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Gaiking: Legend of the Daiku-Maru Episodes #27-39 Anime Review

5 min read

Of parents, their children and the bonds between them that unite and divide. Plus giant fighting robots.

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
All ready in a corner the crew of the Daiku-Maryu has to face an all new threat hatched by Proist, and this time the fight won’t be fought in giant armor but with in the heart of two of the most irreplaceable members of the crew. Even if the battle is won, the cost maybe staggering as a new opponent marches onto the field and there is a giant sized hole left in the Daiku-Maryu’s roster.

All is not lost however as the crew has been well trained and a bold plan helps to reinforce their ranks and some of their previous hard work starts to pay dividends. To top it off they find that their main weapon still has a trump card to play which will help push the odds more in their favor-or it would have if Proist hadn’t had a plan lying in wait to separate the Gaiking from the Daiku-Maryu in the ultimate divide and conquer strategy.

Now stuck back on Earth Daiya must find some new allies as he will still find himself under assault and in serious need of resupply as Proist has not failed to try to stack the odds in her favor and even the barrier of being on another world won’t stop her. Luckily Garis has allies on Earth who have been keeping the Daiku-Maryu’s family members up to date on their loved ones and may be in a position to offer some help, limited though it maybe.

When things look their bleakest though, a dragon pierces the waves to provide support for a beleaguered fighter and to try to even the odds. Even that support may not be enough though when a trusted ally decides to reassess their support in a move that will further divide a family and which could place new strains on the home front and their support pillar.

While Earth is important the battle will be won or lost in Darius and upon their return the Daiku-Maryu crew will face an all new weapon wielded by Proist which they absolutely must beat to defend both lands. Daiya will also find out news regarding the location of his father but is the news too shocking to be true, and what does it mean for their war effort? To make a critical situation even more perilous, a divide in the Darius leadership will place Proist in a mental corner which will lead her to be far more dangerous and desperate than ever. Will the tide of darkness overwhelm the Daiku-Maryu or will the Gaiking be able to burn bright enough to dispel the gloom and bring about a new age?

With the last third of the series being reached the writers have left a whole lot on the table. What is the reason Garis wears a mask, where is Daiya’s father, what is Proist planning and what will become of the Daiku-Maryu when it appears that it is surrounded by hostiles on all sides being just some of them? The third group of episodes will tackle these issues while also raising up a few new ones, though it does get to feel like a bit much with a couple of the new ones hoarding some time as opposed to just spending the time putting down the plethora of hanging threads already present on the plate.

It is a shonen series so of course old enemies encountered who learned of the crew’s honorability will return to battle the greater evil. It is a genera staple and so I wasn’t surprised, though some of the returns feel a bit simplified and downplayed from what would be more impactful, though also time consuming. There is also the feeling that a good deal of the character development for most of the characters is past as outside one early revelation little is done to explore the characters remaining and even the moment the series has been building to- Daiya’s reunion with his father- feels like it got shorted a bit for whatever reason. Add in the additional trip to Earth to add a villain/force some late character conflict and one finds that there are issues that probably don’t stand out as flaws to the target age group but older audiences may feel the pace and emotions are a bit off.

Though on the plus side while the series may lack some subtlety and ability to finesse the finer points of emotions it hits many of the broader ones well and does a fairly good job of setting up many of the characters in at least broad strokes. There is something a bit off when one comes away from a series feeling that more work has been spent making the antagonist relatable than the protagonist but in many ways Proist is fleshed out more than Daiya. Add to that a much more interesting flair and one ends up with a series where a greater presence of the villain would have been a plus, which seems to be realized near the end as her scenes increase while some of the previously rather important secondary characters see their screen time diminished.

The series does bring what I wanted as it brings plenty of giant robots fighting mêlée with a rather high animation budget that allows for a good deal of action which they then try to balance with some character work. While not all of the drama flows as well or with the depth of the action there is still a good deal of story here to carry the tale, though one might find it best to keep in mind that the series was originally aimed at the (roughly) preteen market and thus go in with some reasonable allowances for that.

In Summary:
The final 13 episodes of Gaiking bring in new perils on the battle front but more importantly open up a look at some of the familial relationships that abound with four key members. While the giant robot action rises to the challenge it is the interactions of these characters with each other that really brings a special dimension to the series as the emotional drama stands in combination with the action to deliver a strong conclusion to a well above average story.

Grade: A-

Simulcast By: Hulu, Crunchyroll

Review Equipment:
Toshiba 15.4” Notebook

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