Anime World Order Show # 127 – You Need Credibility Before You Can Lose It

Seriously? We missed the entire month of June yet still say this thing is updated weekly? What kind of miring sweaty mass of lameness is that? Do we need Soundgarden to headbang in a circle with a camera underneath to express how lame that is? No matter, what’s done is done. Or rather, what’s not done is done. For this episode, Gerald reviews the classic 1980s Sunrise mecha series Giant Gorg.

Intro (0:00 – 30:31)
We received another rather unique method of how fans pick which anime titles to show at group meetings, so we’re throwing that out there. Also, is there a recommended order for watching Urusei Yatsura, putting aside the fact that you can’t exactly procure it all that easily in 2014? Man, was it really four years ago that Daryl wrote that Urusei Yatsura article for Otaku USA? Someone graduated an entire level of their education in that time.

Review: Giant Gorg (30:31 – 1:08:52)
Yoshikazu “Yaz” Yasuhiko only directed one anime television series, and it was this one from 1984. Spoken about with reverence by the generation of American anime fans that have physical copies of the Baycon 1986 program guide, it’s only now–thirty years later–that it’s finally all been fansubbed in English. Information has been scarce until now–can you believe Dave Merrill’s Let’s Anime post on Giant Gorg was five years ago?–but Gerald and Clarissa have watched all 26 episodes of this serial robot war adventure story and have this to say about it.

At no point did anybody mention that this is the sort of cartoon with a Hanna Barbera-esque dog sidekick or go into detail about the fashion intricacies of what precisely Lady Lynx is wearing. That’s for you to see/Google on your own time.

Conclusion (1:08:52 – 1:14:19)
In the month we were off, Daryl was a guest on GME! Anime Fun Time to talk about Masaaki Yuasa’s TV series The Tatami Galaxy…and then Gerald was a guest to talk about Crusher Joe, though that episode isn’t out just yet. Seeing as that podcast comes out monthly, at least we got this episode out before two episodes of that came out. As far as anime conventions, Anime Festival Orlando is two weeks away and we’ve got panels…that we’d better get started on! Then a few weeks later it’s Otakon, whose fan panel roster can be viewed here. We’ve got four:

  • Anime’s Craziest Deaths (18+) — if you have a title I’ve never run anything from, let me know and I’ll take a look…and yes, I saw Akame ga Kill
  • Kill La Kill: Spot the References, Beginner’s Edition — please don’t attend if you already seek out this stuff since that seat can go to someone who actually needs it
  • Ninja in Anime: The Sweet and (Mostly) the Stupid — there are multiple ninja panels this year, but only THIS one knows the proper pluralization of “ninja”!
  • The Classic Anime and Japanese Pro Wrestling Connection — not just Tiger Mask, Jushin Liger, Mushiking Terry, Kinnikuman etc stuff; I’m focusing on narrative/character convention in anime that may not necessarily have anything to do with pro wrestling at all despite being influenced

The first two of those panels are ones that have been done before. The second two are ones that will debut at AFO. See? We know what we’re doing here. Trust us. Even though we recorded this podcast. See you at the safehouse; I’ll show you the plans…

18 thoughts on “Anime World Order Show # 127 – You Need Credibility Before You Can Lose It

  1. Well there goes Giant Gorg in flames. [Nobody said it was bad… –Daryl] Gerald should do a review of ZZ Gundam and say that it is good and a better show in terms of narrative and characterization than Zeta Gundam and watch the Internet explode just for fun 🙂 . In reality most shows are like Giant Gorg: neither good nor bad, just indifferent. Memorable shows are simply few and far between.

    As for Dragonar, Dragonar was to be the next Gundam-like show in 1987 after ZZ Gundam aired because Sunrise realized that most youngsters weren’t even watching Gundam like their older brothers did. But Dragonar ended up being a disappointing project and Sunrise then went soul searching. And it took them 8 years to find their answer: simply make more Gundam [This is exactly what we said…? –Daryl]. Hence Gundam Victory in 1993 and a host of other Gundams in alternate timelines..

    One big problem is that most 70s and 80s shows have been hyped to such insane levels that never corresponded to their real value that when you watch them you end up being disappointed. Or at the very least perplexed. There is a lesson here to never ever trust anime fandom group think. Especially when it comes to older shows that most people have never even seen.

  2. “Someone graduated an entire level of their education in that time.”

    That young man… was me.

    Also, you can just see that the animators put every stereotype about New York in the 80s in this show. Crime and Woody Allen.

  3. Realistic depiction of New York in the eighties ? Mad Bull 34.
    Doesn’t get better than that in terms of stereotypes.

  4. Daryl is absolutely right about Texas, it has always been and will always be its own nation. The only thing I know about my family background on my dad’s side is that I come from German colonist who immigrated to the states going back to around 1870 or so, but that’s not what this is about.

    I could get on here and point my angry anime opinion finger at Gerald for saying such things how Gorg isn’t “that good” and what not, but he does make some valid points on the shows pacing at least. I can also understand this 20 years buildup to see a show that everyone has told him in the anime circles and online from other people of “you have to see this!” only for it to not deliver upon arrival to his standards. But coming from a person that has only heard of this show in the past few years from the internet saying how good it is, and then seeing for myself from Skaro Hunting Society subs; I fully enjoyed this show, and have become a fan of it.

    I liked the fact that every episode I watched had the cliffhanger ending/24 style “whats gonna happen next” kinda thing (even though you know the good guys will prevail). There were points when I would watch 2 or 3 episodes back to back because I had to know what happened next. It was a show that I felt did not bore me one bit. I often tell people as “this show is like The Iron Giant TV, before there was ever Iron Giant,” which people kinda get intrigued by that comment. I even went as far as to find a Giant Gorg poster at this past Animazement from a dealer; and back in the fall of 2013, found a 5 dollar Laserdisc on eBay that had a mini artbook with it. I was nice enough to scan the book for the fansub group to see how they can put it out in their releases, which I am guessing they’ll do it for a giant batch torrent one day. I should also mention I brought that such laserdisc to Animazement to try and get Shuichi Ikeda to sign it, but I missed my chance on that (but got lucky on Furuya signing my 3rd Gundam movie laserdisc though, which was through other means).

    I think to sum up, I hope people don’t take this review by Gerald as a solid opinion on Giant Gorg, but really to see the show and make their assessment there. I would feel kinda sad if people dropped this show midway because of Gerald’s points, but maybe its just not the show for them. And as for the Zeta Gundam info, AniMag was writing episode synopsis on those episodes in their magazine to let other people know about the show 15 years before it was released in the states.

    This went on longer than it should, but my podcast will do a review on Giant Gorg sometime. So in a way, I am glad you guys talked about this show first. I will warn, our review will probably be a fanwank to this show for others who like it, or try to be.

  5. It’s funny you guys briefly mentioned SPT Layzner in this episode, because its situation and my thoughts on it are pretty similar to what was said here on Giant Gorg. Layzner’s final episode was fansubbed about three weeks ago, and while the OVAs that recap the show have been out for about 2 years, the actual show paints a pretty different picture. The only people I had heard about it from beforehand and the only people who ever had watched it were Tim Eldred and preexisting fans of Ryousuke Takahashi works. I went into it with lofty expectations, and proceeded to have them disappointed, but not actively repulsed for 26 episodes, until the show finally became interesting and its pacing picked up for the unfortunately final arc. Still factoring the last third in, it’s a stretch to call any of the characters compelling or the plot original. I ended up thinking it was alright.

    It’s a shame to hear Giant Gorg is mostly along the same lines. I’ll still watch it because it sounds like kind of a strange show, its visuals look neat, and once again Tim Eldred said it was good. At least I’ll go into this one with more realistic expectations. I wouldn’t mind new episodes on a monthly basis at his point. Just no more three month gaps like at the beginning of this year, please. Thanks for the new episode!

  6. Long time listener, first time commenter here. I was really surprised to hear you guys review this show so soon after I watched it, it’s usually the other way around.

    While I agree with most of the things Gerald brought up I had the opposite impression of them: the mood and pacing were what made this stand out to me, and the focus on the conflict instead of the role of giant robots in it was a good surprise. My favorite parts were the America episodes and the ending. They were definitely the most memorable. You’re right about the characters though.

    I think expectations played a big role. You were hyped up and I was expecting total trash, as I’m not usually a fan of these sort of stories and have never managed to finish a Gundam show in my 10 years of anime fandom.

    The Skaro Hunting Society (TSHS) fansubs some interesting things: the Dororo TV show, Ishinomori’s Sabu to Ichi detective show, and Mahou Tsukai Sally from the 60’s. They are not affiliated with 4chan. [The Bro-Lord / mSubs groups that Gerald mentioned, however, are. –Daryl]

    A big thanks to you guys for introducing me to many great anime, including VOTOMS. =)

    • Come to think of it, yea, mSubs did come from 4chan or originated from there, hence the /m/ in the tittle. TSHS picked up the show past episode 8 after Bro-Lord did them a couple of years back from what I seem to recall.

      I’m actually curious Lana, how many of those Gundam shows have you watched and have not finished?

  7. I sat down at my computer this morning with a ton of work to get through for ourstarblazers.com, and was delighted to find a new episode in my iTunes queue. Even more delighted to hear the words “Giant Gorg!” It’s one of my permanent top-10 faves, which finally got a complete fansub this year! And here comes the AWO bump! “Gerald is eminently qualified and sympathetic,” I thought, “it will be a real pleasure to start my day with this.”

    1:14:19 later…WAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Okay, not exactly. I get why some people won’t ever sync up with this show. It’s not paced like today’s anime at all. It doesn’t even sound like today’s anime. But I thought if anyone could put themselves back into the mindset of 1984 and find what was special about Gorg, it would be DJ Jazzy Gerry and the AWO Krew. My mistake was thinking that you could put yourself into MY mindset from that time, when this show knocked me over and wouldn’t let me up again. So instead of screaming WRONGWRONGWRONG, I’ll tell you instead what that mindset was.

    (But first, you did get character name wrong. “Captain” is pronounced “Kancho.” The character in the show is named “Sencho.” If it was translated as “Captain” in the subtitles, they got it wrong. And he looks kind of south-of-the-bordery, so “Sancho” would be an appropriate spelling.)

    Now, let me introduce you to 1986 Tim Eldred. He’s three years out of high school, trying to figure out where to go with his art skills. He’s making money in advertising media, but wants to go into comics or animation storyboards or maybe both. He sees a bunch of anime that looks great, but isn’t always consistent. He’s heard of “Yas” and likes his art style, but doesn’t know a lot about him yet. Then along comes Gorg.

    Tim sees a sampling of early episodes on VHS (probably thanks to his pal Steve Harrison) and is transfixed. Here’s a series so closely directed by Mr. Yas that it looks like he drew every goddamn cel himself. It’s as solid and fluid and warm and human in ways that other anime is not. Every scene, design, and movement feels absolutely right. Tim knows enough about animation by this time to realize what a massive achievement that is, and it raises a bar over his head. Kid, to get where you want to go, this is the bar you have to reach.

    So, to me, story came in second. It still does. I like the story of Giant Gorg. it feels like a grownup version of Jonny Quest with a much bigger dog and a giant robot. But it’s not equal to the visuals. Yas was and is my favorite Japanese artist, and this show is his own personal world top to bottom. That’s the level by which I judge Giant Gorg, and that’s why it will always be in my top 10.

    Compare the writing to other shows, even its contemporaries, and it’s not going to win any contests. There’s an ’83 interview where Yas admitted he wasn’t much of a writer. But I have yet to find anything that engages me on a purely aesthetic level like Gorg does. By the way, I am in animation now, and not a day goes by when the techniques I absorbed from it don’t work its way into the shows I direct.

    By the way, Giant Gorg did pretty miserably in Japan at the time. I heard second hand from a friend that a guy who worked on the miniscule Gorg product line at Takara was convinced for a while that it would be the end of his career.

    Glad to hear the word “Votoms” again. And all I can say about the effort to get Yamato 2199 into American hands is that they had the resources to get it right and they threw them away. Yamato will never die, but under its current US management it struggles to live.

    • I can share some of your feelings with respect to older anime as I was a kid growing up during the late seventies,early eighties and I got exposed to a ton of anime. So I have an emotional connection with many of those shows when they first aired on tv. That said, I think the whole “reviewer must put himself in the 70s or 60s or 80s mindset” to evaluate one of these shows is a false card to play. It is false in the sense most people use it as way to give as close as possible a free pass to these “classic era anime”. And I don’t think it’s a good thing, especially if those shows are going to be viewed by people that never had the kind of emotional connection we have because they simply didn’t grow up in that era. Hence their first exposure to anime is different from that of you and me. They are going to watch a show like SPT Layzner or Giant Gorg in 2014, they are going to compare it to the anime they watched growing up. And unless they watch it for “academic reasons” they want to watch to enjoy it. They are not going back in time to view them hence we must be honest as much as possible about the value of these shows if we want to instill the curiosity in modern fandom to watch them. Starting by saying “hey guys this is the best anime show ever and you HAVE to watch else….” is not the way to do it. And most old time fans somehow have this attitude which turns people off these shows. Most of those shows were made to be watched and then forget about them. They were not designed to be watched 30-40 years into the future and retain the original magic.

  8. I admire Yasuhiko Yoshikazu’s work, but I think you can make a solid argument that the definitive character designer of 1980s anime–if you had to pick one look to represent the decade–wouldn’t be him, nor Haruhiko Mikimoto, nor Kenichi Sonoda, but rather Akemi Takada. Her work was not only popular in its time (Urusei Yatsura, Creamy Mami, Kimagure Orange Road,* Patlabor) but she likely had the bigger long-term influence—I think it’s easier to trace her bishojo aesthetic in anime today than it is that of Yas or Hal. Even back in the actual 1980s, wouldn’t you say that Sonoda’s style had more in common with Studio Pierrot than it did Nue or Sunrise?

    —C.

    *I almost typed “KOR,” before realizing these are no longer the days in which all you had to do was type that. One day people will have to spell out SAO and KLK; sic transit gloria anime.

  9. Last time i listened to this podcast was, seven years ago now. Glad to see you guys are still going. And still paying attention to the slightly older and often forgotten shows.

  10. For me, the last two new episodes have appeared all the way at the bottom of my Itunes feed, so I don’t actually get notified when a new episode is out. Has this happened to anyone else? If this is happening to anyone else, can you please fix this?

    [I can confirm this problem exists, but I can only see that it happens within the iOS Podcasts app. I have no idea what is causing it, since the XML is in the proper order, the Feedburner RSS which iTunes pulls from is in order, and the episode list when viewed within the iTunes software itself also shows up as correct. The ONLY place I can see the most recent two episodes appearing at the bottom of the feed is within that one app…but that’s also the app most everybody uses. I can’t identify the cause of this, but I have a possible workaround: it looks as though unsubscribing and resubscribing within the app should fix the order and list the most recent two episodes first. No idea if the same thing will happen if we release another episode. –Daryl]

    • Good thing I use an app in Android instead, though I never think to see if there’s a new episode all the time so if I’m late getting to hear these new episodes that’s simply because I stopped trying to update you guys frequently (I do mine manually).

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