise well done character arc and she is an easy character to root for. Everyone else gets somewhat uneven focus. For instance, despite being the main character last time, Ryusei is basically brought along for the ride with his Lancer Rai getting more focus. That said, everyone does get their own little moment to shine, and ultimately do leave a good impression with me.
The villains are all pretty good. They're the right balance of quirky yet menacing. Lemon and Axel ended up being my favorites, with the latter straight up being one of my favorite characters in all of fiction. I think the only one I didn't care for is Vindel, the leader of the Shadow Mirror. He's just kinda generic compared to everyone else around him.
Boy is this an upgrade. The characters do have a bit of an art shift this time around which basically makes all of them look older than what they actually are (Ryusei and Masaki being affected the most). It honestly didn't bother me, and if anything the new art style does make everyone more expressive than what they normally are.
As for the fight scenes, well... it's Masami Obari. I don't care if you hate his shows, the one thing all of his shows have in common is that they look damn good, and this show is no exception.
Unlike Divine Wars, the show uses the game's soundtrack and its completely unaltered. While I'll admit I did like the orchestral remixes of the last show, I don't mind this. The original soundtrack was already designed with fast paced action in mind, so it ultimately does fit the show. And yeah, you can bet I cheered like a mad fanboy when "So Close Yet So Far" started playing in Axel and Kyosuke's Final Battle.
As for the Openings and Endings, I still don't care about them too much... with exception of the second Opening theme "Ryusei Lovers". I freaking adore this song.
Most of the cast from the game return and do an outstanding job. There are some recasts, but it's mostly for relatively minor characters.
The main Duo of Toshiyuki Morikawa and the Late Great Yuko Mizutani do an outstanding job, easily the best performances in the whole job. Mizutani in particular deserves credit as she had to play THREE different characters yet made them all sound distinct.
Everyone else is great too. From Nobutoshi Canna, Tomokazu Sugita, Ai Orikasa, Shinichiro Miki, Atsuko Tanaka, Yumi Kakazu, Takeshi Kusao, Akira Ishida, Takumi Yamazaki, Takehito Koyasu (Who actually is the deliciously cold ham he's meant to be), Hikaru Midorikawa, Yuu Asakawa, Kappei Yamaguchi... the list just goes on and on.
Needless to say, I really liked this anime. It wasn't perfect, but damn if I didn't enjoy it. If you just want l have fun, then definitely watch this show. And if you liked it, play the games too (Though be warned, only the first two and The The fifth game have English translation so be careful), they're more than worth your time.
Those who aren't intrested in reading walls of text, just read the summaried one below. But at least read the paragraph before it first so you can get a rough idea.
The Super Robot Wars: Original Generation anime series(Divine Wars and The Inspectors) is pretty much for those who have played the game with a similar name, be it on the GBA or PS2. Now before you misunderstand, I'm not saying that those who have not played the game cannot watch this anime, but rather, if you haven't played the game and you watch the anime, you will be left confused throughout the series due to
numerous plot holes, lack of character development and some inside jokes that only those who have played the game will get it.
For those who has seen Divine Wars and not played any of the games and doesn't mind the defects as long as the series is somewhat good, you should watch it.
For those who has seen/not seen Divine Wars and played/not played the game and are looking for a good mecha anime with a good story, I suggest you give this one a miss.
For those who have played the game and is hoping for a good story for the anime adaptation, give this a miss.
Oh and I forgot to mention, the series is full of fanservice.
Now then, for the lengthy one.
Before I begin, I would like to inform the dear reader of something.
As someone who had played the game, my review will contain some comparisions with the game and the anime so you may think that it may be a bit biased but as I had mentioned, the anime is generally for people who has played the game because most of my friends(real and online) whom I've asked, are not intrested in watching the series.
With that being said, on to the review.
Story - 3/10
I wasn't expecting the story to be any good due to my experience with Divine Wars, so I'm already rating this on a very low scale but even so, I can't give it a pass. People on anime forums pretty much shot the series down within the first few episodes regarding the story, and they are right. Parts that weren't rushed were dragged on needlessly and vice versa. Some events which were important for plot, either got rushed through, skipped or reordered. Making the major events seem insignificant.
Art - 9/10
Nothing really much to say here since most of the year 2000 onward anime have decent graphics. What I liked were how detailed some of the machines were designed and some of the character designs were really nice as well. Machine and character designs were pretty close to the game so it's good, overall.
Sound - 6/10
SRW series is known for some really amazing soundtracks, namely the character/robot themes. The main flaw regarding sound in Inspectors is that the way the themes are cut off, is very forced, unnatural and breaks the tension, excitement etc. . It does improve as the episodes progress but not much improvement overall.
Character - 7/10
One area in which I think Inspectors did better than the game is character development, namely for Kyosuke. Though the anime focused too much on him and almost all the other characters have close to zero development at all. Some major characters for the story were shafted and practically disappeared for the entire series, while some literally disappeared after appearing once or twice and some characters just suddenly become friendlier towards each other all of a sudden.
Overall - 7/10
As a whole, I rather enjoyed the series, despite it's numerous defects. What I enjoyed the most were all the character, good and bad, machines and attacks being animated. Watching some of the epic scenes in the game getting animated allowed me to relive the moment I played the games, so a good bit of nostalgia there.
This is more a statement, observation, and suggestion than an actual review because I am still watching the series.
Super Robot Taisen OG: The Inspector is a great choice if you are suffering mecha withdrawal and need a new hit. There are lots of pretty characters, action, and mecha but it lacks something its predecessors had, and that was “heart.” By heart, I guess I mean meaningful character development, interaction and compelling story line. In fact, it really doesn’t hang together too well unless you are familiar with Cybuster and Super Robot Wars OG: Divine Wars. I have
put SRWOG: TI on hold until I can finish its predecessors. I’m now about half way through Cybuster and have to say, despite it’s aged appearance, I can hardly stop watching it. On the other hand despite it’s slick, bright, updated appearance, I found SRWOG: TI disjointed and, well, “lifeless.” I actually dosed off during SRWOG: TI.
If you are a mecha addict or if you are a fan of Cybuster and Super Robot Wars OG: Divine Wars you will likely find your time with SRWOG: TI well spent. If not, you will likely end up confused and disappointed. At 14 episodes, I can only give it a 6. I hope that will change after I complete Cybuster and SRWOG: DW.