Series Recommendation: Mazinger Z: INFINITY – A Legend Reborn

The Fists of Iron and Justice fly again!

When you talk about trend-setters, you instantly think of Gundam, Macross, Evangelion, etc… But the original giant robot grandpas are none other than the Iron Giant Tetsujin-28-Go and the Iron Castle Mazinger Z. Mazinger Z set the precedence and pioneered the piloted mecha trope, which still continued to this day. Furthermore, Mazinger Z is one of the longest running franchise still getting content and merch even to this day. To celebrate the franchise’s 45th anniversary, a new movie set as the sequel to the original tv series was released in 2017. And the Iron Castle once again take to the sky.

+ Plot: Set 10 years after the events of the TV series released in 1972, Mazinger Z is now in a museum, celebrated as the great savior of humanity. Kouji has gone on to become a Photonic researchers and is making ground-breaking advances while Sayaka became the head of the Photonic Institute – succeeding her father. Tetsuya and Jun got together and they are expecting a child. Everyone has moved on and the world was at peace. However, an attack by a mechanical beast army occurred, and an old sworn enemy of Kouji and Z make his return. Things are turning for the worse when a hostile Mazin was awakened. And Z must once again take a stand as humanity’s last hope. Amidst the chaos, a young genius girl mysteriously appeared and seems to be super familiar with Kouji?

The plot of the movie is pretty standard sequel material to provide fan-service. An old enemy “conveniently” reappeared out of nowhere. A new threat suddenly appear to disturb the hard-earned peace of the world. A retired hero now sprung into action and once again put everything on the line once more. The flow of the plot is quite sensible albeit predictable and there are many Mazinger’s traditional trope. However, there are some twists and turns that refresh your experience with the giant robot, such as Shiro becoming a full-fledged pilot and actually accomplished something.

+ Animation: Well it has been 45 years, so the animation is leaps and bounds compared to the original. And even for modern standard, Toei Animation really knocked it out of the park. The grown-up and aged version of everyone looks absolutely stunning, especially Kouji and Sayaka. After so many years seeing Kouji as the hot-blooded badass teenagers since Shin Mazinger and various SRWs, it is refreshing and nostalgic to see an adult Kouji that try to act all responsible despite clumsily doing so. Everyone else received their own glow-up and the character animation are top-notch.

The mecha – however – is entirely 3D this time. The combat is fluid, although not without some knee-jerk frame which actually increases the charm of the movie. Z’s combat was much more well-choreographed and fluid, thanks to Kouji’s evolved fighting style. Furthermore, every action scene is basically a giant love-letter to the original series where they showcase as many attacks and mecha beasts as possible.

+ Mechanical Design: Actually quite a controversial aspect of the show. Z got an entirely new look while still keeping some main points from the original design. Most notable is the many increase in panel lines across Z’s armor, which some may deem as excessive. The hexagonal armor cover most of the abdomen, forearms and legs which might be a bit much for some, but the shoulders, thighs and chest looks pretty good thanks to the black color. Overall, it’s definitely a hit-or-miss with the original fans as the design reception is objective. However, seeing it moves on the screen is super badass. Great also receives a similar upgrade, although the feet of Tetsuya’s Mazin has been “sharpened” into a triangle, which does look a bit strange.

The “new” Mazin design is certainly pretty unique. It does invoke a feeling similar to God Mazinger, as it looks very majestic and ancient. That’s all we can say without spoiling the story.

+ Music: Ichiro Aniki return to deliver a new version of the original opening “Mazinger Z”. The new version has more modern instruments and more energy to the lyrics as well. It was a very well done soundtrack. The ending song – Last Letter – is an emotional and beautiful love letter to the franchise. Playing on “Z” being the last letter of the alphabet, the song reminisces about the day the soaring giant robot flew through the sky as a symbol of hope. The rest of the OSTs also sound very badass especially the remix of Mazinger Z for the battle scenes.

+ Conclusion: INFINITY is a great movie to commemorate the franchise’s 45th anniversary. While it doesn’t rise above that level or deliver any groundbreaking concept, it does manage to compound the nostalgia and message of the original series, reminding everyone what the Iron Castle and what the heroes stand for. The confirmation of conviction from the movie is plenty to revive the feelings that fans have when they watch the series over 40 years ago. If you’re a fan of Super Robot or mecha in general, this is a very entertaining and worthy movie.

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