Anime Review: Kotetsushin Jeeg – You want fun? You’ll get FUN!

Build Up! Kotetsushin Jeeg!

Go Nagai has been a master of the mecha genre. His works have been very influential both in Japan as well as overseas, especially Europe with Grendizer, Mazinger, and of course: Steel Jeeg. The 46-episode anime even inspired an Italian movie (They call me Jeeg). Furthermore, many of his most acclaimed works also received multiple reboot and sequels, most notably Mazingers and Cutie Honey, and the magnetic Super Robot is no exception. In 2007, an alternate sequel to the classic series was made, titled Kotetsushin Jeeg (Steel God Jeeg).

Shin Jeeg – like many soft reboots/sequels – completely changed the format of the original. Whereas Steel Jeeg is your classic Monster-of-the-week anime, Shin Jeeg has a linear plot that accelerate to the climax in just 12 episodes, making the story much shorter and concise. Furthermore, by reusing many elements from the original series (since Shin Jeeg is treated as a sequel to an alternate Jeeg), it cut down on time spent explaining. Shin Jeeg focused on the entertainment aspect of the animation and character, with a clear-cut finish line at the start. That is not to say they skimp on characterization and worldbuilding, but rather did a very good job at it.

Shin Jeeg takes place after the original series 50 years. However, there are some differences like the survival of Dr. Senjirou Shiba (the og Jeeg’s father) whereas he was killed in the og series. There are no confirmation, but there are also a few more differences in the overall world situation as well, so we can treat this as a sequel to an alternate reality Jeeg – with more or less the same concept and ending, just a few small differences along the way.

The main characters of Shin Jeeg is Kenji Kusanagi – a cheerful, reckless boy with a need-for-speed. You can pretty much see his character type in many shounen series. He’s sorta like a mix between Kamina and Simon. He’s confident, doesn’t think half of the time (and leave it to his girldfriend), but has a raging heart of justice. You can say he’s a perfect mold of a hot-blooded kid, but that just makes thing entertaining for this short series. It’s pretty much a super robot “long arc” instead of one-dude-per-week sorta thing. While Kenji is the main character, his development is quite linear and predictable, most of the “deep” stuff is left for his main support: Kyou Misumi (no not Tsubaki)

Kyou Misumi is pretty much the Hayato to Kenji’s Ryoma. He’s the cool, calculating type that goes about doing things in a cold-hearted manner. Aside from the Jama Kingdom, Kyou is the other mystical being of the series, which really add a new flavor to Shin Jeeg. Although the revelation is quite abrupt and doesn’t really make a lot of sense when you take into account the original series, but the series just run with it anyway since…this is Just For Fun! The addition of an ancient protector opened up new avenues for them to mix in more power for Jeeg, and that’s okay. Kyou, along with Tsubaki, are the main drive to push Kenji to mature. And although the changes aren’t huge (since the series is quite short), we can see visible results from those development, and in turn, Kenji inspired changes in others as well. It’s a very classic battle-oriented formula

The clincher here is no doubt the return of Hiroshi Shiba – the original. For most “distant” sequels mecha series, the return of the original cast is always a plus – especially if they join the action and promote some great nostalgia but not overpowering the main character’s spotlight. And Hiroshi did just that – displaying his epic badassery as an opening act and supporting Kenji to go even further beyond. The Double Jeeg scene with Jam Project blasting in the background is no doubt one of the most epic moments in mecha history. nd that lead straight to the upgraded Shin Jeeg which is also very badass.

Production quality-wise, you can expect an average 2005 hand-drawn animation. Even in the BD, it doesn’t look stellar. However, Jeeg’s main combat style is wrestling – so there’s really no need for speedy fluid animation. There are other scenes that require some high-speed movement – such as the build-up sequence or jet attacks. Those scenes were handled well enough – especially the Build Up. The sequence is a combination of both the classic Build Up and a new concept that suits Kenji’s personality. I must say, that motorbike is really cool. It’s also a good nod towards Hiroshi’s original occupation as a motor racer as well.

Kotetsushin Jeeg is a very entertaining show which gives us many callbacks and homages to the original Jeeg show, while adding new elements and changing some stuff up as well. However, we still have the core aesthetic of the Steel God: the magnetic Build Up, the wrestling fights, and above all – badass soundtrack. Jam Project really deliver in this show – very fitting for the band that sung in almost all modern Go Nagai shows. Shin Jeeg is a great generational continuation of the legacy of the magnetic Super Robot!

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