Shin Mazinger And Its Oft-overlooked Achievement

When Shin Mazinger is talked about, much praise is dedicated to Imagawa’s epic reimagining of the Mazinger mythos, Baron Ashura’s superb characterization, or that awesome narrator. However, I noticed something about it that has never been brought up before: Shin Mazinger is a 26-episode super robot TV series entirely without monster-of-the-week episodes.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t find monster-of-the-week episodes undesirable. They can be good when done well, and bad when done poorly. However, the majority of them are forgettable, as most super robot TV shows pad too much of them to meet episode counts. People criticize this practice, and deem super robot genre as lacking of depth thanks to some brainless episodes they have seen. I can’t blame them, since the chances of seeing an episodic when randomly tuning into a 50-episode series is very high.

Deep inside, I wished for some sort of change to happen–something that would prove these naysayers wrong. I wanted things done differently. I wanted a super robot show deliver a compelling plot throughout its run.

So when Shin Mazinger started with a Big Bang Punch, I got hyped as any mecha fan would. Imagine my surprise when, week after week, the plot moved steadily forward, without getting into a predictable rut. The cliffhangers were amazing, laced with the grandiose touch that only Imagawa could provide. Even the recap managed to put out some new material–I wouldn’t recommend on skipping it!

I hope more people take a leaf out of Shin Mazinger’s book. The super robot genre is a time-honored tradition, and there is still much work at hand to bring it to its fullest potential. Hurray for more great writing!


PS: This show knows me all too well. Just saying!

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16 Responses to Shin Mazinger And Its Oft-overlooked Achievement

  1. animekritik says:

    I guess the trick is to have an overarching plot line already in place before the show starts. That way, you can afford to have temporary enemies (like Lorelei) and still fit them into the story so that they’re not monster-of-the-week.

    So you can get variety and continuity at the same time!! Yeah, it’s been an awesome show.

  2. Snark says:

    Well, Imagawa IS god, so awesome storytelling probably comes pretty easily to him.

    But yeah, the reason that Shin Mazinger doesn’t get much recognition for its subversion of the monster of the week format is probably cause other super robot shows like Gurren Lagann have already done that =(

    • schneider says:

      Gurren Lagann had some episodes that were way tangential to the plot and only existed to introduce/reunite certain characters (4, 5, and arguably 6). These episodes had some mundane enemies that were taken care of in an almost systematic manner. GL didn’t subvert monster-of-the-week completely, since it was effectively paying homage to 70’s super robot shows in the first arc.

      But I don’t deny its massive contribution to the genre~

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  4. Mazinonymous says:

    You’re forgetting Giant Robo.

    But yes, there’s a couple of earlier super robot shows without monster of the week stuff (Getter Robo, Gurren-Lagann) but those are mostly throwaway “plots” about systematically beating up mysterious new enemies.

  5. Mazinonymous says:

    The OVA. I see your point though.

  6. B-Mecha says:

    Monster-of-the-week will be dead boring if badly done. There are a few mecha anime like Dangaioh (remake) & Dancouga Nova that serve as good sleeping material.

    A good example of Super Robot anime with well done monster-of-the-week will be Sousei no Aquarion.

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  9. kudosforce says:

    I heard some good things via Tehkou ( regarding Brave Fighter of Legend Da Garn (which is currently being subbed slowly, but surely, by Hikari Senshi and Midnight Crew Subs) in this department. At least, in terms of plot; very little in the series can remotely be considered filler.

    For example? A fetch quest that lasts a handful of episodes. Wow. Of course, given that one of the head writers was Gobu Fuyunori, it’s a given.

    Yet it’s somehow in the pile of Brave shows that aren’t overly appreciated unless they’re called Gaogaigar. Pity, that.

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