Series Recommendation: Gaiking – Legend of Daiku-Maryu

It’s not very often that a 70s Super Robot series got a reboot (I know Jeeg and Mazinger are having a laugh now), but in reality rebooting an old Super Robot show isn’t the easiest task. As the episode count will be significantly lower than the original. Well, that doesn’t apply to this mech with a face on its stomach. No, it doesn’t use drill and no it isn’t green and red. Gaiking: Legend of Daiku-Maryu is the reimagining of the classic Dino Mech Gaiking anime series. The price for a reboot is only 5 episodes less than the original (39 compared to 44). But the pros were tremendous.

Gaiking: LoD has a different approach in terms of premise and concept. In LoD, the main character is a much younger boy. Daiya Tsuwabuki was assaulted by strange monsters when he was little and lost his dad as a result. However, he didn’t believe that his dad had died and always maintained the intention of going to look for him. And the day come sooner than he expected. One day, strange monsters attack his town, just like his previous incident. But this time, Daiya will not stand down, as he got into the mysterious giant robot bestowed upon him by a young girl. The giant robot immediately blaze up in fire and Daiya began his interdimensional journey to save the Earth and find his dad, along with the crew of the legendary Dragon ship Daiku-Maryu and the flame giant: Gaiking.

+ Plot: Gaiking LoD – in contrary with its original – is a great coming of age story. Daiya started out as quite a brass young boy who believe he’s got it in him to overcome anything, until reality comes knocking. Well, he did get into a brief stage of insecurity and depression every now and then, but the support from his crew mate always seem to do the trick. There are several subplot that tied into the main story very well and fleshed out quite extensively due to its long run time. In general, it feels sorta like a Monster-of-the-week series but with more plot focused elements happening but there are also some laidback fillers. The relationship between Daiya and Ruru was great, his rivalry with the crew members that foster development for both him and them are great too, not to mention with even the villains. Gaiking’s villains were some of the better Super Robot villains where they actually get their own highlight and story arc throughout the whole series, not just 1 focus ep before they are yeeted into oblivion.

Some delicious Obari storyboard

+ Animation: Toei and TV Asahi did a really nice job capturing the original “feel” of the mecha but make it modern and snappy enough to not feel awkward like animated bricks. The designs are also updated, especially the support machines on the Daiku-Maryu. There are also various modern techniques that were used such as shadow shading, high-speed blitz combat, and many more. The attacks feel appropriately exaggerated for a super robot, and with a subtle hint of “scale” as well. Furthermore, we got the magic of Masami Obari-sensei for the combination scenes and the 2nd OP, which are all delicious eye-candies.

+ Mecha Design: By the legendary Ken Ootsuka – a talented animator, director and designer. The new Gaiking also received the Mazinger reboot treatment where the limbs are now black instead of blue, and the Dragon skull was enlarged slightly. It gives Gaiking a more intimidating appearance while still being iconic (I mean, it’s impossible to mistake his design for anyone else). The support unit also receive a makeover. And of course, reboot also comes with upgrades! And the upgrades in the show are fantastic. It doesn’t feel out of place at all and fit perfectly with the narrative.

+ Music: Psychic Lover is a rock duo that despite sounding very very young, their songs are really hype and epic much to the likes of GRANRODEO and JAM Project. They sung many songs for Transformers (like, a lot) as well as Super Sentai, etc… so their quality is non-debatable. The OP song is really upbeat and catchy. Although the series does have a habit of playing the OP in almost every episode’s battle which sorta makes it repetitive at times. The ED themes are all pretty fun and refreshing and silly, which isn’t bad. Of course the hero comes late to the party, the insert song by the legendary Akira Kushida is some of the best mecha tracks out there. Blazing hot-blood! That’s what Gaiking LOD is all about.

+ Conclusion: Gaiking Legend of Daiku-Maryu is a reboot worth watching, since it’s so different and improve on almost every aspect of the original show visually. The new character and cast feels younger and more energetic as well as having a better relationship dynamic in the show really helps. The animation is great with some nostalgia bomb from the original Gaiking. The new modern soundtracks are all very good as well. Also if you want some delicious Obari animation, then Gaiking LoD is a good series to check it out.