Friday, August 12, 2011

Scanlation Get: Mazinger Z

So, this year at Otakon I ran a panel on the man himself Go Nagai. In doing so, I wanted to catch up on some of his anime and manga works. I managed to watch a ton of (pretty terrible) anime adaptations of his work, but didn’t get around to much manga. I started and recently finished Mazinger Z though. This ending up being pretty interesting because while I had known of Mazinger Z the only related series I had seen was Mazinkaiser and Mazinkaiser SKL. So, I went into this title pretty fresh.

Kouji Kabuto and his younger brother are living with their genius scientist Grandfather after their parents died in a lab accident. Over all they are still an upbeat family living a good simple life. One day Kouji on the way to school experiences a major earthquake. He hurries home to see if his elderly Grandfather is alright. What he finds is a giant hole in the garden which has opened up a path to his Grandfather’s secret lab. Here he finds is the giant robot Mazinger Z and his dying Grandfather after some rubble crushed him. Right before he dies Gramps lays some heavy shit on Kouji that Mazinger is his and can be use to “save the earth or destroy it” it’s up to Kouji to decide.

Shortly there afterwards Kouji takes Mazinger Z out, only to find he can’t control it and it goes on a rampage. During this he has a run in with another piloted robot, Aphrodite A, created by Professor Yumi and piloted by his daughter Sayaka. After a short fight Kouji gets things under control and just in time when a third robot shows up and starts attacking the city. Kouji and Sayaka join forces to fight the evil Dr. Hell and his mechanical beasts.

Mazinger Z moves at a breakneck speed. Events tend to just roll right into another. I really enjoyed that aspect even if it just seems that sometimes I just had to accept stuff. Boss has a robot now? Sure why not?

The villains in this were a lot of fun too. Dr. Hell himself comes off kind of generic, but his henchmen are all kinds of crazy. Baron Ashura is (in the most literal sense) half man and half woman. There was back and forth panels as the female and male side exchanged dialogue. It’s a lot of fun, though I could have passed on the bizarro shower scene at one point. Was that supposed to be sexy or funny (either way let me stab myself in the eyes)? Count Brocken is also another winner. A headless man in Germen military gear who often carries around his head (but it can float too!) often flies in on some sort of hover pad and threatens Kouji. The levels of ridiculousness of this can be mind blowing, watch out!

This title was just a lot of fun to read. It was said Go Nagai wrote this to blow off some steam after working on Devilman and you can tell he is writing to have a good time. I really liked that, I could just feel fun coming off of the pages. I also enjoyed a lot of small things like the fact Kouji and Sayaka just like each other and there isn’t any tsundere bull. I also like that Sayaka is a strong brave female character, it was a shame though that she ended up being mostly useless.

My only complaint really is after what is the “ending” to the series there is a number of short one off stories. The ending has been a really intense point. I think leaving off with these short stories really hurt the impact of the ending.

In terms of fan service and gore Mazinger Z comes out like a baby kitten compared to a lot of other Go Nagai works. There are bits where Kouji or Boss get a look at a naked woman but it never really goes past that to the whole other level some of his titles go (I’m looking at you Cutey Honey and that statue licking scene!). There is some violence but for the most part it’s pretty mild and doesn’t focus much on it.

As in my past reviews on Go Nagai the art is well very Go Nagai. I’m starting to not notice how awkward the art is any more. Though man, the pilot outfits sure are freaking goofy looking. Over all, I’d say the art was better than Cutey Honey’s but had less interesting panel layout then Devilman.

This is a summer popcorn flick of manga, it’s a lot of fun and full of action but, nothing to deep going on. I do recommend it though if you like Go Nagai’s other works, or if you are just looking for something fun to read.