The guy I worship over at Eastern Standard has probably put it best. The new Mazinger is simultaneously nonsensical garbage and the greatest thing to ever exist. I pretty much knew this was coming, and I was more than ready to hop right in and love every minute of it. Yasuhiro Imagawa is one of my favorite directors – he created Giant Robo and directed Mobile Fighter G Gundam, both of which are some of the most awesome throwbacks to 70s-style super robot anime there are. I’m sure he pretty much wet himself when he got the opportunity to work on the newest anime installment of the classic Go Nagai series Mazinger, and fans like me wet ourselves knowing he’d get to do it.
First, though, lets get the bad out of the way. This show has some incredibly shitty animation. None of it is great, but there were some moments of outright looped footage that made me gag. Seriously some of the worst animation I’ve seen in years, though at least not Musashi Gun-doh level. However, this is made up for by the epic imagery, as expected of Imagawa, as well as some shots that used cool old-school styled bits for fans of that kind of stuff. Plus, this is a Go Nagai series. I don’t think people really give a damn how pretty it looks.
Now, on to the strange. None of this episode makes any fucking sense whatsoever. It has nothing to do with watching it RAW, either – my J-speaking friend who I watched it with understood nothing, and aforementioned Andrew Cunningham says himself that it made no damn sense. Now, if you’re a huge Mazinger fanboy, it’s probably easier for you (I knew some of the characters from the episodes of Mazinkaiser I watched) but really, even if you are, this shit couldn’t have been easy to follow. Something like 50 fucking characters appear in this episode, and there’s Zeus. Zeus. He literally shows up and strikes an epic pose and says ‘I am ZEUS!’ pronouncing his own name hilariously.
But then there’s the great. As aforementioned, the imagery is absurd levels of epic. Go Nagai’s completely ridiculous style is there and all of his WTF villains. One guy’s head is detached from his body, one villain is half-man, half-woman by a vertical split, one of the robots has boobs where two girls co-pilot it. That robot is attacked when another robot gropes the cockpits (that can be taken so many ways…). There were attacks that crushed whole space stations, hundreds of enemy robots, volcanoes erupting, atomic bombs exploding, and a manly speech given atop a giant hand protruding from the earth.
The consensus is clear – if you are the kind of guy who likes story and characters and anime that makes sense only, this is NOT for you. If you like classic giant robot shows, absurdly over-the-top visuals, and villains that are so zany, evil, and rediculous that you find yourself laughing at them, this is definitely your show. I happen to be a big fan of mecha and crazy epic visuals, so naturally I’ll be following this quite closely. I’m not even sure if I’m oing to bother with subs. I don’t think I need them.
Also, I feel the need to mention that the show’s full title is in fact “Shin Mazinger Shougeki! Z-Hen on television”.