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[Anime] Mazinkaiser SKL - Light



Mazinkaiser SKL
TL;DR: very short mindless, manly mecha action without a substantial plot.

Now, onto the actual review!

Note: possibly contains spoilers.

For mecha fans, whenever they hear the term "Super Robots", usually the first thing they think of are the good ol' classic giant robots of the 80's and 90's. Combattler V, Voltus V, Getter Robo, and of course, Mazinger Z are some examples. Many episodes, good morals, Saturday morning cartoon material all around. Mazinkaiser SKL is and has absolutely none of these things.

Mazinkaiser SKL is a spin-off OVA based on the anime Mazinkaiser, which itself is an alternative story-telling of the original Mazinger Z anime. It (Mazinkaiser SKL) was produced by Actas, Showgate, and Dynamic Planning, and finished airing about 2 years ago. With a total length of about 1 and a half hours divided into 3 episodes, it's not exactly what you'd call lengthy.

The Plot: 5/10

The premise is simple: a machine on a prison island that's been war-torn and separated from the rest of the world for as long as anybody can remember is about to go haywire and destroy the earth, and two elite squads from the army are sent to the island to fix it. Unfortunately, things are complicated by the fact that because the island is extremely abundant with raw materials (and that's putting it lightly), the inhabitants of the island, who are split into three factions, are able to build pretty much an infinite number of giant robots to wage war with, and the only way to fix the haywire machine is to shut off each of their factories' power plants. The three factions are comprised of Galan, who's faction resembles a samurai army (complete with a Japanese-style castle), Kiba, who's faction resembles stereotypical punks and gang members, and Aira, who's faction is entirely made up of beautiful women.

Pictured: not what the island looks like.
Enter Mazinkaiser, and its pilots, Kaido and Magami, two mercenaries known for their ruthlessness hired by the army to basically just fuck shit up while the rest of their men try to fix the machine. Joining them is Yuuki Tsubasa, a lieutenant who is the sole survivor of the second squad after crash landing into the sea right off the island. Along with Kaido and Magami, who're also the only survivors of the first squad after being decimated by the islanders, they're the only remaining hope the Earth has of being saved.

Ah, that's better.
The main problem with the story is that the length of this OVA is too short to properly flesh out the story, which results in the viewer having a lot more questions than answers when finishing Mazinkaiser SKL. This may be alleviated by watching the original Mazinkaiser or even Mazinger Z, but I can't say for certain as I have not finished either anime as of the writing of this review. As a stand-alone anime, I give the plot 5/10.

The Character Development: 3/10

The protagonists, Kaido and Magami, are fight-crazy mercenaries who kill all their enemies without mercy, even harming some of their allies in the process. The main heroine, Yuuki Tsubasa, is bland, with almost no defining character whatsoever. Aira's faction acts as support for Yuuki and the two mercenaries, herself being the magical-priestess-type character who wishes for peace. The villains are predictable, with Kiba being the unruly-hooligan-type villain who wants to take all the women on the island for himself and his faction, and Galan being the evil-overlord-type who wants to take over the world. And that's about it.

Captain Obvious, right here.
There is pretty much no character development whatsoever in Mazinkaiser SKL. Everyone stays the same from start to end. Except for some slight changes and vague insight into the pasts of one or two characters, what you see is what you get. 3/10

The Art & Animation: 8/10

Now, I don't have a keen eye when it comes to discerning good-quality animation. What I can say is that the animation quality of Mazinkaiser SKL is definitely not amateur. The fight sequences are quite fluid and everything is consistently drawn. The art style is one of the better of what I've seen. However, because the main setting is on a desolate island, the scenery doesn't change from rocky, grey terrain very often. Of course, with all the fucking awesome fight scenes going on, you probably won't be paying too much attention to the scenery. With this in mind, I give the art and animation 8/10.

Just look at that shine!
The Sound: 9/10

With the occasional orchestral track to set a tense atmosphere, the soundtrack of Mazinkaiser SKL is pretty much comprised of metal and hard rock. The opening theme song, "The Eternal Soldiers" is very much metal. Loud guitar shredding, coarse vocals, and a steady beat from the drums make this song a perfect match for the opening animation.

"Mazin! Kaiser!"
The same goes for the ending song, "Juggernaut", and the insert song, "Legend of Kaiser". They have clean vocals however, unlike the opening song. The insert song sets the mood perfectly, as the OVA reaches its climax in a very dramatic way. As a fan of metal and upbeat music, it would be a disgrace to give this OVA's soundtrack any less than 10/10. However, I'm taking a point off because the music is more often than not obscured by the sound effects of explosions and/or machines being ripped apart. 9/10

The Lasting Appeal: 8/10

With the OVA being only 1 and a half hours long, there's not much to leave a lasting impression on you. As a fan of mecha anime, I've seen better fight scenes, more absurd and meaningful characters, and while the designs of the mecha are more toward the "badass" side, there are plently of other mecha that are just as badass-looking (maybe even more so) as Mazinkaiser. The plot is definitely not something that left an impression.

Gee, I dunno. Surprise me?
So why am I giving it 8/10? Simple. Metal, manliness, violence, and robot genocide might seem like things that would naturally go together, however it is something so rarely seen (and done well enough) in anime that even something as short as Mazinkaiser SKL leaves a lasting impression, not to mention leaves me craving for more, which has lead me to rewatch all three episodes several times. And hey, it left enough of an impression on me to make me write this review, didn't it?

In closing, Mazinkaiser SKL is best enjoyed as a mindless, manly mecha action anime where the main appeal would be the fighting scenes and the sheer badassery of the two pilots of the Mazinkaiser. If you're not a fan of violence, this is not the anime for you. If you hate metal, this is not the anime for you. If you're looking for a decent and/or lengthy story, this is not the anime for you. If you're looking for meaningful characters, this is not the anime for you.

If you're looking for badass protagonists, awesome giant robots killing each other, and something to watch for the next 90 minutes, this is definitely the anime for you.

Total Score: 6.6/10

Haven't seen the anime, but I love your review. I especially like the screenshot captions.
Since this is one of those "shut off your brain and enjoy" animes, I'll probably watch this with a few bros with a few drinks.


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