The Winter 2014 Anime Preview Guide Robot Girls Z
Jan 7th 2014
Review: Like so many other inanimate objects—guns, game consoles, battleships—Toei Animation's classic robots have now been transformed into moe girls. Specifically, into a destructive, selfish team of moe “heroes.” They battle dine-and-dashers here, laying waste to the city in an attempt to punish petty theft. That kind of thing can be fun, but only if you like the violent heroines. But in Robot Girls the enemies—a pair of hapless and adorable girls, likely based on super-robot enemies that I know nothing about—are much more loveable than the sociopathically selfish (and gratingly simplistic) leads. The old-school robo-references and manic visuals are fun, but not enough to make it a worthwhile watch.
Rating: 3.5 (of 5)
Review: Robot Girls Z is a series of 10 minute shorts, the first three of which are available as of the time of this writing and so are being evaluated as a whole. Depending on one's point of view, the premise is either an homage to or perversion of Toei Animation's classic giant robot series of the 1970s, with cute girls taking on the names, attack forms, and appearances (sort of) of both hero and villain mecha from series like Great Mazinger, Gaiking, and UFO Robo Grandizer. Yes, it is as silly as it sounds, but that is only part of what makes the series a surprising amount of fun. Proper knowledge of classic mecha is not required to enjoy it, either, although doubtlessly old-school mecha fans will get a little more out of it.
The concept is rudimentary at best: Professor Yumi has developed a new energy type – Photon Energy – that could solve the world's energy problems, and Dr. Hell and his Underground Empire want it. For his minion to get to it, though, they must first get by Great, Grenda, and Z, a trio of girls apparently affiliated with the professor. The girls are quite powerful and apparently not concerned about wreaking considerable collateral mayhem, which makes them more than a match for Dr. Hell's chief servant Baron Ashura and her gradually expanding roster of minions, much to the dismay of the latter.
But this isn't just a series of battles. The nominal hero girls also have to contend with being stuck on a tuna boat for accidentally destroying a few city blocks. The second part also wisely focuses on the villainesses instead, which considerably expands the range of potential jokes. (For instance, one “Mechanical Beast Girl” who supposedly excels at defense actually does so by grabbing her compatriots and using them as shields.) The artistry and animation are not much to speak of but good enough for this kind of goofy fun, and the opener and closer are no less silly. As short, funny diversions go, one could certainly do a whole lot worse.
Rating: 1 (out of 5)
The Mazinger franchise has a new incarnation – as cute girls. Three lovely young ladies Gre, Grenda, and Z, represent key robots in the Toei franchise, and their mission is to take down those evil Mechanical Beasts who show up from the Subterranean Empire (more cute girls, naturally). These nefarious fiends do things like eat at restaurants and not pay, which merits severe physical punishment, like fire from the breast. But wait, their leader Baron Ashura says that she's paid for their meal! Doesn't that mean that the beat-down can stop? Nope – because Gre-chan, Grenda-chan, and Z-chan are going to pound those dine and dash villains no matter what!
Clearly a familiarity with the Mazinger franchise will get you more enjoyment out of this show, which does have its fun moments despite all. Baron Ashura is probably the major highlight, a woman of dual nature split down the middle like a particularly scary performance artist and very nicely voiced by Aya Hisakawa. The rest of the show is fluid and amusing enough, but there is a underlying feeling of meanness to it as well, although presumably we are meant to find their excessive thirst for vengeance upon the Mechanical Beasts funny. On the whole, this is not off to a terrific start, despite the cuteness of its designs, and it doesn't seem to have the desire or the potential to be much more than it is
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