Ju-shin Ly-ger: Ogiue Maniax Status Update for July 2021

Summer 2021 anime is just beginning, and there are plenty of shows I’m looking forward to. Chief among them is Getter Robo Arc, bringing the classic giant robot franchise into the 2020s. I definitely plan on reviewing it once it’s done, but I’m curious to see how it does with a modern-day anime audience.

Speaking of robots, Bandai just announced the GX-100 Soul of Chogokin: Gaiking and Daikumaryu. Coming in at 82,500 yen and measuring about 750mm, it is going to be an impressive hunk of diecast metal. I’m not a super big fan of Gaiking, but I’m looking forward to all the toy reviews.

Also, check out this GX-100 celebration stream featuring Sasaki Isao, singer of Yamato, Gaiking, Getter Robo, and many other classic themes.

Before getting into the posts from the past month, I’d like to thank the following Patreon sponsors:

General:

Ko Ransom

Diogo Prado

Alex

Sue Hopkins fans:

Serxeid

Hato Kenjirou fans:

Elizabeth

Yajima Mirei fans:

Machi-Kurada

Blog highlights from June:

20th Century Boys: Pandemics, Conspiracies, and Cults of Personality

How the Urasawa Naoki manga is eerily more relevant than ever before.

BNA: Brand New Animal, Assimilationism, and the Myth of the Model Minority

This series from 2020 continues the trend of socially conscious furry anime.

Little Lady, Big Meals: Kozuma no Kobito no Kenshin Recipe

One of my favorite manga authors, the creator of Mogusa-san, has a new series!

Hashikko Ensemble

Chapter 41 brings the Culture Festival tournament arc to a powerful finish, as well as some surprising insight into the Kimura family.

Kio Shimoku’s Twitter account through June featured a lot of insight into his older work.

Apartment 507

Pui Pui Molcar!

Closing

I mentioned last month that I am fully vaccinated, and it’s given me a new sense of security and freedom I didn’t have before. However, now we have a new COVID-19 variant, the Delta variant, wreaking devastation around the world. It’s also getting a foothold in the US, and I find myself nervous that I’m getting a little too complacent and worrying about trying to neitheo over- or undercompensate for the current situation. Having to balance the psychological happiness that comes from doing things again with some sense of normality with awareness that we are in no way close to getting out of this pandemic reminds me of all the conscious decisions I’ve had to make these past 18 months, and the toll it can take.

That being said, I plan on being at Otakon next month. I’ll be fully masked, and playing it as carefully as I can short of canceling. I hope it’s the right choice.

Getter Robo Arc and the True Ishikawa Style?

When I was first really getting into anime, it seemed as if the classic 1970s giant robot franchise Getter Robo was in the middle of some sustained renaissance. Whether it was 1999’s Change! Shin Getter Robo: Armageddon, 2000’s Shin Getter Robo vs. Neo Getter Robo, or 2005’s New Getter Robo, it felt as if another anime was always just around the corner. But then the well dried up (albeit not necessarily for other popular classic robots), and it’s been 16 years since. But finally, in 2021, we’ll be seeing a new entry: Getter Robo Arc, based on the manga by Nagai Go and Ishikawa Ken. Notably, this might also end up being the first fairly straightforward adaptation of a Getter Robo manga, and the first to try and really get close to Ishikawa’s art style.

The funny thing about the various Getter Robo anime is that there has never been a straight adaptation of any of the manga. You might be thinking of a long shounen fighting series ending up with a filler arc or three, but I’m not even talking about that. Rather, since the original inception of Getter Robo, the relationship between the many manga and anime have been an odd one. The first Getter Robo manga and the first Getter Robo anime debuted around the same time in 1974, but whereas the former depicted its heroes as virtual psychopaths, the latter portrayed them as relatively kid-friendly good guys. 1991’s Getter Robo Go took similar diverging paths with Ishikawa’s drawings being relatively unchanged and the anime adapting its character designs to a late 80s/early 90s look. 

The later works were not much different. Change! Shin Getter Robo: Armageddon and Shin Getter Robo vs. Neo Getter Robo both take elements from throughout the franchise’s history and try to show a more action-packed style reminiscent of Ishikawa’s art, but neither quite goes all the way, balancing 21st-century anime designs with a throwback feel. What’s more, the two aren’t even meant to be connected to each other. New Getter Robo is in a similar boat, being a reboot of sorts that brings some of the insane personalities from that original 1974 manga, but changing just about everything else. This trend is par for the course with Dynamic Pro properties, be it Devilman, Mazinger, Cutie Honey, or anything else. “Canon” and “faithfulness” are distant concepts in this arena.

However, that’s also what makes the initial images for the Getter Robo Arc anime stand out all the more. Both the promo image and the trailer seem to exude a roughness that immediately calls to mind Ishikawa’s aesthetic, where trying to create eye-pleasing shots comes second to pushing a kind of gritty intensity. It’s understandable that anime want to try to grab audiences with more appealing character designs, but here we have Gou, the guy on the promo image, feeling like he almost fell straight out of the manga and onto a poster. If the animators at Studio Bee can really pull off making the anime adaptation look Ishikawa as hell, I will give them all the props in the world.

PS: Kageyama Hironobu was a guest at Anime NYC 2018, and during the Lantis Matsuri concert he actually sang “HEATS,” the opening to Change! Shin Getter Robo: Armageddon. Now, the Getter Robo Arc anime is bringing the song back as “HEATS 2021,” and I have to wonder if Kageyama knew back then that he would be called upon to revive that old banger.

ME AM OPEN UP AMERICAN CLUB TO MASSES

There have been many, many American characters in anime and manga over the years, and in many cases they tend to use a very odd and unique form of Janglish, where Japanese and English are interspersed. One common way to convey that a character is American (or perhaps just American-esque) is to have them use English pronouns, e.g. “YOU wa baka desu!”

So you’d think they’d use “I” when referring to themselves, but there’s a long tradition of using “ME” (as in “me, myself, and I”) instead. Of course, I don’t quite understand why it’s used over “I.” So the thing I’d like to know is, when did this start? How far back in the history of anime and manga does it go? Is it even something that arose out of anime and manga? Perhaps it has something to do with how Americans spoke in post-war occupied Japan.

As far as anime and manga go, the oldest example I can think of with an American character who uses “Me” as one would normally use “I” is Getter Robo, which features American cowboy and robot pilot Jack King. Another popular American character is Terryman from Kinnikuman.

If anyone has more information about the history of American manga and anime characters, I’d like to hear all about it.

Also, In celebration of this most American of days, I’ve decided to open up the myanimelist club dedicated to American characters a little more, so that non-members can also post. I know I haven’t been able to keep up with requests and such over the past year either, so I’m also going to be opening up officer positions over the next few days so that the truly patriotic can make this club greater than it has been.

NOW ONLY PLAYING IN MY HEAD

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time doing nothing (by necessity), and whenever I have about half an hour’s worth of time to take up, I think about how that’s roughly the span of a TV show. And so I engage in the same failed exercise: I try to form an original anime episode in my head and pretend I’m watching it from start to finish. I’ll play a poorly thought-out song in my head, maybe have characters talking about something with some kind of goal in mind, and then try to progress from there. Eventually I get tired and have to take a break.

Then I look at my watch and realize that it’s only been five minutes. This is why I call it a failed exercise.

This reminds me of how when I didn’t have a music player while exercising, I used to sing anime openings in my head as I used the treadmill. The opening to Getter Robo was a favorite, and the best part was that if I lost track of a song it didn’t really matter, and in fact starting over could be seen as a good thing as it acted as further distraction.

ABeshi!

That One Show that Will Never Get into Super Robot Wars

When it comes to the Super Robot Wars series, there tends to be an unspoken rule. For the big-budget main games in the series, such as the Alpha series, the cast lists are for the most part breadwinners and series that people have been anticipating to be in SRW, while for the games on other platforms they don’t expect to do really well with, they let the cast lists run wild and free, as is the case in the recent Super Robot Wars Neo, as well as Compact 3.

So I was thinking, “What series has practically NO chance of getting into SRW?” It’s getting kind of difficult to determine, with more and more shows managing to find their way in. Then I remembered one.

Getter Robo Go, Anime Version

The Getter Robo Go anime, adapted loosely from the manga of the same name, came out in the early 1990s and centered around a team of new Getter pilots in a new Getter Robo which didn’t use Getter Energy as its power source. The concept alone isn’t the problem, however, so much as the show is really, really lame.

Some will complain that the original Getter Robo anime was de-fanged compared to the manga, where Ryouma and friends are all literally violently insane people, but even with a nicer cast they were still pretty extreme, and they don’t compare to the character neutering that happens in Getter Robo Go. You don’t even have to read the manga to know that something is amiss here. It looks and feels like a failed attempt to bring Getter Robo into the 90s.

That opening I posted up there can be misleading, because with the vocals of Aniki the show seems awesome. Let me show you the FIRST opening (which people mistakenly label the second opening).

It’s no wonder they changed the opening!

So, the reasons Getter Robo Go has no chance in SRW (at least in its anime incarnation) are thus: Practically every SRW has Getter Robo in it, and with so many Getter anime available, why would producers pick the lamest one? On top of that, if you want that same robot design but awesome, you can just go with Shin Getter Robo vs Neo Getter Robo, which is a sort of retelling of the Getter Robo Go plot but with characters more in-tune with the original Ishikawa manga vision of them.

Of course, in the end, I would be glad to see Banpresto prove me wrong. C’mon guys.