Giant Robo – Man-size anime

Ably piloting his nuclear powered giant robot (sensibly dubbed "Giant Robo"), Daisaku Kusama is a brave young kid charged with the every day fate of saving the world. We join his story with his team mates in the internationally renowned "Experts of Justice" jumping (and teleporting!) from country to country fighting off the monstrous terrorists in Big Fire. Like most evil organizations, Big Fire desperately hanker after world domination, and the only people big and brave enough to stop them are Daisaku and his super-powered buddies.
Giant Robo is all about size. "The Magnificent Ten," "The Experts of Justice" and even "Big Fire" – it’s designed from that very first dot of ink to be a breath taking epic that heart racingly sweeps over cities, countries and even Earth itself. Depending on whether or not Daisaku ultimately triumphs, the fate of the world is hanging by a thread.
Begun in 1992 and finished in 1998, this 7 episode OVA is gleefully reminiscent of the pulpy fiction you would often find filling comics in the 60s and 70s; a time before sarcasm was invented and prentention was needed – I really love that about Giant Robo, it’s so clear about everything that all there is left to do is to sit back and watch the story explode with sharp, inventive action and heart-felt theatrical melodrama. And explode it does; giant robots clash amidst packed cities, ninja and samurai take to the skies and do battle, mystical priests and insane scientists are hell bent on their own idealistic ideas about scientific progress – it is a thoroughly delightful distillation of a fanboy’s dream and an exciting collision of Japan’s traditional and fantastical culture"¦ That and it has giant robots!


The sudden realisation of a tired anime fan

I’ve had so much fun watching Giant Robo for the first time this weekend – an impossibly epic, jaw dropping spectacle set against frame after frame of sprawling neon-lit cityscapes and the kind of fluidic action packed excitement you just don’t see anymore in modern anime – it has again sparked that raw enthusiasm for anime inside my heart, you know that feeling you get when you uncover something special. Compare this with my somewhat dulled interest in the current and former 2006 seasons, where I’m enjoying but hardly enraptured by a lot of what I’ve seen.
Around about this time everyone is getting excited about the new autumn anime, but when all people are looking for is the latest and greatest series (and I’m guilty of this myself too), we forget the older, less trendy classics. I’m so glad I’ve discovered Giant Robo – created over a decade ago in 1992, but I’m disappointed it’s taken me this long. I’ve probably been wasting my attention on mediocre eye candy like Ergo Proxy just because it’s fresh and new, been considering previewing the likes of "killer loli" favourite Higurashi and Bokura ga Ita because I keep seeing them pop up in gushing reviews, but since I’m still uncovering lovable, shiny gems like Giant Robo, suddenly a lot of what I’m following these days looks, and more importantly feels almost transparent.
I suppose what I’m trying to say (to myself) is that simply being new is no real substitute for actual quality, and sitting through anime you’re ambivalent about because it’s all the talk on forums and blogs is an easy way to lose interest in a genre you used to love. I’ve been racking my brains trying to come up with the energy to sit down with The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya in a vague attempt to at least salvage some experience in what’s popular these days, but if truth be told, I’m just not interested in it, so it’s time to get ruthless and drop any illusions that one day I will catch up with this mountainous backlog and again start searching out anime I can actually love. Trust me, it’s taken me a long while to come to this realisation.