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Mazinger Z 1-2: Mazinger Sheds No Tears

Because he is a robot. Because he is a machine.

Before I start this post, I’d like to take the time to mourn the passing of youtube user Koike68, mentioned in the previous post. I assume that he was cut down in his prime by an overzealous PPGZ fan.

Anyway, while the rest of the internet was busy being outraged that a very minor manga publisher made a last-second business move by cancelling a series that at worst could have cause their own financial ruin, and at best could have lost them a modest amount of money, I was busy doing far nobler things. Namely, translating Sakigake!! Otokojuku and watching Mazinger Z. Who needs to keep current with one of the best seasons in recent memory when I could be watching rocket punche– scratch that, breast fires? Certainly not me. I’m only about 14 episodes in, but I already wish that one of these newfangled web blog 2.0 things had episode summaries so that I could know when to just skim through an episode and when to actually try to pay attention. I’m planning on having these posts go Summary, closing thoughts, and then a rating of either Watch or Skim for those who can’t really afford to watch all 200,000 episodes of this show. Note that paying attention is somewhat of a feat, since I’m normally playing WoW while watching Mazinger. (oh no my summer)

I’ve already talked too much for a post that’s supposed to be episode summaries/thoughts on each episode so here goes:

Episode 1:

Summary: The episode/show starts by introducing Intersexed (I will be noting awesome HK bootleg terminology in these posts whenever possible) demivillain Baron Ashura (Asla) and major plotting villain Dr. Hell (Dr. Hill, the HK version of this show must have propane-powered robots). Dr. Hell is the fairly standard hunched over supervillain that builds a lot of robots because he’s crazy while Baron Ashura is freaky as hell and is pretty much Herm Twoface. It’s very interesting to note that whichever side of the Baron’s face is shown on camera is the side that talks. This seems very impractical in real life, and I’m sure that if I was a film major that there would be a very interesting term for this camera technique. Many Giant Evil Robots are introduced. With such powerful army is equal to have the whole world. But one man is stumbling block.

Dr. Kabuto, with his newly discovered Japanium (Japanese Aluminum), only found in Mount Fuji (groan) can do all sorts of crazy shit with this metal, like shoot lasers at it and nothing happens. This is No.1 invention in the world. However, he gives up his lab, probably because he knows that 75% of important old professors in giant robot shows die before the second episode. Right as he does this, Baron Ashura is on the way over in a submarine to kill him. We then get introduced to Kabuto Koji, who has awesome hair and an awesome bike and if you can’t tell that he’s going to pilot the giant robot then you’re pretty dumb. Dr. Kabuto’s lab gets bombed, which is an excellent lead-in to one of the excellent insert songs. Also, Koji swims his motorcycle through the sky around town some more. Koji finds his grandfather (Who cause grandpa like this? he asks) who gives him Mazinger Z, the awesome robot that wears black briefs. Grandpa then promptly dies.

We then get introduced to the Hover Pilder, essentially the cockpit of Mazinger Z. Koji’s not very good at piloting it, and tries to beat it up. (It’s useless for his insignificant skill, his brother deftly notes. Don’t verbiage! Koji admonishes him.) Naturally, Koji figures out how to dock within a few minutes. Of course, he then figures out that he has no idea how to actually pilot Mazinger, and it runs around in a forest a lot and recycles a lot of footage. Right before Koji crushes his helpless, annoying brother, another giant robot appears and holds him back! It’s Aphrodite A(Afrota S), piloted by the foxy Sayaka. Koji gets mad at her for stopping his lack of piloting, and kicks her away. (You this guy! Sayaka curses.) After a bit of coaxing from her dad, she stops being mad at him. However, Dr. Hell has begun to destroy the city, and Mazinger Z is the only one who can save them! Too bad Koji still can’t keep it from doing anything but running in a straight line! What will happen next time on Mazinger Z?? Seriously, these robots are evil, they’re shooting missiles at tanks labeled “MOON OIL”. He’s gotta do something.

Closing Thoughts: For an introductory episode to a giant robot show, this was paced surprisingly well, and seemed to diverge at least slightly enough to make it interesting. Between the freakiness of Ashura, the immense moetic appeal of Sayaka, and the pure burning passion of Koji’s hair and motorcycle, the characters hold your attention. I’ve seen a pathetically small number of old robot shows, but the first episode here seemed pretty great for what it is. The HK subs help too. Naturally, Watch, it’d be pretty dumb not to watch an episode that probably has 20% of the entire show’s plot.

Episode 2:

Summary:The city burns while Koji tries to learn how to pilot Mazinger Z. Sayaka tries to teach Koji, but he’s too manly to learn things from others, for the most part. He starts to get it, then walks robot hand in robot hand with Aphrodite A. A dash of recap here, a sprinkle of predictable guy blushing in front of girl there, and then we get some more plot background: Dr. Hell was researching an ancient civilization when he found a mythical giant! No, not the Ideon. Anyway, Dr. Hell goes kind of crazy and builds himself an Evil Robot Army and turns on the other researchers. Dr. Kabuto was the only survivor, and thus decided to spend the rest of his life trying to figure out how to fight said Evil Robot Army. Oh, wait! They’re still attacking the city! Koji doesn’t know how to pilot Mazinger, but that doesn’t stop him from fighting! Devil Z”is powerful, butKouji’s control is so poor.He may lose in the fighting.

The robots face off and knock him down, then injure Sayaka. Sayaka gets beat up a lot in this show, and Koji saves her a lot, too. It gets kind of annoying after a while. Oh well! With a little help from Sayaka, his armor that his opponents can’t damage, the spirit of his dead grandfather, eye beams, hurricanes and ROCKET PUNCH (all unleashed by the secret Japanese martial arts technique of “press buttons on this panel until things happen”), he absolutely demolishes the bad guys. Mazinger carries weak, unarmed Aphrodite back to the lab, where Sayaka sits in a bed to recover. Then, all of a sudden, Dr. Hell calls them up on videoconference and tells them that he’s totally going to wreck their shit so they best watch how they step! Thanks for the heads-up, Dr. Hell.

Closing Thoughts: The show already begins to slow down, but thankfully we haven’t already hit filler. We’ve got a first fight scene here, as well as some great scenes of Mazinger Z spinning in circles because Koji is incompetent. We also have a little more backstory in the form of Dr. Hell’s flashback. The theme of Sayaka/Aphrodite A being in danger, then Koji saving her begins here, too. It’s kind of 70s-pleasant the first time it happens, but around the 10th time or so, it gets kind of ridiculous. As it stands, the only thing Sayaka has over Koji is the fact that she actually can pilot a giant robot. That, and her slim, sexy figure that’ll drive any man mad. MAD… MAD! er, Watch.

Well, originally this was going to be summaries of the first ten episodes, but it has taken me a good hour to do the first two episodes, so I’ll quit here. Since the filler starts to ramp up in the next few episodes, things should go faster from there. Hopefully.

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