Genre: Action/Comedy
Format: 7 OVA
Allegiance: Bandai Visual
Director: Murata Masahiko
Vintage: 2001-2002
Intelligence Agency Report by: Dirty Harrington
Struck down by an army of Mechanical Beasts led by the villainous Baron Ashura, the Mazinger Z super robot is turned against the legendary heroes of Earth. Thought killed in battle, the Mazinger Z’s pilot Kabuto Kouji stumbles across an old laboratory, only to find hidden inside the new king of super robots! Taking this mechanical behemoth, Kouji heads off to battle the evil forces of Dr. Hell! This is the end of Mazinger Z! All hail MazinKaiser!

Field Agent Report by: Dirty Harrington 
Overall 4.00
(not an average)

I came into MazinKaiser with a love for the super-robot genre and a superficial attachment to Go Nagai’s Mazinger Z. I’d never really seen anything outside of a few short movies and a couple of episodes, and while I did enjoy them, it was mostly because of how ridiculous they were. Unfortunately, all MazinKaiser has proven to me is that maybe some things should remain guilty pleasures.

The show draws most of its stylistic cues from old manga, looking more akin to the original Mazinger Z manga with its thick outlines than its cheaply animated 1970s counterpart. While it’s a joy to see this style animated and these old bots (and a new one) in action, I found that very few scenes actually caught my eye. In the end, unique style aside, the animation isn’t really anything to write home about. On the other hand, I was surprised to find that the show’s voice acting was its strongest point, and this is coming from a guy who usually writes seiyuu off as the least important part of any show he’s watching in a foreign language. Every character, even the terribly unlikeable ones, had its own unique voice that fit just right; this became more apparent in the comedic scenes and villainous monologues. When the feeling that the voice actor puts into their character transcends the language barrier, you know you’ve got a really special cast.

If only the show’s above average technical aspects had been able to carry it alone. While all of the characters were performed spot-on by their VAs, it didn’t help solve the show’s greatest problem: its miserable lead characters. Arrogant and unlikeable, they dominate the screen while the more entertaining and appealing characters are relegated to bit jokes and getting beat up to show how super-cool the terrible male lead is. The show’s weak plot and lack of real character arcs for the protagonists doesn’t help redeem the leads either. I understand that a deep and complex plot has never been standard for super-robot shows, but at the very least they should be fun or provide a faux-epic feel to the battles taking place. MazinKaiser fails in both these arenas, and outside of the first and last episodes, is mostly a snooze fest.

So, as far as who should see MazinKaiser, I can’t say I’d recommend anybody who isn’t a die-hard Go Nagai fan check it, and even then all you’re getting is a shiny new robot, semi-interesting villain development, and some funny scenes with Boss Borot. Overall, while not as enjoyable an experience as I was looking for, I can’t say MazinKaiser was so bad that I’m ready to give up on the original Mazinger bots yet. I thought the underdeveloped Great Mazinger characters in the show were far cooler than the any of the actual leads and would love to see a series focusing on them. So here’s looking forward to any future entries in the Mazinger saga, and hoping they’re at the very least better than this miserable installment.