Tuesday, January 21, 2014

12 Days of HOTBLOOD 2013, Day 5: The Fist of Zeus

The second half of Shin Mazinger Z is a turning point, where what was once amazing becomes even amazinger. At the halfway point, we get an , full of truly epic imagery (I don't use that word lightly), in which the hotblooded super robot theme song champions at JAM Project definitively prove that . But it's at episode 16 where the show proudly proclaims that "a new world of Mazinger Z awaits." And a new world we get, indeed. Because it's at this point that director Yasuhiro Imagawa hits the gas and does what he does best: rocket the stakes up to eleven and keep on going.

We meet the Kedora - a creature so evil and so powerful that even the Big Bad himself, Dr. Hell, orders them destroyed. One of the central themes surrounding the Mazinger franchise is that Mazinger has the power to become a God or a Devil, and with the Kedora in the cockpit, it makes one heck of a Devil.

Awakened by all this is Duke Gorgon, a dinosaur of a baddie from back in the days of Ancient Greece - a time when the gods themselves walked the earth, who claims Dr. Hell's laboratory base for his own and laughs in the face of their retaliation. Oh, right, he's also half-man half-tiger. Not in the Charlie Sheen way, either. His bottom half is literally a tiger.

Against a foe so powerful, there is no other choice: the bitter enemies must join forces and travel back in time. Their destination? Ancient Greece.

The resultant two episodes have one of the greatest concentrations of awesome things happening in the entire series, which, in a series like Shin Mazinger, means that they have one of the greatest concentrations of awesome things happening in all of anime ever.

Gorgon plots a rebellion against the King of the Gods, the Z Mazinger, Zeus himself:

It takes the combined might and sacrifice of four of the Kurogane Five to take him down:

Baron Ashura sets out on a quest to find him/herself:

Hades arrives from the underworld and disarms the unsuspecting Zeus:

But none of these are the centerpiece of this post. No, no. They're plenty cool, sure, but Shin Mazinger Z can do better than that. What's even better is the way that Zeus and Mazinger fight back:

That's right. That severed arm? Zeus just made up his own, god-sized rocket punch by chucking it so hard at Hades that he exploded. How do you even top that?

The easy answer is: you don't. But that's not Shin Mazinger's answer. We get Shin Mazinger's answer a few episodes later, triumphantly summoned by a crazed and vengeful Tsubasa Nishikiori against the Mazinger prototype, Energer Z:

"A pair of wings?" you say. "Mazinger already had wings - that's nothing special at all!"

"O ye of little faith," echoes a booming, Zeus-y voice from the heavens, "Have you seen what this Scrander can do?"

Only in Mazinger Z do you get a flying robot that can turn into a super-awesome-giant-godly-explodey golden fist of fury that makes an impact so enormous you can see it from space. While the Kedora turned Mazinger into a devil, the Big Bang Punch gives him the power of a god.

Mazinger Z: God or Devil? I think the choice is pretty clear.
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