Getter Robo Armageddon – Review
Getter Robo Armageddon:
Original Air Dates: 1998-2000
Synopsis: Getter Robo and its pilots, heroes who’ve saved the Earth countless times, fought back amorphous aliens posed to invade the Earth. In the aftermath the lead Getter Robo pilot, Ryoma Nagare, was jailed for murdering Doctor Saotome, creator of the Getter Robo. Hayato Jin, the 2nd pilot, is believed dead or missing and the two men who both acted as Getter Robo’s third pilot, Musashi Tomoe and Benkei Kuruma, continue to serve in the Japanese armed forces while caring for Doctor Saotome’s only surviving child, Genki, who unfortunately has never recovered mentally from seeing his father murdered before his very eyes. Unfortunately things do not remain peaceful for the Getter pilots as the Invaders are back! And things take a turn when Doctor Saotome himself returns from the dead, having invented a new Getter Robo, Shin Getter, and is hell bent on having his revenge upon the world! Only one man can put a stop to Saotome, but is it really fair to ask him to commit same the crime he was originally jailed for?
Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Getter Robo Armageddon is an OVA continuation of a long running, long beloved super robot mecha franchise in Japan that still has attention through merchandise even today. Armageddon falls into one of several different continuities, as the Getter Robo franchise splinters into various alternate timelines. Getter Robo Armageddon is based both upon the original manga (still unavailable legally in the U.S.) and an audio drama that develops the storyline into it’s own, separate continuity. This makes Getter Robo Armageddon a tad difficult to follow, as many viewers will be meeting these long running characters for the first time. It’s not an impossible task, and Armageddon does at least make a minimal effort to try and ensure the viewer is able to follow along.
Linny: Getter Robo Armageddon was my first experience/foray into the franchise but it was still a rather enjoyable watch. For maximum enjoyment, it might be best if you have a ‘guide’ watching it with you so they can help clear up any questions you might have. The story definitely isn’t the easiest to follow by any means for newcomers but it isn’t impossible. However, that isn’t Armageddon’s main attraction anyway. What you should watch out for is how over the top the action gets in the way that only vintage anime can be. Everything is excessive, with explosions and over reactions galore, which do a great job of entertaining anyone who loves outrageous old school action stories, even for more ironic reasons.
Tom: Indeed Getter Robo Armageddon is more about spectacle than narrative coherence. While many of the story’s twists and turns should be easy to follow, especially as the narrative switches to featuring a new ‘original’ cast of characters, appreciation really only comes to those who have some familiarity with the franchise already. But what Getter Robo lacks in story, it makes up for with both charm and flair. The art has a uniquely lovable, badass retro feel, and while the budget clearly hampers several episodes, there’s others where the animation and art direction create a masterpiece of visual badassery that makes it difficult to look away. It’s not a technical marvel, but the sheer essence and absurdity, that makes the Super Robot genre what it is, is captured here with stunning precision.
Linny: The basic story, without giving away too many spoilers, is that amorphous alien blob creatures attack the earth and of course, it is now up to Getter Robo to save us. The show does manage to sneak in a few plot twists and even delivers some genuinely touching moments every now and then. It’s still not a show that will impress you with its story by any means though. The episodes flow smoothly and are fast paced, helping to keep the adrenaline pumping through all 13 episodes.
Tom: The only major point of contention within Armageddon would be its ending. Armageddon chooses to go full ‘super robot,’ building an ending based upon emotions rather than providing a more logically driven conclusion. The finale might leave you confused, and it took me several subsequent viewings of the final episode to truly understand the show’s ending. You’re likely to find yourself saying, “What did I just watch?” It’s why it’s best not to watch Getter Robo Armageddon for its narrative, but rather for its attitude, charisma, and style.
Linny: If you end the show wondering just what the heck happened, you are most definitely not the only one. It’s clear that the series went with an open to interpretations type of ending, vague on purpose, probably so that should they ever want to or need to, they could write in any kind of continuation they wanted without boxing themselves in. Given how crazy the action and story is, it also feels somewhat appropriate that it ends on an equally crazy and confusing note. My final words of advice regarding the series would be to go into it for the action and visual indulgence, and to get a good taste of the insanity of earlier anime. It’s the kind of show you watch so you can chuckle at all the extravagance and craziness while really getting into the action. It may not be the best entry point into the franchise but if you are in it just for the retro absurdity factor, Armageddon is as good as it can get.
Tom: Getter Robo Armageddon is a superb example of the charismatic insanity and bravado that makes the Super Robot genre what it is. It may not be the easiest show to breach or understand as you’re coming into a greater franchise, and it remains a shame that Getter Robo’s manga and other offerings are still unavailable in the west. But Armageddon offers enough on tone, style, and flare alone to make it a worthwhile watch for anyone less interested in plot and more in bravado and bad assery. The battles between Getter Robo and the amorphous invaders are incredible sights to behold and, as long as you’re not squeamish on frequent blood splattering levels of violence, Getter Robo Armageddong is an incredible watch.