Anime Programming in the US
Making a Living in Manga in Japan with Felipe Smith
Lost in Translation
The Getter Team is approaching its final battle, and secrets are being revealed about the Shin Dragon and the Getter Rays. The secret of the evolution of species is also disclosed, but what does it have to do with Getter Rays? Also, it seems like the Invaders have more plans than just taking over Earth—even the solar system might not be enough.
Getter Robo: Armageddon was shaping up to be a great series, as good as its predecessor. With the advent of the final volume, however, the ending fell far short of its potential. Released by ADV Films, the fourth DVD contains the last three episodes of this sequel to Go Nagai's Getter Robo. Included with the episodes are also scans of the original LD inserts, as well as translations of the staff commentary written in them. These are very amusing to read, and also include messages to the viewers by the Japanese voice actors of the main characters. These provide amusing insight into what the actors felt about the series, and it's interesting to note that a few of them also agreed that the ending to the series was rather shabby. Another extra feature is a “behind the scenes” section that talks with a few of the dubbed voice actors. Some of these chats are amusing at times, and are worth looking into briefly, if just to appreciate the humor of the actors themselves. The rest of the extras include the standard textless opening and ending animations, which may be interesting for those viewers who enjoy such extras. ADV continued to do a fine job with the release even up to the final episode—it's too bad that the series itself doesn't live up to the preceding episodes.
The storyline building up to the ending is well defined, and goes through all of the episodes with a clear goal in mind. In the last three episodes, however, the story loses all sight of its original intent, and starts spinning off into one absurd plot twist after another. Had the series been longer, the way that the ending was set up would have worked fine. As it is, the ending seems far too rushed, and the series would have benefited from being extended to another season. Also, the events that take place in the last few episodes make no logical sense, as they are done almost randomly with no explanation as to why it's being done, or how it's even possible. Skepticism may be generated when the Getter Team joins up with an enemy robot and automatically knows how to pilot it, or attempts to stop the path of one of Jupiter's moons with a single robot. The scenes that transpire are so fast-paced and poorly explained that it comes off as chaotic and ridiculous.
The one characteristic of the series that has remained constant even to the end is the music. Although the music is that of any adventure series or movie with a soundtrack akin to that of a Bruckheimer film, it gives it a heroic, go get 'em feeling that makes the action sequences seem more exciting than they really are. If it wasn't for the music, then the absurd string of chaotic events that happen in this last volume would be much harder to sit through. If the music is listened to by itself, it would be unintelligible from any other soundtrack of its genre, but generic as it is, it's still lifting and fun to listen to. With the series, however, it just enhances all of the sequences and gives them the edgy apocalyptic heroes feeling that Go Nagai was going for.
Another good aspect of the series that carried throughout the entire series was the voice acting. The Japanese voice actors did a wonderful job conveying the trying and chaotic atmosphere of the scenes. One of the Japanese voice actors commented playfully that he had done more screaming in the thirteen episodes than he had done in his entire life. The screaming, in fact, is one of the qualities of the dub that was commendable. In many dubbed shows, the characters' screams are restrained and almost shy, but in this series, the hoarse yelling gave the sense that the actors were truly feeling their characters. Also, unlike many of ADV's dubs, such as Sorcerous Stabber Orphen or Those Who Hunt Elves, the English script actually matched that of the original Japanese script. The only thing that ADV really changed was the addition of extra sound effects in the background, but these don't do the series any harm, and are even helpful at times to help the atmosphere of the scenes.
As for the animation in the series, it wavers between being truly fluid and a tad chunky at times. The fight scenes are done smoothly, but the characters movements were poorly done, especially their facial expressions. The art for the series falls into Go Nagai's traditional style, but the extraneous and overdone lines on the characters and foreground objects tend to clutter the screen. It gives the characters a rugged look, but at the same time, it also makes the finished product look like production sketches. This can be distracting for viewers after awhile, especially during hectic battle scenes, as there are simply too many lines on the screen to decipher between them.
The final DVD is not as good as the ones preceding it. With a sequel trying to fill the shoes of the original Getter Robo, it was surprising that the beginning of the series was so good. Had the series been longer, then it would have had the time needed to finish off the series properly. As it is, the last DVD doesn't uphold the quality of the previous ones as much as could be hoped for. With only four DVDs in the series though, completionists won't have to stretch their wallets too far to finish off the series.
Overall (dub) : B
Overall (sub) : B
Story : C-
Animation : C
Art : C-
Music : B
+ Amusing extras
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