Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mazinkaiser (1999)(2001) OVA

A Giant Robot Thursday Movie Review!

Written By: Ken Hulsey

In 1997 Banpresto approached Go Nagai about creating an advanced version of his famous mecha, Great Mazinger, for the later stages of their Super Robot Wars video game. The design Nagai came up with, Mazinkaiser, is arguably the most powerful mecha ever created. The robot proved to be so popular that it was eventually added to the Mazinger canon (storyline). In 1999 a seven episode OVA (Original Video Animation) anime series was produced to tell the origin of the mecha.

Many American fans may not be too unfamiliar with the Mazinger Z storyline, which aired under the name Tranzor Z shortly after Robotech became popular. Many American children also got to play with a 3 foot tall Mazinger which was released as part of Mattel’s Shogun Warrior line of toys in the late 1970s’. I had one and so did most of my friends.

In the original series Mazinger Z was always pitted against some lame robot that was created by the enemy of the Photon Energy Research Laboratory, Dr. Hell, whose henchman (henchwoman?) Baron Ashura would always oversee the attack. In typical Japanese superhero style the enemy robot would always win through the majority of the fight until Mazinger Z would unleash all its power and destroy it. I always wondered why Dr. Hell never just built one robot and put it aside. Then built another robot and put it aside and so on and so on till he had an army to kick Mazinger’s butt?

In the Mazinkaiser series Dr. Hell finally got a clue. Baron Ashura leads an army of nasty robots into battle against both Mazinger Z and The Great Mazinger (a later advanced version of Mazinger Z) and succeeds in scoring a victory. As the Great Mazinger is sent packing the Mazinger Z is all but destroyed. The machines pilot Kouji Kabuto escapes and follows an automated signal to a hidden cave where he finds a holographic message from his grandfather, Juuzou Kabato, who designed and built both Mazinger.

Dr. Hell rebuilds the Mazinger Z and sets out to destroy the Photon Laboratory. The Great Mazinger proves to be no match for the army of lead by Ashura who is piloting the former defender of Japan. Just as all seems lost the enemy forces begin to be blasted apart by an unseen mecha. Out of the smoke steps the Mazinkaiser piloted by Kabuto. This new machine begins to run amok destroying everything in its path. After the enemy forces had been vanquished the Mazinkaiser engages the Great Mazinger! This new machine is far too powerful for the inexperienced Kouji to control. He does manage to pull in the machines reigns just before it begins to destroy the laboratory. It is no wonder that Juuzo Kabato felt his creation was far too powerful and kept it secretly hidden. As the series proceeds Kouji spends hours perfecting his piloting skills and eventually learns to control the mighty Mazinkaiser enough to finally defeat Dr. Hell and his minions.

Mazinkaiser is a great mini-series, which combines badass robot fights with plenty of comic relief and good amount of topless girls. Yes, this one is geared for the guys. As a fan of the original Mazinger Z series I was very pleased with the way this series continued that storyline, taking it further and showcasing newer technology. As a fan of Japanese mecha, the Great Mazinger especially, I was very impressed by the design of the Mazinkaiser. It is the greatest of the greats hands down. I recommend this one to anyone who ever fired missiles out of their Shogun Warriors hand in an attempt to shoot their cat. Don’t pretend like you never tried it!

Mazinkaiser (1999)(2001) OVA
Directed By: Masahiko Murata
Produced By: Kichou Minami, Koji Morimoto, Satsuki Mizuno, & Yashima Tokuhara


Ai Uchikawa as Sayaka Yumi
Akiko Hiramatsu as Lolly
Fumihiko Tachiki as BossHiroshi Yanaka as Tetsuya Tsurugi
Jouji Yanami as Professor Yumi
Kousi Tomita as Doctor Hell
Mitsuki Saiga as Jun Honoo
Sayaka Aida as Shiro Kabuto
Shiho Kikuchi as Roll
Goro Naya as Juzo Kabuto
Haruko Kitahama as Baron Ahura (Woman)
Hidekatsu Shibata as Baron Ashura (Man)

Runtime: 7 - 30 minute episodes
Color: Color
Sound: Stereo
Released: 2001 (USA Video)

See Also: More Info On Jules Urbach's Shogun Warrior Movie "Gaiking" / Giant Robot Toy Thursday! - Robotech Edition / DreamWorks Courting Tim Burton To Unleash Their Monsterpocalypse /Giant Robot Toy Wednesday! - Mazinger Edition / New Images From Won Shin-yeon's 'Taekwon V' / Japanese Giant Monsters And Robots In The News 04/23/10

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Burbank, CA – March 29, 2010 – Legendary Pictures announced today that they will develop and produce a new film based on Toho Company’s famed GODZILLA character. Through the terms of the agreement, Legendary Pictures has acquired the rights to produce a movie inspired by Toho’s Godzilla, a franchise the Japanese company created and has nurtured for over fifty years.

Toho’s GODZILLA franchise boasts one of the most widely recognized film creatures worldwide, resulting in a series of books, television programs, video games and more than 25 films worldwide. Legendary intends to approach the film and its characters in the most authentic manner possible. The company will, in the near future, announce a filmmaker to helm the film for an intended 2012 release. The film will fall under the company’s co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Toho will distribute the film in Japan."

"Godzilla" is coming back -- this time, with Legendary Pictures taking the lead, co-producing and co-financing with Warner Bros. for release in 2012.

Legendary announced Monday it had obtained rights to the iconic monster character from Japan's Toho Co., which has overseen more than 25 "Godzilla" films. Toho will release the pic in Japan.

Legendary said it's planning to announce a director shortly.

In addition to Legendary, producers on the new film will be Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Brian Rogers. Yoshimitsu Banno, Kenji Okuhira and Doug Davison will exec produce.

"Godzilla is one of the world's most powerful pop culture icons, and we at Legendary are thrilled to be able to create a modern epic based on this long-loved Toho franchise," said Thomas Tull, Chairman and CEO of Legendary. "Our plans are to produce the Godzilla that we, as fans, would want to see. We intend to do justice to those essential elements that have allowed this character to remain as pop-culturally relevant for as long as it has."

Legendary noted the film will fall under its co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Legendary's productions with Warners have included "The Dark Knight," "300" and "The Hangover."

Speculation about a new "Godzilla" has been active since last summer. The Bloody Disgusting web site reported in August that the project was in development.