This will be a quick review ... grandizer is one of the earliest anime I saw in my life along with mazinger, may be that's why it holds a special place in my list .... of course if you got spoiled by the modern mecha anime and their special effects and world, you may not like it.
One thing I just wanna mention with this anime is the emotional emphasis on the chatacters and even the villians, each episode introduces a new minor villian, who has his/her backstory which usually involves bad childhood, war, the death of a close person and usually the episode ends with the death of the villans .... it may seem pretty generic but the music and the sound track adds ALOT to the show that you will love most of the villains and even sympathasize with them at the end.
I think it was ahead of its time, and may be it's not impressive by 2day's standards but again since this was one of the earliest shows I saw, it was one of the best in my list.
Do I recommend it or not? that depends, the show is great overall ... awesome for me ... if you wanna get intrested, start viewing some advanced episodes, then you can check from the start if you wanna know how they got there, coz although the show is episodic, there is a story and there is progression to the events and you will notice some changes in the tone, how serious the show is becoming towards the end.
Good 9/10 ..... 10/10 for me.
One last thing, the show has aot of hot girls :D... again by its period standards .... I hope you dun think I am a perv or something.:P .
ANIME EVOLUTION SERIES
Full list of the review series can be found on this page, 3rd post from bottom:
This is yet another series made by the infamous time traveler Go Nagai. He proves for the third time how he can go back and forth in time and space and even cleverly hide this ability better than Kira in Death Note. In this series from the future (whose main idea was again never copied in the future) we have the lead robot combining with and separating from a flying saucer. Please notice how there are numerous mecha where the robot turns to a spaceship or is formed from other airships or is even stored inside a bigger spaceship. But none of them have the robot being almost as big as the ship itself and doesn’t even transform in any way; they just connect and separate. Sounds like a minor detail but remember how anime are notorious for copying to death successful ideas and this show is amongst the top retros.
At this point I would like to address this small debate amongst retro fans, who from one hand value this mecha series as far more mature and well directed than Mazinger Z or Getter Robo, yet at the same time far less people out there know it or are even fond of it that much. I would also want to reveal to you how I was around 10 when I got to watch all three shows on VHS and how even I, a lover or the genre back then, found Grendizer to be amongst the worst shows with super robots. So without aiming to insult any fans out there, please allow me to describe how I felt as a 10 year old and by extension how did the majority of the people who watched it.
1) UFO designs. The very distinctive feature all robots and ships in this series share is that they all look like flying saucers. They are circular, they spin, they make hovering sounds and they usually attack with spinning tops, spinning drills, spinning spikes, and generally anything that can spin. On one hand this makes the show to have its very distinctive look and to never be confused with any other of its era. I mean it ain’t that hard for a casual viewer to wonder if he stares at an episode mid-way and wonder if it is Mazinger or Getta or whatever other super robot show he knows from that era. But Grendizer is one of a kind in its designs, which as I said are saucers and affiliated spinning stuff. Although this makes the artwork unique and yet another proof of the secret powers Nagai possesses, it also makes the whole fuss look… well… retarded. Sorry to say it that bluntly but seriously, I hated the mecha designs. The idea of a huge Frisbee with small limbs and a head just looks stupid as hell. It looked ok for any enemy that looked like a turtle or a creature with a carapace in general, but those dragon or human featured robots were just terrible to stare. Even Grendizer itself combined looked ridiculous to me. What is this stupid Frisbee with a cool robot head in front? And seriously, it attacks with spinning tops? That is stupid! So originality aside, it was simply too weird for me to visually like it.
2) Explosions. THEY ARE SHIT! I mean, in other mecha shows when something blows up, it makes a really big explosion and debris jettisons everywhere. But this show is the only one I can remember where anything that explodes looks like shit. It’s as if everything is made from rice paper that fizzles for half a second before it turns to dust and disappears without even leaving debris. It sounds so minor yet I felt no excitement while watching the robots or the UFOs fight. There were no FREAKING BIG EXPLOSIONS and half the fun in such shows is exactly that. I have heard how others call that a great idea because it makes you feel you are watching an old coin-op game like Space Invaders where the UFOs there blow up in a similar fashion and that this form of disappearance is supposed to be an allusion to the disintegrate rays of 60’s UFO movies, where everything they hit evaporates without a trace. Well whatever; I still hated it. I liked my stuff blowing up in more conventional ways.
3) Build up. Grendizer has been proclaimed as the best classical mecha show in terms of storyboard. Every episode is made to start really simple and slowly building towards the end with a mecha fight in the finale. In the first part most of what is going on is silly interactions between the good guys or the villains plotting their next move. Such a thing was present in previous shows as well but in THIS show they made it look more polarized. The heroes would spend 15 minutes in milking cows or stop that silly grandpa from messing around with alien technology before the robot finally arrives and the fun can begin. Not that those moments were not funny as well but they felt like I was watching a western cowboy comedy sci-fi and not an alien invasion story. In other mecha the characters would try some new weapon or formation or have an argument and start fighting. But here, the main hero is again one and all the rest are again minor support. That felt like a step back from what Getter Robo and its triad of heroes initiated. On the other hand I do agree in my current age that all those silly moments helped the viewer to sympathize with the characters a lot more and show how they don’t waste their lives in training and waiting for the next attack to come. So yes, it is far better at helping you to like the characters at the expense of feeling they are fooling around. When I was 10 I just wanted to see them fight and didn’t care about all that. At some points I was even fast forwarding the episodes just to get to the point.
4) Names. THEY ARE RETARDED! I couldn’t stand them one bit. The main hero is called Duke Freed from planet Freed. I mean, how cheesier could it get? The main alien lieutenant is this ugly skinny, lame looking blue goblin with the terrifying name of… Blaki. BLAKI??? Will Pac Man arrive to eat him or something? And the alien robots have these equally ridiculous names like Giru-Giru, Bara-Bara, Doki-Doki and they the all Sucky-Sucky. Lol, here comes the terrifying alien Blaki and his stupid looking robot called Dummie-Dummie. I mean, honestly, was I supposed to find all that comedic? They kill around a thousand innocents per episode before fizzling to inexistence. Uber lame.
5) Internal logic. Made no sense at all. It sure is a silly robot show like any other but it also tried to be more dramatic and complicating at the same time without ever trying to excuse it. The more serious and dramatic something is, the more effort it takes to convince the viewer and this show just fails terribly at this. I mean I was supposed to accept Duke being imprisoned and yet somehow managed to escape, defeated unarmed a hundred soldiers, entered their most powerful ship, escaped, traveled a thousand galaxies and finally arrives at Earth where by all coincidence it’s also the aliens’ next target. I mean, WTF? And where is the army in this series? There were always airplanes and tanks fighting the alien robots in other shows. They never did anything but at least you knew Earth was not just a huge ranch full of unarmed cowboys. And why is it so hard for the aliens to simply create another Grendizer if they were the ones who made it in the first place? Later on, Duke’s sister arrives and together they head to repopulate their planet. How the hell will they do that if they are the only two survivors and didn’t bother bringing humans with them? I mean there was that pretty cowgirl chick who had the hots for him and he just dumps her and does what; goes to impregnate his own sister a million times? Just bullshit!
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 3/10
General Artwork 1/2 (generic)
Character Figures 0/2 (Fugly UFO robots)
Backgrounds 1/2 (basic)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 0/2 (lame explosions)
SOUND SECTION: 8/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 4/4 (cool/dramatic songs)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 3/10
Premise 1/2 (typical)
Pacing 0/2 (mostly episodic)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 1/2 (cheesy)
CHARACTER SECTION: 6/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 2/2 (rather cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
VALUE SECTION: 8/10
Historical Value 3/3 (quite the known title)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of too much episodic plot and overblown drama)
Memorability 4/4 (I can’t forget those UFO designs)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 2/10
Although I like Nagai for his originality and secret time travel powers, I find this show to be the least interesting of his works. I appreciate his attempt at making a more serious and dramatic cast and having a better storyboard and allusions to UFO movies but that does not mean that he created an entertaining series. Just a special one.