Friday, November 04, 2005

Mazin Go!

Last Wednesday I spent the day with my nephews. My sister had to work and their yaya had the day off. So I volunteered my services, I had around eight days of vacation leaves left and decided to use one for that day. The morning activity was easily done a quick trip to the grocery to buy the day’s repast. A couple of pizza bread, tomato sauce and quick melt cheese and we were in business. After lunch, the three of us settled down to watch a few of the episodes of Mazinger Z. This was the first time I was able to watch Mazinger Z after Marcos banned it along with the other Japanese robot shows, like Voltes V and Daimos. The animation was a little bit outdated (It is an old cartoon) and the dubbing seemed less than perfect. Yet, the cartoon was still entertaining. The opening theme song is still nice to the ear. It is the type of song that enters your head and despite understanding only five percent of the words it gets imprinted in your memory. I think its one of those mecha stories that had a good opening and ending theme. What surprised me is that nephews loved it. Why do the kids like it? Is it because the story line is more linear than your usual robo anime? No twists and no family entanglements present in Voltes V. Is it because of the fight between Manzinger Z and the robots of Dr Hell? (I pity the Japanese city where the fight occurs, after the 3rd episode it should be reduced to rubbles) Is it because they can identify with the brashness of the hero Koji Kabuto? Is there anything as cool as being Koji Kabuto, a Mazinger pilot. Or can they sense similarities of the characters with those surrounding them – I hope I am not identified as Baron Ashler or Baron Ashura. Maybe it’s the peppering of quirky characters around the series. Whatever it is they like the show. Maybe for the same reasons I always liked the show. Voltes V was great but there were times when it was a little bit overdramatic and let us no go Daimos, which suffered from an overdose of sentimentality. Mazinger Z had its moments but everything was fluid on more than one occasion there were really funny moments. The series was not above ridiculing its heroes, heroines and villains. A quick check on the web showed the popularity of Mazinger Z and a quick browse through Wikepedia showed the influence of Mazinger Z in the present day set of mecha heroes. It would seem that Mazinger Z provided the template for most of the mecha stories we are seeing today – Mecha created to protect mankind: an orphaned hero; a superpowerful robot empowered with advance technology or enhanced with a secret element created by a father or a father figure who disappears at the beginningof the series; the evil mad scientist aiming to rule the world with his army of mechas; his equally evil yet bumbling assistant; and a cast of comical and noble characters supporting the hero. This is one of Go Nagai’s greatest works. Mazin Go!


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