Posted by psgels on 16 June 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


I first learned about Overman King Gainer through its OP that you’ll either absolutely love or absolutely hate. In my case, it was the former, so I just had to watch the series, hoping that it would be more than just a cheesy mecha-show. As it turns out, twenty-five years after creating Gundam, Tomino still knows how to make a good anime.

As it turns out, he left the realism as seen in Mobile Suit Gundam for what it is (after all, after creating 200 episodes and various movies of Gundam, how much more can you play with realism?) and instead he decided to focus on creativity. The result is a series that might be nothing special when concentrating on the big picture, but is filled with lots and lots of details that sparkle with creativity. The setting in the middle of Siberia, the Exodus where entire cities travel for hundreds of miles, looking to “break free”, the mobile suits designs, you can see that a lot of time has been spent to make the setting as original as possible, and it really works.

Tomino also didn’t forget how to pull off good action. In this series, there are no episodes dedicated to intermezzos or aftermaths. Every single episode has something fun in store for its viewer, leaving hardly any chance to get bored. So much is happening on-screen. This is really an anime that’s meant as entertainment, and I call this mission accomplished.

Interestingly, Overman King Gainer has the same weakness as Mobile Suit Gundam: both have a main character that becomes the pilot of the main mecha through very questionable reasons. This one needs a bit of minutes to get the hang of it, after which he can pilot the thing as a master, only because he happens to be good at video games. This will indeed give you improved reflexes, but there’s also the matter of getting accustomed to the new controls, and learning to endure the physical strain on your body while fighting.

The plot overall isn’t the most solid ones around by far. During some fights, the writers pull random powers out of thin air, just to keep the story flowing smoothly, and there are quite a few sloppy explanations that rely too much on the viewer’s imagination. The ending also goes on for too long. I really feel that this would have been perfect for 22 or 23 episodes, simply because the climax takes bloody ages, becoming a bit too serious for its own good. Thankfully, this series manages to finish with the bang that it was supposed to deliver, but the road to this descends to a generic “stop the world from getting destroyed”-plot that moves too far away from what made the rest of the series so enjoyable.

It’s interesting to see the evolution of such a prominent director. Overman King Gainer isn’t better than Gundam, but instead it’s fresh and fun. If you liked series as Gurren Lagann or Code Geass, you’ll probably like this one as well, and personally I enjoyed this one the most: it’s got the fun and down-to-earth factor that Code Geass seems to be lacking, and the engaging storyline that I was missing in Gurren Lagann. It’s far from perfect, but very enjoyable nonetheless. I wonder what Tomino’s up to right now. He hasn’t released anything since the Wings of Rean, has he?

9 Responses

  1. Camario says:

    I’ve been hearing good things about this for a while, but personally I still have mixed feelings about Tomino as a director.

    Still, I guess this bumps it up in my watch list, just need to get through Baccano first.

    Btw, in an entirely unrelated subject, I finally watched the Phoenix TV series you reviewed here a couple of years ago. Excellent series and, yes, Tezuka really went much further than I thought he would, in a certain arc. Won’t say more, to reduce spoilers.

  2. Realism is overrated. I’ll definitely check this out. ^^

  3. The thing with King Gainer is that it’s mostly just fun to watch. That and the whole city travelling across the tundra in rows thing is a really cool idea and neat to look at.

  4. Phelps says:

    I think that the biggest problem with King Gainer are the dialogues.

    It has pretty good story, setting, characters and mecha, however the lines the characters speak don’t “feel” natural. I also think several plot points became confusing due to these deficiencies in the script.

    But it’s still a very enjoyable series, and my favorite anime OP.

  5. senerikfred says:

    That’s. . .some OP. . .

  6. Hunter-Wolf says:

    Kinda reminds me of Eureka .. or maybe Eureka was inspired by this … it seems to mix creativity with a tiny bit of realism and an epic cast of varied characters ( mostly ship crews )

    Psgels .. if you liked this one then you might as well like Eureka 7 ( which was fantastic )

    I actually saw the main mecha in a PS2 game trialer that mixed many mecha fighting each other ( it had the one from Eureka 7 too ) .. and i actually thought the design was very creative and looked cool rendered in 3D … might give it a watch to see if it is better than E7 or not ^_^

  7. miden says:

    guess ill take a look at this oneXD~

  8. Teru says:

    Hunter-Wolf, the similarity with Eureka 7 can be easily explained, both shows have the same character designer, Kenichi Yoshida.

  9. Hunter-Wolf says:

    Teru, thanks .. that explains a lot … but what i saw from King Gainer ( intro and an AMV ) it seems the similarity extends more than that … the main mecha seems to be more organic on the inside and most of the characters seem to be crew members on battleships … also there is the saving the world theme … if someone saw both i think he/she can confirm that … i’m not saying they are identical .. but they rather share many themes .. and of course the character designs too.

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  • Bam
    (Monday, Aug 31. 2015 06:36 AM)
    Btw did anyone like the Captain Harlock movie? I forget if we discussed it or not.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Sunday, Aug 30. 2015 09:30 PM)
    I get to cheat and say those Rodriguez films are westerns =)
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Sunday, Aug 30. 2015 09:20 PM)
    What I can’t forgive Genesis for though is kiddifying terminator.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Sunday, Aug 30. 2015 09:18 PM)
    @Bam: Though I think Cameron may have gone mad after 1997.
    Ah-ha, but Miller is a true Aussie, they live through volcanic, Venus/Mercury summers there. =P
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Sunday, Aug 30. 2015 09:16 PM)
    @Bam: No, no avatar, my Alita movie, done right, done now. =P
    Terminator 3 and salvation were very very mediocre. T3 is fun to laugh at at least, salvation wasn’t very good but it did show the whole dark future schtick.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Aug 30. 2015 08:52 PM)
    I’ll torrent it later just to see how they attempted to make sense of this fucked up chronology.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Aug 30. 2015 08:51 PM)
    I haven’t seen Terminator Genisys, since I refuse to drop a penny on what is clearly a monument to artistic compromise. How Cameron lets these idiots desecrate his legacy for the money he doesn’t even need is beyond me. He should get his head out of his ass and either finish that 7 years-in-the-making Avatar 2 and make a good Terminator and set it right, or just live and let it die.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Aug 30. 2015 08:38 PM)
    I also wanted to see a bit more of Max’s character, but I think Hardy did good with the little he had to do. I mean he spent the first act of the movie tied to a pole with a muzzle on his face. Guess we have to wait till the sequel. It’s crazy to have this 70+ years old man directing movies in the dry extreme heat of the desert. Mad props to Miller for keeping it real.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Aug 30. 2015 08:35 PM)
    @Kaiser: see you updated the list. I’ve unfortunately have only seen Fury Road and what We Do in the Shadows from your 2015 lineup; I also liked both.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Aug 30. 2015 08:32 PM)
    @Kaiser: pretty comprehensive list, just add High Noon, The Wild Bunch (another Kurosawa rip-off but done well), Once Upon a Time in the West, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and that Brad Pitt Jesse James movie and you pretty much have the important Westerns covered.

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