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Review: Godannar Complete DVD Collection

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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 with shiny metal things. Writers will (usually) attempt to give their characters motivations that extend past hot blood, bromances and revenge. Animation has also generally improved, making it possible to have more complicated robot designs that can do more than occasionally leap into the air and drill their flaming limbs into the gooey innards of their opponents.

Godannar is what happens when you get kids that grew up watching those old robot shows and put them in a position of creative power. In a desire to pay homage to the best of classic giant robot shows, the creators also added a good plot, meaningful character development, a solid budget and voice actors that know when to go for camp and when to play it straight.

Oh, and several metric tons of fanservice.

 

 

Godannar Complete DVD Collection [DVD]
Studio: OLM Incorporated / Anime International Company Inc.
Licensed by: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: 10/01/13
MSRP: $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.

 

8.0Great. A great example of its genre that everyone should see, regardless of their interest.

 

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Godannar DVD Complete Collection reviewed by Pedro Cortes

8

GREAT

Impressive effort with a few noticeable problems holding it back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.
How we score:  The Japanator reviews guide

 
 
 

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Pedro Cortes
Pedro CortesAssociate Editor   gamer profile

Pedro Cortes has been known to swoon at the sight of a robot. This is understandable, as robots are pretty awesome. more + disclosures


 


 


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