Friday, February 16, 2018

"Mazinger Z" Is Still Ridiculous

In the coming days, I'll be writing a review of Mazinger Z/Infinity for Crunchyroll. And it's going to be a lot more serious than what I'm laying down now.

As anyone who's been around me for a while knows, I was the editor for the Discotek localizations of both Mazinger Z and Mazinger Edition Z (the 21st century "don't you dare call this a remake"). Between that and playing a whole bunch of Super Robot Wars, my familiarity with the franchise is down to nitpick levels of knowledge. I can remember specific weird jokes and cameos and choices in individual episodes that, while "memorable" (in such a way that anything weird is memorable), didn't necessarily add to the actual plot of the show. They were just there and odd.

And dear God did these show up in the movie.

Most of these aren't necessary to understanding or appreciating the movie. If you basically know the Mazinger story, this works, as it's a sequel. But the things you see if you remember tiny specifics... again, dear God.

Join me, won't you?

Garbage-Tier Robeasts

Meet Satan Claus P10. That's his real name. He shows up in a vaguely Christmas-themed episode of the original series, as well as in the manga. He rides a rocket-powered sleigh and has a missile-launching whip. And he's not even the main baddie of his episode.

And he shows up in the gosh danged movie.

I'm not kidding. Making this even stranger and slightly more personal is that Satan Claus was mentioned specifically (along with another who made it into the mix) in an article I wrote for Crunchyroll on things that had better be in the movie or else. The sheer amount of things from this list that made it in is shocking. I think only Baron Ashura in disguise and a Lorelei cameo didn't make it. Oh, and Viscount Pygman, thank God.

Truth is, minus the new threat and our usual minibosses, all of our enemies are monsters of the week from the original series. Doublas and Garada make several appearances, obviously. But then we get into the super weird ones that absolutely should not be able to function and were probably designed after sixteen cups of coffee with a deadline creeping ever closer.

And yet? The fights are badass. It's almost like what "Dalek" did with Daleks... where someone took these weirdos and figured out how to make them a threat.

Still. Frickin' Satan Claus.


(I can't find a picture of that dickhead bird and I can't remember his name and clearly no one else took the time to screencap him so here's an IRL myna bird.)

Let me tell you about this stupid bird.

So I'm working away on an episode, and there's a goddamn talking myna bird in it. He looks more like one of those racist-ass birds in Dumbo (you know, where one of them was literally named "Jim Crow") but with glasses, but apparently he's a myna bird. And apparently he is HI. LARIOUS. Expect for the part where he's bloody well not.

I get to a fricking stand-up routine he apparently does while standing on a plate of sushi in the midst of the lead cast. His routine went something like this:

BIRD: Do you remember the story of [Japanese historical figure]?
BIRD: Then have some sushi!
ENTIRE CAST: [falls over in fits of laughter]

This. Baffles me. So I hit up the rest of the localization team for some clarification. Is he imitating a comedian of the time? I ask. Not as far as they know. Is there a pun I'm missing? No. Is this now, or has it ever been, in any way a form of Japanese humor or entertainment? Nope.

In other words, this fucking bird was spouting non sequiturs while completely slaying the entire cast.

My final decision was to turn them all into Dad Jokes. "Do you know the story of Oda Nobunaga? Then you ODA eat some sushi!"

I'm ashamed, too. But this is what I had to work with.

Anyway that goddamned bird ends up in the movie, just so you know. Don't let that stop you, it's just a visual reference.

The Ridiculousness of Boss Borot

The team was divided in our opinion of Boss and his junk robot. I personally loved him; he was a school bully turned good (though he was never all that threatening in the first place), and I liked the occasional levity of his "fights." Others didn't agree. Their loss.

At any rate, I knew Boss would be back, but I had no idea how much TLC would be put into choreographing and rendering a classic Boss Borot slapstick battle. It was approached with the same care and detail as all the other fights in the film, but it hit all the right notes for a Boss scene.

I was pleasantly surprised. That goofiness is one of the things I really love, and I'm so glad it's still there.

My full review (coming soon, so keep an eye out) will cover a lot more than just the weirdness. But for better or for worse, Mazinger Z remembered how utterly ludicrous it is, while still bringing the badass. In my mind, it's for the better.


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