New Getter Robo: Volume 3 - The Hell on Earth Review
The following review will contain spoilers, as I discuss its progression.
The battle against Seimei continues; as the Getter faces his destructive powers, Raikou and her army are fighting the Oni ground forces. Meanwhile, Saotome is acting really strange, and his daughter Michiru is growing concerned for him. Things are about to get worse when Ryoma, Benkei and Hayato are thrown across alternate timelines, while back in their own time several alterations are being made to the laboratory.
Up until now, New Getter Robo hasn’t done a hell of a lot to draw us into its tale of robots vs. Oni. With its third volume I can only say that it’s about time that the series started to pick up. It might not divulge too much, but at least it is beginning to show some character motivations, along with some almost breathtaking animation. Naturally it continues right where the second volume finished; with a fight being waged between the Getter and Seimei Abe. This is a particularly action-packed episode, in which the animators demonstrate plenty of inventiveness. We get to see Heian airships that are a hybrid of traditional Japanese architecture and mechanical designs. While heavy artillery is firing on all sides the story takes shape through Raikou’s eyes, as she nears Seimei’s quarters for her final stand. It’s all very quick, and before we know it the next episode has arrived.
This is where the series starts to go a little loopy. At this point it has become obsessed with time travel, so to start with our heroes manages to return home, only to find a bloody huge fortress hurling missiles at them. When they do manage to land and get to the lab they discover that three years have passed. Saotome had ordered the construction of a fortress, despite the fact that no Oni have attacked during that period of time. This brings into question the Getter, and asks if it should have been destroyed. By now, Professor Saotome has gone barmy and we finally learn what is underneath the base. I won’t spoil the revelation, suffice it to say that it isn’t amazingly exciting, but it does give us a new perspective on things. But the twists get deeper later on when Ryoma finds himself in a future, apocalyptic Japan; a world run by Getter…
So now things really become interesting as the series heads into Tsukamoto territory and we begin to understand the formation of events. Though it’s in another time we see present characters in a new light, as Ryoma must face Saotome’s prophecy, which dictates that man will fuse with machine and thus evolve into a new kind of species. It’s here that the animation starts to further impress, with its twistedness and lack of subtlety, which only goes to improve for the last episode on the disc, which I’ll get to shortly.
As with the previous volume we only get three episodes here, and things are fun leading up to episode ten. Now Ryoma has decided to leave the lab and return home. When he arrives he finds his dojo being torn apart. Confronting the Tatsuyoshi clan he discovers that they’ve acquired permission somehow to demolish his home. Naturally a big fight ensues; meanwhile Saotome’s marbles are still all over the place and Hayato wants to know what’s going on. And then Seimei returns to cause havoc, only this time he looks even more ridiculous. This closing episode eventually works toward another showdown, but it’s nicely executed. The backdrops are well painted, though I imagine that they’re actually built up of filtered photographs of the city, as they carry a very nice sense of realism. So we get a decent fight, which, surprise surprise ends on another climactic note.
Episode 8: Collision
The showdown between the Getter pilots and Seimei is coming to an end. The Oni are attacking Raikou and her men, but she will take one last stand in order to bring down the evil magician. Will the pilots be able to come together and end his reign?
Episode 9: Hell‘s Upheaval
Returning home, Ryoma, Benkei and Hayato are welcomed by a string a missiles in the face. What’s going on? Why is there a fortress standing next to Saotome’s lab, and why is Saotome acting all weird?
Episode 10: Lone Wolf
Ryoma has decided to leave the group, after learning some horrific truths about the Getter machines. While he’s gone Seimei returns badder than ever, and begins to cause havoc on the nearby city. Hayato and Benkei take it upon themselves to try and stop him, but the battle ahead will be tough.
Volume 2 comes with a reversible sleeve, as standard with Geneon these days. The A side features a manga-like painting, with the Getter brandishing two tomahawks. I‘m not sure why it‘s holding two exactly, because it only has one in the series. Side B has Seimei grinning as he looks on at Ryoma, who is standing amidst the rumble of Shinjuku.
Things stay the same for this release. With that in mind I’ve decided to carry over my commentary for the previous release.
Geneon presents the series in an anamorphic aspect ratio of 1.78:1 which holds up very well indeed. Go Nagai's style is bold, thick lined work that poses little problem here. The colour palette has been nicely rendered in CG and throughout the plentiful fight sequences the image retains detail without presenting too many problems in the way of digital blocking, though black levels do show a lack of depth at times. There's a small amount of noticeable compression in the way of mosquito noise but otherwise it looks fine. Brightness levels are a tad high, and when coupled with the less than deep blacks the picture tends to look a little washed out.
Despite offering Japanese and English 2.0 language tracks, the soundstage is often extremely dynamic with the front speakers picking up so much forward detail. The battles themselves are boisterous affairs with huge amounts of effects work and catchy music accompanying them, to make this series very impressive in the sound department.
Optional English subtitles are available. These are excellent, easy to read and well timed. There's a choice of enabling subtitles with or without sign translations - great for those preferring to stick with the English dub, which is an acceptable track in its own right even if it means I have to recommend the Japanese original once more.
Music Clip - “Deep Red”
This is another non too distinguishable track from the series, which plays out with a bunch of clips from this volume.
Trailers for Starship Operators, Gankutsuou: Count of Monte Cristo and GunGrave.
I’m finding it a little difficult to talk about this series. It’s one of those shows where not a great deal happens, but it manages to pass the time and keep at a reasonably fun level. Volume 3 has improved ever so slightly, only because some of the characters are taking shape and its inventiveness in terms of animation is quite refreshing. Three down, one to go. Let’s hope it ends on a positive note.