Anyway, I've watched the first five episodes of the series, and whilst I've enjoyed it, I can't say that I've really been blown away or anything just yet.
The story is fairly basic; in the future, funky alien things attack earth for reasons and Goh, a heroic robot pilot with a huge chin, and a few other pilots fight them off with their zany robots. The battle is eventually won, and five peaceful years past. Suddenly, the alien dudes are back and pissed, and now Goh and his new wife Anna, have to save the day once again.
The main character who defeated the alien menace five years ago and saviour of all mankind. Has a huge chin. Married to a minor. Is a pedophile.
The heroine. A 17 year old schoolgirl who is married to the 29 year old Goh. Has kept her marriage a secret to her friends, presumably so they won't call the cops on her husband.
Goh's younger brother. Bit of a wuss, but at least he's into girls his age.
Cold and serious. She seems to be the long distance specialist of the team.
I didn't take a screencap of Shizuru. But if you'd like a description, she's got long black hair, and like every other woman in the Godannar universe, backbreakingly huge boobs.
Anna's incredibly slutty mother. Is the brains of the joint. Keeps things in between her tits.
What would a super robot anime be without robots? Well, Godannar has them in spades. Aside from the titular Godannar, there are a whole host of robots, most of them with brightly coloured paintjobs and gimicky attacks, as is gospel in the super robot genre.
Combining is a big feature in Godannar, and most robots are generally the combined form of two vehicles, or smaller robots. Generally, they look pretty good, and the combination scenes are well animated, though the stock footage gets a little tiring after a while.
Godannar, the titular robot, is the combination of Goh's Dannar and Anna's Neo Okusear. Being the main bot, it's the one that gets the most screentime, which is kinda disappointing since Godannar, whilst not being particularly bad to look at, doesn't quite seem as inspired as the designs of some of the supporting robots.
As with all super robot shows, a good super robot needs its signature finishing move, and Godannar's is a two part affair. It's first is the multiple meaningly named Heart Breaker, which is a explosive punch which somehow turns the monsters white. This is followed by the less cool sounding Soul Breaker, which is a jumping kick, akin to the type you see in Japanese henshin shows.
The attacks are pretty cool, and work well within the super robot format. However, they are hardly the best finishing moves I've seen in a robot anime, Gurren Lagann's Giga Drill Breaker still sets the benchmark for me, and Godannar, whilst good, has yet to show an attack that can reach that level of epic. However, I've only seen up to episode 5, so hopefully Godannar still has a few moves up it's sleeve.
Godannar is hardly a deep and moving insight into the human condition. It is a super robot anime, and embraces all the cliches and tropes of the genre; hot blooded pilots, brightly coloured robots, over the top attacks, and shameless fanservice are all the order of the day here. Oh, also, the main character is a pedophile. Which is sorta of fresh I guess...at least for an anime that isn't hentai.
There is a suprisingly large cast of characters, though most of them lack any significant characterisation to ever propel them beyond the realm of background cast. Aside from Goh and his underaged wife Anna, there's the couples' immediate family, the staff at the base, the other robot pilots, and a newly introduced 12 year old girl, whose just joined Goh and Anna's household, and is no doubt already testing poor Goh's marriage vows.
Being a super robot anime done in the style of old classics such as Mazinger and Getter Robo, Godannar strives to be a whirlwind of mindless fun in an industry saturated with post Evangelion copycats. And in this regard, it succeeds. Goh's child lusting aside, the fights are fun, the characters are pretty to look at, the fanservice is shameless, and the theme song is quite possibly the greatest theme song of all time. With lyrics such as, "Burst into flames! Bam! Bam! Heart Breaker! Clang-ca-clang!" you know this is going to be a fun ride.
The target audience of Godannar is unashamebly male. I for one, had to strongly suppress any feminist beliefs and opinions to even get through the opening credits. Most of it is fanservicey in nature, which I guess isn't all that bad, however, there is the far more concerning nature of gender roles as shown in Godannar.
Anna, in both marital life and in as a robot pilot, plays a clearly supporting role to Goh's far more dominant one. This should already be obvious given Gohdannar's name is a combination of Goh's own name, and the name of his robot, Dannar, no mention is even given to Anna or the Neo Okusear.
Similarly, the Neo Okusear is obviously designed as a support robot, meant to aid the Dannar but never to steal the spotlight. Even Anna's mother Kiriko mentions that Neo Okusear is weaker then Dannar.
Now I know Japan has a very traditional view on gender roles, and that a lot of anime expouse these societal expections, and Godannar is no different in that regard. However, that doesn't make it any less disconcerting.
The anime constantly mentions how talented she is as a pilot, yet Goh is the one who always takes charge, leaving Anna not much to do but just look pretty. Similarly, Goh has a tendency to scold Anna as if she were a child (to be fair however, she is. Which brings a whole host of other problems), further solidifying the inequality between the couple.
Perhaps I'm simply overeacting and actively searching for fault to critisize the show over. Nonetheless, I found Godannar's potrayal of gender roles to be offputting and tasteless. This however isn't going to stop me from watching it, though I've been tempted several times to just fast forward to the next battle every time Goh's giant chin pops up.
In closing, Godannar doesn't seem like too bad a show. Its no masterpiece, and as I've made clear, I find the gender roles displayed in the show to be objectionable. Nonetheless, as a super robot anime, its a fun though by the books number. I'll watch it to the end, though I don't think I'll be raving about it the same way I've been since I finished Gurren Lagann.