Get your old-school mecha fix with Mazinger Z Infinity.
Mazinger Z Infinity has come across my desk this week as one of the latest Blu-Ray releases from Viz Media. As the latest in a series first animated in 1972, this movie comes with a sizable pedigree. It stands to be one of the classic mecha properties that has helped form the environment that anime lives in today. Despite this, however, the “Mazinger” franchise is something most people this side of the Pacific are probably unfamiliar with. Mecha, though it has evolved into more modern forms such as “Gurren Lagann” and “Neon Genesis Evangelion”, in its primordial stages looked like something at home side-by-side with the latest edition of “Godzilla.”
But that doesn’t mean that “Mazinger” can only be enjoyed if you have a particular affinity for old-school mecha. The movie’s plot takes place ten years after the end of the original show, but is a standalone picture in its own right. No prerequisites required, this is a sold film to enjoy for anime fans of all varieties. This is a throwback for throwback’s sake, that seeks to capture the righteous joy of seeing a giant robot defeat an army of other robotic monstrosities using a variety of colorful and imaginative attacks.
The story is fairly straightforward, following the saga of Koji Kabuto, a young man living in a futuristic Japan where all energy troubles have been solved with the discovery and application of “Photon Energy”, that has ushered the world into an almost-utopian future. We follow Koji as he takes up the pilot seat of the legendary robot Mazinger Z to fight once more, having defeated the evil Dr. Hell many years ago. Its a reunion of man and machine that proves to be an adventure of epic proportions.
With artwork and animation that’s spirited and bright, Mazinger Z Infinity separates itself from the rest of the anime environment by embracing the campy cheese of its franchise instead of backing away from it. This attention to quality in terms of the movie’s visuals is essential to the enjoyment of the film. Mazinger isn’t exactly Shakespeare, and the joy of its viewing comes in spectacle and sci-fi adventure. If you’re looking for a good popcorn movie, you won’t be disappointed. And, to anyone looking to find a way to get the kids into anime, this is no doubt a good family film.
As for its Blu-Ray release, Mazinger Z Infinity doesn’t disappoint when it comes to crisp, HD viewing. Furthermore, there’s a handful of fun extra features including a music video of the “Mazinger Z” theme song performed by Ichiro Mizuki and some behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and the production staff. All this makes Mazinger Z Infinity a good buy for someone looking for a feature a bit different from the norm. A love letter to a bygone age of anime, Mazinger Z Infinity captures the essence of old school mecha and wraps it up in an offering for the modern age.