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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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08/15/2005 Archived Entry: "Anime review: New Getter Robo, vol. 3"

New Getter Robo, vol. 3 - The Hell on Earth
Published by Geneon, 2005

Review by Kelly S. Taylor

Usually in anime review, I try to attach the series I'm reviewing to an established Western genre to help the viewer establish expectations. You know, that "If you like romantic comedy, you'll love..." stuff. Not here. No use. To like New Getter Robo you need to like... anime. Despite the "new" in the title,
New Getter Robo
is as old-school as you can get. If you've ever thought, "I wish Transformers had more blood, more battles, more cursing, and less plot" then.. happy birthday, Bucky! They made this one for you.

This is not a piece of quaint japanoisery for the dilettante. It is not postmodern or ironic. It is a manly story of manly men fighting big manly demons with big manly swords in big manly robots.
New Getter Robo
is unashamedly the pulp fiction of manga brought to life via animation.

The art style has a raw, comic book edge. No cel-shaded pastels. No computer-prettied graphics. Just sharp-faced characters with spiked hair in primary-colored robot suits. The color palette is dark and vivid. Red and black is smeared through almost ever scene.

Speaking of smeared, I'm not kidding about that "more blood" thing. The plot -- such as it is -- moves quickly from fight to fight. Vanquished villains geyser fountains of plasma. Several scenes feature Mortal Kombat-style finishes to fights. Yeah, that's right, buddy. Not to be a spoiler, but you're going to get to see a demon spinal column dangle like a fishing lure.

There's cussing, too. Japanese, like English, has a few words that are considered crude under all circumstances. However most "curse words" in Japanese are actually impolite forms of address. For example, "urusei" simply translates as "noisy." In context, though, it can mean something closer to "shut the hell up." Because Japanese "cursing" is so context dependant, translators have a lot of leeway in deciding how impolite they want to be. Geneon has favored a more aggressively adult translation of the script. For example, in Ranma 1/2, Ranma habitually calls his father an impolite form of words meaning "old man." Ranma 1/2's producers decided to translate the term as "Pops." Geneon translates the same term in New Getter Robo as "old shithead."

I am in favor of the more "adult" translation of the dialogue for this series. As my review thus far should have already made abundantly clear, New Getter Robo is not a kiddie cartoon. Please do not allow your children to watch this video. With this understood, the darker, more violent translation appropriately underscores the violence of the story and cues the viewer to take the show as seriously as it takes itself.

If you've read other anime reviews by me, you know by now that I always recommend that fans listen to the Japanese version with subtitles. Well, that advice goes double for
New Getter Robo
even for those non-readers out there. Since the plot consists mostly of battles, much of the "dialogue" is in the form of grunts and groans. Therefore there's not too many words to bother you. The Japanese actors throw themselves into those "I've got a katana in my gut" cries of anguish with true kamikaze glee. The English language actors always have at least a touch of "This is going to sound like I'm having a bowel movement" trepidation.

Geneon has put
New Getter Robo
in a pretty package. The inside as well as the outside of the DVD case is covered with striking artwork. There's liner notes with episode synopses. The DVD has all the usual language options. For bonuses, we get not only the standard art gallery, but a music video as well. Sort of cheesy, yes, but I luuuv me some anime music video! I think this should be a standard feature on all DVD collections. Nothing quite says anime like a fast cut montage of flinty-eyed heroes emoting to a blast of power chords...

In summary, although
New Getter Robo
is not for everyone, it will be perfect for the hard-core adult anime aficionado. If you like your anime uncomplicated and in your face, New Getter Robo may scratch a place that's been itching for quite a while.... Might want to get some powder on that, too, Bucky...

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