Thursday, October 8, 2009

Shin Mazinger Z - Greatest Anime Ever Made



Tastes in anime, as in all things, can vary widely from person to person. It is with this universal truth in mind, that I try not to judge others over what shows they like or dislike.


That's right, Zeus is doing a rocket punch by throwing his own severed arm at someone.

Admittedly, I call people who like moe shows pedophiles, and I think that people who like comedic anime have a shitty sense of humour, and people who like romance are pussies, and people who like philisophical anime are pretentious bastards, and people who like horror need to find something better to do with their lives, and people who like samurai or ninja shows are weaboos, and people who like anything I don't like are idiots, but overall, I try not to judge.


This is how real men fly.

There is however, one exception that I must take offense to. And that is how few people have even seen last season's Shin Mazinger Z. As far as I'm concerned, not watching Shin Mazinger should be a capital offense.

STORY

Anyone familiar with 1970's Mazinger Z will have...absolutely no idea what the hell the story is. Shin Mazinger Z is not a remake, but a complete reimagining of the Mazinger saga, under the helm of Yasuhiro Imagawa, director of G Gundam, Giant Robo and Tetsujin 28-go. He also goes by the names of Yahweh, Allah and Jehovah.


It is my goal in life to one day be able to scream out, "Breast Fire!" and be taken seriously.

On a very,
very superficial level, Shin Mazinger Z is the story of Kabuto Kouji, who pilots Mazinger Z to defend the world against the evil Dr. Hell, who wants to take over the world for cliched bad guy reasons.


Boob missiles. Just as useless as ever.

The true story of Mazigner however, plays out in its extensive mythos; the blood stained history of the Kabuto family, the mysterious Mycenaens, the God Zeus, Dr. Hell's true plan and Nishikiori Tsubasa's connection to all of them, all form an intricate and complex backstory that gradually unfolds until its ultimate reveal in the final episode.


Move bitch! Outta the way!

Perhaps rather unexpectedly, if I were to compare Shin Mazinger's story with any other recent anime, it would be Death Note. The entire battle between Kouji and Dr. Hell is little more then a grand game of chess between Tsubasa, Dr. Hell and several other characters (who can't be named for spoiler reasons), all of whom are masterminds of the highest order.


Lookit' my foot!

CHARACTERS

Kabuto Kouji
The eldest grandson of the great, if moderately insane scientist, Kabuto Juuzo. The achetype upon which all hot blooded mecha pilots are based. Cool and likable though he may be, he's not so much the main character, as he is the guy who pilots Mazinger Z, and is thus only important by association.


As hotblooded as they come.

Nishikiori Tsubasa
In my opinion, the true main character of the series. Tsubasa is the mysterious owner of a bath house staffed by a group of insane badasses, who has a long history with the Kabuto family, Dr. Hell and the Mycenaens. A shrewd tactician, master manipulator, brilliant biologist and an unstoppable badass with both the knife and the machine gun, Tsubasa is easily the greatest female character anime has ever produced. Hides a mysterious secret, like almost every other character in this show.


She's a scientist. She does science things.

Kabuto Shiro
Kouji's younger brother. A little bitch.


Shiro learnt the hard way not to walk in on grandpa during his 'adult time'.

Kabuto Juuzo
Kouji and Shiro's grandfather, and the creator of Mazinger Z. A prior associate of Dr. Hell, he was instrumental in finding the mechanical beasts that Dr. Hell would later use to form his army. Hides a mysterious secret, like almost every other character in this show.


Hey, he's a world reknown scientist. He can wear whatever the hell he wants.

Yumi Sayaka
Kouji's love interest and pilot of the perpetually useless Aphrodite A. Later upgrades to Venus A, which is just as useless (though it does get a cowboy hat, which is pretty cool).


At times, when no one's watching, Sayaka likes to pretend she's actually important.

Yumi Yanosuke
Inexplicably famous and respected robot scientist, and Sayaka's father. Despite his fame, he is obviously irrecoverably incompetent, as he is the creator of the ludicrously useless Aphrodite A. Hides a mysterious secret, like almost every other character in this show.


Heil, mein Fuhrer!

Boss
Apparently, he is reknown as the leader of all the high school delinquents in Japan. Is Kouji's somewhat rival. Pilots the Boss Borot, which is positively badass when compared to Aphrodite A.


Boss puts on his rape face.

Nuke & Mucha
Boss' most trusted bitches. May or may not have a mancrush on Boss.


Shiro, glad to meet the only two characters who are less important then him.

The Three Professors
A trio of perverted and sometimes pedophilic professors. They build a few upgrades for Mazinger as well as the robots Million α, Baion β and Daion γ, a bunch of borderline useless robots which are still awesome when compared to Aphrodite A.


Truly this was a dark day for science.

The Kurogane Five
Tsubasa's loyal entourage. They are all former gang members whom Tsubasa saved from the brink of death. The five of them comprise some of the most unbelievably badass characters in the series. Yes, even the old woman. Especially the old woman.


This man will beat the shit out of you.


You wish your girlfriend was as hot as this.


Boys fight tigers. Men fight other men on tigers.


Sadly, even the Kurogane Five weren't free of the dreaded pedophile virus.


Words simply cannot express how awesome Django is.

Dr. Hell
The hilariously named main antagonist of the series. Like Tsubasa, is a cunning mastermind who is engaged in a battle of wits against her and her forces of the vaguely good. He commands the mechanical beasts, relics of the now evanescent Mycenaens. Hides a mysterious secret, like almost every other character in this show.


Seriously, why the hell would any university admit this man!? HIS NAME IS DR. HELL!!

Baron Ashura
Dr. Hell's most loyal servant, Ashura is a bizarre half man, half woman hybrid thing. Simultaneously powerful and pathetic, Ashura is easily one of the most engaging and even relatable villains in recent anime. Hides a mysterious secret, like almost every other character in this show.


It's ok to touch yourself. I know you want to.

Count Brocken
Another loyal servant of Dr. Hell and a rival to Ashura for Dr. Hell's affections. Neither as important or as interesting as Ashura, but gets brownie points for basically being a headless, Nazi zombie.


I want to give Go Nagai a goddamned medal for coming up with Count Brocken.

Viscount Pygman
Dr. Hell's hilariously politically incorrect African servant. Unlike Ashura and Brocken, Pygman fights through the use of African cliches such as voodoo magic and wild animals. Is the closest thing to an honorable person in Dr. Hell's army.


He's not even actually black.

Detective Ankokuji
A detective investigating the Kabuto family, he eventually gets caught up in the battle between Tsubasa and Dr. Hell. Has a really creepy doll fetish. Hides a mysterious secret, like almost every other character in this show.


I swear! This is all part of the investigation! ...Don't judge me.

Gamia Q
A group of nudist, assassin robots used by Dr. Hell. One of them becomes important later. The rest...not so much.


Seriously guys, she's not that hot.

ANIMATION

The only aspect of Shin Mazinger which isn't excellent. Whilst never bad, the animation is never spectacular. From what I've heard, Shin Mazinger was basically animated on a shoestring budget, and Imagawa has actually done fantastically well given how little money the project was given.


Where's your moe now, bitches!?

Animation aside however, the visuals are still fantastic. The thick lines and strong colours are strongly reminiscent of 1970's anime, which pays a fitting homage to the original Mazinger.


No touching!

Also, I shouldn't have to speak the obvious, but Imagawa is a creative god, and Shin Mazinger bears many of the hallmarks of that. Unique mech designs, creative visuals and attacks that are simply beyond the impossible are all present.


Giant robot rape. You saw it first on Shin Mazinger folks.

OVERALL

Shin Mazinger is one of those rare breeds; a show that combines over the top action, intricate story telling and deep, poignant characters. It is a testament to all the great things we have come to love about anime.


That's right. Mazinger Z, the robot that turns into a giant fist, is riding a giant fist.

Ironically, despite being a retelling of the grand daddy of all super robots, Shin Mazinger Z eschews many of the most established super robot tropes. Gone are the monsters of the week and the simplistic good vs evil storylines. In their places are a complex, multi layered story with characters who often straddle the fine line between good and evil.


Seriously though, how could anyone trust a man who looks like this and is named Dr. Hell??

This I believe, is Shin Mazinger Z's greatest strength; it's ability to appeal to far more then just super robot fans. For fans of the genre, they will find everything they love about super robots, in a form of such concentration not seen since GaoGaiGar. For viewers who don't necessarily like super robots (i.e communists), they will find a poignant, intricate narrative, free of many of the super robot tropes that non-fans often find unpalatable.


Only Gods are allowed to look down on Mazinger Z.

And in regards to characters, special mention must be given to both Nishikiori Tsubasa and Baron Ashura. Like a shining beacon amongst the useless moe filth that pervades anime, Tsubasa shows us what its like to be a real woman; ruthlessly intelligent and unapologetically badass. But the real spotlight must go to Baron Ashura, whose tragic circumstance of having his loyalty torn between Dr. Hell and the Mycenaens is one of the most masterfully penned storylines I've yet seen in anime. Both these characters are some of the most memorable in all of anime, and deserve a place in its annals of history.


Mazinger Z is also a useful vessel for smuggling refugees.

Despite its surprisingly deep storyline and characters, Shin Mazinger is, at its core, a super robot show; its action is unashamedly insane and over the top. Nearly every character is a super human badass. And Mazinger itself, has one of the coolest and craziest attacks in super robot anime; the incomparable Big Bang Punch.


And thus, my life was complete.

This is, in my opinion, the best anime of this year. In style, concept and execution, it is nothing short of a masterpiece. The great tragedy is of course in how few people have seen, or even heard of it. Shin Mazinger Z is 2009's answer to Gurren Lagann, and it deserves just as large an audience.


22 comments:

  1. I heard this show sucked, but the guy who said it sucked was caught beating off to child pornography, so I think I'll adopt your opinion instead.

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  2. amen, amen, amen. Imagawa = God + Mazinger = Greatest Anime of the Year especially. ASHURAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!

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  3. In my own experience of recommending Shin Mazinger to others, non-hardcore fans of super robots are put off by the first episode.

    Admittedly I wasn't able to appreciate it in the first viewing, and thought that Imagawa played a really dangerous gambit with the viewers. One could definitely see the payoff as he reaches the end of the show, but to many a casual watcher the knee-jerk reaction would be "don't understand a thing, shitsux, dropped."

    Which is a big damned shame.

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  4. Schneider is quite right - I've heard from other bloggers how the first episode may seem rather too sudden and confusing by putting you right into a battle. It risks putting off new audience which is bad.

    Btw have you got the recently released Mechanic Collection Mazinger Z with God Scrander yet? The price is pretty decent too afaik.

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  5. The animation seems quite old school. Still some of the characters look really awesome, like the Kurogane 5. Maybe I'll give it a try, although old school mecha is not particularly my thing.

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  6. LMAO at this review! Sounds really interesting!

    When I have time, would really love to check it out, since you claimed it as 2009's answer to Gurren Lagann, HAHAHA. Plus, my animation mentors all love Mazinger Z, LOL.

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  7. @ Baka-Raptors
    Excellent. Pedophiles should never be trusted. Especially when they tell you they're not pedophiles. Also, when they tell you shows suck.

    @ kritik
    Damn straight!

    @ Schneider
    You know, I've never understood that...starting from the end is not that uncommon a literary device! Have these idiots never been to fucking high school!? >_<

    @ Q
    Sadly no. I am however getting the Soul of Chogokin Mazinger Z. That'll be totally tits!

    @ Yi
    Watch it! You won't regret it! And yes, the Kurogane Five are stupidly awesome.

    @ Anna
    Damn straight you're gonna check this out! This shit is AMAZING! And your animation mentors have good tastes ;)

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  8. So the man behind the series is god himself. who woulda known.

    Anyhao, you've managed to convince me to check it out. And I must say, the first episode, as confusing as it is, presented suspense in curiosity as to what was happening, and not boredom for not understanding the plot. and the soundtrack. THE SOUNDTRACK O.O
    Excellently done *ahem* pilot.

    And Tsubasa is awesome.
    Because an okami-type is fine too...

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  9. I want to get the Alloyed Mazinger. Trying to squeeze out funds for it.

    Got some ideas for stories and photoshoots for it!

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  10. I believe psgels over at Star Crossed also rated this as #1 anime for last season. Seems like I must watch this series.

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  11. Not all moe is loli :D

    And good to know this series is stand-alone.

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  12. Mazinger z is a very classic show, part of the history in anime animation.

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  13. OMFG SNARK I'M INLOVE WITH ITS THEME SONG *__*

    do you have the episodes? ;__; and skype?

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  14. wait Snark, I only thought of this up in my head.

    CAN YOU BE MY KITTAN?? ;__;

    I already have an aniki/KAMINA ;D

    this is not cosplay, it's soul brothers fun title relationship ^__^ hohoho!!

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  15. @ Ningyo
    Damn straight, Shin Mazinger's got the manliest soundtrack in the history of manhood. In fact, listening to the Mazinger OST is the only scientifically proven method of penis enlargement.

    And yeah, the first episode is confusing, is also essential to the enjoyment of the later episodes. Its hard to explain, but you'll know what I mean when you see it.

    @ Kodomut
    If you ever buy that, I might just be forced to break into your house and steal it. Nothing personal.

    @ Reltair
    Evidently, psgels got good tastes. And yes, if you wanna see great anime; watch this shit!

    @ Guy
    Yeah, you don't have to know anything about the original Mazinger to get this. There are some cool Go Nagai in jokes and cameos, but not that much that it'll frighten off a newcomer.

    @ Phossil
    Damn straight it is! And Shin Mazingers a modern classic in its own right!

    @ Anna
    EVERYONE is in love with that song.

    And yeah, I've got skype, what's your username? I'll add you.

    ...and if I be Kittan, does that mean I'm going to die in a space ocean? Cause that would kinda suck.

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  16. HAHAHAHA does that mean I'm so slow in this? XD Nonetheless, I totally agree with you that Mazinger Z soundtrack is...uber GAR. A++++++++

    D'awwwww. No, that means you are the alternate universe Kittan that do not need to go thru that...most epic/manliest death. ;__; Shiat, don't say that! V_V YOU ARE THE KITTAN THAT WILL LIVE LONG & PROSPER!!

    my skype: anna_sagara
    yours?

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  17. If u accept goods from a pedophile then ur a pedophile urself. :P

    I don't think I will ever get into this. It's gonna be really tough for me to just sit there for 25mins and get through just one episode.
    If the OP does it's justices, then maybe. MAYBE!!!

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  18. *mark down another better-watch-asap-else-snark-will-spam-my-blog-50-times-a-day-asking-me-to-watch-it-now anime to my to-watch list.

    nice introduction without having spoilers :D

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  19. MANLY! Isnt it? o.O Looking to his foot, I see hair. A real man! I want to see the rocket punch too.

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  20. I find it funny that you think people who watch horror should have more to do with their lives when the reason Shin Mazinger Z is so good (besides the characters ruling all) is that it's plot follows a similar path to Go Nagai's horror manga, Devilman.

    Oh sure, a lot of horror sucks, but a lot of everything sucks really :P

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  21. "Hides a mysterious secret, like almost every other character in this show."

    LMAOOOO

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  22. win. And sorry ... because not realize his selfishness ... also responsible for the re-hyung did not think to others ... If only I could now do for 3 people ...
    buy websitein belgie/, dating in belgie

    ReplyDelete