I really wanted this show to work. At the time of me watching this, I had yet to see someone try to make a mech show that has a female lead. That was the primary reason for me to watch this show. Within the first four minutes, I was interested. Tokyo Tower getting destroyed (as usual) and some psycho chick in a robot is about to kill some other chick in a robot. I got a bit confused as I was watching the show the first time. I ended up watching the show again just to see if I missed something and to do ... this review more properly.
The story is simple as most mech shows are. The show tends to take a few pages from other shows.
“Oh look, a convenient manual for the robot happened to fall on my lap.”
The thing that may confuse some people is how the story is being told. The show itself is more or less based on two mangas: Jinki and Jinki:Extend. Jinki, being the prequel of the latter, occupies most of the spotlight during the first half of the show. While the initial story is going on, the story of the sequel, Jinki:Extend, is also being told in between scenes of the Jinki story. You will notice when there is a bright white transition the scene suddenly changes to character you met in the beginning suddenly are in Japan for five minutes, and then transition back and they are back in Venezuela. I think it was meant for the viewer to notice the transitions on their own, but sometimes when people are not paying attention (which was the case for me the first time) you tend to lose track on what is going on. You may end up thinking that the Extend manga scenes are flashbacks of the Jinki story. During the second half, the events of the Extend manga take over as the leading story. Though, the show picks up from here, it still felt a bit rushed. You get a few “OH SNAP!” moments during this part of the show, but it felt a bit forced due to lack of development.
The show is twelve episodes, well technically thirteen. They more or less tried to make a show that could have worked a lot better as a 26 episode show into 12 which forces the viewer to take in all the information quickly. The manga was still running during the process of the show which could explain some gaps in the story and the ending which left you wondering, “What the hell happened?” I guess this show was meant for those reading the manga. A good amount was actually skipped from the manga to tie both of the stories together. This show had a lot of potential, but the creators screwed up by making a shortened version of an unfinished manga.
The characters unfortunately did not get enough time to develop. At first, you get a lot time with Aoba and then the second half starts and you have to already know who the new characters are, because they do not spend much time on them. The villains of the show somehow worked though. Most of them are just plain evil, especially Shizuka. The dub for this character was on point. She acted so well I wanted to stab my monitor.
I didn't mind the mech designs that much. The Moribito itself looks a little bulky, but it made up for itself towards the end. Some of the later suits actually look good too. I can’t say much about the mechs since most of the story centers around the characters not the mechs.
The show has been licensed for a while, so I have to talk about the dub a bit more. It can be hit or miss at times. It is an ADV dub, so you can expect the usual staple of people doing the show. I have bit of a bias since I love most of the cast, most not all. One of the pilots from the Extend story just did not work for me. For me, the best part is Vic Mignogna playing a shape shifting, psycho, child rapist. Hilarious. As a side note, don’t play this show too loud on whatever it is you use. Brittney Karbowski, who plays Aoba, can scream like you can’t believe, which I commend her for doing. Final things about the dub you should know, is the previews for each episode were…it would be best if you just listen to the Japanese previews and see for yourselves.
Overall, I thought the show was not as bad as I thought it was and I didn’t think it was terrible before, just confusing. Again, had each manga were given enough screen time, it would have worked out. As a side note, for those who are tokusatsu fans, you can compare the way the story is being told to Kamen Rider Kiva. That show has a story being told in 1987 and another in 2008. It would be the same, except in Kiva they do a better job at the transitions between times. It even gives both stories equal screen time. Ah, but I digress, I think that people should try this show out. Even with its flaws, it is worth a watch. It’s short and you can bang through this show in one day. Just make sure you pay attention. If you are given the choice of the sub or dub, I would go with the dub. I think the cast did a good job. They acted all over this show and for that I thank them. It’s not perfect I know, but this is one of the few shows that are giving equal opportunity to leading mech pilots.
By the way, the opening and the ending sequence is a homage to Mobile Suit Gundam and Mazinger Z respectively. Just in case you didn’t notice.
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Nov 25, 2008
This was a very obscure show. While I was looking up info for this show, I found out that this was originally made in English with Japanese subtitles; I immediately went to look for it after that. So, for this review I obviously can’t mention how the Japanese track was since, as far as I know, there isn’t one. I believe this was meant to be a actual series, but it seems that they never got to make anymore, which is a shame since this show was actually good.
The story is very simple. This show is suppose to be taking place during the 70s, ... which you notice right away due to the show being presented as an old action movie of the times.
One word can describe the dialog: Cheesy. Yet, it works, which is the weird thing. There are plenty of expletives thrown all over the place. So, make sure the kiddies are not around. Again, the show was meant to be in the style of old 70s movies, which can explain the cheese. The acting is not exactly top grade, but it wasn’t painful. This was originally made in Japan, so you are not going to get the best English speaking actors. Most, not all, of the cast was good though. Blue was alright, I didn’t mind her. Bill and Robert were good. The only problem in my mind was John Doe. He was pretty hit-or-miss.
There have since been a good amount of shows that have used cell-shaded CG animation for their entire show. A good amount being action related. This show is one of the ones that make it work. The action scenes are very fluid. I can not stress that enough. It is pure eye-candy, especially the disco fight.
This show has style, which a lot of shows are missing now-a-days. I just wished they made more of it. It felt like there were somethings missing. There were a bunch of things that I would have loved for them to cover, especially Blue's past. This is show is worth a watch, if only just to laugh at the corny dialog.
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Nov 11, 2008
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.
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