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Strong Visuals Outshine Lackluster Story

  • Apr 27, 2011

Gravion follows the exploits of Eiji Shigure; a parentless teen that receives a letter apparently sent from his missing older sister Ayaka Shigure in the year 2041.

His search for her leads him to the castle of one Klein Sandman, a rich and mysterious eccentric.  Eiji secretly infiltrates the enormous Saint-Germain Castle during a party being hosted Earth Federation Alliance (EFA) leaders, in effort to track down his sis.

Amidst all this sneaking and peeking, a mysterious alien race called the Zeravire suddenly appears in space, destroying all military installations it comes across.  Klein Sandman is already aware of this planned invasion and had been secretly preparing a personally financed army for battle. His trump card is Gravion, a giant robot that utilizes gravity as its source of energy.

In the mean time our hero Eiji happens upon another young man by the name of Toga during his creeping through the castle and just like that the two of them must now fight together with four other individuals aboard the super robot, Gravion to fend off the Zeravire threat.

ADV Films is responsible for the domestic release of the property and in this case, in the form of a 6-disc boxset comprising both the first & second (Gravion Zwie) season of the show.  Total runtime comes in at 625 minutes and language options are typical sub & dub (English dub or original Japanese vocal track with English subtitles).

On paper the Gravion formula seems like it couldn’t fail: Giant robot formed by combining a plethora of small vehicles, stock launch sequences that glorify said conjunction complete with reoccurring anthem, minimal plot structure, a lot of bouncing breasts and a whole lot of colorful, crisp visual charm.

Clearly what GONZO was aiming for in the creation of this series was modern revival of classic giant robot style, down even to the theme songs, with a bit of jiggling and serial-storytelling that passes for modern anime.  Whether or not they were successful is a bit harder to say.

We’ve been spoiled by some sophisticated mecha storytelling in recent years (Gundam, Evangelion, RahXephon and so on)- and there’s no denying the fact that Gravion will not be mistaken for one such entry.  The writing motivation is clear: To get the viewer so amused with the action sequences and humor attempts that concerns about lack of depth in the storytelling goes unnoticed.

Unfortunately for me, those factors weren’t strong enough to get me to forget that there really isn’t a story here worth criticizing.  In defense of the vintage giant-robot shows that Gravion attempts to emulate, the classics were wise enough to abandon the serial format in favor of crises that would arise and be satiated within the half-hour episode.  Gravion (not unlike Godannar for example) seem to want to capitalize on the best of both worlds: A continuing back-story rolling in the first half of each episode followed by a second half consisting of the combination sequence/ big robot kicks generic alien’s butt.

I suppose the biggest problem with this is that the back-story flounders, struggles and meanders in its effort to weave a bit of character-driven drama.  Every cliché of anime is here from the naïve main character, blonde buxom with breasts that would in reality be somewhere around her knees, mysterious billionaire playboy, incompetent government, sassy female love interest, some homosexuality references, and a whole bunch of young wide-eyed maids who seem to love giving physical exams.

The motivation, apparently, is that the main character embarked upon a mission to locate his missing older sister and wound up piloting mankind’s only hope for survival.  It’s a very tired plot, if not as thin as they come.  While staying at a creepy old castle owned by said eccentric playboy (Sandman), there are a few mysteries to be uncovered involving ghosts, parallel dimensions and the secret powers of gravity.  I suppose part of my frustration stems from the fact that the entire back-story could really have been condensed into a single 21-minute episode; the rest of the time is spent enduring silly antics, slapstick, and a whole lot of robot-assembling and alien butt kicking.  Viewers impressed with tight visuals of a giant robot performing some well-choreographed moves against biomechanical threats will find much to enjoy about this one, as will admirers of light hearted (but heavy-chested) fan service.

Other strong points of this series include well-rendered animation with sharp and sleek modern digital imagery techniques.  Additionally the opening theme music is downright gorgeous, with soaring and slightly haunting melodies that hint toward a sense of grandeur.

In all, Gravion has a spot in the saturated mecha hierarchy with its ability to appeal to fans of vintage mindless giant robot sensibilities with modern graphical treatments and fan service aplenty.

Strong Visuals Outshine Lackluster Story Strong Visuals Outshine Lackluster Story Strong Visuals Outshine Lackluster Story Strong Visuals Outshine Lackluster Story

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May 08, 2011
Great review once again Sir.
May 09, 2011
Thanks FM_A: It's no FLAG but giant robot fans will likely find something redeeming here.
May 01, 2011
Impressive review, J!
May 09, 2011
Thanks Adri- not sure why I didn't see these comments earlier! Yea this one's not for everyone but what it does do, it does fairly well :)
May 09, 2011
It's all good! It's easy to miss the comments sometimes on Lunch.
April 27, 2011
despite your less-than-impressive rating, I may still give this a look. I am a sucker for mecha battles and something about those "cliches" you've mentioned doesn't exactly turn me off. Awesome review, Jay, glad to see you back to anime! Thanks for the email by the way!!
May 01, 2011
I'm with you here, William. I might give this one a peek in the near future.
May 09, 2011
Woop: Were you able to get your anime binge on? I'm curious as to what you went with if so. I'm starting another new one called The Great Dangaioh.. It actually reminds me a bit of Gravion but with a slightly darker feel. Review to follow!
About the reviewer

Ranked #3
Jason Rider (AKA OneNeo on is the author of the successful children's fantasy novel series The Uncommon Adventures of Tucker O'Doyle from Bellissima Publishing.      … more
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About this tv show


It is the year 2041 and an unknown enemy called Zeravire is moving through the galaxy, destroying each military base it crosses. One man, however, saw it coming long ago and has been preparing. The wealthy Klein Sandman is gearing his army up for battle and readying his greatest weapon: Gravion. This giant, powerful robot uses gravity itself as a source of energy. Piloting Gravion are two young men named Touga and Eiji. Eiji wandered onto Sandman's base in search of his missing sister, but fate had other plans for him. ~ Cammila Albertson, All Movie Guide
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