Monday, July 6, 2009

Descent to mediocrity

I'm guessing that Andrew has stopped watching Mazinger. It's been a while since he last posted about its "manly Jovian pride." Well, if he has stopped, it's for the better. What started out as a fun, badass ride reminiscent of the masterful Giant Robo has since somewhat stagnated in the last few episodes. In fact, I wasn't even able to make it through episode 13, which without spoiling much, revolves around the unfortunate predicament of Shiro and his naive love for Lorelei, who is actually an enemy weapon, making for a fairly lame plot point.

There's just not enough tension and chaos right now to ramp up anticipation. Everything has settled down from the beginning. There's not enough of the Random Epic Entrances and ridiculous Greek backstory, too much of Mazinger Z trashing yet another poor mechanical beast. Mazinger Z is too fucking invincible by the way. The sheer power of Breast Fire, Rust Breath, Koshiryoku Beam and Rocket Punch were delightful at the beginning, but there is now never a time when I have to worry about how Koji and his robot get out of their latest conundrum. Spamming some combination of those attacks usually provides a solution eventually, and if not, some other new addition or feature is introduced.

In addition, the attempts at comedy fall short. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Imagawa isn't an excellent writer of comedy based on the Gin Rei OAVs and what's been shown so far in Mazinger. It's a wonder then that Imagawa incorporates as much attempted humor as he does into the show. It's going to take more than drunk and/or horny men stumbling into awkward peeping situations to make me laugh nowadays.

Part of the failure of Shin Mazinger to sustain its craziness and spontaneity may lie in the show's structure as a 26 episode series. Giant Robo may have had longer episodes, but there were only seven of them. When you gotta stretch out something that long, it's pretty damn hard to keep coming up with fresh ideas and avoid reptition. Stuff that was initially batshit loses its luster over the time. For instance, it's now going to take one hell of a Random Epic Entrance to impress me. Also, the obvious lack of a loaded budget cannot be understated...I'm still waiting for a real opening sequence without recycled footage...

Of course, the saving grace that may get me to eventually come back to Shin Mazinger, in its current mediocrity, may be the booming narrator. It's amazing how 15 seconds of his voice can make an episode worth watching. Life is not the same without a weekly dosage of his enthusiasm. Then again, I still have an urge to watch those fighting, civilization-destroying brains in action too...


  1. Weird post. Seems most people agree that the series has only gotten more entertaining and interesting after the Grandpa stuff was over, not less so.

  2. I do agree that the initial episodes after grandpa's death were very entertaining. However, it's been a while since then, and I guess I'll be a dissenting voice by saying that this series clearly needs another injection of energy.

  3. I meant 11 and 12 specifically. Now I'm also part of the (seemingly) minority who liked the first 10 episodes more, but I can understand where these people are coming from. Giant Robo and Shin Mazinger are similar in that Kouji and Daisaku are in the same boat - they're the main characters, but not really. They don't get very much screentime for a protagonist and everyone else looks really colourful and competent in comparison. Now no one really cared when they pulled this in GR because few people had seen/read the original, but Kouji is a much more popular character with lots of fans. That's why I figure the Kouji/Boss/Sayaka-focused episodes 11-12 have had such a good reception compared to the rest.

  4. Oh and in case you were wondering, episode 16 is apparently titled "Excavation! Fighting Brain Kedora!"

    So there you go :p

  5. I don't really agree with your post, mainly because Shin Mazinger is doing something different from all the previous Mazinger adaptations. Also, you talk about the humour, but this isn't Imagawa's humour. This is Go Nagai's perverted campy humour that has always been present in lots of his other works, namely Cutie Honey, Kekko Kamen and Harenchi Gakuen.

  6. I also forgot to say that this show had loads of go nagai references from the beginning to the end. So really, I fear that those not familiar with Nagai other stuff are missing out things. My favourite nagai reference was Groizer X. Groizer X was a super robot show by Nagai some decades back, but it was produced by a very bad animation company known as knack ^^. So Groizer X was the main hero robot of the show, and knowing that Groizer X is mass produced in Shin Mazinger just really made me laugh. It was just pointing out how bad the show was.