Gigantor: The Collection, Volume One – DVD Review

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Three years before Speed Racer (aka Mahha GoGoGo) appeared on Japanese TV screens in 1967, an unlikely superhero emerged by the name of Gigantor (1964). A powerful robot with the ability to fly, swim, run, and the strength of a thousand men, Gigantor blazed a trail that would influence Japanese anime for decades to come.

The Gigantor Collection, Volume 1 offers 26 half-hour episodes. Each ep is restored and is in pretty good shape after over 40 years. While they are dubbed in English, it does not diminish from the overall experience of watching classic Japanese animation on the screen. And don’t adjust your set, they are in black and white.

Far from the Pokemon, seizure-inducing animation of today, Gigantor presents stories, villains, and action that rival the adventures that Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman have experienced. These are dramatic stories that deal with terrorism, evil forces, the threat of nuclear war, and violent aliens. Things that only exist in fiction, mind you, but still have the ability to keep one up at night.

Thankfully, Gigantor is here to save the day! And here’s the catchy theme song. I’m making it my ringtone!

Along with audio commentary by Fred Ladd (he’s the American guy who helped bring these classics to American TV), the DVD set also features a lengthy interview with Ladd, and an interview with Anime Historian Fred Pattern (and he looks like he would be an expert on Anime).

And, if you want to read about more Gigantor adventures, six comic book issues of Gigantor are available on disc one. All you need is a DVD-ROM drive (are those still new? Am I the only person with dial-up still?) and you can check them out. Oh, you have to have Adobe Reader to access them as well.

If you are a fan of Japanese animation, anime, Japanimation, or whatever you kids in the know like to call it (what’s manga? Is that some sort of tropical fruit?), then you’ll definitely enjoy seeing these classic cartoons.

And, get ready for the Gigantor movie coming in 2011!!

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