Back when Shin Mazinger first began, I told everyone to go check it out based purely on the strength of its first episode. I assume some of you followed my advice, but there are probably many readers who were still unsure. Maybe they checked out the first episode (which acts like a final episode), and got too confused. Well, with over half of the series finished at this point I am back to tell you once again and emphatically to take some time out to watch Shin Mazinger Shougeki!! Z-Hen.
The director Imagawa, famous for Giant Robo and G Gundam, among others, does not make the story unwatchable for those who are unfamiliar with the Mazinger series of classic and pivotal giant robot anime. Every character that matters is introduced as if you’ve never seen them at all, and many of the characters weren’t even originally in the Mazinger Z manga or anime! Now, Imagawa has a tendency to pull characters from other works loosely related to the source material in question, but it’s never done in a Marvel comics kind of way where they refer you back to a previous comic book release to get all the details. No worries there.
Unlike what many would expect, there isn’t a giant robot fight scene every episode, which I know disappoints some, but know that what’s really happening is a buildup to an even better fight later on in the series. This happens again, and again, and again. On top of that, each fight is choreographed and animated surprisingly well, especially when it seems like the show was (and possibly still is) operating on a very limited budget. No matter what’s going on, you can expect a certain degree of high quality.
As for the story itself, Shin Mazinger plays out like a children’s story as one might expect based on its source material, but it’s done with a strong sense of sophistication and respect for what it means to be a children’s story, with enough twists to make it watchable for its new intended audience of older viewers. It’s not like Alan Moore who is all, “Well what if we took superheroes and made them crazy and grim and realistic?” If Imagawa were to do super hero comics, he would ask, “Well what if we took real life, and made it more like super hero comics?” That’s pretty much where Shin Mazinger comes from.
If you’re still hesitant about watching Shin Mazinger, you should maybe check out the episode reviews of it over at Subatomic Brainfreeze, as Sub is all about HYPING it up.