Wednesday, July 2, 2014

OBSCURE O.V.A.S, *Casshan: Robot Hunter Cashern

Based on a 70s anime TV series by Tatsunoko Productions(the creators of Gatchaman), Casshan(or as it's known in Japan, "Casshern")has gone on to inspire a live-action movie, and a TV remake titled Casshern Sins which was featured briefly on Toonami. But this particular 4-episode OVA was a gritty retelling of the original TV series which on its own was also the main influence for none other than Mega Man as both are about robot-fighting android superheroes with jet-powered robot dogs.

Set in a world that seems like Terminator: Salvation totally ripped them up, a mad mega-android named the Black King(or BK-1)has lead an army of robots to take eventually conquer most of the world with pockets of humanity fighting for survival. Casshan is first viewed by the resistance as a legend or a martyr for their hope, and he finally steps forward with a frontal assault on Black King's fortress along with the busty blonde Sailor Moon lookalike, Luna. He succeeds in freeing some human prisoners, although it's never really said why the robots bother keeping humans around other than for forced labor. One project has the robots forcing the humans to build a bridge to transport troops across a canyon by train, even though it would be just a easy for them to carry them by plane or helicopter. Casshan is in fact an android given the memories of a young man named Tetsuya whose father was the one that originally created Black King, even though it went all HAL 9000 and decided to eliminate all mankind. Casshan also has the the spirit of his mother inside a strange robo-goose, but he ultimately hopes to free his father's spirit which is being held somewhere inside the Black King himself, although whether it might be Tetsuya's father controlling him is a mystery to him.

The OVA was done by some of the same creators of other Tatsunoko remakes in the 90s like Gatchaman and Hurricane Polymor, but this one seemed to keep most of the spirit of the original than those other ones. The animation is obviously upgraded, but this OVA takes it into more of a sci-fi/action route than the traditional superhero one. It was originally dubbed by Carl Macek for Harmony Gold into a VHS single feature, and then was re-released on DVD for ADV films using the previous dub but into a 4-episode format.

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