Released Year : October 7, 2002 to December 16, 2002
No of Episodes : 13
Genre : Adventure,Comedy,Mecha,Sci-Fi,Shounen
Plot : The year is now 2041 AD. A new enemy called Zeravire suddenly appears in the solar system, destroying all military installations it comes across. However, a wealthy man named Klein Sandman is already aware of this planned invasion and had been secretly preparing his army for battle. His trump card is Gravion, a giant robot that utilizes gravity as its source of energy. Meanwhile a young man named Eiji secretly enters Sandman's base in search for his missing sister. It is there that he meets another young man by the name of Toga... These two must now fight together with four other individuals aboard the super robot, Gravion to fend off the Zeravire threat. (Source: ANN)
Our Review : PROLOGUE This review involves both the two seasons of the series.
Gravion is not a serious series. It’s more of a tribute to the old style mecha shows, such as Getta 3 and Voltes V. So, it aims at old mecha fans of the 80’s and the 70’s and adds humour and fan service elements of present ecchi series to keep them wanting for more.
ART SECTION: 6/10 [The old meets the new.]
General Artwork & Backgrounds 2/4: As a tribute series, Gravion mixes the action and plot elements of old typical mecha series. You’ll see classic mecha attacks, such as rocket punches, drills and magic swords. But there are no dull hand-drawn special effects, as you remember in the 70’s. Slick/stylish/computer generated special effects run through the screen all the time. They are not great or very realistic but get the job done. In the second season, you can obviously expect weapon upgrades and flashier visual and sound effects. Of course, they are still cheesy and unrealistic; so the general feeling is not better.
Character Figures & Motion Fluidity 2/4: The character figures and fan service parts are quite typical. The way everything moves is not that realistic. Without being anything awesome, fans of the genre will like them.
Lightning/ Visual Effects 2/2: Colors and special effects are antithetic and too bright, a thing that is indeed overdone but is all the same needed in the whole atmosphere of this intentionally shallow series. Visuals are fake but great and fitting for this kind of series.
SOUND SECTION: 6/10 [Mecka stuff and J-pop beats.]
The musical themes (especially of the first season) are well made when it comes to exciting and arousing technology-loving otakus. Voice acting and sound effects are otherwise lukewarm.
STORY SECTION: 6/10 [The cliché mecha marries the cliché ecchi.]
General Scenario 1/2: A tribute series could have no other scenario but this: Alien invaders attack the earth and only a huge robot piloted by teenagers can stop them… Sounds familiar? It is the most overused story in history and yet it is the best-suited one.
Form of Development/ Pace of Plot 1/2: Although almost all episodes are stand-alones, a hypothetical evolution of the story does exist. On each new episode, the enemy mecha of the episode becomes immune to all previous attacks and a new weapon or strategy is needed. Don’t expect any deep battle strategies, most of the new tricks the heroes use are pretty lame. Although the pace of the story was steady in the first season, it begins really simple and boring in the second and gets more complicating and interesting towards the end. You need patience to stand the really stupid first half.
Side Stories/Extra Spices 1/2: Comical scenes and fan service elements are also used in between to keep you interested in more than just the battles. The leading male gets into sexually awkward situations for no reason other than our urge to see someone taking his cloths off. Plus, there are a few surprises from time to time, which slowly evolve the story. Mysteries are answered and new elements enter the frame. Again, most of them are lame but do give you the illusion that the series has an on going scenario.
Believability/Reasoning/Realism 1/2: There is even a tribute element to the “mysterious power” that only the leading mecha uses and is the only thing powerful enough to save the Earth. Retro series used electricity, nuclear power and anti-matter in times where such forces where hardly understood. Gravion follows that tradition by using “Gravity”, a force we all know of but have of yet no idea how it is generated. Anyway, you won’t watch a series like Gravion for its story but the writers went to all the trouble of giving something extra to it.
Conclusion 2/2: No conclusion at all in the first season. A predictable one exists in the second. It leaves no loose ends and although silly, it wraps up things nicely. The ending gets rather metaphysical but it is still quite predictable.
CHARACTER SECTION: 6/10 [Saving the world with bouncing tits.]
The series made quite a mix in this department.
-Instead of the typical wise old scientist / creator of the robot and teacher for the teenage heroes, we have a middle aged sexy millionaire with his own super deluxe villa and harem of sexy maids.
-Instead of the typical red leader of the team (a good-hearted charismatic man) we have a dork who is looking for his lost sister and who always gets into ecchi situations.
-Instead of the silent and rather rude rival man of the protagonist, we have a kind bishonen boy, who everyone loves (in a way, he has the opposite personality of the leader and thus IS the rival).
- Instead of the beautiful, kind and shy girl, we have a butchy girl, who always hits and nags (the typical neurotic girl type of most comedies).
-And finally, instead a boy and a fat guy who are used only for comic relief, we have a shy girl with glasses and a bimbo with watermelon breasts (comic relief in ecchi anime).
The supporting groups of characters are maids (more fan service), the aid of the millionaire (a mystery), military staff and politicians (mostly get their butts kicked by the aliens but plan on stealing the gravity technology of Gravion in order to stop depending on it), and the creator of the aliens (a typical, insane villain).
So, the characters are only good if seen as comical stereotypes of mecha and ecchi series. They are otherwise quite shallow, even when a simple backdrop story is given on each.
Generally, the second season introduces more secondary characters and reveals the unanswered mysteries of the main ones. But don’t expect any major fleshing out. It is still pretty clichéd stuff.
VALUE SECTION: 5/10 [Sex and violence always sell.]
Historical Value 0/3: If viewed as a cult series, zero! It had no affect on the anime industry.
Rewatchability 1/3: If viewed as a typical mecha series, small chance! The age of combining robots and voice-activated special attacks is over for the mecha genre.
Memorability 4/4: But if seen as a tribute series, it’s a blast! And has some nice jokes and fan service moments to boot.
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 4/10 [Old but still kicking!]
To tell the truth, I am not a mecha fan. I expected something serious to occur in the scenario in order for me to keep being interested. The first series ended without a conclusion and most of the second was one of the same but way more low-toned. The ending left me rather disappointed as I expected something original to happen (which didn’t). So, I can say I liked the “funny mecha/ecchi mix” of it and disliked the “repetitive defeat-the mecha-of the week motive” of it. It’s a good way to spend your time but, hey, I don’t exactly watch anime to burn excessive brain sells.
VERDICT: 5.5 / 10
The accused is found … GUILTY! … For appealing to the older members’ emotions too much.
Getter Robo, Mazinger, Voltron. Famous old mecha series.
Gekiganger 3. a small but awesome mecha tribute as well.
Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann. The best idealistic mecha series I know of. If you don’t like this one, you simply don’t like the old mecha formula in general.