Say everybody, quick question. When you sit down and watch recent anime, did you ever find yourself thinking, "Boy, [insert older anime title here] was much better than this?" An obvious answer would be, "yes." And in some cases, I can agree. As time goes on, people start running out of ideas that others haven't already done and have a hard time thinking of something original so their audience won't get bored or constantly draw out similarities. If failing that, they can work on well-done reboots like Shin Mazinger Shogeki Z! Hen, New Getter Robo, Rebuild of Evangelion, Dororon Enma-kun MeeraMera, the 2004 version of Tetsujin-28, and hopefully the upcoming Sailor Moon reboot in 2013.
...What? Am I the only guy hoping to see that? I grew up on the series for crying out loud!
Yet, out of all these reboots made, such as the pretty good alternate universe sequel, Kotetsushin Jeeg, or the mediocre spiritual successor to Gravion, Dancouga Nova, and the great examples I listed above, why is it that the likes of Combat Mecha Xabungle, Six God Combination Godmars, GaoGaiGar, the anime that I'm reviewing here, and other good giant mecha animes are not getting reboots, much less sequels?? It's an injustice to see that they can remember these good animes yet the only time we seen them in modern ages are in crossover games like Super Robot Wars! Why just limit them to game appearances? Why not revamp them in animation? Sure you might risk making it like Thundercats 2011, but still, at least you can try!
This particular anime is deserving of some form of reboot. If its predecessor Mazinger Z could get several incarnations, so could this! This, ladies and gentlemen, is UFO Robot Grendizer!
This was the third entry in Go Nagai's Mazinger series, following Great Mazinger. It first aired in Japan on October 5th, 1975, and ran for a whopping 74 episodes until February 27th, 1977. It aired here in America as Grandizer as part of the old Force Five lineup in the late 1970s with other old robot shows like Gaiking, Getter Robo G (as Starvengers), Dangard Ace, and Starzinger (as Spaceketeers). These shows were aired as Force Five basically as a response to the popular Shogun Warriors toys. And among that toyline were the likes of 17 Robot, Combattler V, Daimos, Dangard Ace, Getter Robo G robots Dragon and Liger and Poseidon, Gaiking, Grendizer, Great Mazinger, Leopardon (Spider-Man's giant robot), Raideen and Voltes V.
Confused yet? I am!
The big problem with Force Five was that these shows were heavily edited so they'd have an American audience and was basically made as a way to sell toys. Some of the toys couldn't function properly since some parts were meant for other toys that never came to the US, like Gaiking's skull was meant to be the head for the dragonesque ship Daiku-Maryu. As such, the Force Five wasn't very successful and ended up fading into memory. However, I'm straying from the review. So let's not waste any time and look into the first episode of UFO Robot Grendizer.
The first episode, entitled "Kouji Kabuto and Duke Fleed," starts off with, wouldn't you know it, main character-turned-sidekick Kouji Kabuto (I like spelling it as Koji) flying in his own flying saucer, the TFO. On his trip to Mt. Fuji, he ends up finding a UFO flying about and attempts to follow it. However, despite his attempts at thoroughly chasing it, he ends up losing track of it. Then he flies about Mt. Fuji, remembering his days piloting Mazinger Z and fighting Mechanical Monsters. But then he decides to get back to piloting the TFO.
What does the T stand for? I have no idea!
Meanwhile, at the Space Science Lab, most likely the equivalent of the Photon Lab in Mazinger Z, one of the workers find an unidentified object on radar and the leading professor, Genzo Umon, advises that they warn Koji about it. Meanwhile again, at a nearby ranch we're introduced to our main character Daisuke Umon. He's visited by our leading lady, Hikaru Makiba and her little brother Goro who brought along a nice little horse. Hikaru's father and owner of the ranch, Danbei, is sort of a space fanatic and has spent most of his time looking out for UFOs in the effort to befriend space people; he's also a partner to the leading scientist Professor Umon up in the labs, can you believe it? He then belives he sees a UFO through his telescope and ends up falling off the roof; thankfully, he survived since he's comic relief. Daisuke doesn't seem concerned about the UFO.
And so, after getting himself prepared, Danbei goes to greet whoever's in the UFO, claiming to know the language of aliens, but instead it turns out that the UFO was really the TFO. That doesn't stop Danbei and Goro from mistaking Koji for an alien though. Then Professor Umon and a few workers from the Space Science Lab arrive and welcome Koji back to his homeland, as he was studying abroad. They then reveal that he used to work for the Space Institution's UFO Center as well as introduce Koji to the Makiba family. The family greets him politely and Koji takes it as a compliment that they thought he was a spaceman.
Well, considering how nearly every giant robot anime takes place in the future with advanced technology... I can't tell if it's an easy mistake to make or just a silly one.
Then the professor introduces Koji to his son Daisuke, yet with the rather dark music in this part of the scene, the meeting doesn't go very well. Koji explains that he's here to look into the UFO sightings, yet Daisuke seemingly blows him off and just goes back to work. Koji looks on, with Daisuke leaving a bad impression. Later, Professor Umon brings Koji over to the Space Science Lab and the two uses one of their devices to look at the saucer Koji saw earlier. The two then have a conversation about whether or not to make contact with the UFO; Professor Umon is unsure but Koji believes that aliens wish to trade with the earth, and believes it should be considered as the earth's resources are apparently depleting. Huh, wonder what disaster happened to make that.
Back on the ranch, Daisuke and the Makiba family are roping cows... interesting. Either way, Danbei manages to rope one of them just as Koji has apparently returned. Hikaru mentions that her father used to be a cowboy out in the west, and he claims that he used to be called Rope Man Dan.
You know, with an anime featuring cowboys, it makes you wonder why this never got popular during the Force Five block.
So of course, Koji decides to challenge the title and plans to partake, asking for the fiercest horse they got. This of course worries the family but Koji reassures them that he'll be fine. Daisuke of course brings the best horse while the family gets to move outside the fence. Koji then gets on... only to be bucked off. But that doesn't stop him, for he goes for a running start and jumps on top of the horse, barely attempting to hold on for a few moments before the horse bucks him off again and heads towards Hikaru and Goro! Daisuke fortunately manages to save them by getting onto the horse and having jump over them in the nick of time! Koji, all the while, watches and throws dirt at the ground, no doubt upset at being one-upped.
Later that night, the Space Science Lab looks out to the moon, which is now a shade of red, and Daisuke says that it's a symbol of a Vegan attack.
Okay, okay, stop laughing. It's not what you think.
No, these Vegans are actually an alien race from the planet Vega, of course, and Daisuke believes that they're planning to attack Earth. Koji however still believes otherwise and thinks that Daisuke is being superstitious and that the red of the moon is just the weather changing light. Daisuke again says that the UFO may come to harm them but Koji again doesn't believe him and believes Daisuke is being careless. Later, Daisuke leans on a tree near the ranch, playing a good tune on a guitar. All the while, his thoughts about the moon and the Vegans influence his guitar playing. Up to the point that one of the strings break. The stress of his thoughts gets to him and he throws the guitar away, all the while proclaiming that he doesn't want to pilot "that thing." This comes to a point to where he constantly says he doesn't want to pilot "that thing" because of all he experienced living on it. After he sees an image of his father on a dew drop, he then laments that "it's" no use.
What is he talking about? We'll find out later.
Just as suspected, alien UFOs are coming from the moon. In the leading ship, Vegan troops led by the dreaded Commander Blaki look at pictures of Koji's TFO while planning to attack Earth the next morning. Speaking of which, the next morning, Goro watches his sister milk goats while Daisuke feeds one of the horses. Just then, Danbei announces that a real UFO is actually coming as seen through his telescope. Koji then arrives on the scene to get to his TFO, determined to see the truth. Daisuke attempts to stop him, but Koji is determined to see it through and throws the "if you have time for one thing, why don't you help your father" line combined with the "you are his son" question. Koji then goes off while Daisuke watches. Koji ends up surrounded by a few of the UFOs and attempts to communicate with them, but ends up being attacked. With enough shots, Koji ends up falling along with his saucer, and Daisuke finally goes to a motorcycle apparently hidden in hay and drives off a cliff. He jumps off his falling bike and then...
"Duke Fleed! Grendizer Get Up!!"
He suddenly has a new suit on complete with face mask and dives into the water. One of the workers in the lab finds pulses near the institute on radar and Professor Umon could only think of one thing. Quakes appear in some form of docking area and a large ramp comes up through the floor! At the launchpad is some form of spaceship with a curious head at the front. Daisuke lands in the cockpit and gets everything ready for launch before the professor comes in, knowing his son is the pilot.
The ship then flies out as the theme music plays, with Duke Fleed making haste to Koji's aid. He arrives and fights against the Vegans, whereas Blaki recognizes the head as Grendizer, and its pilot is indeed Duke Fleed. So in retaliation, they send out their first Saucer Beast, Girugiru. Duke attempts to go at the Saucer Beast, but he gets distracted by two other UFOs and finishes them off. However, because of the distraction, Girugiru goes after Koji and probably won't be able to escape in his condition. So, to save time, Duke goes "Shoot In" to get into the head to show what we were all expecting to see.
The actual robot, Grendizer, shoots out of its saucer and drops down to aid Koji and attack the Saucer Beast. He manages to get Koji to safety, but Koji ends up losing consciousness after seeing Duke in his suit. And then Duke finally gets to fight Girugiru. It's pretty simple; Duke has some difficulty fighting the monster, the monster sometimes gets the drop on him, but ultimately Duke manages to smack back and destroys the evil Saucer Beast. You know, I just thought of something. Why do people see curbstomp battles as interesting? True, they can be good, but only when it's done right. Even if it's made for laughs, it still has to be done right. Thus, it seems a lot more realistic and a lot more interesting to at least see the main character have some difficulty with his robot in fights. Otherwise, it seems dull and rushed.
Anyway, with the Saucer Beast destroyed, Duke gets Grendizer back into its saucer and flies off. Meanwhile, Blaki isn't upset that his beast is destroyed as they've apparently recorded the fight and claims that it will benefit them in the future. Thus, the invasion force goes back to the moon. Then later, back at the ranch, Koji arrives now with his arm in a sling and notices Daisuke washing his bike. He approaches Daisuke and attempts to say that he might think Daisuke and the pilot from before are the same, but he can't seem to say it. Daisuke says that Koji is probably dreaming and after finishing washing his bike, he drives off. Koji is left still wondering who Daisuke Umon really is...
Pretty good for a beginning to an old series.
And with a good beginning, it's also a good series too. Considering it's an old 70s anime, the story is more super-hero-mech oriented than plot-oriented. But there is continuity in here. If there's one thing about the popularity of one anime, they milk it by making several episodes with different monsters of the week but over time the story does show itself and continues with that development until the next development comes up, which I'll admit that the middle arc of Godmars had done to end their arc, thank god. It's the episodes that move along the plot that make it all worthwhile.
What is the plot? Well, it's sorta like a Superman story. The main character, Daisuke Umon, is really a prince named Duke Fleed, hailing from the planet of Fleed. However, one day, the Vegans from planet Vega, led by King Vega, attacked one day and began destroying his home, killing his parents in the process. Then they began making the super robot Grendizer with the intent of conquering the rest of the universe, but Duke manages to get away with Grendizer and ends up crash landing on Earth over in Japan. He's then found by a kind man named Professor Umon and is then brought up as Daisuke Umon, a working hand over at the Makiba family's farm. However, when the Vegans start attacking Earth, Daisuke goes to pilot Grendizer as Duke Fleed to combat the otherwordly threat! And with Koji Kabuto aiding him, there's hope for the earth yet!
Pretty simple, but again, the plot develops with each season.
Despite now being a sidekick, Koji is still the hot-blooded young pilot we remember from Mazinger Z. It also helps that he's matured thanks to what he learned and experienced. He's still got his competitive nature and his impulse to do what he believes is right despite the warnings is still there, but he still retains his dignity and at least apologizes for his actions. He's also shown to know a great deal about science as he studied abroad in the United States and helped with a plan to defeat a saucer beast with a magnetic net in one of the early episodes.
Hikaru Makiba, the female lead, just starts out as the chick that lives at the farm Daisuke works at, living with her overprotective UFO-obsessed father Danbei and her mischievous little brother Goro while being crushed on by their neighbor Bunta. However, she starts becoming more involved with Daisuke's fight against the Vegans after episode 23 when she finally learns his true identity as Duke Fleed. Then the two develop feelings for each other after several other incidents and Hikaru even becomes a pilot herself. Nice way for a minor character to evolve into a main character.
The development is a little wordier than how I make it to be.
In risk of spoilers, there's also Duke Fleed's sister, Maria Grace Fleed. She starts out like her brother Duke; she escaped the takeover of her home planet but escaped with another man who raised her as his granddaughter, and after a fight between Grendizer and a Vegan Monster, the man dies after telling Maria that she's the only survivor of the Fleed royal family, and thus she swears revenge against Grendizer… though why she didn't blame the Vegan Monster since it was created by the race that conquered her planet is beyond me. Probably because she had nothing else to blame at the time, I dunno. Anyway, she then fights against Grendizer in an attempt to take revenge for her pseudo-grandfather and her planet, but it doesn't last long as the two siblings finally recognize each other and later become allies. She even becomes a romantic interest for Koji, despite all the tsundere-ness she puts up.
But out of all the good guys in this show, the main lead is certainly the best. Unlike most pilots we see today, Daisuke Umon, AKA Duke Fleed, is not the person you relate to. Rather, he's the person you look up to, much like Roger Smith from The Big O, or even Superman, as mentioned earlier, before he started becoming a boy scout/jerkhole. That doesn't mean that Daisuke is without his flaws though. While he is a nice and mature young man, he still feels guilty about leaving his home planet to ruin under the Vegan forces despite the fact that he had no alternative to live, and being a pacifist, he doesn't really prefer piloting Grendizer as it was modeled after the god of war on his planet. It's also hard to get him angry, but should you ever threaten anyone he cares about or even bring up anything related to the disaster on Planet Fleed, he'll be pissed. And then there's episode 25 and his reaction to the revelation of what makes Saucer Beasts work…
Another mecha had that sort of thing and it starts with an E.
Escaflowne I think.
Now as for the villains, you'd actually be surprised by how much hidden depths they have when you think about it. Then again, Go Nagai does know how to make interesting stuff out of weird premises, so we probably shouldn't be. At first you can't tell because in the first season all we know about the Vegans is that they're an evil race out to conquer the universe and after conquering Planet Fleed they aim to go for Earth next. Commander Blaki, the main villain of season 1, is also an example of this, doing whatever is necessary to destroy Grendizer and to remain on top, even if it means sabotaging the efforts of one of his cohorts when he has the upper hand against Duke. He's so determined that in the season finale when his mother ship is being blown apart by Grendizer, he makes one last attempt by diving towards our hero who takes it on in a game of chicken… and unfortunately Blaki loses. But hey, he was the setup for the next season's villain, Gandal.
Speaking of Gandal, he can be considered Grendizer's answer to Mazinger Z's Baron Ashura, as he's both a man and a lady. However, unlike Baron Ashura, he's not just one person split between genders; Gandal is actually two different personalities. The male personality is General Gandal, who is loyal to King Vega to a fault yet isn't very imaginative with his plans. When his face opens up, the female personality, Lady Gandal, takes over and is very cunning and persuasive, yet she's more concerned about saving her own skin rather than her loyalty to her king. This dual personality resolves itself in the end with a rather strange case with probably the first ever murder to be kinda considered suicide. And much like Commander Blaki, General Gandal meets his end by facing Grendizer head on.
And then there's who I think is the well-developed elite in the series, Minister of Science Zuril from planet Zoro.
Zoro: (stirring from his nap) Huh?
This guy is so awesome that even General Gandal was stunned by his first appearance and the camera had to do a surprise zoom three times! Hell, his own eyepatch is a freakin' computer that can determine all of Grendizer's weak points (as seen in episode 33)! He wasn't even a subordinate of General Gandal; he was his equal in rank! This guy is an awesome villain!
But what makes him different than the other villains that wish to destroy Duke Fleed is that his reasons are actually more personal. Some important spoilers here, but he was in love with King Vega's daughter, Princess Rubina, whom was the fiancé of and was in love with Duke Fleed, thus he believes Duke to be his rival of love. He also had a son (Zuril Jr) who he cared greatly for… and mourned when said son sacrificed himself to save his life, all in a single episode 69. As a result, he becomes colder and is more than willing than to simply accept the inevitable. He actually gets that inevitable after being shot dead by Koji Kabuto.
Then there's the big bad himself, King Vega. Granted he spends most of his time just staying on the sidelines while his forces do all the work and sacrifice themselves in his name until he starts leading himself, but he's also the kind of villain that's trying to save his own planet while conquering the rest. Doesn't stop him from being an evil baddy who doesn't regret any of the horrible things he did though. He's cruel. He's ruthless. His only standards arise when something concerns his lovely daughter Rubina who appears in episode 72. That doesn't mean he's completely invulnerable however as if he's unarmed and not guarded, he can easily be backed into a corner with a lethal weapon pointed at him, as Lady Gandal attempts to do.
Princess Rubina… is a tragic character; let me leave it at that.
Now how about we talk about the main robot? It's been stated that between Mazinger Z and Great Mazinger, Grendizer is the strongest of the three. But after Mazinkaiser's debut in Super Robot Wars and ultimate creation by Go Nagai in the OVA, this has been up for debate. The reason why this hasn't been solved yet is because either Go Nagai doesn't wish to choose between the two or the SRW staff hasn't had time to put them together in the same game. It's still hard to tell; I mean, Grendizer can do rocket punches that can actually have drilling capabilities, has four companion spaceships that allow it to have different advantages, the original companion spaceship is capable of fighting at the same time as Grendizer, Grendizer can jump at a long distance before landing back down, it can do flips in the air, can manipulate space lightning and anti-gravity in some attacks, etc. Yet while Mazinkaiser doesn't do those, Mazinkaiser is claimed to be able to "kill gods and devils," is incredibly strong, its attacks are vastly powerful versions of Mazinger Z's, there's a mysterious and unexplained entity within Mazinkaiser, was able to move and attack by itself while Koji was unconscious in the cockpit, and could pull out a great big freaking sword from its chest!
So yeah, it's a contest between Grendizer's agility and Mazinkaiser's brawn, but let's look at the assisting spaceships.
The original Spazer was with Duke Fleed and Grendizer for the entire series, able to fire drills from the saucers on the sides, fire the saucers themselves at enemies to slice them apart, and even fire melting liquids. In episode 35, we're introduced to the first of Grendizer's assist ships, Double Spazer, piloted by Koji Kabuto; capable of giving Grendizer the ability to fly without the regular Spazer and can fire cyclone beams and cutter blades and its first combination with Grendizer in episode 36. In episode 40, we're introduced to the blueprints of Marine Spazer, piloted by Hikaru Makiba; in episode 41, we see it capable of giving Grendizer the ability to fight underwater, have its own cutter and is able to fly like Double Spazer, fire missiles like Double Spazer… basically an underwater variant of Double Spazer except for the fact that it has radar. In episode 45, we're introduced to Drill Spazer also piloted by Koji but later piloted by Maria, and like its name implies it gives Grendizer the ability to dig and drill through hard surfaces and can fire spark bombs. The Cosmo Special-types which are upgrades to the original spazers appear in episode 73. And in episode 67 we got the Super/Ultra Submarine… which is a submarine meant to go into deeper waters with Grendizer driving it… And it only appears once…
So yes, Koji gets Double, Hikaru gets Marine, and Maria gets Drill while Daisuke gets both Grendizer and a submarine.
But another strong point for this series is indeed the ending. The Vegan Empire is finally destroyed, King Vega is dead, Duke Fleed has avenged his people, and the earth is saved. This should lead to a happy ending with Duke and Maria living in peace with Hikaru and Koji, right? Actually, no it doesn't. Despite the fact that Daisuke and Hikaru love each other, they can't convince the other to stay with them; Daisuke wishes to rebuild Planet Fleed and Hikaru wishes to stay on Earth with her family. Neither can change each other's minds and so… Duke and Maria go back to Fleed while Hikaru and Koji stay on Earth. It's rather bittersweet, kinda like the ending to Godmars only the love angle was actually more developed and the ending actually makes more sense. The four had a nice relationship going on and yet their different wishes for the future prevent them from keeping it all together in one place. So yeah, hooray the earth is saved, but it's sad that the two couples can't really be together. It's interesting and saddening to see everything has worked out to prevent further villainy yet personal problems still hold more weight.
Screw Crusher Punch!!
Now how about what's bad? Well, how about we look at some of the continuity errors here.
First, there's Koji Kabuto. No, the character himself is good. However, we've obviously seen him in the first episode looking back on piloting Mazinger Z and the fact that he's a good pilot. However, Koji not only seems to have gotten powered down for this series, there isn't any other mention of his relationships with the other characters in his series except for Boss, Nuke, and Mucha. Something also should've happed with Sayaka Yumi if Koji was allowing himself to get into a relationship is Maria Grace Fleed, but this is actually a case of executive meddling; Go Nagai actually wanted Sayaka to be the fourth pilot, but one of the other people behind the show instead wanted to place his own character to be the fourth, and thus Maria Grace Fleed was born, becoming part of Go Nagai's Mazinger-related works… though she was seemingly killed off in the manga. So my complaint here is if you're going to show that Koji still can pilot, remember piloting Mazinger Z, and even have Boss and his lackeys appear on the show, then why not have Koji pilot the actual Mazinger Z like he did near the end of Great Mazinger?? It doesn't seem to make sense to have Koji side-kicked with those facts lined up.
And why have Boss appear at all if you're only gonna use him twice??
As for contradictions, there's that one scene in episode 50 where Daisuke is trying to convince Professor Umon to put Maria on the team. Here there's two points that both use for their arguments that don't exactly hold merit by themselves. For Professor Umon, he makes the argument that Maria should preferably stay off the team since she's only 14; however, he easily allowed Hikaru Makiba in the team as not only did she want to be part of the team, she's also proven to be a very capable member and she piloted Double Spazer in place of Koji when he was out of commission for one episode. Daisuke argues that Maria should be on the team because she's also a survivor from Planet Fleed and that she's obligated to help them against the saucer beasts; that is not only a backwards argument but that is also assuming. It's backwards because despite the fact that Hikaru has proven herself to be capable, at first, he attempts to dissuade her from joining the fight and it wasn't until Hikaru managed to combine Marine Spazer with Grendizer that he accepts her as part of the team. This argument is also assuming because while she is indeed a survivor of Fleed, she was raised to be like a normal human under the care of her grandfather and it wasn't until her grandfather died that she learned her true origins and in the same day found that not only was her grandfather wrong about her being the only survivor, she just found her brother when she mistook him for a Vegan that took control of Grendizer—you can't force her onto the team for something she just learned about, she has to decide that for herself! Hikaru is proof of that!
Plus, obligations are truly meant to be felt for the self, not to be placed on by others; you can't assume that just because one has had similar circumstances to yours that the one feels like doing the same thing you're doing. Their obligation is their own to decide, not yours.
…Yet apparently she still joins the team as she is just that good at piloting. Didn't know you could learn so much just from riding a motorcycle. She even can do horseback riding on her first try!!
Speaking of Maria, there are a few questionable things about her too. First, there's her ability to see into the future. That's going a little overboard, don't you think? Sure, Daisuke gives an explanation that only one out of a hundred girls on Fleed get this power and truly it's the ability to predict things before they happen like in That's So Raven (I watched that show when I was younger, sue me) and it doesn't always work, but she also has great piloting and riding capabilities and can easily get things done on the first try. Isn't she powerful enough? It seems a little much, especially if you decide to have it downplayed for no reason. And what's worse is despite being proud of her being strong; she is prideful and often attempts to go on her own to do the fighting only to fail and plea for help. It sorta defeats the purpose of her being strong, don't you think?
Then there's how close the villains sometimes always are to defeating Grendizer. Nothing really noteworthy since Duke Fleed manages to find a way in the end, but it's also sometimes that the villains ACTUALLY HELP HIM. Why? Because they didn't want to be shown up by someone more experienced and more capable and interfered by killing them off, lying to their king's face that the more capable agents died in glorious combat against Grendizer only to do the same. It's this arrogance and pride that leads to their downfalls in the end and Duke Fleed's own victory. For all their brilliance, they sure lack common sense.
Another bit of beef that I have is with the version I watched. It was indeed subbed so I could understand, but the subtitles in the one I watched were filled with grammatical errors, misspellings and even misplacements of words. There were even mistakes in translation too as they confused "jii-chan" with "uncle" when it really means "grandfather" or a polite/respectful form of "old man," which also led to a confusion in relation to Maria's pseudo grandfather and instead referred to him as her uncle. Sometimes the subtitles would make it like they were saying something silly or have them say what they aren't supposed to know beforehand or even have them repeat something they already said. It was sometimes even a very literal translation. There was a much better version on Youtube once, but not only was it taken down, it was also incomplete.
As for Bunta and Lady Gandal, my one nitpick with those two is that during the last season, they don't appear much, if at all in Bunta's case. By the last season, they hardly ever appear and only come around when it seems good for them. In the first season, Lady Gandal proves to be a more cunning and imaginative version of Gandal living right inside his head and often comes out to voice her ideas and opinions. But by the time the last season arrives, she only appears a few times while General Gandal and Minister Zuril do all the planning only to make a final appearance in an attempt to live while General Gandal kills her before meeting his (and relatively their) end. Bunta is more or less an expy of Boss from Mazinger Z but he doesn't do anything awesome save for helping some of the time and being the comic relief. In the last season, he doesn't even appear at all! Why? We don't know because he just doesn't appear! It's like he was just there to be there and then gone!
Speaking of not appearing enough, the series has this thing with one-shot characters. There's Naida who was Duke's childhood love interest in episode 25, Kirika in episode 67 who promised to continue her older brother's work, Kein who was Maria's childhood friend in episode 68, Duke's best friend Morros in episode 71, all the other commanders who face Grendizer and die due to their own arrogance or the arrogance of others, even Zuril Jr and Princess Rubina in their own episodes die off when they premiere. Problem is only Zuril Jr and Princess Rubina are remembered because they were near the ending of the series. The others just aren't mentioned again, seemingly forgotten. It's a shame because I would've liked to see Naida, Kirika, Kein, Zuril Jr, Moross and Princess Rubina all have more appearances to flesh them out as characters. And why not? They had personal significance with the more central characters, you could feel their pain, you feel sad when they're offed, and they should've deserved a lot more explanation. It's just unfortunate that these were potential supporting characters and yet they were reduced to being minor characters meant to die. If per chance they do make a reboot of this series, than I would want these characters to have bigger roles.
Easy mistakes are in the animations, since it came out during the 70s. A few animation errors were noticeable like stuff being in the hand yet disappearing in the next clip, a character would look cross-eyed, or simply something isn't there yet they say it is. This can be arguably even more noticeable thanks to the sometimes literal translation. The slow movements are most of the time stiff, but also half of the time there are fast movements that still manage to keep the animation from being horrible. Give or take a few miscolors and repeated animation.
But all in all, it had a good run.
Like I said before, I find it unfortunate that this never got a reboot. Then again, I could probably understand why. While the characters were memorable and three-dimensional, the fight sequences were interesting and the endings were enjoyably bittersweet like Godmars, Giant Robo, Gunbuster, Genesis of Aquarion, and Demon Prince Enma, Grendizer suffers with the abundance of one-shot characters that would have made a great supporting cast, a character that didn't get any appearances in the final season, a character produced by executive meddling just for the sake of showing off the character, and even a few plot holes left behind from the first two of the Mazinger saga. Perhaps this would've been better if instead of making Koji a sidekick, they could've had him and Tetsuya Tsurugi both join the fight with Mazinger Z and Great Mazinger instead of just having Koji pilot a companion spaceship. I just wish that perhaps one day Grendizer will get a reboot much like Mazinger Z did and would dazzle the audience once again.
And of course, since you all eagerly voted, next review is going to be something a little more American, a little more suburban, a little more… What's the word…?