Anime

super_robot_wars_z3

Part of the melancholy of being a Super Robot fan is that some of the coolest stuff will never been seen in the United States. I guess this is how the rest of the world feels.

Check out one of the latest entries in the Super Robot Wars series, Super Robot Wars Z3. The Super Robot Wars series has been running since 1991, spanning multiple game systems. We have only seen a couple of official translations hit our shores notably the Original Generation games that feature no licensed characters. The complications in getting all the licenses worked out the US is difficult so we will probably never see these games here.  Click on the video below to see what you are missing.

Super Robot Taisen Z3

I’m sneaking in a little more Force Five with the original Japanese intro of Danguard Ace. With luck quite a few of you will be humming along with familiarity. If you are not familiar or want to get really deep into this giant robot thing, you can click here.

Miyazaki_Tribute

Possibly the greatest animator of our generation gets a loving tribute to his work.

This has been a Force Five heavy week here at the Robot and I don’t think a lot of people will mind.  CollectionDX keeps tabs on the best toys and they have images of the new UFO Spazer for the Ex Gokin Grendizer. The unit will not be available until November, but Grendizer who is sold separately is available now.  Click the below link for a full set of images.

Source: EX Gokin Spazer and TFO for Grendizer | CollectionDX

From the recently held Wonder Festival in Japan we have some amazing shots of prototype garage kits for Mazinger. (Tranzor Z for the American robot fans) I’ve lost track of all of the manga and anime variations of Mazinger, but the products linked below are gorgeous modern representations of the character regardless of how they fit into the continuity.  

Great Mazinger was also part of the North American Shogun Warriors line if that rings any bells.  I’m linking the English dubbed anime opening to spark your memories.

Source: Sen-Ti-Nel at Summer WonFes 2015 | CollectionDX

gaiking

In what is beyond good news for old school anime fans Discotek has announced that they will be producing a new unabridged version of the 1976 giant robot classic Gaiking for the first time in North America.  Gaiking had been previously available in a horribly cut up version when I originally watched it as part of the Force Five programming block and later as a set of abridged DVDs from Shout Factory.

This new version that arrives next year with Japanese audio and English subtitles is a gift for long suffering anime fans like myself.  It will contain all of the character development (and probably filler) that a four decade old baseball themed robot anime can provide. 

Come celebrate with me by soaking in the original Japanese intro and let the glee of colorful giant mecha and monsters wash over you.

Source: Discotek Adds 1976 Gaiking, Wicked City Anime – News – Anime News Network

Guest post by James P. Burke

Cosplay is often the highlight of Anime Boston, as it really is a noticeable part of the convention experience for this event, moreso than (for example) PAX East. And I have to admit that the activity of people greeting each other over their creations generates more convention energy than all but the most outstanding panels and presentations.

This year I didn’t think there was a single standout cosplay category as often I have seen in other years (e.g. Homestuck trolls a couple of years back, or Attack on Titan last year). A lot of what you would have seen in previous years, and a lot of mashups including video games, movies, comics, and popular classic anime (One Piece, Evangelion, Naruto, etc.). The obscure character here and there is always special, and people appreciate a shout out from fellow fans. One thing I noted was a dearth of Frozen cosplay when last year it seemed poised for continuing popularity, even before it took off with the general public. One has to wonder whether some kinds of popularity and exposure do not get reflected in cosplay.

It was great to see a number of couple and families with themed cosplay, and such coordinated efforts usually come along with a willingness to pose and emote in character. It just makes everything better.

There was a good deal of excitement on Saturday over the premier of the English dub of Sword Art Online 2. The lines were very long to get into Exhibit Hall E for that event, however the convention crew managed the hundreds of SOA fans very efficiently. The high-capacity hall nearly filled, but everyone was accommodated.

More on the crew. While it is inevitable that you encounter some overenthusiastic crew members who are yelling (and not always in helpful ways) the crew there were organized, prepared and efficient. The line at registration was nonexistent by 10AM on Saturday, which has not always been the case in previous years. The line to get into the Con and past bag check was long, but quick moving, diverting temporarily out into a protected outdoor area in the brisk and windy Boston daylight. The queue, which doubled back on itself, served as yet another way for convention goers to see others and be seen, with many opportunities to point out a favored character or particularly impressive costuming effort.

Back inside, the Exhibition Hall A had slightly less variety of vendors from years past, but the same volume. This con tends toward a lot of games, plushies, figurines, T-shirts, and art. A new addition was some impressive metalwork from vendors offering real aluminum masks. And others dealing in both metal and leather for steampunk paraphernalia that could literally be used to build an entire costume if you had the money to spend, including masks, goggles, holsters, chestplates, flask holders, hats, etc. The dice dealers of previous years were not in evidence this time around, but a new game seems to have risen in popularity. Betrayal at House on the Hill, which was obscure last year was on display at several game dealers. It has possibly gotten quite a boost from its exposure on Tabletop.

In summary, Anime Boston 2015 is a great experience provided by a clearly seasoned convention organization in a venue that provides ample space to an enormous crowd. I suggest cosplaying to get he full experience, and to engage with as many convention goers, inquiring about how they made their cosplays and congratulating them on their creativity and hard work.

gaiking_flying

For a blog named Giant Japanese Robot, I certainly do not have enough posts about Giant Robots.   Part of this is that I am just a regular joe with a job and I post in the time I have and whatever is catching my fancy.  For a while in an earlier incarnation of this site I talked a good bit about advancements in modern robotics, but if I was honest with myself what I really enjoy are those clanky giant mecha that I grew up with in the seventies.  They were huge, colorful, humanoid and completely improbable.

There is a shared camaraderie among those that grew up in that period and watched those shows.   I’ve met folks from a bunch of different places around the world who watched them under different names and dubs and the feeling is still the same.  If the following gives you chills then you know you are in the club.

I spent a lot of time in the basement workshop as a wee boy trying to make giant robot costumes with zero success, so when Raymond Ramos mentions and posts pics that he is working on Gaiking cosplay I am interested, but a bit doubtful.

I was wrong, so wrong.

Raymond Ramos is a local guy who does cosplay, and he absolutely kills it.  From Raymond’s Facebook page you can see that his favored cosplay appears to be perfecting Blade, but he has also done Bane, G.I. Joe and an intimidating Blade Thundercats mashup.

Here is Raymond with the final Gaiking costume compared to an illustration of the robot.

gaiking_comparison

Another more detailed shot of him at Rhode Island Comic Con.

gaiking_solo

 

I’ve seen a lot of people attempt giant robots in cosplay, but never so successfully, at least with the Go Nagai style robots.  Check out his page and support him.  Local artists like Raymond put in a ton of work because they love the genre and they love seeing people react to their creations.  People like him make the world a bit better.

star-blazers-640x832

Before I there was Star Wars, there was Space Battleship Yamato.  You may know it better as Star Blazers if you hail from the US.  I am stretching the eighties tag a bit, the series came on the air in 1979 when I was an impressionable six year old, but originally broadcast in Japan in 1974.

Regardless of decade Star Blazers started my fascination with Japanese animation that ended up dominating my television habits all throughout the eighties.  If you grew up during that time the theme song should bring warm nostalgia, a stirring song of human pride and optimism over evil and crisis, in this case the crisis being the extinction of all life on earth within a year if the crew of the Yamato (Argo in the US) does not succeed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0H5xz8alVfo

I was instantly hooked.  I had never seen any sort of  programming aside from movies that carried a continuous, threaded story.  Trouble did not resolve by the end of the episode, people died and war had consequences.  It wasn’t until I was an adult that I was able to process the WWII imagery properly but as a child I knew there was gravity and importance beyond the surface.  The striking character designs by Leiji Matsumoto also fascinated me in as I had never seen humans drawn in this way.   There are several sequels and spin offs, but most did not make their way to an English translation in the days before the web took hold as a way to share media.

Over the next couple of weeks you will probably see a lot of these cartoon/anime posts.  I’ve been thinking a lot about how values are formed in geeks and going to my own past to look at my influences.  Star Blazers was a big part of that and if you were a fan chances are that it was for you as well.

BONUS ROUND:

In case you were not already aware, Japan recently finished their airing of a Star Blazers  remake ‘Yamato 2199’.  While the art style is a lot more modern there is a lot to like for fans of the original.  Check out the trailer below, I’m positive you will find enough familiarity to pique your interest.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnpEU8DPzZ4

Bull: The red eyed coyote will appear in the zona norte at the far end of town. That is what I see.

Spike: A red eyed coyote in the north of town.

Bull: You “Swimming Bird

Spike: Huh?

Bull: The swimming bird will meet a women. The bird will be hunted by this women and then…death.

Spike: One more time.

Bull: Whats that?

Spike: I was once killed before, … by a women.

Bull: You take women too lightly my friend.

Spike: On the contrary, catch ya later.