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Eighteen Serious Questions Raised By The Ginrei Specials

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Barefoot Ginrei, special one.
The Ginrei Specials, for the uninitiated, are a three-part bonus episode series that accompanies cult favourite anime Giant Robo, sort of like an off-ramp for the canon. GR fans, no matter what national fandom you step into, are pretty much divided into two categories: those who like the specials, and those who are embarrassed by the specials as if they were an obnoxious relative. I'm always afraid to watch the first two specials with another person, since I know I'll wind up turning to them multiple times and apologizing. I haven't seen terrible ideas enacted with such careless sloppiness since a white guy tried to teach me how to dougie. These specials play out like a preteen boy's fan fiction, although the preteen boy has enthusiasm.
Tetsuwan Ginrei, special two.
I once talked to a woman, Mickie, who'd been a GR fan since she was a high school junior in 1995, and she told me the school anime club traded a bunch of tapes and their win included a worn-out fansub of the second Ginrei Special. She watched it and was borderline terrified of it, thinking someone put together a fucked-up bootleg episode to mess with GR fans, like a VHS-era SuicideMouse.avi. That's pretty much the story behind that special, though.
Ginrei With Blue Eyes, special three.
The first one came out on February 20 1994, the second on February 21, 1995, and third on September 25, 1995. Their existence hinges on the effort to tide the fans over until the next canonical episode would be released, since each one came out just about once a year, like some sort of fantastic robot Santa Claus. To say the first two Ginrei Specials are flawed is like saying that being punched in the nuts is "a little tingly".
A bit of a warning to people who haven't seen the specials...this is not a warning because I'm going to spoil them, but because I'm going to be talking about a lot of crazy shit that actually happened.
1. Couldn't they have at least tried with the animation quality?
The first two are near abominable at times, absolutely wrought with yashigani every few minutes, and Ginrei is the only person to get out mostly on-model. By the way, "yashigani" is a fabulous slang word for "trash animation", coming to us from this delightful story, and I wish more English people used it. Here is a sample of said yashigani...
As much as I love the word, I could weep with shame from these alone.
2. Why is Alberto so damn mad in the first special?
Alberto's role in the first one is to take a shower, suddenly learn that Ginrei exists through VHS footage, and then be so pissed that he kidnaps her with the intent of barbequing her. He's practically screaming at the screen as he sees her and changes all plans for the day to include the murder of a teenage girl. The stuff he's shown is basically Ginrei driving a car, running around and putting one of the Drive samples in the car. He actually screams in the dub, "Why, you little bitch! DIIIIIIEEEE", even though Alberto is far too classy in-canon to do that. Not to mention how him having a tween daughter would make him extremely reluctant to kill a teenage girl.
My only theory is that he was either really, really mad that his shower was interrupted, or really mad that the writing staff is thinking he's too dense to know what a Ginrei is.
3. Who really is Electric Shock Rosa?
Is that a Ginrei wig, or is it just a lucky coincidence for BF?
She shows up dressed like a palette swap Ginrei, Alberto gives her name, and claims she's one of his "favourite disciples". From what we see, she's got powers similar to Alberto's (although they're wasted on trying to melt Kenrei's boob), so it's almost as if she was trained by Alberto, and the idea of Alberto having a female protégé is the coolest shit ever. What does she look like when she's not dressed like Ginrei? Was she dead when she hit the floor like that? She's one of the few moments in the specials that I'd actually like to see more info on.
4. How did Kenji manage to stuff himself in a Ginrei costume?
You don't see Kenji halfway in drag in the special, but here he is
with an exploding tit.
Every scene of Ginrei tied up in the BF Group building is Kenji in drag, if that makes any sense (note: it doesn't). At one point, Kenrei's dress is torn off, and to everybody else, it appears that he's got a bare vagina, as evidenced by Daisaku actually nosebleeding. The thing is, men generally have thicker legs, deeper voices and more mysterious bulges than women do. I don't know how Kenji isn't able to hide his hairstyle in a BF Group uniform, but he's able to hide his balls (and a whole hat and trenchcoat) while dressed as his girlfriend.
That's also kinda weird too, the idea of Kenji stealing his younger girlfriend's dress so he could pretend to be her while being tied up before an older man for an hour.
5. What's the deal with the dub?
This is where they put a joke about boobies.
It's been "punched up", which is how you say it was written by fourteen year olds. I noticed that there's an odd charm to the Japanese dub for the second special, as all the actors are serious and gentle in their performances as if this yashigani bullshit was a legitimate episode. But with the obnoxious dub, the whole special is like a nonstop facial dickslap. There are even times when the subtitles are punched up, and that's just plain dishonesty. I'm blaming the writers and coaches, not the actors, and mind you that I actually adore the canon series dub. (When they added to the script there, we wound up with cute things like Tetsugyu's drinking song.)
A moment where Youshi simply says softly "This is really terrible!" becomes a shouted "This really sucks ass!" Alberto referring to a Drive lookalike drink as a Plum Wine Cocktail now has him going "MY SHIZUMA JUICE!", which doesn't even make sense. Ginrei says "terrifying weapon", but now it's a "crazy-ass weapon". Ginrei repeatedly says Daisaku needs to "get laid". Gags are added about Chujo being flustered over Ginrei's boobs. Go is delicate and squeaky in Japanese sometimes and that's converted to a sugary, campy lisp, which comes off as more of that weird "we're gay friendly so here'th thome lithping" vibe people had in the mid-2000s. I could go on, but I won't. The first two specials' dubs are just mean.
6. Why are they calling it Blue Flower Group?
This one is particularly confusing. I really wonder if Imagawa or some other staff got a fan letter asking if "BF" meant "Blue Flower" among other fan theories, thought this one was absolutely hilarious, and ran it throughout the first two specials just because. It had to have been known somewhere by 1995 that it stands for "Big Fire".
It reminds me of the time my father worked as props master on a cheap detective show, and the whole crew got a commemorative t-shirt, but the shirt said "Fake Film Friends" on the back and maybe three people on the entire series crew understood it.
7. Operation China Dress (or Operation Everyone's Got-A-China-Dress) was just fetish fuel, wasn't it?
I've never felt so bad for celluloid humanoid beings before.
You can only control the Ginrei Robo if you wear Ginrei's mini qipao. After noting this, Taisou and company tear off their clothes, revealing that they all have a qipao on. From there, the dresses are utilized into...nothing. They just stand around looking at the Ginrei Robo until an explosion happens, in which you get a clear shot of Taisou's spread legs when he flies through the air.
This is a picture I felt we all needed in our recent memories.
It's been long known that Yasuhiro Imagawa is a big fan of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, which probably influenced any hankerings to put his male cast in drag, and I can imagine him pitching this to the other writers pre-production:
Yasuhiro Imagawa: There also needs to be a part when Go, Youshi, Tetsugyu, Issei and Taisou are wearing nothing but form-fitting China dresses and high heels for a good five minutes.
Hiroshi Ueda: ...Sir, you're insane.
Yasuhiro Imagawa: No, I'm Imagawa.
8. How come the casino raid wasn't made into a Ginrei Special?
Alberto describes a whole sequence of events pulled off by Ginrei in the past when he's got Kenrei kidnapped, which I'll depict here...
"You infiltrated our casino resort, our main source of revenue..."
"...Endangering innocent bystanders in the process..."
"...As you and Taisou opened fire at our facility..."
"...Then fled after blowing up the entire island! Worst of all, you elaborately deceived the man in charge, which happened to be me!"
Does this not sound incredibly awesome to watch?! It could have been a standalone adventure like the third special, but where Ginrei accompanies Taisou and Youshi to a casino bringdown operation! All the explosions and action would have been costly as shit, though, so that's why we got four frames of a whole episode.
9. Why the hell was Taisou staring up Ginrei Robo's skirt?
Your wife is wearing some, so go check that out.
This happens during Operation China Dress, when the Ginrei Robo steps out and all nearby servicemen literally start bowing down to it where they can see up her skirt. An off-model Tetsugyu even has a nosebleed. And among this is Taisou ogling it while his wife stands behind him.
This is probably one of the things that gets me the angriest about the special, since in-canon Taisou and Youshi really do love each other. But here's Taisou in a miniskirt staring up at the giant robotic vagina of a duplication of a teenage girl while his wife stands by in disgust. And like, there's nothing wrong at all with Youshi. If I had to be honest, and despite how I love all the series characters, Youshi's my favourite GR lady.
Uwaa, take me now~
10. Did Kenji and Ginrei sleep together in the night prior to the first special?
I...I got nothing.
As the camera pans around Ginrei's room, we see her underwear's been thrown carelessly onto a chair, and she's waking up in nothing but an open dress shirt. When Daisaku calls, she's in an odd, airy good mood, and at some point within twelve hours, Kenji was able to steal her dress. Mind you, this is supposed to take place immediately after Professor Shizuma dies (what a fine mood-setter for shagging), and Kenji was in France at the time, so the only other way he could have gotten her dress was if he flat-out ran to China and broke into her apartment. Or, an alternate method is that the special is fucking stupid.
11. Is it possible Chief Chujo is referencing Professor Go with "hitome pan"?
A true leader uses his dying strength to leave a message for future
generations about booty.
He writes "one look at the panties" in the sand after the Ginrei Robo crashes, also after everybody stood around staring at it. The simple fan may assume Chujo was after some teenage robot vajoob, but note what you see in the immediate next shot:
Feast your eyes on Professor Go's purple panty-clad culo. Although not too hard, or you'll get the Chief angry.
While we're talking about the Chief, when the hell did he get on the beach, anyway? The only time he was present prior was when he was telling Ginrei about the Ginrei Robo in his office while this shit happened.
12. Why do people keep saying the third special is horrible?
You're not at all allowed to call this one serious if you watch Tetsugyu's
The third special is a standalone adventure, and I went into watching it when I was sixteen years old under someone's warning that "it's absolute trash. Just ignore it." But it's rather nice, actually...it gives you an idea of what an episode of Giant Robo would be like if it were a TV serial. The animation is pretty damn good, the story may be simple but it's a clean-cut IPO vs. BF Group battle, and I like it.
The main problem people have with it is that it's "too dark", and that clashes with the "lighthearted fun" of the first two specials, which is an elaborate way to tell someone that your brain is a blancmange. Or worse yet, people are so jaded and horrified by the first two specials that they don't dare touch it. To me, the third special is like the smart, quiet older sibling to two loud assholish kids...it's gonna get lumped in with whatever those little fuckers do.
13. Since when is gasoline Kool-Aid red?
I could probably ask how that came out of Robo's nose and how Kenji planned it to happen, but let's be reasonable here.
14. Why did Daisaku have to say "you got Punk'd"?
I captured this at the exact moment that he says it.
I picked at the dub for being crass already, but this was so bad that it deserved its own question. Throwing in a Punk'd reference dates the production so horribly that I actually felt my whole body twinge when I heard it. It's like if they dubbed Tiger & Bunny this year and Barnaby kept saying "yolo". The only way this moment could be worse is if Daisaku called the Jintetsu robot a "tricked-out ride", which wou...oh shit, he did? We're done here.
15. When did Ivan become such a pimpass?
He be that pretty muthafucka.
The first time he speaks in the second special, he's working at a seaside hotel as a vest-clad cocktail-brewing bartender, playing the piano and putting the charms on Ginrei. I mean, I adored Ivan before the specials, but damn, he's off the swag charts here. I wish I got to see more of this mode of Ivan, rather than seeing him in the following...
16. What's up with the urinal scene?
There comes a time in every website's life where it hosts a picture like this.
Yasuhiro Imagawa: ...We should also have a bit where five of the guys compare penis sizes. Taisou beats Tetsugyu, Ivan beats Genya, Ko-Enshaku beats everybody.
Hiroshi Ueda: I...don't...
Michiko Yokote: My lord, that's brilliant.
17. What's the dealio with Genya and Daisaku?

This is the perfect picture for this question.
A male friend told me that the scene where Daisaku jumps Genya for MY SHIZUMA JUICE was "not meant for human consumption", and he's right, because a moment later Daisaku collapses into a pose that can only be described as male tribadism. There's also the fact that Genya greets Daisaku in the rain by jamming his face up to his while in Bishounen Mode, and the matter of brainwashing him and making him wear a dress.
Remember when I said a 10 in Japan was like a 14 in North America? A 12 probably translates to a 16 or 17, so the idea of having a kid that age pinky-swearing with and getting in drag for a 28-year-old dandy probably didn't seem weird at the time. But now what the hell are we gonna do with all this shotacon slash that keeps popping up on Pixiv?
18. How come one of the most intriguing and tragic characters of the series was degenerated into a sloppy fanservice vehicle?
Ginrei is a precocious but highly-skilled teenaged Interpol agent; a big sister to Daisaku, a daughter to Professor Go, and a secret lover to Kenji. She's barely been able to put behind the bitter memories of watching her father and brother get trapped in the Bashtarle Incident and of barely surviving the subsequent fallout, and her hereditary power eats away at her life force. Despite all that, she lives big for justice, all the while caring for her friends and surrogate family among the Experts.
In the Specials 1 and 2, this is what she becomes.

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