It seems that every year I find myself wading through one giant robot franchise or another. This year it was Armored Trooper VOTOMS (which won’t be a part of this 12 Days series, but hopefully I will have time to honor it another way before the year’s end) and Getter Robo, by way of the OVAs (Shin Getter Robo vs. Neo Getter Robo, New Getter Robo, and the subject of this post, Getter Robo Armageddon). I wonder which robot series I will journey through next?
Getter Robo Armageddon is undoubtedly the highlight of my experience with Getter Robo. It’s starts off mad and gets madder as it goes along, culminating with an ending that is basically Version 1.0 of a certain beloved super robot anime’s ending. It’s a crazy pile of ridiculousness that was the perfect capper to my Getter Robo experience. It’s amazing that it actually turns out as well as it does, however, because it could very well have crashed and burned due to the behind-the-scenes troubles.
The main reason I looked forward to watching Getter Robo Armageddon is due to Yasuhiro Imagawa’s involvement. If you love giant robots, then you most likely love Imagawa, so I don’t have to elaborate on my excitement there. I was warned plenty beforehand: Imagawa directed just the first three episodes before departing the project for reasons I don’t know. The OVA dips pretty hard for a couple of episodes after Imagawa’s departure before slowly recovering and righting the ship before the nutty conclusion. My hats off to the creative staff for still making something damn good in the face of a dire situation.
Yet, I still can’t help but wonder what could have been. If you’ve seen any Imagawa robot series, you know the man does not think small. The personal conflicts are as personal as they can get, and the stakes are as high as Imagawa can push them. In Armageddon, the Getter Robo team is ripped apart, with Hayato even crazier and more ruthless than ever before, Prof. Saotome returning from the dead and seeking vengeance for the death of his daughter and Ryoma arrested for, well, doing what Ryoma does best. The whole world is going to shit with the imprisoned Ryoma turned to in desperation in the battle against Saotome and his ultimate creation, Shin Getter Dragon.
The battle appears hopeless; so hopeless, in fact, that it’s decided to basically blow everything to hell and hope for the best afterward. The nukes are unleashed, and Imagawa leaves the apocalypse behind him as he exits the project. For all the things about Imagawa’s career that disappoint people — no more Giant Robo, no more Shin Mazinger Z — this probably disappoints me the most, because this was actually happening and Imagawa had a story he intended to see through. Getter Robo Armageddon turned out well in the end, but I’ll always wonder just what Imagawa would have done with this suddenly apocalyptic Earth afterward.
But what a way to go. I can just imagine Yasuhiro Imagawa walking away, not even bothering to look back at the hell he suddenly created.