The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

GaoGaiGar Final

Title: GaoGaiGar Final aka King of Braves GaoGaiGar Final aka Yuusha Ou GaoGaiGar Final
Genre: Action
Companies: Sunrise/Victor Entertainment
Format: 8 OVA
Dates: 21 Jan 2000 – 21 Mar 2003

Synopsis: The Zonders and the 31 Primevals may have been vanquished, but this has not yet meant peace for Earth. From space, the parts to the mysterious Pas Q machine appear, capable of utilizing “The Power.” It is now the responsibility of GGG and their French correspondents Chauser to protect the machine from falling into the wrong hands. However, things are about to get a whole lot stranger, and a whole lot more serious when out of the blue, Mamoru shows up to claim the Pas Q machine, with Kaido following to stand in his way.

The Highlights
Style: Darker and a whole lot edgier.
Animation: Sleeker and a whole lot cooler.
Plot: Jarring for most of the story.
Themes: Courage is a little overused.
Ending: Adrenaline rush followed by watery eyes.

I sort of hate to admit it, but I’m certain my whole fascination with giant robots spawned from Power Rangers. I mean I was too young for Robotech and Transformers, so I guess something had to spark my interest. And while it only took six and a half seasons to give up on the popular sentai show, mecha still remained a lingering fascination. By the time I genuinely discovered anime, it didn’t take long to find my niche, and even though it sided more with realism, nothing could kill that sense of joy from watching an odd number of robots combine into one. I have to thank GaoGaiGar for helping me realize that, and of course GaoGaiGar Final for taking it to the next level.

Style-wise, everything has the same old over the top, hot-blooded, epic flair that made GaoGaiGar such a treat. Only this time everything has been taken up a notch in design with a less kiddy, more sleek look. The somewhat random GaoGaiGar has been upgraded to the action vehicle based GaoFaiGar; HyouRyu and Enryu have gotten a pair of sisters KouRyu and AnRyu; and Guy has been paired up with his just as hot blooded French cousin Renee. With these new additions to the team comes a presentation that has grown with the audience, which is far more appropriate for the atmosphere of this new story.

The original GaoGaiGar was unleaded courage that never took itself too seriously. Final, is just the opposite. The story takes a turn for grittier and edgier very quickly in a way that is a little bit jarring. Much of what happens is quite hard to swallow until the last two OVAs , which puts a damper on the viewing experience during the middle of the series. The new villains seem to come out of nowhere and the childish pleasure themes from the original seem a little out of place. Where courage was once simply the driving force, now it is an integral plot point. In many cases it doesn’t work and is just aggravating. This is especially common during the middle, reaching a low point at episode 6. Annoying, yes; but it can be forgiven since everything about this OVA is just as epic as its TV predecessor.

From the start, Final is building up adrenaline for the conclusion. A taste of what is to come is given during the first two episodes in satisfying amounts, though it doesn’t get that high again until episode 7 and the fusion of Genesic GaoGaiGar. From there on out, the action becomes exponentially more exciting up until, and throughout the grand glorious finale. It’s really hard not to be impressed at what can be done with an army of robots and a planet-sized hammer. Everything about the characters is taken beyond epic proportions this time, which makes the ending even more poignant.

If GaoGaiGar Final can be commended for something, it is how much a genre can change for the audience. It’s amazing to see an interest that spawned from childish fantasy violence evolve into a glorified celebration of masculinity. To any fan of unbridled action from the same vein as G Gundam and Gurren Laggan, take an oath sworn through courage and go watch this one right now. This is one final fusion, you can’t miss.

The Rating: 8

Reviewed by: Kavik Ryx

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