May 12
Cacophanus

By Cacophanus from Mecha Damashii

Giant Gorg and Manon Type by Sentinel (Available From HobbyLink Japan – HLJ.com)

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As these kinds of things don’t come along very often, I took the plunge and decided to nab arguably one of the most iconic mecha designs of the 80s. The mighty Giant Gorg was a 26 episodes TV series written and directed by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko. He also did all the art direction, though the mecha design was done by Satou Gen. So when Sentinel announced they were doing frankly huge toys from the series I practically leaped with glee. It was entirely justified too, as these are some of the nicest toys I have ever had the pleasure to play with!

Now before I get too involved, in order to explain the background of these toys, I will have to let rip with some pretty massive spoilers. As Diskotek have announced that they are releasing the DVD boxset sometime in the near future, you may want to skip the following…

– SUITABLY MASSIVE SPOILERS –

Giant Gorg focuses on Austral island in the Pacific and the monolithic GAIL corporation hell bent on discovering its secrets. Thrown into the mix is Yuu Tagami, an orphan who hooks up with his old father’s friend, Dr. Wave, and in doing so triggers the interest of GAIL and all hell breaks loose. Dr. Wave and Yuu’s father were investigating the island, so GAIL has a vested interest in halting their research (it’s implied that they also killed Yuu’s father). However, even with GAIL’s interference it’s not long until they set foot on Austral though not without the help of the mysterious Captain.

It’s here we realise that Austral is not a typical island. Split into two parts the newer section has recently resurfaced after millennia and bringing with it all manner of strange monsters. Amongst all these is a blue mechanical giant that Yuu calls Gorg…

Gorg bonds with Yuu and starts taking him and his buddies to a volcano. Naturally along the way GAIL tries and stop them but Gorg is effectively invulnerable. Around this time, Gorg also opens up one of his chest cockpits to reveal his pilot who promptly disintegrates into thin air.

Upon reaching the volcano the history of the island comes into play. Yuu and Gorg manage to make it into a hugely advanced underground base and meet Manon, with his own giant mecha he calls a Guardian. It turns out that Gorg was his brother Zenon’s Guardian, to which Yuu has to explain that his brother is sadly dead.

In case it wasn’t clear, both Manon and Zenon are aliens and the base was actually a colony ship sent from their dying planet many thousands of years ago. Gorg’s connection to Yuu is due to the fact that an alien eloped with one of the indigenous population and Yuu is effectively Zenon’s heir.

This is also why GAIL is on the island, as they figured out that it was a potential cache of very advanced alien technology that they could appropriate it into new weapons.

Naturally, GAIL turns up at this point but Manon isn’t best pleased at being interrupted and decimates the invaders. This is an especially brutal scene as up until this point GAIL has been fighting Gorg, who doesn’t really do much other than defend Yuu. Manon’s Guardian is fully armed and he goes on the offensive, to the huge surprise of the GAIL soldiers.

It’s here that you realise that despite the styling, this really isn’t a kids’ cartoon. Gorg, while a warm and lovely series, is also quite dark and violent. Seeing the broken remains of GAIL soldiers wash past Yuu’s feet is pretty nasty stuff.

One more final thing — both Gorg and Manon’s Type is known as Dux Guardians. Gorg is only level 21, whereas Manon is level 23. As Manon was the oldest, he got the more powerful of the two Guardians (though Gorg does manage to overpower it, much to Manon’s surprise).

– END OF SUITABLY MASSIVE SPOILERS –

As a series, Giant Gorg is wonderfully paced and exhibits classic Yoshikazu Yasuhiko storytelling. It’s also one of the nicest looking anime from that era, despite being a TV series.

While there are villains throughout the show, their allegiance and motivations change, so it’s also quite a nuanced anime for the period.

Sadly it wasn’t hugely popular at the time, as it received very little advertising but it spawned a very dedicated cult following. It’s this fanbase that Sentinel is now finally appealing to with these amazing new toys.

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Though the real party piece is when you combine the boxes to show the full artwork by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko done exclusively for these new toys…

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So stay tuned for the review… same Gorg time, same Gorg channel!

Disclosure: While I purchased the Giant Gorg with my own money, Sentinel sent me the Manon Type to review.

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