In the distant future, the universe is under attack by robotic destroyers named Zeravire whose goal is to eradicate all of mankind. Enter Klein Sandman, a millionaire with a penchant for saving the world – or at least, one can assume. He’s built the mecha Gravion, a machine capable of destroying the Zeravire with the help of several young pilots, but piloting it comes at a high price. Along with sheltered Toga, well endowed Mizuki and a varied cast of pilots and maids alike, young Shigure Eiji must help lead Gravion to victory, else all of humanity will perish!
StoryAhh Gravion. I recall the first time I saw episode one in all its glory, with its fantastic "Situation Clitical" line that spread through the ears of fanboys like wildfire, becoming famous in the process. I remember seeing the ridiculous chest size of one of the characters (along with a jiggle that would make Jello proud) and the overall ecchiness, and promptly putting it down, never to see it again. After being sent a screener of Zwei, I don't really have much of a choice than to watch the first series in its entirety, eh? And thus, the review begins... From the depths of the land of mecha series comes Gravion, a show that flawlessly rips off Evangelion, Vandread, and every other major mecha (and maid/ecchi) series out there! Really folks, this series has it all, from the mysterious invaders no one understands to breasts created by animators who have never seen or touched a real one, to zillions of maids and a giant robot that looks like every-other-robot-out-there. I can't think of one thing that didn't seem plagarized, and that isn't a good thing. Really, Gravion's story has a lot of problems. First of all, there's the fact that the few mysteries we are exposed to (such as what are the Zerevire or what exactly happened to Eiji's sister Ayaka) are NEVER EXPLAINED or solved. That's right folks, the only potential plot we are offered isn't explained or solved in any way, which is a fantastic way of pissing off the fans. That isn't to say Gravion has any fans out there, but hey, if it did, they'd be pissed! In addition to these major plot issues, the plot itself is too much of a carbon copy of every other show to stand on its own. Watching the same-old-giant-robot (that looks like a Transformer, I might add) battle giant robotic looking aliens is unexciting and uninteresting, especially after watching the same transformation sequence happen in each episode. Throw in a bunch of excessive pointless ecchi (though nowhere near as bad as, say, Divergence Eve), and you have a trainwreck of a show. Then there's the pacing, which is very out of whack. The episodes aren't meshed together well and seem to be fairly polarized. It's either an episode where the kids in the Gravion are fighting a monster, or an episode where they are doing something totally pointless such as laying around on the beach. I can understand the need for character development (though there really was none), but having several hardcore fighting episodes in a row followed by nothing but going shopping for food just seems wrong in some ways. Change it up a little, that's fine, but don't pull a Resident Evil with the pacing. (The reference is from the first movie, where there would be tons of zombies and action and then dead silence and talking, then back to zombies out of nowhere, suddenly). The story itself? I didn't discuss it because the synopsis above should explain it in ENTIRETY. That's right folks, there literally is nothing else to the story besides the above except for the few mystery points I already described. Someone could tell you the events of the 13 episodes in about 45 seconds and you'd miss nothing by not seeing the show, trust me. AnimationThe visuals were definitely the best part of the series, and it's unfortunate the plot itself sucked so much for that reason. Colors were crisp and vibrant, ranging from all over the rainbow. Admittedly, the maids definitely have a dating-sim feel to them, with plenty of sea greens, pinks, and light blues. The vibrancy of these colors, though, make it watchable and interesting at the same tme. The character designs were good for the most part, but seemed a bit simple in some way. I can best describe them as looking like Stellvia (even though Stellvia came after Gravion), with very round eyes and simple lines and shading. Some of the characters, like Mizuki, almost looked animal-like in appearance because of how their noses were. In general, the backgrounds were beautiful and the Zerevire were nicely done. Of a not so exciting caliber was Gravion itself, which looked extremely like every-other-robot out there. And thank you, Gonzo, for throwing in a magical-girl element to the series and showing the same recycled animation every time the mecha-pieces joined together! I absolutely loved it after time 9 (BEEP BEEP SARCASM DETECTOR). In general, beautiful animation that was pretty to look at, with only a few exceptions. If you'd watch this for anything, it would be the animation. SoundThe music is fairly typical orchestral plus synthy fare, which fits in the background in an appropriate manner. The theme song that's played during Gravion's transformation is a rock song that is appropriate the first few times you hear it, and gets extremely old and grating the other umpteen times you hear it over the course of the series. This song is played every single time there's a transformation, and then is played throughout the entirety of the fight with the monster in question. Voice acting was fine for everyone involved. You'll recognize Raven's seiyuu for sure, he's in plenty of stuff. CharactersWe are introduced to plenty of characters in Gravion, but unfortunately, none of them are developed enough for us to care about any of them. Eiji is clearly the main character and is developed the most out of anyone, but that isn't saying much. We learn a little about his past and why he's feeling so down in the dumps, but the main mystery involving his situation is never explained. Then there's the pilots. We learn a little about each of them, but for the most part, they are just a nice window dressing for the story. There are also a plethora of maids who dress the same as the pilots, thus confusing us as to who is who. The maids also appear to be midgets or nine years old, which is sort of scary considering they are always force stripping Eiji and all. In general, I really would have liked more character development. Gravion seemed like its entire point was fighting in a giant mecha and ecchi, with no emphasis on the characters at all. Some non-maids would have been nice, or characters that actually felt like they were 3 dimensional. Oh, I did like Sandman though. Even though he really has no background at all, he is humorous and serious at the same time, and I enjoyed his presence. OverallOverall, Gravion really wasn't very good in any way except the animation and music. I found myself semi interested some of the time, totally bored most of the time, and badly wanting to turn it off a great deal of the time too. There wasn't a good mix of genres, with not a lot of comedy in between either. After watching some Zwei (the next series) I can say it much more effectively mixes the genres, where this series did not. Combine this with an unsteady pacing and a general plot that feels ripped off from a multitude of sources, and you have a series that in my opinion isn't worth seeing. Check out Vandread. Check out Evangelion. Check out some good ecchi series (which I can't name, since I don't watch much ecchi). Check out anything but Gravion unless you are a die hard fan of this genre and want to see everything. Oh, and I stick by my guns that any series that has to create a character with breasts that are literally twice the size of her head (and jiggle like jello at the slightest move) obviously has something wrong with it. If you are up to the challenge, prove me wrong!
Gravion is one of those animes that when you hear the story you think "Well this could be good" and then you watch the series and notice the millions of places it just went completely wrong. Story - 3/10 The basic story tends to be something that could have been turned into something good, brother searches for his lost sister and finds out she was chosen to be part of a secret mecha team thats protecting the earth, but then went missing. As time goes on we learn the robots are created by Mr. Sandman and used to fight his brother, who is sending the Zerevire to destroy the earth. What happens is the creators forgot all of this and focused solely on finding as many ways to throw a jiggling boob at you or put a girl in a erotic position (the one girl's robot is designed where she has to sit in a way only fit for a porno) Now repeat the same sequence of 2 minutes of minor story progression, attack on the earth, same animation and terrible song to show robots combining, defeat bad guy (which every episode they needed to add a little something new, Why not just be the best you can and destroy the problem on day 1?) and celebrate. The best parts of the series are when they get away from anything having to do with the main story, such as the beach episode or Eiji leaving and hanging out with his friends. The series ends with nothing being answered in the slightest, I really believe they forgot what was in episode one and after completing the series realized everyone would hate it and made Gravion Zwei to answer the questions never answered, which did and didn't happen. Animation - 6/10 Everything was pretty well drawn, so much so that the animators took at least three minutes from episode one and decided to use it in every one afterwards. The Zerevire were also all pretty different and well made, though you can see a lot of influence on them and the Gravion Mecha from other shows. Sound - 5/10 The Voice acting was dubbed pretty well and none of the characters ever got to the point of just getting annoying. The downside of the sound is the song that played during Gravion's combining. I get how many Anime rock songs can sound cheesy, with their use of english phrasing in random sections, but in Gravion it just seemed deliberately bad and possibly an inside joke that helped dig the show deeper into a hole. Characters - 2/10 I don't remember any character being built up in this first season. We really know nothing about the whole cast. We get a bit of background when Eiji goes to meet his friends, but again this seems like something they forgot and used as an excuse to make season 2. Overall 3/10 Again this looked like a promising show, with a decent story, it could possibly be cut into an hour long stand alone combining both seasons with a fight or two, and it would be much more watchable, but as it stands it doesn't seem to be there to please anyone who wants more then repetitive fights and boobs.
NOTICE: This review involves both the two seasons of the series. Gravion is not a serious series. It’s more of a tribute to the old style mecha shows, such as Getta 3 and Voltes V. So, it aims at old mecha fans of the 80’s and the 70’s and adds humour and fan service elements of present ecchi series to keep them wanting for more. The problem is that the show is animated by the most notorious studio GONZO and that its director never made and never aimed to make something more than a typical show; the result of which is a feeling of mediocrity. PRODUCTION VALUES - As a tribute series, Gravion mixes the action and plot elements of old typical mecha series. You’ll see classic mecha attacks, such as rocket punches, drills and magic swords. But there are no dull hand-drawn special effects, as you remember in the 70’s. Slick/stylish/computer generated special effects run through the screen all the time. They are not great or very realistic but get the job done. In the second season, you can obviously expect weapon upgrades and flashier visual and sound effects. Of course, they are still cheesy and unrealistic; so the general feeling is not better.- The character figures and fan service parts are quite typical. The way everything moves is not that realistic. Without being anything awesome, fans of the genre will like them. - Colors and special effects are antithetic and too bright, a thing that is indeed overdone but is all the same needed in the whole atmosphere of this intentionally shallow series. Visuals are fake but great and fitting for this kind of series.- The musical themes (especially of the first season) are great at exciting you for what follows. Voice acting and sound effects are otherwise lukewarm. SCRIPT - A tribute series could have no other scenario but this: Alien invaders attack the earth and only a huge robot piloted by teenagers can stop them… Sounds familiar? It is the most overused story in history and yet it is the best-suited one. - Although almost all episodes are stand-alones, a hypothetical evolution of the story does exist. On each new episode, the enemy mecha of the episode becomes immune to all previous attacks and a new weapon or strategy is needed. Don’t expect any deep battle strategies, most of the new tricks the heroes use are pretty lame. Although the pace of the story was steady in the first season, it begins really simple and boring in the second and gets more complicating and interesting towards the end. You need patience to stand the really stupid first half.- Comical scenes and fan service elements are also used in between to keep you interested in more than just the battles. The leading male gets into sexually awkward situations for no reason other than our urge to see someone taking his cloths off. Plus, there are a few surprises from time to time, which slowly evolve the story. Mysteries are answered and new elements enter the frame. Again, most of them are lame but do give you the illusion that the series has an on going scenario. - There is even a tribute element to the “mysterious power” that only the leading mecha uses and is the only thing powerful enough to save the Earth. Retro series used electricity, nuclear power and anti-matter in times where such forces where hardly understood. Gravion follows that tradition by using “Gravity”, a force we all know of but have of yet no idea how it is generated. Anyway, you won’t watch a series like Gravion for its story but the writers went to all the trouble of giving something extra to it.- No conclusion at all in the first season. A predictable one exists in the second. It leaves no loose ends and although silly, it wraps up things nicely. The ending gets rather metaphysical but it is still quite predictable. CAST The series made quite a mix in this department. -Instead of the typical wise old scientist / creator of the robot and teacher for the teenage heroes, we have a middle aged sexy millionaire with his own super deluxe villa and harem of sexy maids. -Instead of the typical red leader of the team (a good-hearted charismatic man) we have a dork who is looking for his lost sister and who always gets into ecchi situations.-Instead of the silent and rather rude rival man of the protagonist, we have a kind bishonen boy, who everyone loves (in a way, he has the opposite personality of the leader and thus IS the rival).- Instead of the beautiful, kind and shy girl, we have a butchy girl, who always hits and nags (the typical neurotic girl type of most comedies). -And finally, instead a boy and a fat guy who are used only for comic relief, we have a shy girl with glasses and a bimbo with watermelon breasts (comic relief in ecchi anime). The supporting groups of characters are maids (more fan service), the aid of the millionaire (a mystery), military staff and politicians (mostly get their butts kicked by the aliens but plan on stealing the gravity technology of Gravion in order to stop depending on it), and the creator of the aliens (a typical, insane villain).So, the characters are only good if seen as comical stereotypes of mecha and ecchi series. They are otherwise quite shallow, even when a simple backdrop story is given on each.Generally, the second season introduces more secondary characters and reveals the unanswered mysteries of the main ones. But don’t expect any major fleshing out. It is still pretty clichéd stuff. LEGACY - It had no affect on the anime industry. - Small chance of rewatchability. The age of cheesy combining robots and voice-activated special attacks is over for the mecha genre.- If seen as a tribute series, it’s a blast! And has some nice jokes and fan service moments to boot. But nothing we haven’t seen before.To be honest, I am not a mecha fan. I expected something serious to occur in the scenario in order for me to keep being interested. The first series ended without a conclusion and most of the second was one of the same but way more low-toned. The ending left me rather disappointed as I expected something original to happen (which didn’t). So, I can say I liked the “funny mecha/ecchi mix” of it and disliked the “repetitive defeat-the mecha-of the week motive” of it. It’s a good way to spend your time but, hey, I don’t exactly watch anime to burn excessive brain sells. SUGGESTION LIST Getter Robo, Mazinger, Voltron. Famous old mecha series. Gekiganger 3. a small but awesome mecha tribute as well. Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann. The best idealistic mecha series I know of. If you don’t like this one, you simply don’t like the old mecha formula in general.