An underappreciated anime saga: Giant Robo.

I remembered a hidden anime gem that I forgot to mention in my last post, and thought I’d talk about it today.  It may have a certain cult following among die-hard anime fans and people who watched anime back in the day, but I wouldn’t be surprised if most new viewers haven’t heard of it/haven’t bothered to watch it, and I only heard of it through recommendations from older anime fans.  It definitely deserves to be talked about and viewed more!

 

Despite the fact that it’s a pretty old anime (released from 1992 to 1998), Giant Robo: The Animation, based on manga by Mitsuteru Yokoyama, still packs a punch, and is certainly still a gripping, emotional rollercoaster of an OVA (original video animation).  The series is basically made up of seven short movies, a format which adds a more “epic” tone to the show, and allows for longer, more intense stories during most of the episodes.

Giant Robo the Animation 1

So, what’s it about?  Giant Robo’s main theme is basically “the environment”, but it goes into a lot of depth, presenting contrasting viewpoints concerning the development of alternative, renewable energy sources.

Hold on, have I started to lose you there?  Bored of soppy, environmental messages about how we should abandon fossil fuels and create a greener planet?  I would argue that they’re not soppy messages in this show, but well, OK, there’s stuff for you here as well.  The Giant Robot which lends to the show’s name is pretty cool, although, if you’re a mecha fan, I wouldn’t get too hyped, as he doesn’t appear quite as much as you’d think.  There’s more than enough action sequences throughout the show, with different types of fighting style, for all of you fans of fighting anime (from katana duels to fist fights) and there’s brilliant character developments, with a few surprise twists and turns here and there.  The atmosphere of the anime is pretty darn dramatic, as two factions fight, one trying to save the world, and the other trying to save it.  This leads to more deaths than the majority of “teen friendly” anime that I’ve seen, making it perhaps a little more gruesome and heart-wrenching than you might expect.  Just make sure you don’t show this to your toddler/easily upset child, this is not a kids’ show.

It’s worth remembering this series in a time when the future is very uncertain.  Unlike Giant Robo: The Animation, conversely, we now seem to be in a world where support of scientific research into renewables is decreasing rather than increasing.  Either way, Giant Robo emphasies the fact that relying on one source entirely can be dangerous and lead to unexpected consequences.  Renewables are obviously going to be necessary at some point in the future when fossil fuels are almost exhausted, but at the same time, back-up plans can be life-savers.

Anyhow, I highly recommend Giant Robo: The Animation to anyone who is looking for a new anime to watch, and has at least some passing interest in philosophical sci-fi anime with a partial focus on technology and mechas.  And if you’re missing shows like Game of Thrones with their twists and turns, corruption, conspiracies, and multiple character deaths, this may be a show for you.  🙂  Enjoy!

 

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