Monday, June 11, 2012

OBSCURE O.V.A.S, *Mazinkaiser SKL

It's a shame not every American otaku is familiar with the awesomeness that is Mazinger Z(also known as Tranzor Z). It was one of the very first "Super Robot" shows from the 70s, and has spun off more anime and manga than nearly any other titles. This included the Mazinkaiser OVA series which was released in English, and then Mazinkaiser SKL, which was an OVA, a digital manga, and a series of novels. Go Nagai's saga of giant robot gods and devils continues in this 3-episode anime.

Set on Monster Island, the headquarters of Mazinkaiser villain Dr. Hell, three armies have emerged here, and each with their own giant robot militia. All off them have been battling for dominance of the island, and have been sealed off the by rest of the world by a large forcefield called the Gravity Curtain. However, the Curtain is about to go critical, and threatens to destroy the world's gravity belt. So, the government sends in their own special team called the Skull Force to shutdown the reactors at each of the main base of each army. Their two top mecha pilots, Ken and Ryo(not the dudes from Street Fighter!)go their in a modified two-seater version of the Mazinkaiser robot, which was the prototype of the original Mazinger Z. Ken is a master swordsman who thrills in actually leaving the mecha to have face-to-face duels, and Ryo is a gun expert that translates to Mazinkaiser with it literally using gun-fu! Their mission is to the stop the reactor at each army's base before they blow. The armies are the Aira Army which are a tribe of scantily-clad psychic amazons, the savage Kiba Army, and the evil Garan Army. Kiba's forces are defeated in the first episode, and then the Skull Force launches an assault on Garan's fortress. Garan himself looses to Ryo and Ken, but a revived Kiba shows up to fight them as the reactor is about to blow. They stop Kiba by shoving his mecha right into the explosion, which halts the destruction of the island.

Mazinkaiser SKL is a truly action-driven OVA. There's some dynamite giant robot battles, and easily has two of the best hotblooded mecha pilots in anime. It scores some serious fan service which your average Gurren Lagaan disciple will find appealing. My only real complaint was that the English dub has some serious miscasting and lackluster dialogue. Make sure to watch this the next time your planning on having a big Super Robot Wars tournament!

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