robots

Robot Wars! photo
Robot Wars!

Japan agrees to robot duel with USA


ROBOT FIGHT READY GOOOOOO
Jul 06
// Red Veron
Back in 2012, Suidobashi Heavy Industries of Japan introduced the world to the 'KURATAS', a big piloted robot mech and pretty much gave hope to anyone who ever dreamt of seeing piloted robots come to reality. Dubbed as an 'ar...

OP Up! Super Robot Edition

Jan 28 // Red Veron
[embed]33469:4411:0[/embed]This next one is a favorite here on Japanator and is definitely the most different in it is lineage. Mobile Fighter G Gundam is a Super Robot anime that is a great departure from its series' legacy of the Gundam series, which actually spawned the Real Robot genre that is counter to much of the elements of the Super Robot genre.Featuring many over-the-top aspects in mostly in everything in the show, G Gundam is set in an alternate Gundam universe where space colonies & countries have set wars aside and vie for the fate of the world in organized 1-on-1 fighting tournaments using Gundams.The opening song, Flying in the sky performed by Hitofumi Ushima, is a great way to start off a show about giant robots doing martial arts and special super moves themed after different national stereotypes that may or may not be racist. While I love the second opening to G Gundam but it just does not have the impact of the Flying in the Sky. [embed]33469:4412:0[/embed]The second entry in the Robot Romance Trilogy, Choudenji Machine Voltes V (also known as Voltes V or Voltus V outside Japan), first aired in 1977 has the most rad disco opening in this selection of openings. Voltes V has a personal connection to me, I grew up watching it in the Philippines when I was very young and any Filipino under the age of 40 will have watched it and still remains in culturally relevant there to this day.Voltes V is one of the typical Super Robot shows of its day: heroes fighting in a near invincible super robot against an alien empire who wants take over. It was the second part of a trilogy of Super Robot shows between Chodenji Combattler V and Tosho Daimos (which share the same status as Voltes V in the Philippines). The opening song, simply titled Voltes V no Uta (Song of Voltes V), is performed by Mitsuko Horie and reflects the era it was written very well. It gets my blood pumping every time I hear it despite my lack of knowledge of the lyrics or what they mean. I should probably look it up. [embed]33469:4413:0[/embed]Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Of course this one is going be on here, it's only one of the most popular anime in the first decade of the 21st century. Very much in the tradition of Gainax, Gurren Lagann carries on that Gainax heritage of over-the-top action and insanity that is part of the Gainax DNA with previous works such as Gunbuster/Diebuster and Evangelion.Gurren Lagann's opening just sets up the show perfectly. It shows off the characters and their cool post and then ramps up to the action where we get to see some robot action with the multiple drill protrusions sprouting up form the titular super robot. The opening song is Sorairo Days performed by Shoko Nakagawa, whom we once asked as to which cat tastes the best.What more can I say about Gurren Lagann that hasn't been said before? Haven't seen it? Please correct that oversight immediately. It's probably available on multiple streaming services right now for you to GAR over.[embed]33469:4414:0[/embed] There has been an alarming trend in the last few years in the anime industry with the anthropomorphization of objects into moe girls, from different guns to WWII-era ships. Robot Girls Z has done that but with the most unthinkable property ever: Super Robots. Now this sounds like an absolute cash-in in the worst way possible, which is what I thought at first when I heard about it. Then I watched it. It was great.Very much a parody of the whole Super Robot genre, Robot Girls Z is a comedy where the female anthromorphizations of Super Robots just beat up the bad guys all the time, much like the source material. The baddies get beat up so much that it borders on bullying and it quickly becomes just that. One must wonder how can they get away with such a thing, but at the helm of this show is famed manga and anime creator Go Nagai.The three main characters of Robot Girls Z are each based of the works of Nagai: Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger, and Grendizer. A respected figure like Go Nagai, who was responsible for the creation of the very Super Robots that the main characters are based on and the genre, still shows respect to the fans of his works by including many obscure references in Robot Girls Z. Any fans interested in the genre and/or interested in one of the funniest shows of last year should check this one out. Got any of your own favorite Super Robot anime openings? Share some in the comments.
OP Up! photo
GIANT MECHA ACTION!
Welcome to the first edition of OP Up!, a weekly selection of anime opening videos that is here to help you get through your Wednesday to the end of the week. This week's theme is about Super Robot anime and the many opening ...

Surveillance robot photo
Surveillance robot

Japan Ministry of Defense's surveillance robot is almost ready to roll out


Transformation feature included
Jan 02
// Salvador GRodiles
Good news, everyone! It turns out that the Japanese Ministry of Defense's Technical Research and Development Institute is close to finishing their special surveillance robot. Going by the name of the Throwable Type Reconnaiss...

Music photo
Music

A Daily Dose of Anime Openings: 80's Week


It's a Xabungle out there
Jul 09
// Hiroko Yamamura
Alright kids, time to load up on the hairspray, neon bracelets, and your favorite denim jacket. We are going back to the 80's! Being a child of the 80's the anime of the time left a huge impression on me, that I really didn'...
ROBOTS photo
ROBOTS

Fan poll selects most powerful robot


Nobody expects the cat robot
Jun 26
// Pedro Cortes
The argument about the strongest robots in anime is one that will continue in perpetuity. I mean, it's hard to get any sort of consensus about what to even include on the list. Giant robots are one thing, but do you include a...
Gundam: RiG photo
Gundam: RiG

Gundam: Reconguista in G gets way more info


Tomino's latest Gundam show gets detailed
Jun 23
// Pedro Cortes
Sunrise dropped a ton of new info on the official Gundam: Reconguista in G website. In addition to a newly available trailer, we now have updated info on staff and cast, as well as several of the main 'bots you'll be seeing ...
Orguss photo
Orguss

Discotek Media licenses Super Dimension Century Orguss


Gimmie all those obscure 80's robots
Jun 17
// Pedro Cortes
Continuing in their bid to license and/or rescue all the awesome old properties, Discotek Media will release Super Dimension Century Orguss sometime next year. All 35 episodes will be available with the Japanese language trac...
Dragon Ball photo
Dragon Ball

Dragon Ball Z's Androids names revealed


These names rock. Or they're gems, I can't tell
May 06
// Pedro Cortes
Did you ever feel like you didn't know enough about the young, hip Androids 17 & 18 from Dragon Ball Z? Well, thanks to Akira Toriyama answering questions in a Q&A column, we finally know the names of our favorite and...

First Impressions: Captain Earth

Apr 07 // Elliot Gay
Daichi Mahatsu is a second-year high school student about to enter summer vacation. Friendly and pleasant to be around, he's not without friends or people that care about him. School isn't exactly his forte though; he just doesn't care about class and would rather read books, play games, or surf the net. Daichi's life changed dramatically when his father, an astronaut, died in space during an accident of some kind. One day while hanging with some friends, he sees a news report about a strange circular rainbow floating in the sky above Tanegashima, his old home. This phenomenon is more than just familiar: Daichi once saw something similar when he was but a child. Digging deep into his memories, he remembers the day he met a mysterious boy named Teppei, and the time they spent together at an old, sealed off facility on the island. Filled with a sense of foreboding, Daichi heads back to his hometown, breaking into the old building in the hopes of figuring out what exactly is going on. He meets a young girl, some crazy things happen, and eventually he finds himself piloting a giant robot called the Earth Engine. Hurled into space against an incoming enemy of unknown origin, it would appear as though fate has something great in store for Daichi. Well that was a packed first episode. The pacing of the first half wasn't so hot, but it nonetheless did the job of delivering important information to the viewer in a timely fashion. Much to my surprise, Captain Earth didn't hold back on dumping mysterious plot elements all over the place right off the bat. Weird circular rainbows, children who definitely aren't normal, a naked girl in an energy sphere; all this and more, and in flashbacks no less. Hell, even the antagonists (?) get some screen time, applying a face to the enemy super early in the series. Shout outs to their odd greeting which, while nowhere near as good as "kira boshi!', still managed to elicit a smile from me. Of course, like any giant robot series that takes itself too seriously, the dialogue is wrought with eye-rolling cliches. In some ways though, that's part of the charm. It feels like Bones is out to make a traditional mecha show, and whether or not that succeeds, I can at least respect that they seem to be diving in head first. I'm not really sure how I feel about Daichi as the protagonist as of yet; his aloofness bothered me in the first half, but his goofiness made up for a lot of that toward the end of the episode. I gotta love Bones rolling with the old school "boy pilots giant robot for the first time to defend Earth without any training" trope and not giving a damn. Plot zaniness aside, this was another lavish opening episode for studio Bones. Not unlike Star Driver, Captain Earth features a very lush art style that really does justice to the island setting. There's wasn't a whole lot of action to speak of this week, but the tantalizing bits and pieces of robot animation were great. In particular, the Earth Engine gattai sequence was great fun, combining the look of a super robot with a grounded, almost analog-esque formation sequence. I imagine we're probably going to see that scene a whole lot in the coming episodes. Musically, Star Driver alumni Satoru Kousaki heads up the score, and it's as big and booming as his previous work. I was amused to find that the first episode of Captain Earth already featured an insert song, and I'm hoping that the musical elements are as tied to the core narrative as they have been in this team's prior works. Captain Earth's first episode was an enjoyable robot romp, despite the sometimes cringe-inducing dialogue and weird pacing. I'm always down to watch a Bones mecha anime, and with so many strong veterans working on the project, I can only hope that things go up from here.  If nothing else, I'll settle for more pretty insert songs and long-as-hell gattai sequences. 
FI: Captain Earth photo
Longest gattai sequence ever
I secretly loved Star Driver. The ridiculously over-the-top posing, flashiness, strange imagery, and the beautiful animation; it all came together to make for an entertaining whirlwind of confusion and glee. That shouldn't co...

Ever wanted to pilot a robot?

Feb 12 // Amber Hunt
[ Original Source ]
Landwalker photo
Well this Japanese company makes them
Ah, I can see it now. It's 2015, and people have started to use robots instead of cars. Wouldn't that be awesome? Well luckily for us, a Japanese company built one, and you could be piloting it as we speak. Sakakibara Kikai h...

Robotech photo
Robotech

Robotech Movie gets fan remaster


Uses footage from original releases
Feb 10
// Pedro Cortes
As much as I've loved any franchise, I don't think I've put as much work into anything as much as Robotech Motion Comics has in this video they posted back in November of 2013. In it, they remastered Robotech: The Movie by pu...
Mobile Suit Gundam photo
Mobile Suit Gundam

New Mobile Suit Gundam Side Story announced


First entry in series in the last 11 years
Jan 22
// Pedro Cortes
In the last couple of years, the only two types of Mobile Suit Gundam games I've seen come out are either part of the Musou series or of the Extreme variety. You're either crushing a ton of chump units in space or you're duki...
Science photo
Science

Anime-style robot on science journal causes rage


Apparently, cute robo-maids aren't in vogue
Jan 18
// Pedro Cortes
When you think of robotics, what's the first thing to come to mind? For me, I think of the killing machines from the Terminator series. For most others that aren't hellbent on seeing a robot apocalypse, they might think of cu...

Review: Aquarion: EVOL - Season 2, Part 1

Jan 06 // Pedro Cortes
Aquarion Evol DVD/Blu-ray Part 1Studio: SatelightLicensed by FUNimationRelease Date: 12/3/2013MSRP: $69.98 [Amazon | RightStuf] Taking place 12,000 years after Aquarion, the humans of planet Vega are being attacked by unknown assailants from the planet Altair, across the cosmos. The populace is protected by Neo-DEAVA, an organization that sorties combining robots to fight off the invaders. Neo-DEAVA is also divided by gender, consisting of separate teams of men and women. That status quo is broken after Amata Sora and Mikono Suzushiro are pulled into the conflict during a particularly brutal attack. Somehow, Amata is able to break every Neo-DEAVA safeguard preventing men and women from combining, forming the powerful Aquarion Evol. From that point on, Amata and Mikono are drafted into Neo-DEAVA, where we slowly learn that certain elements are very similar to events that occurred 12,000 years prior. This is where a familiarity with the original Aquarion would be handy. From the first episode, a movie becomes an important plot point between Amata and Mikono, and I'm pretty sure that film recreates events from the first show. Throughout this half of the show, it becomes clear that the main antagonist from the original Aquarion and is back for further nefarious purposes. While I do feel that I'm losing something, Evol has done a good job thus far in keeping me informed about the past and its connection with the present. Viewers in similar situations should be able to keep up, though those with previous experience with the franchise will likely get more out of these connections. In this half, Evol's story has remained fairly lighthearted. Much of the show has to do with these kids finally being able to interact with members of the opposite sex, which leads to the kind of teenage antics you'd expect. Story reasons prevent any sort of romance from growing, which adds more sexual tension to every interaction these kids have with each other. Most of the kids are the kind of flat caricatures you'd expect in any rom-com or mecha show, i.e. the BL lover, the hot-blooded pervert, the protective big brother, the tsundere, etc. Even so, they're stupidity is occasionally charming and I'll be damned if I'm not sold on the Amata/Mikono relationship. Barring some stupid stuff in the first couple of episodes, their blossoming love is adorable. The Altairians are an interesting set of villains, but my lack of familiarity with the original show leaves me wondering if I'm missing something. Their plight, which forces them to come to Vega and attempt to kidnap specific people, makes you feel for them, even if their methods aren't right. The thing is, I can't tell if their plight has anything to do with prior machinations or if it's something different all together. Hopefully, the second half of the show will tell us more. Evol is a damn pretty show. With male character designs from Chinatsu Kurahana (Samurai Flamenco, Uta no Prince-sama) and female designs from Ishida Kana (Ai Yori Aoshi, OreImo), all of these characters stand out. Even nonsensical elements like Mix's single portion of dyed hair and Zessica's ridiculously exposed outfit add a certain amount of charm. The verdant landscapes of Vega are gorgeous to look at, contrasted with the dying mountains of Altair looming over old cities falling apart. My only gripe with the visuals are the Aquarion's designs; I'm just not digging most of the variations of the Evol. If it's possible for a super robot to look too garish, then most of the Evol's forms are just that. The only design that I'm digging is the slimmer Spada, which resembles a fencer and is lacking in extra ornamentation and gloss. The audio is pretty solid too, featuring music from the legendary Yoko Kanno. The over-the-top insert music used during combining sequences screams of old super robot shows, which is fine by me. The Japanese and English performances are equally good, so fans of either format will be pleased. Characters that are shrill and annoying on one vocal track are just as annoying on the other, so that's more a character issue than a performance one. Overall, the first part of Aquarion Evol is pretty fun. It isn't the deepest or most nuanced of shows, but it did entertain me. To be fair, I wasn't expecting much else. Despite robot designs I wasn't too fond of, it had the kind of good, fast paced action you'd expect from a show with super robots that make their pilots climax when combined. The cliffhanger from this first part left me wanting more, so that's as about as good a recommendation as I can give. If you need some big, honking robot action, Aquarion Evol should give you your fix.   7.0 – Good. Films or shows that get this score good, but not great. These could have been destined for greatness, but were held back by their flaws. While some may not enjoy them, fans of the genre will definitely love them.
Aquarion Evol photo
They take gattai very seriously
When you think Shoji Kawamori, his work on Macross immediately comes to mind. It's been one of the most influential properties in Japan since it's debut. However, another major show that Kawamori worked on is Aquarion. You mi...

Nobunaga photo
Nobunaga

Nobunaga the Fool is looking like a good time


Angst, robots, and swords
Dec 09
// Hiroko Yamamura
I was getting worried about what anime I would be watching this Winter season. For some reason nothing was really lining up with my tastes, until my buddy Jeff Chuang mentioned that Macross's Shoji Kawamori was behind the up...
Cosplay photo
Cosplay

Brooklyn Robotworks brings your favorite bots to life


Where's my Gypsy Danger?
Nov 27
// Pedro Cortes
There's always some guy at a convention that tries to look like a robot. Whether there's a bit of effort or a simple Cardboard Gundam, you're bound to find somebody clomping around in a suit. While that's all well and good, t...
Hello Kitty photo
Hello Kitty

Chogokin Hello Kitty will shoot you with her rocket paw


Cutest cool Japan mashup in recent years
Nov 07
// Jeff Chuang
There's a Chogokin Hello Kitty figure in the works. That's huge news for people who know what Chogokin means, but for the rest of you this means soon you would be able to purchase a Hello Kitty toy with rocket punch.  Ro...

Review: Godannar Complete DVD Collection

Oct 07 // Pedro Cortes
Godannar Complete DVD Collection [DVD]Studio: OLM Incorporated / Anime International Company Inc.Licensed by: Sentai FilmworksRelease Date: 10/01/13MSRP: $64.98 [Amazon | Rightstuf] Set in the future, monsters known as Mimetic Beasts have attacked humanity, forcing man to create giant robots in their image, as they're wont to due in this kind of situation. While Tokyo is destroyed by a particularly difficult to kill baddie, a pilot named Goh Saruwatari manages to save his boss's young daughter, Anna Aoi, while killing the monster in the midst of all the rubble and trashed robots. Five years later, Goh and Anna are set to get married, only to be interrupted by the reemergence of the Mimetic Beasts. Goh jumps back into his mech, the Dannar, while Anna unseals an old mech and joins her fiancee on the battlefield to help save humanity. The two regularly combine mechs on the field of battle as they also struggle to maintain their relationship in the face of constant interruption from Goh's little brother, petty arguments and the occasional ex-flame. While robots maybe one of Godannar's draws, the real heart of the show is in Anna and Goh's relationship. Separated by 12 years and a ton of life experience, the two regularly have trouble understanding each other. Anna is still in high school, often lacking the maturity to deal with Goh's stubborn nature and his traumatic past. Goh is much older, yet is also emotionally stunted from his participation in the events that open the show. He has trouble getting close to his fiancé and uses his piloting as a way to keep himself from getting hurt again. The two often clash, but there is plenty of genuine love and affection. It's surprisingly touching, and it's not often you see this kind of relationship in anime-- much less in a fanservice-laden giant robot show. It really makes Godannar feel like it's aimed at an older audience. Speaking of fanservice, that is another one of  the show's big draws. Considering the aforementioned older audience, they packed these 26 episodes with as much boob-bouncing, rear angles and crotch shots as possible. In fact, I would've loved to have seen a jiggle counter in the corner slowly ticking up as each episode went on. With as many female characters as this show features, I wouldn't be surprised if that jiggle counter overloaded at several points. I mean, they even included bouncing boobies for the female-shaped robots. It's ridiculous and it kept me amused the entire time, though those rigidly against fanservice will obviously take issue with it and have difficulty enjoying the show as a result. Oh yeah, I almost forgot there were robots in this show. Yeah, giant honkin' robots (without even a casual relationship with reality and/or the laws of physics) leap around and slam their fists and feet into the hideous-looking Mimetic Beasts and, every so often, into each other. Each area of the world that contributes to the war effort has a pair of representatives that pilot a combining robot. Each of these pairs has some sort of messed up romance that is more or less dealt with throughout the series, though they all take a back seat to the Goh/Anna drama. Included is a very busty dominatrix from Russia and her passive manservant, an English playboy and his stepsister with a brother-complex, two women from America that cannot admit their romantic feelings toward one another and the Chinese pilots that should just get married already. Each one of their mecha looks unique and totally off the wall, as well they should on a show like this. Besides the pilots, there are the usual wacko engineers and servicemen at the Godannar base. They provide a fair amount of comic relief while occasionally providing moments of poignancy after certain events. One of my favorite episodes focuses just on the mechanics and their daily routines in keeping the robots functioning. It's a nice touch, since so many comparable shows have side characters just like this and invariably forget to do anything with them. No such missed opportunity here. The show looks and sounds good. While it isn't GAINAX or BONES level of animation, everything is solid. Some may not like the ridiculous female character designs, but considering how bizarre the hot-blooded male pilots and mechanics look, I felt the style was consistent overall. The soundtrack sounds sufficiently like an old mecha show, with a pair of cheesy opening songs and an assortment of blood-pumping action tracks. The voice tracks are particularly amusing for me, as the casts in both languages absolutely get the kind of show they're working with. The Japanese tracks has a bunch of great mecha seiyu intentionally overacting and chewing up scenery. My favorite performance is by far Nobuyuki Hiyama (Viral from Gurren Lagann, Gai from GaoGaiGar), who dials up the hot blood as a pilot that somehow manages to survive impossible situations, despite everybody thinking he's dead. I also liked the English voice track; the actors have fun with the cheesiness of the whole production, but know exactly when it to reign it in for the serious parts. In terms of bonuses, Sentai's release has got a decent amount. Inside the case is a booklet with staff and cast interviews, as well as various sexy bikini shots that appeared on the original packaging for Godannar. On the disks, you get the usual clean opening and closing videos, as well as another swimsuit gallery, character and robot files, production sketches, key words and a couple of bonus clips. Despite the slimmed-down packaging from the original DVDs and Thinpak, this has a lot of stuff in it. If you've read a word of what I've written, you can tell that I loved this show. It's fun, looks good and has a lot of heart, hidden behind a lot of heaving mammaries. It's not often that you get a solid, interesting relationship that grows in a show with a lot of giant, flaming robots and half-naked ladies. The only negatives that I could mention would be that I wished we got more development from the other pilots, and parts of the second season can look cheap. Oh, and if you're offended by fanservice, steer way clear. Besides those minor quibbles, mecha fans and people looking for romance would do well in picking up Godannar.   8.0 – Great. A great example of its genre that everyone should see, regardless of their interest.  
Godannar photo
A marriage of robots & boobs
The robot genre has changed in many ways over the years. For one thing, the stories have become more complicated, incorporating social commentary in an effort to appeal to wider audiences beyond children who are impressed wit...

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A Bearguy appears in Shin Dynasty Warriors Gundam


He's been waiting, ready to strike
Oct 02
// Pedro Cortes
For me, the best thing to come out of Model Suit Gunpla Builders Beginning G was Bearguy. Designed as a cross between the Zeon Acguy and...a bear...it's cute, it's cuddly and it'll zap you with a beam cannon shaped like a rec...
Science! photo
Science!

Japan sent a talking robot to space


and no, it's not Astro Boy.
Aug 14
// Tim Sheehy
In a move that could only be described as either totally awesome or fiscally irresponsible, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency -- or JAXA for short -- has delivered a talking robot to the International Space Station. It'...
Gundam meets Pacific Rim photo
Gundam meets Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim faces off with Gundam


Gundam vs Jaeger?
Aug 13
// Hiroko Yamamura
After becoming a living mecha god after his recent Pacific Rim movie, you'd think that director Guillermo del Toro would be hard to impress. A news crew followed the visionary around Tokyo, making a few stops to buy stuff, a...
Tranformers GO! photo
Tranformers GO!

What's with Optimus Prime's new look?


What happened here?
Jul 01
// Hiroko Yamamura
Transformers fans may or may have a reason to get excited with the upcoming direct to video release of Transformers GO!, in Japan. There's some pretty slick looking 3D animation going on, the usual twanging guitars, and new&...
Super Robot Wars OG photo
Super Robot Wars OG

Super Robot Wars OG: Masoukishin 3 coming to PS3/Vita


Time for some hot blooded mech action.
May 07
// Elliot Gay
A leak from this week's Famitsu magazine has revealed that Namco Bandai will be releasing Masoukishin: Pride of Justice on August 22 for the PS3 and Vita. The second game in the Masoukishin saga, Revelation of Evil God, ...

Friday Night Fights: KOS-MOS vs Nono

Jan 11 // Salvador GRodiles
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The clash of the female weapons of mass destruction!
*ding, ding, ding* It's over!  Despite Bit and Liger Zero's slow turning speed, the duo's ability to adapt to any situation was put into place. Knowing that the Strike had the advantage in mobility, Bit attempts to ...

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Discotek Media licenses Gunbuster 2: Diebuster


Prepare for hot blood and manly tears
Jan 08
// Pedro Cortes
Long time readers may remember that I reviewed Diebuster a couple years back. I fellated the show, and with good reason. It's one of my favorite OVAs, only topped by it's predecessor, Gunbuster. The only problem is that ...
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Robotech fans, prepare to be amazed what love can do


50 seconds that are more impressive than most major films
Jan 04
// Hiroko Yamamura
Remember that fan made Robotech project we got a peak at a while ago? It looks as though this Spanish speaking group isn't messing around, and has some amazing progress on the project. You can really feel the love ...
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A Daily Dose of Music: Old School Thursdays


You can fight!
Dec 06
// Hiroko Yamamura
If you know anything about me, you probably know I am totally obsessed with Transformers. Especially, G1 figures. Today we go far back to the Japanese dub of the Transformers opening theme. The whole lineage of Transformers ...

Japanator Recommends: Ergo Proxy

Oct 18 // Kristina Pino
Ergo Proxy [DVD]Studio: Section 23Licensed by: FUNimation Release Date: August 28, 2012MSRP: $39.98 [BUY] According to an informational episode towards the middle chunk of the show, the human population was reduced by about 85%. Some escaped to space to wait out Earth's eventual healing, and some remained. Proxies were created and brought forth in order to maintain domed cities that would foster a manufactured humanity until the time was right for Earth to be re-inhabited. The domed cities were perfect, idealistic environments with little to no crime, and perfectly bio-engineered humans that were created in artificial wombs. Re-l Mayer herself is a top agent in the city's intelligence bureau and is the granddaughter of the man who is in the care of Romdo. One day, the city's Proxy escapes, and just as it attempts to eliminate Re-l, she is saved by Ergo Proxy. When she becomes drawn to the affair and tries to find answers, she is completely shut down by the higher-ups, even to the point of planting her own Entourage with surveillance bugs, and eventually an attempted assassination. With the help of Daedalus, the chief of medical who has overseen her development and care throughout her entire life, she escapes Romdo along with her Entourage Iggy and joins Vincent and an infected Auto-Reiv (robot) called Pino. From then on, you (as the viewer) are slowly fed information about what Proxies are, the situation that brought human kind to its current state, and what it means for the future. Vincent and Re-l are equally the main characters and focus of the show, and stick together through the end in their quest for the truths which have been kept from both of them (and pretty much all of mankind). Throughout Ergo Proxy, you'll encounter more biblical references and philosophy than you'll immediately be able to identify, beginning with the simple concept of cogito, or cogito ergo sum. Perhaps the biggest theme in Ergo Proxy is the subject of self, and what brings meaning to one's existence. Every person and Auto-Reiv introduced in the show will have a clear raison d'etre, and will face the same sort of existential crisis when they no longer have it. Though Ergo Proxy definitely qualifies as drama, sci-fi, mystery, even action, it has its humorous points. Pino is provided as the never-ending source for smiles as you watch her develop after she's infected with the cogito virus. Rather than becoming vengeful when she gains a soul, she ends up acting like any other little girl would. She also frequently dons an adorable bunny suit, and introduces various references to Alice in Wonderland that are also mixed in with all the philosophy throughout. She's the innocent character that buffers all the heaviness. She also happens to share my last name, so she must be rad. Pino's behavior is in distinct contrast with Iggy's post-infection, though. When Iggy is infected, he develops a split personality ruled by his desperate need to be of use to Re-l. In other words, his feelings of being cast aside or written-off pulled him in two different directions: the first is a pleading Iggy who wants Re-l to need him, who will do anything for her and who wishes to protect her. The second is an angry Iggy who resents her for sending him away, calling her useless and needy and then trying to force her to remain under his protection so he can still have a purpose. The performance on the part of the voice actor was superb during this phase, because of the stark differences in his tone of voice depending on which part of his personality was on the surface. Deep down though, Iggy never turned away from his raison d'etre, which was always to be Re-l's protector. FUNimation's Classics DVD Box Set comes with some attractive artwork around it and four discs inside. The fourth disc is the only one with Extras, and you do have the option of enjoying Ergo Proxy in either Japanese or English. Even though the Extras are only contained in one disc along with the last two hours and 15 minutes of the show, there is plenty of material to enjoy: Three features (an overview of the various denizens and special terms in the show, a "behind the scenes," and the English staff interview), various trailers, commercials, and of course the clean OP and ED. The OP is called Kiri (by MONORAL) and remains the same throughout all 23 episodes. The ED is Radiohead's Paranoid Android, which surprised me when I first saw Ergo Proxy. I should also mention here that Kiri is one of my favorite OPs of all time, and the full version of the song is great (to my ears, anyway). As far as the animation quality goes, Ergo Proxy is not among the popular colorful and exaggerated styles we see everywhere. Realism is a key factor, and all the environments outside of Romdo are grungy, dirty, and steampunk-like with dystopian desolation and pollution everywhere. The only complaint I have about it, and I've had this complaint since 2006, is that the picture is too dark. Sometimes, it's difficult to tell what's going on on-screen. I do think there is a significance to this though, because there are key scenes that seem deliberately darker or more clear depending on the situation. When I review new releases like this, I usually listen to just a few episodes with the dubs on to get a feel for how the voice actors perform their roles compared with the Japanese version. I originally saw this in Japanese, and that was fine, but I was blown away by the dubs, which I switched on from the beginning this time around. And I never turned them off. The dialogue and the story appeal to Western storytelling, so much so that the dubs feel completely natural and befitting. The themes in Ergo Proxy aren't so saturated with references to Japanese culture (they're actually nonexistent), so nothing is lost in translation. If anything, it feels like Ergo Proxy references the likes of Phillip K. Dick and Isaac Asimov and their stories about robots, robotics, and self-awareness. Greatest of all, it doesn't feel like anything you end up watching or listening to is unnecessary. What else do you expect though, when the likes of Dai Sato (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Wolf's Rain, Cowboy Bebop, even the recent Tekken: Blood Vengeance which I also reviewed) had a hand in the screenplay? If you enjoyed any or all of those titles, you'll probably enjoy Ergo Proxy. For fans of realism, philosophy, deep human emotion, and robots, this is definitely a show that deserves your time. From when it first aired until now, it holds up well conceptually and in terms of execution. If you want to sample it before buying anything, you also have the option of watching it on FUNimation's website. This box set is a great release that won't break the bank. [9.5 – Exceptional, near-perfect. One of the best things its genre has ever produced.]
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cogito ergo sum
Ergo Proxy is an anime I've enjoyed since it first aired, and I was more than willing to grab this review when it came up. Thanks to FUNimation, Ergo Proxy (previously licensed by Geneon) has been rescued and re-released in f...

JapanaTen: The Valkyries of Macross

Oct 11 // Pedro Cortes
Super Dimensional Fortress Macross Considering that this is the daddy of the entire franchise, there's a lot of nostalgic love for these suits. Whether it was through the original Japanese version or through the controversial American Robotech, many people will recognize Valkyries from this show. While I find a lot of them a bit plain for my tastes, there are two Valkyries that stick out in the pantheon of variable transforming planes.   VF-1A: Max's Valkyrie Besides having a punny name that has the subtlety of a punch to the face, ace pilot Max Jenius has a nice color scheme compared to the other versions of the VF-1A that appear in the original Macross. On top of that, Max's Valkyrie went under cover by tossing on a Zentradi coat in order to save several pilots during the original show. Just for that amusing moment, it made this list.   VF-1S I would be slapped about a dozen times if I failed to mention this beaut. The VF-1S was flown to two different pilots through the original series, but it truly belongs to only one guy. That dude is none other than Roy Focker, pimp and senpai supreme. He's a drunk, he's a bad ass, he's a ladies man, he's the guy you want to cover you. Just don't feed him pineapple salad.   Macross Plus This is where a lot of people I know first got into Macross. Released during the big OVA boom of the mid-90s, it came out at the right place and the right time for the US market. Featuring gorgeous animation and fantastic music by Yoko Kanno, it has definitely stuck with a lot of people. But what about the 'bots? Well, the two main Valkyries being tested are a pair sexy beasts, believe me!   YF-19 Super Piloted by the brash Isamu, the experimental YF-19 has some pretty nifty additions in its arsenal. Besides the addition of some heavy weaponry, the FAST pack version you see here makes this an even zippier suit that can act in space and on the ground.   YF-21 While most people dug the YF-19, and for good reason, I was always more of a YF-21 kind of guy. I love the dark colors, the vaguely evil-looking BATTROID mode and, well, the general design of the whole thing. While it didn't win the military contract at the end of Macross Plus, you'll see its influence in later suits.   Macross 7 This is probably the most divisive entry in the whole franchise. Shying away from the fighter pilot aspect and focusing more on the music, Macross 7 has more to do with a band than anything else. It's lead character, the hot-blooded rock-star Nekki Basara, prefers to use his music to get through to his opponents, much like the famous songstress Lynn Minmei. Don't let that fool you; there are some fantastic looking Valkyries in this show!   VF-22 Sturmvogel II (Gamlin, Max and Millia) Remember how I mentioned that the YF-21 would have influence on later suits? Well, here is one suit that definitely takes something away from that great suit. The VF22 was given to some pretty skilled pilots, as you can see from the names above. While starting out as a rival, Gamlin evolved into a hot-blooded pilot in his own right. Max and Millia, of course, were the aces from the original Macross series who hopped back into the pilot seat for the final fight in Macross 7. They needed something that could match their skills, so they got a pair of custom VF-22s in their preferred colors. It's a sight to see, believe me.   VF-17S Nightmare: Millia's Version Being the mayor of a city has its advantages. In the Macross world, one of those advantages is getting a ship to pilot when the city needs defending. During a pretty rough time in the show, Millia gets back into flying in order to keep her citizens safe. Showing that absolutely none of her skills have dulled, she gets the VF-17 repainted in her colors and tears the Protodevilin a new one.   VF-1J "Milia" (2045) Notice a theme here? While I'm not normally a big fan of the color red, the best suits in Macross 7 are red. Milia's VF-1J in particular manages to look great in a show filled with newer mechs, which says a lot about how well the original Valkyries were designed. It's also here because Milia was able to hold her own against the enemy in a decades old mech. She's easily one of the best female pilots I've seen in any mecha show.   VF-19 Excalibur Custom The last suit from Macross 7 I'll mention is Basara's Valkyrie, the VF-19 Excalibur Custom. Besides being colored a snazzy red, Basara has had his Valkyrie customized to fire speaker pods instead of bullets. The pods stick on to his opponents, drill into the suit and begin pumping in the music that Basara plays from within his suit. The whole thing is VERY super-roboty, which is always good in my book. As if that weren't great enough, when the pods won't do, Basara brings in the big guns. When the going gets tough, the tough get Speak Pod Gamma. This giant missile houses an appropriately huge speaker that unleashes the most powerful of metal. Man, I love Speaker Pod Gamma.   Macross Frontier Finally, I'll get into a pair of suits from the latest entry into the Macross mythos, Macross Frontier. While there were some problems with Frontier, it was an overall good show that helped breathe new life into the franchise after Macross Zero kind of fizzled. There was a good balance between the music (which was particularly good) and the battles, which were sufficiently big by the end to please me.    VF-25F APS-25A/MF25 Armored Messiah One thing that I really like about Frontier was how the bigger, bulkier upgrades looked. I typically like my suits to be sleek and fast, but there's just something awesome about watching the VF-25F Armored Messiah wreck fools. The thing just plainly looks mean. While the pilot might leave something to be desired, the Armored Messiah is just what I want.   VF-25S Super Messiah Last but not least, the VF-25S has got to get some love, especially the Super Messiah version. Definitely calling back to Roy's VF-1S, the VF-25S belongs to Frontier's senpai, Ozma Lee. While he isn't as much of a ladies man as Roy, he's definitely got the skills and the hot blood to make up for it. Ozma's also immune to the fatal effect of pineapples, which gives him the leg up on poor Roy.   So now I toss it out to you guys: What are you favorite Valkyries from Macross? Let me know in the comments. Feel free to add any other ships, whether from the Zentradi, anti-UN forces, Protodevlin or the Vajra. Well, the Vajra are kind of like the ships themselves, but you know what I mean.
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Fighters, Battroids, Gerwalks, oh my!
Why does anybody really watch a mecha show? Is it for the deep stories that examine the relationships between people? How about the destruction that war causes and how it impacts the soldiers in the middle of it all? Nope, it...

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Hop in the 1/1-scale Gundam bust like a real pilot


The Strike Freedom Gundam awaits
Sep 27
// Kristina Pino
If you've ever dreamed of the day you could hop into a Gundam, a real life-sized Gundam, then you might want to take the next flight out to Tokyo and hit up the Gundam Front. The 1/1-scale Gundam Bust of Destiny's Strike Free...

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