The Getter Robo OVAs: A Primer

I was talking to Shance about the Getter Robo OVAs a few days back, and the conversation quickly turned to the topic of how it’s easy to confuse the three OVAs together, thanks to the confusing nature of kanji. So I thought up of writing this post for those who want to experience the Getter Robo franchise.

Wait, wait. Aren’t there things I should know about the Getter franchise first?

Well, just a wee bit, really. You can read the helpful Wikipedia entry for it, in which you could decide if Getter is for you. The shows operate on a very loose continuity–the characters are largely the same, but the stories aren’t interconnected at all.

So, about that name confusion…

All three Getter Robo OVAs have the word “Shin” in them, and this word is sometimes spelled with a different kanji. Shin could mean “change”, “true”, “god”, or “new”.

Here are the Japanese titles and their English counterparts:

For the sake of brevity, I’ll call these shows as “Armageddon”, “Shin vs Neo”, and “New”, respectively.

That’s about it now. I’ll go with the order in which I watched these shows. You’ll understand why.

Shin Getter Robo VS Neo Getter Robo

Shin vs Neo was the first Getter Robo show I watched. It is a fine introduction, all things considered. Being only 4 episodes long, there is less commitment in terms of time and effort. Plus it has Texas Mack.

The show opens with one of my favorite scenes in the franchise.

Continuity: Takes a lot of elements from the original ’70s show and Getter Robo Go, but unrelated to either in terms of plot.

Obligatory Fat Guy: Musashi, then Gai.

Enemies: The Dinosaur Empire

Pros:

  • Shortest out of the three OVAs
  • Easiest to get into
  • Badass opening scene
  • Texas Mack

Cons:

  • Action is a bit meh
  • The final fight was boring
  • Too short!

New Getter Robo

New is the most manga-faithful Getter show, and is chock-full of batshit insane ultraviolence. It is also the newest out of the three (2004), but still retains that retro look.

Continuity: A reimagining of the original manga from the very start.

Obligatory Fat Guy: Benkei + Musashi = Benkei Musashibou

Enemies: Extra-dimensional monsters called the “Oni”

Pros:

  • Very faithful to the manga’s mood
  • Everyone is batshit insane, even Michiru
  • Lots of blood and gore
  • Steampunk Heian era Japan!
  • Curb-stomping God, literally
  • Mindfuck episode

Cons:

Getter Robo Armageddon

Armageddon’s mood is fantastic–the first three episodes were directed by Yasuhiro Imagawa, and they were the most apocalyptic out of all apocalyptic shows I’ve seen. Sadly, he got sacked afterwards, and the show fell into a bad routine with less interesting characters. It still picks up again by the end, where it manages to keep topping itself until it pulls an entirely brick-shitting ending.

Continuity: A darker alternate universe, set in the after years of the Getter Team. An audio drama prequel (Getter Robo: The Moon Wars) was released shortly later. Borrows some elements from the Shin Getter Robo manga.

Obligatory Fat Guy: Musashi, Benkei, Gai

Enemies: An alien race dubbed as the “Invaders”

Pros:

  • Directed by Yasuhiro Imagawa
  • Epic apocalyptic mood
  • Incredible brick-shitting moments
  • Black Getter
  • The ending

Cons:

  • Yasuhiro Imagawa only directed the first three episodes, oh noes!
  • Muddled plot
  • Very confusing in general
  • Strays a bit too much from the regular Getter mythos

Other stuff you might need to know

This order might be your best bet, because Armageddon is a tough nut to crack, albeit a very rewarding one. New is the most solid out of the three.

Shin Getter Robo (the mech) only appears in Shin vs Neo and Armageddon. The robot in New is a revised version of the original Getter Robo, incorporating some of Shin’s stylistics. In the Alpha timeline of Super Robot Wars, Shin Getter is strong enough to destroy the universe if it were to operate at full power (it only uses around 10% in actual combat).

Those of you who enjoyed Gurren Lagann’s Spiral Power element would probably get a kick out of Getter Rays, which served as inspiration for all those green swirly drills. And if it’s drills that you want, most Getter-2 variations have them.

Oh, and please comment if you think this post is helpful or not~

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19 Responses to The Getter Robo OVAs: A Primer

  1. ToastCrust says:

    Beastmen, moar like Dinosaur Empire.

    I’ve always thought it was a shame that the kids watching Gurren Lagann these days totally miss out on the fact of how strongly GL plays off of Getter Robo, whether it’s the Dinosaur Empire or Getter Rays or OpenGet.

  2. >Yasuhiro Imagawa only directed the first three episodes
    That explains why I didn’t like Armageddon after episode 3. 😐

  3. DTU says:

    It also explains why at episode 4 it gets a new opening in the form of HEATS, which is a great song. It’s just the complete polar opposite of the anime’s mood in general…

    I’ve heard that when Imagawa was booted he more or less took everything he was working on with him, so the new staff had no idea what the story was building up to or anything. That’s largely why it was so confusing. I enjoyed Neo vs Shin a lot more.

  4. Snark says:

    Shut up. Benkei’s balls were fucking awesome.

  5. JoeQ says:

    I’d recommend watching New first, since it doesn’t require any previous knowlegde of Getterdom. I agree that Armageddon is definetily best saved for last. Hell, I’d read all the mangas and watched New and Shin vs Neo before, and I was still confused as fuck!

  6. JoeQ says:

    One thing I just realised that the Getter OVA’s never get credit for: very strong female characters. Strange for such testosterone fuelled shows, but all three feature strong, independent females who are vital members of the team or at least have an important role in the plot, and are never just whiny eyecandy in constant need of rescuing and romancing. In fact, the shows barely have any fanservice at all and the merest trace of romance is Benkei waving his dong at Michiru in New (oddly enough he still gets the most girls in that show!).

    • Inazuma55 says:

      Well, say this to Kei Kuruma/Saotome. Best Action Girl Mecha Pilot. Sayaka, Jun and Yoko(that girl from Gurren Lagann) are a joke compared to her. Interesting enough, Kei is voiced by Narumi Hidaka a.k.a Allenby in G Gundam(Also,in the same anime,Gou is Domon and Saotome is Kyral). Not to mention Kei naked in episode 7. She is sexy but strong.

      And then there’s Sho Tachibana. Very good, a perfect Lady of War. In the manga, she has three love interest: Go, Schwartz and Linda(yes, Linda is a girl…). In the Shin vs Neo OVA, she is a long friend of Mary King. Speaking of Mary King, she is an action girl as good as Sho(but not as Armageddon’s Kei). Sho is voiced by Yuu Asakawa: coincidence or not, that woman also voiced Mizuki from Gravion. Guess who is her surname? Tachibana.

      In New OVA, we have Raikou. No, she is not a pilot, but she is a oni-slayer and a warlord. Initially she mistakes Ryoma as an oni and he is arrested(sound very familiar, Armageddon fans?) but later after he escapes, he and her fights(and in the middle of fight, Ryoma find that Raikou is a girl via “thanks to you pretty breasts, darling.”), and later it’s revelated that Ryoma is not an enemy, but Seimei. Interesting enough, the important character who dies in Seimei’s fight is not one of the protagonists(you’re safe Benkei Musashibou, and Ryoma don’t “die”, he is only destined to fight forever), but Raikou. She sacrifices herself to power-up her katana, so Ryoma can defeat Seimei in her place. Benkei may be a Musashi + Benkei composite character, but that action girl’s defeat is more depressing than Musashi’s. When the stupid fans dare to ship Ryoma with Michiru, and even with Hayato(yaoi, this looks like more Prince of Tennis), I ship Ryoma x Raikou(and also Benkei x Michiru) because these two lovebirds are more perfect than Amuro x Lalah and Kamille x Four. Notably, Seimei and Raikou are voiced by Turn A Gundam’s Gym and Loran(Aka Takehito Koyasu and Romi Park).

      That four action girls are very beautiful and insane. Also:
      >In fact, the shows barely have any fanservice at all and the merest trace of romance is Benkei waving his dong at Michiru in New (oddly enough he still gets the most girls in that show!).

      Say this to Ryoma, in the first episode he falls with two waitresses, and then there’s Raikou. The latter dies sadly.

  7. jennifer says:

    hello thanx for posting this review

  8. jean says:

    Exactly you should know better about this Getter Robo before purchasing in your favorite store, mine? is at PIJ. This series. Makes me purchase this because of his character of romanized, he place romeo at my collection.

  9. Kraker2k says:

    Oh this is great, one little correction though – Armageddon in fact came first, the Drama CD was released after the anime as a prequel. I also thought the Drama CD came first since that was what most people said, but I looked into it and that’s what I found out.
    Final VHS Volume: 1999.03.25
    Drama CD: 1999.06.21

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  12. I’ve been looking into watching Getter Robo and this is pretty dang helpful. Is the 50 episode anime worth watching as well, or do the OVAs give me all the Getter Robo I’ll be wanting?

    • schneider says:

      The old 70s TV series are very dated, so there’s not much variety to be seen other than monster-of-the-week, while the 90s TV show Getter Robo Go isn’t very good by all accounts.

      I suggest you read the manga instead, as the cast is neutered in the TV anime, while they were originally very violent and insane in the manga.

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