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Eighteen Serious Questions Raised By Giant Robo

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Although, please don't ask why Kenji's suit is green and why Ivan is surfing on a car.
 
For those who may not know, Giant Robo is a super-crossover anime series from 1992-1998. Despite this annual wavelength, only one episode a year was released direct to video, leading to seven one-hour episodes. There's also three bonus episodes, called the Ginrei Specials, which mostly focus on the main female character's breasts and the destruction of character integrity.
 
I was inspired by this I-Mockery article while writing here. I must warn you that this article contains a great lot of spoilers, and most of it is funny if you've actually seen the whole series. Either go and buy Media Blaster's complete box set while you still can, or look up the "original dub" on Youtube. It's bizarre enough to make you want to buy the official set.
 
 
 
1. Do you need an Asian name to get into the Internation Police Organization?
 
 
Let's consider that Ginrei and Genya's real names are Farmelle and Emmanuel Von Vogler, which is either French or German, but they're changed upon entering either side. The BF Group seems to be more tolerant of foreign names, but everyone in the IPO is seemingly-Asian, with a running theme of rural Chinese outfits and tools. This makes me wonder if, in particular, Tetsugyu and Murasame aren't actually Japanese. A friend of mine believes that Tetsugyu is a Mexican ninja (although Japanese men have been known to tan damn well), and the matter of Murasame isn't helped at all by his overpowering French dub accent. Youshi could also be considered, seeing as she may be Skunk Kusai's mother.
 
 
2. Why does Murasame always get swarmed by pubescent boys?
 
 
This happens in every incarnation of Tetsujin 28 that he's in, too. Kenji Murasame and Daisaku Kusama's interactions are less disturbing than that of Kenji and Shotaro Kaneda's, seeing as Shotaro is much younger and actually had the term shotacon named after him, but it's all still unsettling. The worst Kenji does in Giant Robo is give Daisaku some sort of half-assed manhug, but in Tetsujin, we're left to wonder where the hell Shotaro's pants are when he wakes up in Kenji's apartment after Nicoponski steals the map.
 
 
3. Is Tetsugyu really alive?
 
 
Following the meeting of his body with a lot of rocks, Tetsugyu first reappears right after Ginrei teleports a large section of Shanghai into a larger section of Shanghai. We see him get up, aided by Issei. Then, he doesn't reappear until Daisaku manages to get back to Robo, with hallucinations of Taisou, Youshi and Daisaku's father. Sure, Tetsugyu hits Daisaku on the back with enough force to make him almost fall over, but Daisaku's father pulls him into Robo. This perhaps should be the question of why ghosts in this universe have strength that rivals that of giant Asian warriors.
 
 
4. How come Genya won't die if he teleports?
 
 
That is seriously the most unfair distribution of powers among siblings, ever. Genya also gets to shoot red lasers by swishing his hand around, and he can disguise himself as his dad, but Ginrei almost dies every time she tries to use one of the coolest super powers you could ever have.
 
 
5. Why did the series have to end on a sudden sequel hook?
 
"And then the fans will crap their pants. It's brilliant!"
 
Everything was all right by the end of the last episode, figuratively...Ginrei, Youshi and Taisou were dead, Genya realized he was a dick and went to live in space, Murasame set himself on fire, most of the world was destroyed, Daisaku had some sweet-ass mental scarring, and Professor Go and Chief Chujo were clearly sleeping together on the side. But there was a sense of optimism in the future...well, up until Komei shows up with his big gay feather fan and explains to the audeience that the real shit's gonna hit the fan and it's gonna be awesome. Bigfire steps out of a box, naked, just like Kaworu in Evangelion 1.0. Except there never was the secured promise of more to come. Ever.
 
 
6. Is that Takamizawa?
 
 
Ms. Takamizawa, also known as the chief of police's secretary in Tetsujin 28, also known as Bitch Stop Screamin' and Otaka-chan, seems to cameo in a crowd scene halfway through the second episode. Those of you whom have never seen T28 won't know about how she gets to kiss Kenji Murasame and hold a high-power job despite being barely able to eat food without choking on it. In the movie, she's openly a pedophile. Mind you, the first time she appeared was in 2004, and Imagawa must be some sort of insane genius to be planning a tsundere a decade in advance.
 
 
7. Does Alberto have a genetic hereditary history of ass-shaped hair?
 
Spoiler: The headbutt is the source of her power.
 
Can you imagine being Sunny the Magician? You're a ten year-old girl who's going to school as a literal butthead. Also, you're only onscreen for about seven minutes total, and get forced by a gelatine panther into dressing as Bigfire to piss off some guys.
 
 
8. How long have Chujo and Go been having an affair?
 
 
I'm not asking this to stir up crap. I'm just wondering if it's started within the ten years after the Bashtarle Incident, and everyone in the IPO knows and just doesn't say anything.
 
They are canon, though. According to the DVD commentary, Imagawa added notes to this scene's storyboards insisting that Chujo have his arm around Go. It's a pretty good time to be a fujoshi. Speaking of which...
 
 
9. Why large chunks of the fanbase insane?
 
I went back to that site just to get this picture. You'd all better appreciate how strong I am.
 
Giant Robo seems to gather the same sort of fangirls who like Axis Powers Hetalia, being that they like shows with a thousand dudes and only three women. Now, there are some great GR fans out there that I've met...people who have archived vital information, people who just love the characters, people who just want to flesh out the stories we never saw...and then there's twisted nutbars.
 
So far, I've seen every kind of pairing possible, including Komei/Hanzui (direct opposites), Genya/Ginrei (biologically horrifying), Go/Ginrei (gay taken 20-something x surrogate daughter), and Youshi/Issei (Youshi's married you guys). I can tell you huge stories, man.
 
 
10. What's the dealio with Ko Enshaku?
 
 
Pictured above is Ko Enshaku, the red puppet thing who works for the BF Group, and somehow nothing will kill him. His powers seem to be invincibility, flying, being creepy as hell and general dickery. I screened the series to a friend in 2009, and by the end, she wanted Enshaku dead and fried in ways that lynchers have not designed yet.
 
When Youshi stabbed him in the back, we were like "YEAAAAHHHH". But then he came back. Then Tetsugyu went full metal clusterfuck on him, ending with him snapping Enshaku in half over his shoulders, and we were like "YEAAAAHHHH". But then he came back. And then there was Koushin, whom you may remember as the guy who wouldn't let Daisaku cross the crack in the ground, and she hated him too, because they look exactly the same.
 
She then proposed that someone should pair him and Enshaku together. Please see #9.
 
 
11. Did US Renditions cast the 1990's dub voices just by looking at the characters?
 
"Let's just smash a bunch of artbook shots together and call it a day. It's not like anyone's gonna remember this show after 1994, right?"
 
The dub, in contrast to Media Blasters' version and the original, is so hilariously bad that it deserves a new word, like hilaribad. It gets better later on, but damned if they don't spend the first four episodes goofing around. They assume that since Tetsugyu is a big guy, he needs to sound like The Thing passing a stone every minute of his life. Daisaku is matched to the Japanese version, but the problem is, Kappei Yamaguchi's voice cracked and then some by the end of the series. Daisaku winds up being voiced by a woman with a little boy voice, then an actual boy, then a guy who's trying to copy Spike Spencer's Shinji Ikari voice.
 
Then there's stereotyping, where Ivan sounds like a Swedish witch, Murasame gets a guy pretending to be French by saying "ze" a lot, and Fitzgerald is a beatnik because he cuts people by snapping his fingers. While Youshi sounds very womanly and Go is surprisingly baritone, Vogler and Issei sound like crackly old dudes, and Genya is turned into a bratty teenager. But the best part is when someone in the studio, someone, went and said, "Do we need to cast a little girl to play nine-year-old Ginrei? No, nobody'll notice if she has a grown woman's voice."
 
 
12. On the topic of voices, why is French Murasame so loveable?
 
"Ou est le bibliothèque...?"
 
I've looked at him outside of the perspective of a Murasame fan to make this observation. All the characters in the dub have English accents except for one guy, Kenji, and the result is hilarious and endearing. This is due to him being the only European agent left, so all the others in China sound...English? I don't know. But, the Media Blasters dub is the best to find Francophone Kenji, since he sounds a lot like Jemaine Clement when he sang "Foux de Fa Fa". Je t'aime.
 
 
13. Does anyone else realize that if they didn't spend money on the Ginrei Specials, they could've closed that second story arc?
 
You've seen two, you've seen them all
 
Animation cels cost money, you know. That's why Evangelion originally had such an armpit ending. The first Ginrei Special was 45% new animation, so there's half an OVA right there. The second one was all new animation, and that's another OVA. The third one was completely disjointed from the story canon, had all-new animation and computer assistance with some background details, so that's probably two OVAs again. You may have some dear moments from the Specials, but let me break them down:
 
SPECIAL ONE: Ginrei has boobies. Kenji used to have a mustache if you look in the background. Alberto got booty and we are forced to look at it. Ginrei gets kidnapped and is forced to watch repeated animation. A second Ginrei shows up and subsequentially disappears. Ginrei flashes her netherregions and Robo and Daisaku have nosebleeds. Kenji turns out to have been Ginrei the whole time, despite unnoticably wearing his whole outfit and jacket under a China dress and some latex, then blows up the building. Kenji defends his drag queen pastimes from Daisaku.
 
SPECIAL TWO: Everybody gets drunk while Ginrei feels bad about herself. Daisaku drinks a Shizuma Drive and humps Genya for a spell. A giant anatomically-correct Ginrei robot appears, controlled by Daisaku in drag. Everybody gets in drag, possibly so Kenji won't feel bad. Some characters compare penises and Enshaku wins. Ivan plays piano like a boss. Go and Chujo cuddle in what is one of the more believable scenes. A giant Ginrei robot has boob missles, and Ginrei has boobs.
 
SPECIAL THREE: Tetsugyu and Ginrei go to a Middle-Eastern town and get their asses kicked by a kid who looks like Shotaro. Ginrei has boobies and Tetsugyu tries to take pictures of them while making awesome faces. A guy build a Frankenstein and some people die.
 
I can only imagine being a Japanese otaku in 1994, shelling out the equivalent of $30 for a laserdisc with one Ginrei Special on it, sitting through the whole thing just to get a glimpse at Ginrei's cartoony breasts, then going to sleep and feeling miserable.
 
 
14. Why is Giant Robo: The Day The Earth Burned So Terrifying?
 
 
That's the title of a bizarre spin-off remake manga from 2005, which is still being made at this time of writing, with Imagawa's input, even. Here's a rundown...Daisaku is on a plane trip when he's being stalked by Gin, not the Detective Conan villain, but the pantsless version of Ginrei with a thirst for little boys. The plane trip goes down the toilet as soon as Cervantes appears to save Daisaku but then eight people show up and then disappear and then Alberto has a permanent rape face and then Chujo and Go are still together except Go is muscular and then some robots show up while Sunny is now named Sally and is in one of them and then the Murasame brothers show up and Kenji can't talk and Tatsu is a samurai and Ryu has scary pointy hair and a hairy chest and then people start blowing each other up while Komei sits in a lawn chair with cocktails.
 
Mitsuteru Yokoyama's characters all show up for a few pages, beat the hell out of each other and then leave. Every single character is drawn to look like they are eyefucking you. Ginrei, on the other hand, now crawls around, cries and yells, and is put through a variety of impractical angles to showcase her panties.
 
 
15. Who was Rinchuu?
 
 
In early promotional artwork, there's a guy with a buzzcut and beige suit. Only in a 1993 issue of Mangazine - which I own and rescued from a 25-cent comic bin - is he actually named, and he's Rinchuu. The magazine also claims Kenji had an older brother named Kazuma, but that was an early idea hoping to explain a mysterious figure in episode five, but it was discarded after it was assumed the figure was Alberto.
 
Keep in mind that the issue was published when only the first two episodes of Giant Robo had come out, leading to dependance on the Japanese studio materials and subsequent english speculation. Like, while they have the character profiles pretty dead on for all who were in the first and second episodes (albeit not having anything else for Rinchuu), they assume Kenji has really weird powers and "seems" like an awful person.
 
Look at the colour picture at top of this page...Rinchuu's right there, standing above Tetsugyu. Who was this guy? He looks a lot like Shotaro's samurai half-brother from the Tetsujin 28 movie, and he's positioned closely to Kenji on the above height chart, so could he even be Kazuma's discarded design?
 
[UPDATE: 2/15/2012]
 
We have canon confirmation that Rinchuu is a double agent, also doubling as Zangetsu the Midday. Rinchuu was also the figure standing on the scaffolding behind Cervantes. Imagawa wound up dropping the whole double agent storyline after realizing he wouldn't have enough room for it. If your brain is still in one piece, feel free to finish reading.
 
 
 
16. How did Cervantes get so popular?
 
They see him rolling, they hating...
 
The fanbase remembers him as a goofy guy who has travelled through time and has a sweet pair of goggles. In the three minutes we see him, he tried to kill a kid, shot baseball-sized holes into Murasame's torso and burned a door down. You can technically blame the budget and time constraints for forcing Imagawa to throw hundreds of characters off to the side without explaining fully who they are.
 
 
17. What the hell did Alberto do?
 
 
Genya shoots him in the Alps. Alberto manages to turn into a white, snowlike crust that attaches itself to Robo's shoulder. He's able to speak telepathically through his daughter, but doesn't do anything as a crusty glob until the last moment of the show, when he appears as himself, gives one more shockwave and disappears. How did he possibly pull this off? He's made of electricity. That has nothing to with unmeltable snow. Unless it's not snow at all, and it's sort of like that white lithium crust that forms on an expired battery. Wait, that makes sense.
 
 
18. Couldn't everything, and I mean everything, be prevented if Vogler properly explained the Anti-Shizuma Drives to Emmanuel?
 
 
Shit.
 
 
 
 
 
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Vogler alarm clocks will be on the market in 2014. I will see to this.

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