What They Say:
“Five years ago, Dinosaur Emperor Gore and his Mechasaurus army were vanquished by Getter Robo in a catastrophic battle that wiped out New York City. When the threat of invasion looms again, it’s up to ex-robot pilot Hayato to bring forth a new Getter from the ashes…one powered by plasma and controlled by a new generation of heroes! But even with the skills of wild fighter Go Ichimonji, Neo Getter Robo might not be strong enough. Humankind’s best hope still lies in the resurrection of the most dangerous super robot ever: Shin Getter Robo!
Based on Go Nagai and Ken Ishikawa’s immortal super robot classic and freely adapted from every corner of the Getter-verse by director Jun Kawagoe (Mazinkaiser SKL, Super Robot Wars), Shin Getter Robo vs. Neo Getter Robo is the OVA series with too much high power, man!”
The Japanese audio comes across clear in Dolby Digital 2.0 and there was no real distortion issue of any kind during playback.
The series was released originally in 2000 and still looks relatively decent for an OAV from this time period. The picture quality is colorful, sharp and overall visually pleasing.
The front cover shows our focus character Gou Ichiomonj in front of the title mecha with the masthead in the lower right corner. The rear cover has images from the OAV with an appropriately sized text telling what to expect. Decent work here.
We see the original Getter Robo and Neo Getter Robo teams along with Professor Saotome and his crew in the background, beneath both title mecha. The masthead is dead center, with options for playing the whole disc or selecting an episode off to the left, while English subtitle options are on the right.
None present on here, which is too bad actually. The original Japanese release had a set of vignettes featuring Nagai / & Ishikawa’s super robots leading to the launch of super robot Mazinkaiser but they’re not present here. Ah well…
The late 90s and early 2000s saw a resurgence of interest in the super robot franchises created and made famous by Go Nagai and Ken Ishikawa. The creators of Mazinger Z, Getter Robo, UFO Robo Grendizer and similar fare had carved a place in anime history during the 70s with their lines of giant mecha defending humanity from various threats, sometimes teaming up to do so. Then they went away from the anime scene for a time. Eventually, the renaissance started with ‘Getter Robo Armageddon,’ a 13 episode series directed partially by Jun Kawagoe, who would go on to direct other Nagai / Ishikawa related properties such as ‘New Getter Robo’, ‘Kosetsujin Jeeg,’ ‘Mazikaiser SKL’ and the focus of this review: ‘Shin Getter Robo Vs Neo Getter Robo.’
The prologue of the first video showcases the original Getter Robo team from the 70s series taking on the monsters of The Reptilian Empire in the ruins of New York. Seeing his friends are about to be overrun and that for some reason the Shin Getter Robo is unable to activate, Musashi in Getter 3 (who’s died so many times in the Getter Robo shows, I’m about to start calling him Kenny), rips out the reactor from his mecha and crushes it, resulting in… anyone remember the opening explosion from the movie ‘Akira’?
Fast forward to several years later, when lead Getter pilot Gou Ichimonji is wrestling people in open matches. One of his opponents turns out to be much more than human and mutates into a huge monster. Fortunately, former lead pilot Hayato Jin arrives with the Neo Getter machines and his comrades in tow and the battle begins.
Volume 2 opens with the Neo Getter team in training maneuvers. They soon get a call from their friends in America who pilot Texas Mack (or as I like to call it, The Mech With No Name), a gun-slinging super-robot complete with cowboy hat, poncho, and horse. They’re suddenly called to Washington D.C. to deal with a massive meteor shower, as well as the monster of the day. Neo Getter Robo arrives to help, but there’s also the matter of the orbiting mass driver launching the meteors, to which Texas Mack responds: “No problem!” The alien menace gets progressively worse with volumes 3 and 4, until desperate measures involving Shin Getter Robo are required to save the day.
Kawagoe delivers decent action sequences throughout this series. The animation is fairly comparable to other OAVs from this period, though the quality takes a bit of a dip in the 3rd episode, possibly due to budget concerns. It’s not quite up to the standard set by Getter Robo Armageddon at the time, but gets the job done mostly. The mecha animation works well by using generally fluid scenes. However, the character animation bothered me a bit as their movements weren’t quite as animated. Compared to the combination of 70s and 90s techniques used in say, ‘Giant Robo,’ the results here are decent but could’ve been better. The script by Shinzo Fujita is mostly episodic in each volume, even though there is a master villain behind the events. The general feel of the series is still dramatic but much more fast and loose than the broodingly dark ‘Getter Robo Armageddon.’ In this respect, the series feels more like its 70s predecessors.
Now at this point, you may be wondering what the meaning to the title may be. I’m sorry, but this series seems to follow in the tradition of old Nagai / Ishikawa short movies in which the main mecha fight is advertised, but never happens. (The only exception I know of is ‘UFO Robo Grendizer VS. Great Mazinger.’) The title Shin Getter Robo Vs. Neo Getter Robo seems to point more toward the idea one machine is an upgrade over the other as things progress in this series.
All in all, I’ve had fun watching Shin Getter Robo VS. Neo Getter Robo since it doesn’t require as much brainpower as some of my favorite anime. The super robot genre had mostly gone dormant in the 90s, but enjoyed a renaissance with works like ‘Giant Robo’ and ‘Brave King Gaogaigar’ at the time. This series definitely played a role in revitalizing such titles for a while, and it was fun to reminisce about that period with this DVD.
Japanese Language 2.0 Dolby, Optional English subtitles, English 2.0 audio
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: A
Extras Grade: N/A
Released By: Discotek Media / Eastern Star
Release Date: March 19, 2013
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1, 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Panasonic 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Marantz stereo receiver