After many long years of waiting, a batch torrent of Machine Robo: Revenge of Chronos has finally surfaced. I have no idea who subbed it, and it looks like one of those HK subs with less-than-accurate names (i.e. Dragon Sword, Machine Robo), but it looks perfectly serviceable. I’ve been dying to watch this show ever since seeing Rom Stoll in Super Robot Wars MX blowing up a Mass-Produced Evangelion with his bare hands while delivering an ultra-badass speech.
Machine Robo is set in a planet populated entirely by robots. Inexplicably, there are your quintessential heroic robots, evil robots, and human-looking robots who look like Mega Man. If they’re robots and look human, do they have human bodily functions? Thinking about it makes me head hurt, so I’ll just stop! Also, this all-robot gimmick is really just a excuse to get away with extreme violence–there’s decapitation and torso mutilation as early as episode 1. They’re all robots, so it’s okay!
Oh boy, is this show quite ugly. There’s virtually no budget to speak of, and the animators couldn’t even get the scale and proportions of the characters right, but who cares about that? I’m told it looks worse as the show goes on, but the fights I’ve seen were pretty decent… so far.
So. Machine Robo has this strong tokusatsu feel in it. The campy narration, the indulging theatrics of the bad robots, and Rom Stoll himself. He has this awesome gimmick of showing up, telling the villains that they don’t deserve to know his name, then proceeds to deliver a righteous, over-the-top Sergio Leone speech about light triumphing against darkness, etc, with the appropriate Spaghetti Western music playing in the background. This is the sole reason why we watch this old and crusty cartoon at all.
Also, the names in this show are whacked. There’s the Blue Jet, who transforms into a jet (fine) and doesn’t have a shade of blue on his body (what). The bumbling henchmen are collectively known as Devil Satan Six, quite possibly the most evil villain name ever. And there’s Rom Stoll’s ultimate form, a Robot Viking who knows Kung Fu. Vikingfu? Vikungfu? Hell, one instance of Japanese romanization turned it into Baikanfu!
I’m not sure how long I’ll last into this show, but it’s good, dumb fun. Try the first episode out, at least!