Monday, July 13, 2020

Nerdbot Manga Review: Getter Robo Devolution

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Michael Rizzardi
From the ashes of a Barney obsession rose a lifelong Godzilla fanatic in Cleveland, OH...on top of whatever superhero comics, mecha anime, and tokusatsu shows Michael can get his hands on. If he's not out to dinner with his lovely girlfriend or at his piano grinding out synth tunes, you can bet he's got his eyes glued to a high octane piece of multimedia, ready to pick it apart for your entertainment.

Getter Robo is back on shelves with a new manga, and it’s cooler than ever!

Getter Robo is one of the original Super Robots from the 1970s, best known for it’s unique ability to combine into three different forms. There have been several reboots of the concept over the decades, and each one is excellent. Yet somehow, the newest has flown under the radar. Published stateside by Seven Seas Entertainment, the first volume of Getter Robo Devolution ~The Last Three Minutes Of The Universe~ came out last June with little fanfare. So imagine my surprise and excitement to find it at my local bookstore last week, just waiting for me to dive in!

Getter Robo Devolution follows high school student Nagare Ryoma, a wayward young man who feels that the world has taken everything from him. But when a giant creature attacks his school, he is given the chance to go from a victim to a taker himself. Alongside revolutionary sociopath Jin Hayato and judo master Tomoe Musashi, Ryoma becomes a pilot of the immensely powerful Getter Robo!

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This first volume plays out like the pilot episode of any classic robot anime. Before the monstrous throw-down at the end, we’re given just enough of each character to understand them while leaving plenty of room for development. Lighthearted character Musashi is one I’d like to see more from in particular. We’re also teased with several mysteries right off the bat, with cryptic references to Ryoma’s destiny, an interdimensional artifact, and Lovecraftian beasts to fight.

In speaking of the beasts, they could not be cooler! The monsters, dubbed the Unevolved, are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Beginning as amorphous, misshapen creatures, the Unevolved actually absorb the radiation that powers Getter Robo to transform into more powerful forms. The idea of powering up just by fighting the protagonists is an excellent and clever twist on the “monster-of-the-week” concept.

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But the real treat here is Getter Robo itself. Redesigned by the artists behind the recent Ultraman manga (now an upcoming Netflix anime), the Getter is massive, demonic, and amazingly detailed. However, despite the detail, Getter Robo never loses his shape. Modern mecha often get overdesigned, covered in so much techno-kibble that the audience loses track of the humanoid shape at its core. Despite the detail and exaggerated proportions, Getter Robo always maintains his silhouette. Every frame of the title mech is a masterpiece. We’re given the briefest glimpses of Getter Robo’s two alternate formations, but let’s be clear: this is Getter-1’s book.

Getter Robo Devolution is the perfect manga for Getter fans, and an excellent new title for anyone interested in Super Robots. The story is classic yet intriguing and the art is sublime. Volume 2 just hit stores last month, but there’s still a six month wait for Volume 3. But if it keeps up this quality, it’ll be worth the wait!

5 out of 5 stars

What did you think of Getter Robo Devolution? What is your favorite version of Getter Robo? Let us know in the comments!

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