Geneon // 2004 // 100 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Mitchell Hattaway (Retired) // May 12th, 2005
Huge monsters talk the Earth!
New Getter Robo chronicles the exploits of three unlikely pilots in a battle against invading monsters who resemble oni -- demons of Japanese legend. Each of the pilots is a social miscreant, but that doesn't stop them from being recruited by Professor Saotome, the scientist responsible for the creation of the Getter Robo, a mecha designed specifically to combat the oni threat.
The first four episodes of the series are included on this release. Here's a brief rundown:
* Episode One: "There Goes Ryoma"
A Getter is dispatched to combat a demon, but most of the inexperienced pilots controlling the mecha are killed; only Tatsuhito Saotome, son of the mecha's creator, survives the battle. Professor Saotome realizes that it will take more than just your average Joe to control the Getter, so he sets his sights on recruiting three very unlikely candidates. His first target is Ryoma Nagare, a notorious brawler. Saotome traps and subdues Ryoma, takes him back to the lab, shows him the Proto-Getter (the latest version of the mecha), and reveals the threat humanity faces. Several small oni attack the lab; Saotome and Ryoma fight them. A very large oni soon arrives; Tatsuhito takes an older Getter out to stop the creature, but he is unsuccessful. The professor and Ryoma then hop in the Proto-Getter and join in the fight.
* Episode Two: "Hayato Is Coming"
Revolutionaries led by the crazed Hayato Jin break into the Ministry of Defense. Hayato uses a computer to access the Getter Project database. Ryoma meets Michiru, Professor Saotome's daughter; although she is reluctantly helping her father in his fight against the oni, she resents his decision to send Tatsuhito to his death. Saotome gets word of the break-in at the Ministry; he then decides to set a trap for Hayato, hoping to bring him into the Getter Project. Ryoma, Saotome, and Hayato later take the Proto-Getter, now rechristened Getter One, into battle against a demon.
* Episode Three: "Benkei Musahibou"
The third and final Getter pilot candidate is found. He is Benkei Musahibou, a rambunctious, rotund Buddhist monk. Benkei joins the fight after his monastery is attacked by oni, although it does take a bit of trickery on the part of Professor Saotome to get the monk into the cockpit. The three Getter pilots quickly defeat a large demon, confirming Saotome's belief that he has found his men.
* "The Three on the Loose"
The pilots put Getter One through its paces, but Benkei thinks Ryoma is foolishly pushing the mecha past the point of safety. Benkei and Ryoma begin pummeling each other once they're back on the ground, but Benkei stops fighting when he catches a glimpse of Michiru, with whom he is instantly smitten. Benkei later offers to let Michiru study the sword his Buddhist master gave him -- a sword he claims is magic; he also offers to let her study his schlong, to which she responds by kicking him in the nuts. The three pilots later take the Getter into combat against yet another demon.
New Getter Robo is a re-imagined/updated version of the original Getter Robo television series. Getter Robo, which was created by Go Nagai and Ken Ishikawa back in the mid '70s, has spawned numerous incarnations, one of which was brought to the States back in the early '80s as Starvengers. I can remember watching Starvengers when I was in elementary school, and I have to say that this idea was a hell of a lot more interesting when I was 11.
The four episodes presented here unfold in standard fashion: A little bit of plot is followed by an attack, which is then followed by a battle, which is then followed by a victory for the Getter. (The episodes went down the same way 24 years ago, but back then I didn't mind). There's absolutely nothing new here, nor is there an attempt to put even the slightest spin on the old elements. Given that, you'd think this series would be aimed squarely at a younger audience -- one whose members wouldn't be so familiar with the basic elements -- but when you take into consideration the extreme violence and doses of leering sex, it's hard to imagine exactly what audience the producers had in mind.
The quality of the contents can be faulted, but the quality of the presentation certainly can't. The transfer here is impeccable (the animation itself looks a bit crude, but it's representative of Go Nagai's style), and the stereo soundtracks are more spacious and full-bodied than I expected. Extras include clean opening animation, two music videos for songs featured in the series (each utilizing footage from the series), and previews for other Geneon titles.
There's nothing noteworthy or worthwhile about New Getter Robo. In fact, take away the blood, guts, and breasts, and the whole thing seems rather quaint. I guess it's a shame that I'm not into quaint. Unless you're a diehard Go Nagai or mecha fan, I'd advise you to ignore it.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Music Clips
* Clean Opening Animation
* Anime News Network Page