Giant Gorg Complete TV Series Collection
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Yuu Tagami was never close with his father. Yet after the old man's accidental death, Yuu finds himself on a plane to New York City, following instructions written in a letter from his late father. New York is as strange as it gets for the boy from Japan, but stranger still is Dr. Wave, the man he's supposed to meet. Dr. Wave shares an obsession with the deceased concerning the mysterious New Austral Island. Ten years ago, the island sprang into being, and then just as suddenly vanished off the maps. But it's still there, and Dr. Wave knows there are secrets on that island that demand investigation. Unfortunately, he isn't the only one! The corporation known as GAIL wants those secrets for themselves, and they're willing to kill to get their way! What secrets lie on New Austral Island? Find out in Giant Gorg, available for the first time in America on DVD!
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The ensemble cast of characters are all great, from youthful hero Yuu to smooth-as-silk series antagonist Rod Balboa. Even supporting players like quiet-but-tough Tominic and usurped branch-supervisor Gotoh have endearing, human quirks to them, pulling the viewer in to care about their fate. I defy anyone not to be drawn to the tough-as-nails "Skipper", or to deny eventual sympathy for the suitably catty Lady Lynx. And then there is Gorg, the maybe-sentient titular giant robot, whose actions speak louder than the machine-like groan that is his "voice".
The design of the show is pure "Yas", from the delightfully imposing Gorg to the "fifteen minutes into the future" military craft of GAIL, the antagonist's corporate front. Complimenting that design, the animation, though dated, is clean and lovely, with nary a repeated cell that I could identify. The production values seemed high for Giant Gorg, and there never seemed to be a "b-team" episode in the bunch.
Discotek and Eastern Star did a great job with the translation and the transfer. The subtitles are timed well and easy to read across the board. The picture is bright and clean played through my PS3. The sound was good, though my "system" is nothing but the TV mounted speakers, so your mileage may vary. There was never a point where I was frustrated by the whole as presented, even down to the simple menus. I would've liked some extras, but I'm not sure a show like this demanded any, save from niche fans like myself. There is a clean opening and closing credits, but I don't really go in for that.
The show's content, in typical anime style, swings from lighthearted adventure to deadly serious statements about humanity, sometimes within a 23-minute episode. Though the main protagonist is a young boy, there is some surprisingly brutal violence and a bit of nudity, but sexual themes and innuendo are almost completely absent. This definitely falls into PG-13 territory for the most part.
Giant Gorg is a treat for fans of sci-fi and mystery anime, as well as those who enjoy action and giant robots, though to be clear, this is NOT a Gundam style mecha-fest. Gorg himself is great, and there is more than Gorg for the giant-robot fan, but don't go in expecting mech-of-the-week. This is more about the build-up to a solid finale, peppered with action, chases, betrayals, rescues, and intrigue. I didn't know it until I saw it, but Giant Gorg was exactly what I wanted. Highly recommended.
It was a time before computer graphics and digital technology. A time of pure hand drawn animation. A time when a majestic space cruiser soared the endless sea of stars on its final voyages. A time when a beautiful alien girl came to Earth, fell in love with a hormone-charged teenaged boy and comedy hi-jinks ensued and ensued. A time when a colossal cosmic fortress/ship fell to Earth, and humanity in its ingenuity, studied and utilized its technology to prepare for a threat of gargantuan proportions. A time when a young man trained his body and spirit in the martial arts and took part in an epic quest to find seven sacred orbs; and it was a time when a science-fiction saga of war and giant robots would return and become a cultural phenomenon. This was a time when the island nation of Japan was creating a film genre that would come to be cherished around the world.
In this bygone era many talented writers and artists contributed to the advance of the medium that came to be called "anime." A central figure in this imaginative industry is a man whose work came to be recognized and revered as among the best this art form had produced. His distinctive artwork is signed in English language letters as "Yas," but his full name is Yoshikazu Yasuhiko. A storyboard artist, manga writer and artist, animation director, novelist and book illustrator, Mr. Yasuhiko is an award winning creator. He is probably best known outside of Japan for his artistic contribution to the "Mobile Suit Gundam" franchise; and notably, his ambitious manga series, "Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin" (Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, Vol. 1- Activation through Mobile Suit Gundam: The ORIGIN, Volume 12: Encounters), a comic retelling of the original "Mobile Suit Gundam" animated television series, which Mr. Yasuhiko wrote and drew over a ten year period from 2001 through 2011.
In 1984, a year before he took part in creating the classic anime sequel "Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam," this master of animation would make another giant robot series called "Giant Gorg." This less famous cartoon has all the hallmarks of anime: a courageous young hero, a mammoth mechanical companion and an abundance of action and adventure. But combined with the talent of "Yas," this 26 episode series' quality quotient rises above the many other giant robot shows that are so much a part of this genre. Thankfully, this vintage work of anime has been released to a wider audience in a English language sub-titled 4 DVD set from Eastern Star and Discotekmedia.com.
"Giant Gorg" tells the story of Yuu Tagami, a bright and quick-witted 13 year old boy, who, after the death of his father, begins a globetrotting quest that takes him from his homeland of Japan, to the bustling streets of New York City, and to the mysterious South Pacific location of New Austral Island, a land mass recently raised from the ocean floor by volcanic activity and filled with remarkable secrets. New Austral Island contains mysteries coveted by the world's super powered nations and a sinister corporation called Gail, which has set up installations around the island in an effort to uncover and ultimately control an amazing technology, ancient and apparently extraterrestrial in origin! It is on this strange island that Yuu encounters and forms a bond with "Gorg," a huge giant robot. Given the title "God's Messenger" by Austral Island's native inhabitants, and "The Humanoid" by members of the Gail Corporation, "Giant Gorg" seems to be the indestructible guardian of the secrets of the island and also becomes Yuu's larger than life protector.
As the 26 episode series progresses, "Giant Gorg" becomes a cliff-hanger adventure show, with young Yuu sharing in exciting exploits with his friends: Dr. Tom Wave, a former student of Yuu's father, Dr. Tagami, who shared in the late professor's obsession in Austral Island; Doris, Dr. Wave's younger sister, and their pet, a Great Dane named Argos; Skipper, somehow a friend of Dr. Wave, a seasoned mercenary and veteran of action and violence; Astral Island residents Tominic, Alois, and Sara; and their antagonists: Rod Balboa, a purple-haired man of privilege, sent by his grandfather, Roy Balboa, to oversee the Gail Corporation's operations on New Austral Island; and the lovely Lady Lynx, a femme fatale also looking into the strange secrets of the recently resurrected island.
"Giant Gorg" is perhaps one of the last of the more traditional giant robot shows, featuring long-established storytelling conventions of the anime genre, specifically; the awe-inspiring heroic robot sharing in adventures with a teenaged boy who worshiped his massive mechanized man-friend. The robotic star of these animated shows tended to be unique and nearly unbeatable. "Gorg" is very much a robot born from that template, something the forces of the Gail Corporation learn in destructive battle after destructive battle: and "Giant Gorg" is an explosive action series that does not shirk from placing its human star, Yuu, and his youthful companions, Doris, Alois, and Sara, in the middle of violent situations. But while sometimes the norm in anime, even this anime fan found it a little unsettling to watch the scene in episode 8, "Gail's Mineshaft," when Skipper tosses Alois an automatic weapon, and the young boy eagerly catches it, exclaiming, "I've always wanted one of these!" Yuu is also given a pistol by Skipper to defend himself but has a strong reaction to the reality of actually shooting another human being for the first time. This is not the average adventure for a 13 year old boy.
Things were changing in the giant robot anime genre and that change came with the television and theatrical release of Yoshiyuki Tomino's "Mobile Suit Gundam" in Japan in 1979. In "Gundam," giant robots were not huge, human-like superheroes but instead became just mass produced weapons of war. More significantly, Mr. Tomino's classic chronicle of earthly and cosmic conflict told a grim tale of the effects of war on multiple levels. The genre would never be the same after "Gundam," and anime like "Giant Gorg" would become cartoon cliches.
Still, thanks in no small part to the creative contribution of Mr. Yasuhiko, "Giant Gorg" brings an added level of entertainment to its story and thus, to its audience. At the heart of this anime is "Yas," and his gifted talents as a storyteller. Mr. Yasuhiko's characters are distinctive visions of humanity in all its grace, awkwardness and charm. His young male heroes are appealing looking and brave, idealized interpretations of Japanese manhood; his feminine characters, notably his mature women, are beautiful and elegant, sharing an artistic kinship with American comic art master John Buscema; and his villains are charismatic in their arrogant evil but also given a subtle degree of complexity that adds to their menace.
"Giant Gorg: The Complete TV Series Collection," as packaged by Eastern Star and Discotekmedia, has been released as a 4 DVD compilation, housed in a clear plastic case with an illustrated cardboard cover, both cover and case featuring one of Mr. Yasuhiko or "Yas'" distinctive paintings. It should be noted that "Gorg" is a Japanese language only release with no English language audio track. The set's English sub-titles are clear and easy to read. The series itself looks quite good on DVD, although due to its age of over 30 years, the picture quality isn't as sharp as modern computerized works of anime. However, for this old anime fan, the look of the show on disc only adds to its appeal as a excellent example of 1980's anime.
For this reviewer, "Giant Gorg" is a special treat: a vintage animated series that stands as an homage to the past of a cartoon medium as well as an animated TV series produced with an awareness of the expanding potential of the medium itself. Most importantly it is a grand showcase of a great creator of Japanese animation, Yoshikazu Yasuhiko.
"Giant Gorg" is an anime adventure that comes very well recommended.
Has the tone of an 80's kids movie like The Goonies or Gremlins; I'm really digging it! The animation is way better than I could have ever expected! I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes American action/adventure style movies.