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Godannar Complete Collection Thinpak Anime DVD Review

9 min read

GodannarA show that is highly entertaining at times yet somehow manages to underwhelm.

What They Say:
Five years ago, as the Mimetic Beasts laid waste to Japan, Dannar Pilot Go saved young Anna Aoi’s life. Now, as they prepare to march down the aisle, a new Beast appears and Go is summoned into battle once more. But he’s not going alone if his blushing bride to be can help it!

It’s a honeymoon from hell as two stubborn mecha pilots bump heads, egos and other bits; but if Anna and Go can mate their robots’ interlocking parts, they’ll form the ultimate marriage of man, woman and machine!

The Review:
For this viewing, I watched the English dub, which is offered in 5.1 surround. The Japanese track is also given in 2.0 stereo. The soundtracks for this release are really nice and clear, with some good directionality used for background noises and sound effects. The dialogue track stays on the center channel, but there were no instances of it being overwhelmed by the surround tracks like with some shows. There were also no occurrences of dropout or distortion. The only negative to the audio is that it would have been nice to have the dialogue spread across the channels with directionality, but that is just nitpicking. Overall, the audio track is very well done.

This release is given in its original 16:9 aspect ratio and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Having been made recently, initially airing in 2003 in Japan, the originals for the show are of good quality, and ADV made a really nice transfer out of them. The colors are bright and vibrant, and the various graphic effects such as explosions and the robots plasma drives firing up come through really well. There was no noticeable cross colorization or pixelization; just a visually appealing show from start to finish.

Though other companies seem to put more time and effort into their set packaging, I’ve always been a fan of the packaging of ADV thinpaks for various reasons: the imagery on the boxes pretty much describes everything that is needed to know about the series going into it, though it is never so busy as to be overwhelming, and the packaging for this show is no different. The box for Godannar tells us that this show will feature giant robots and well-endowed, young women in tight uniforms. A color scheme that is a blend of various oranges and reds also indicates that the series is adrenaline fueled. Interestingly, the image of Anna on one of the sides of the box is the Adult Anna that only appears in the final episode rather than the sixteen-year-old Anna that exists in the other twenty-five.

The individual cases each feature one of the various giant robots that appear in throughout the show, with each disc focusing once again on one of the girls from the show. The warm color scheme from the box is used once again on the cases and discs. The overall package for Godannar is nicely put together, though will not go out of its way to wow anybody.

The menus for Godannar have a usability that is similar to all ADV thinpak releases. The main menus have options for each episode that is available on the disc as well as for languages. The first disc also has selections for ADV previews and DVD credits. The menus keep the same look and feel as the packaging, with a picture of one of the robots behind the title and selections. The upbeat main theme to the show plays while the main menu is displayed. Like most ADV menus, the look matches the show, and the menus themselves are easy to understand and navigate.

Aside from some previews on the first disc, there are no extras, as is the norm for ADV thinpaks.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I really did not know much about Godannar before I sat down to watch it besides what I could see from the packaging. I knew to expect explosions and fanservice, though not necessarily in that order. Knowing that, I would not have been surprised if Godannar turned out to be the greatest thing I had ever watched. I also would not have been surprised if it wound up being the worst thing I ever watched. What I ended up getting was a show that fell just about in the middle.

Five years ago, a war was fought between humanity and a scourge of monsters called Mimetic Beasts. In an effort to neutralize the Mimetic Beasts size and power advantages, a number of giant robots were created. In the final climactic battle, Goh Saruwatari, the pilot of Dannar and the hero of the war, lost his partner and lover, Mira, to the strongest of the Mimetic Beasts, but managed to save the life of young Anna Aoi, the daughter of his boss, as she fell from a helicopter damaged by that same beast. In the five years that followed, Goh and Anna became fast friends, and as she grew up, they fell in love. Now Goh is getting set to marry Anna, and is forced to come to grips with a new lover who wants to pilot Miras old robot, the Neo-Okusaer, by his side and the return of the Mimetic Beasts.

Finding a new partner for Goh is imperative because each robot created to fight the Mimetic Beasts has the capability of merging with another to form a more powerful robot. The Neo-Okusaer is the partner robot to Goh’s Dannar, which together form the Godannar, and the Neo-Okusaer has been pilotless since Miras death.

At first, Goh is against Anna becoming a robot pilot because he is still racked with guilt over the death of Mira, but ultimately her skill and determination win him over. However, when the staff of Dannar Base manages to recover the bodies of Mira and Max, another pilot from the previous war, and find them both still living, Gohs life begins to get more confusing, and humanity begins to discover that more was going on in the previous war than they were aware of.

Upon first glance, Godannar appears to be somewhat of a paint-by-numbers show: humans piloting giant robots fight to protect the Earth from mysterious, giant monsters, a theme seen in numerous incarnations. With each show having at least one Mimetic Beast encounter, and some revolving entirely around an encounter, there is certainly enough action to whet any action fans appetite. And when one takes into consideration the copious amounts of fanservice also present (though interestingly little actual nudity), this can easily be seen as a show intent to rest on its genres laurels than on any real merit.

However, while the battles are what continually drive the show forward, the show is really more about the mysteries behind the attacks and the reappearances of people long-thought dead, and the relationships, romantic or otherwise, that Goh forms with Anna, Mira, and Shizuru, the other female pilot of Dannar base who also harbors her own secret crush on Goh.

While Goh is fully committed to Anna, the reappearance of Mira creates insecurities within Anna about her relationship with Goh, and whether or not she is the right person for him. The fact that initially, Miras mind reverts to that of a child does little to reassure Anna. Even though they are all friends, and Mira never shows any outward signs of wanting Goh back, at times Anna feels like she is fighting a battle for Goh’s affections, and the discovery of Shizurus feelings makes it all the worse.

In fact, much of the show is centered around Goh and Anna trying to prove themselves to one another. Goh’s guilt over Mira’s initial death, and his desire never to repeat the experience cause him to try and hold Anna back. While she proves herself as a capable pilot, and Goh consciously accepts her as his partner, he still finds it hard not to try and stop her when she tries to go out in the Neo-Okusaer. In Annas case, she keeps pushing herself to become a better pilot, wanting to surpass Mira and Shizuru in skill so that she can be the only real choice as Goh’s partner. Anna gets her wish when it is revealed that she is the only potential pilot for the Go-Okusaer, the prototype for the Neo-Okusaer, and the only partner for Dannar that is able to unlock the Godannars full capabilities.

Yet, there’s another stepping stone for Anna. Soon after the rescue of Max and Mira, Max wakes up and is not himself. He steals a robot, kidnaps Mira, and goes on a rampage, only to be stopped by Shizuru who sneaks inside the robot. When she finds Max, he has mutated into a grotesque beast and has no control over his actions. It is soon revealed that the disease that affected Max is carried by everybody on Earth, but the most susceptible to it are male robot pilots. In other wordsGoh. Should Goh continue to fight, his fate is likely to follow the same path as Max’s, but despite these warnings, Goh cannot sit idly by when the Earth needs him and his skill. While pushing herself forward, and trying to be the best pilot that she can be, Anna also has to find a way to keep Goh away from the battlefield and his potential fate.

When not concerning itself with Goh and Annas marriage, the show tends to push forward with the myriad of mysteries that it brings up. One of the greatest strengths of the show, however, also acts as one of its greatest weaknesses. As each episode passes, new questions arise, creating new intrigue. How do Mira and Max survive for five years inside a Mimetic Beast? Why is Goh considered to be the greatest risk to succumb to the virus that took Max’s (and later others) life? And perhaps the biggest question: what exactly are the Mimetic Beasts? Yet, while the show continually asks these questions, answers are slow in coming. In fact, most of the questions wait until the very final episode to be answered, while some are not even answered at all. This can be a bit tiring; while the questions can be interesting and can create tension, there are only so many questions that can be open at one time before general interest can start to wane.

The other problem I had with this show, in a similar vane, is that there were too many plot threads to try and keep track of at times. The creators of Godannar seem to want to show how the Mimetic Beasts are affecting everybody in the world, and not just the people on Dannar base, but many times I felt as if the show was trying to go in fifteen different directions at once. Do we really need an entire episode, each, on all of the other robot pilots in the world, and their relationships with one another? Or an entire episode mostly dedicated to one of Dannars technicians trying to get the attentions of one of the female technicians? Or even the appearance of a childhood friend of Annas who is convinced he is going to marry her due to a silly childhood promise? While I appreciate the motives behind these episodes, the shows focus really breaks down during those times, actually lessening the effect than enhancing it.

In Summary:
Godannar is a hard show for me to peg down. Many times it kept me intently interested and motivated to continue watching, whereas just as many times lost my attention and made me want to go find something else to do. There is plenty of good action to interest anybody looking for it, and there is plenty of fanservice to interest those looking for that. Yet, there is also enough going on behind the scenes for those who are looking for something a little more than some gratuitous violence and femininity. Nonetheless, the show goes off on tangents too often for it to hold interest from start-to-finish. The net result is that Godannar is a show that is better than many of its ilk, but not as good as maybe it could have been. Mildly Recommended.

Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: A-
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: N/A

Released By: ADV Films
Release Date: July 10th, 2007
MSRP: $69.98
Running Time: 650 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Phillips Magnavox TP3285 C129 32 TV, Samsung DVD-V5650 Progressive Scan DVD w/ DD/DTS, Durabrand HT3916 5.1 Surround Sound System

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