“Thrust Up Now Giant Robo”

22 12 2013

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The title will mean little to most of you and the meaning behind it will mean less, an obscure reference to a long finished Anime from my childhood but to credit for the profound effect it had on me. 

My relationship with my family notwithstanding there is one thing I can thank one of them for and that is my oldest brother who left around enough of his VHS tapes that I was raised on a healthy diet of Asian cinema. Names like Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan were names I was familiar with by the time I was 6 years old and thus helped along my fascination and interest with all things Asian and led me into my love of martial arts. Not this new trend of everyone hopping on the MMA bandwagon. I’m talking about the old school martial arts. More art form than self defence. Styles like Wu Shu and the Shaolin Animal Styles. Moves and practices that spoke directly to my heart. It wasn’t a hard jump then to move on to Japanese anime and the rest as they say is history. 

Going back to the title, it comes from a 7 part OVA from Japan entitled Giant Robo. Based on the canonical work of hugely talented but now sadly deceased manga artist Mitsuteru Yokoyama using characters from his various works to create an completely original story. At the time of watching it when I was kid, it was giant robots doing battle. Now in my adult life I can appreciate it for the coming of age story about a boy growing up with out a father, Yokoyamas intended message rings clear to me now and I can appreciate it much more. Here’s the blurb from wikipedia: 

“The series takes place in a retro-futuristic setting, where the Shizuma Drive ends the depletion of petroleum resources and the need for nuclear power. The system is a non-polluting recyclable energy source that powers everything on land, sea and air. Ten years prior to the events of the series a team of scientists, led by Professor Shizuma, created the revolutionary system. In the process they nearly destroyed the world and one of their own, Franken Von Vogler, was lost in the event that went down in history as the “Tragedy of Bashtarle.” At the start of Giant Robo, the BF Group is in the middle of recreating the event with aid from the resurfaced Vogler.

The story explores a society completely brought down, within the span of one week, because of dependency on a single energy source and a state of prosperity tainted by compromise and deceit”

One of the other things that really struck me about this particular OVA was the music. While I had no doubt heard classical and operatic music before, Giant Robo was really the first time i noticed a sound track for a show that made me pay attention. Different characters had their own themes that would start up when they were on screen and the way the themes would overlap when opposing characters would start fighting. It changed something for me in terms of my appreciation for music. As it is as soon as I became aware enough I started hunting for the soundtracks. 

I can now very happily say that after almost 13 years of searching and hunting and even going to Japan! I have finally accumulated all 7 volumes of the soundtrack and I couldn’t be happier. What with the CD’s and the discs having gone out of print almost over a decade ago it’s not been the easiest task but dammit if I don’t feel giddy about having achieved it now :-D

It’s funny how music can make you relate to a specific emotion. For me the soundtrack of Giant Robo brings back this wondrous feeling of absolute amazement from the first time I watched the show. I’ve watched it countless times since then but nothing can quite give me goosebumps like the sound tracks. 

Embedded below is my favourite piece of music from the show belonging to one of the villains from the Big Fire organisation named Shocking Alberto. I challenge anyone to not feel something stir within them as a result of this piece.

While the original show is more difficult to get a hold of I implore anyone with a love of Animation to try and get a hold of a copy to watch it. It will be without a doubt one of the most original shows you’ll ever see and considering when it was made still very relevant today. 

Anyway, I realise it’s been almost 2 months since my last update but this was just to say I bloody did it! :-D I’ll do another post after xmas with a proper update on things. 

Until then Merry Xmas and Happy New Year All :-)

Toodles

Kal x

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