The fate of the world is in the hands of a small group of people with one big ass kicking giant robot.
What They Say:
The post-apocalyptic sequel to Mazinger Z!
Behind a gravity curtain waits Kikaijima, a colossal island left over from the last world war. It’s a lawless wasteland of robot super-weapons from a forgotten age of military might. Receiving word that the unstable island’s reactors will explode and vaporize the world in just a few days, the Japanese government awakens the most destructive robot ever devised, Kaiser. Judgment is at hand, as the towering Kaiser rockets off for Kikaijima and a thunderous robot-breaking battle to stop the end of the world.
The audio presentation for this release is very good depending on the track you listen to. We get the original Japanese language in stereo as well as an English stereo mix, both of which are encoded in DTS-HD MA lossless form. We also get a Japanese 5.1 mix in the same format which takes all the goodness of the stereo mixes and just bumps it up several notches to something that is louder in general but has more bass and impact throughout the action scenes. With a decent bit of dialogue, plenty of yelling and lots of action effects, the forward soundstage gets a lot of usage where it just gets almost overpowering at times and delivers a strong presentation overall. The show is all about the action in general so it moves quickly and everything keeps up well with it while hitting lots of strong notes along the way. We didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally released in 2011, the transfer for this three part OVA series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. Animated by studio Actas, the series has a very strong visual presentation here with an array of rich colors and a vibrant piece of animation overall that makes for a lively, active and very busy series with a lot going on. There’s a lot of vibrant aspects to it across the work that come across as striking and very solid with a good depth of color to it but there’s also a lot of dark colors that hold together well in all the fast motion. The detail for the series is definitely there but it also works with that bit of a loose and raw approach to play up the 70’s style origins of the property and what it represents. The bit rate typically spends its time in the higher end with only some lower moments during the quieter still scenes that the show does have. For the most part, there’s a lot to enjoy with the over the top action and design here and the transfer captures it well.
The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case where we get a very in your face cover that works perfectly for the show. While the logo is kept along the bottom, complete with skull in it, the majority of it just provides a look at the giant robots in the show with explosions in the background, smoke and general chaos. It’s vibrant, dark and just has a sense of power behind it that comes from this kind of property so you know exactly what’s inside. Giant ass kicking stuff. The back cover provides a few shots from the show itself and a decent small summary of the premise while also listing the extras. There’s a lot of shots from the show in the background that busies things up a bit too much and we get a decent production credits breakdown. The technical grid has a lot to it but it covers the main feature and extras clearly and lists everything accurately. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design for this release is straightforward and simple but works nice enough for the show. We get the basic idea here of the screen being given over to action clips and intense expression moments from the cast of characters while along the bottom we get the menu navigation. That has the logo along the left on its own while to the right of it we get the block itself in black with the yellow text and a red highlight that plays up the colors from the logo itself. Submenus load quickly and language navigation is a breeze and you can change languages on the fly. The menu works well as the pop-up as well and makes for a cute bit that comes up during playback.
The only extras in this release are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences as well as a minute long promo reel showing off the original promotional materials for the release.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Serving as a sequel to a spinoff series from years ago, Mazinkaiser SKL is a three part OVA series that was produced alongside a manga that deals with the fallout from the events of the previous series. It’s been a number of years since I saw the Mazinkaiser OVA series that ADV Films released but I thoroughly recall enjoying it with its style and sexuality to it as well as the giant robot ass kicking action as well. Mazinkaiser SKL doesn’t spend much in the way of time explaining events, assuming that only the diehard fans are coming into this and not many on the new front, so it just dives right into things. Which is admittedly a little problematic, but when you get down to the guts of the story itself, it’s not so bad since the whole thing is just about three different sides that simply must fight. Honestly, you don’t even need to get behind a particular side or even remember any of the characters names, you just have to root for the side you think looks the coolest.
The show revolves around Machine Island, where everything has managed to be self contained for the large battle that’s been fought for awhile now among the three factions that exist within it. The island is actually sealed off with a Gravity Curtain that allows the outside world government to control who is able to get in as you need a special machine to be able to do so. The government has largely been content to just let the sides fight it out in there, but the revelation has come down that the Gravity Curtain itself has reached a stage of instability and it will self destruct in a couple of days. And that self destruct point will cause the Gravity Curtain to unleash untold damage that will result in the entire world being obliterated. Basically, they built a big mousetrap that will eat them all in reverse. And because of that, they have to send in the Skull squadron to try and retrieve the three pieces of the puzzle required to take down the Gravity Curtain.
And naturally, the pieces are spread among the factions so it’s not something anyone will give easily, even if they do believe the story that’s being told. If the “good guys” are even telling the story. The two squadrons that go in end up getting dealt a bad hand from the start and one team only has one survivor, Yuuki. She’s the quiet type but has the intelligence skills to direct things and put together the plan to try and salvage things, but she has to deal with the other team, the Death Caprice Squad, which is made up of two men named Ken and Ryou, both of which are pretty much macho male dicks. They’re pretty dismissive of Yuuki for a lot of it and are impressed when she’s seemingly able to do, well, anything, and the show in general plays to these kinds of attitudes in a few ways as we see her struggling to find a way to save the world and having more problems dealing with the asses on her own side more so than the enemy.
Where the show excels is in the fight sequences as we get the Mazinkaiser SKL going at it pretty well and facing an assortment of villains, from the Iron Kaiser which has an amusing classic approach to it that at times reminded me of Iron Giant, to the Geistteles, which is what the leader of one of the groups, Garan, operates and has a feudal samurai kind of feel about it that the boys openly mock. The action for the show is really what drives it as it provides the kind of over the top stuff without going all out in a way that leaves you rolling your eyes. In other words, they’re not flinging galaxies at each other or anything here, but they’re fighting with the fate of the world around them and with the kind of manly intensity that you should expect from a show based on properties from the era of 1970’s robot action pieces before it all got serious and philosophical. And that’s a reason alone to just dive into it and savor what it offers.
Mazinkaiser SKL is the kind of show that doesn’t really need a recommendation in a way, even with the grading that I’m giving it. For better or worse, it’s the kind of show whose audience knows it exists, has it and savors it. It’s not a crossover piece and this sequel to the spinoff isn’t something that’s going to really draw in a lot of people to explore and find out more since it’s light on story and all about the action and manliness of it all as they struggle against the darkness of the world ending before their eyes. It’s filled with beautiful imagery of violence that conveys the struggle well, but it also showcases some characters that you can’t really feel much empathy for as they don’t have empathy themselves. They serve the action only, the need to advance, kill and eliminate what stands in their way, and no more than that. It succeeds well with what it does, especially in terms of visuals, but it has a lot of inherent weaknesses as well.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 5.1 Language, English DTS-HD MA 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing, Promo
Content Grade: C+
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Media Blasters
Release Date: December 6th, 2011
Running Time: 75 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation 3 via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.