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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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Sunday, Jul 24. 2016 07:16 AM)
    I feel 91 days has potential, at the very least the first 3 episodes have established a good tone and I like the protaganist.
    Perhaps the art/animation could be a bit higher and I don’t much care for that one crazy guy with the he-man haircut.
  • SuperMario
    (Sunday, Jul 24. 2016 07:11 AM)
    and have you watched this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8BOBEZL9sk
    Music video directed by him. Still so brilliant and edgy…
  • SuperMario
    (Sunday, Jul 24. 2016 07:06 AM)
    But my favorite film of his is Irreversible, maybe it has something to do with its short running time (his shortest feature I think!)
  • SuperMario
    (Sunday, Jul 24. 2016 07:04 AM)
    @Kaiser: I don’t see anything wrong of watching more arthouse films. And yes please watch more anime so we have something more to talk about. I found the first part of Enter the Void so brilliant, but after the MC died things get more and more repetitive. I remembered myself was like “I get the f*cking point already, move on”
  • reaLjustified
    (Sunday, Jul 24. 2016 06:59 AM)
    @K-Off… Yeah that’s true. But the humor is well done mainly because the characters are always interesting.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Sunday, Jul 24. 2016 06:58 AM)
    @Mario: While I loved enter the void and was hit like an emotional sledgehammer by it…the flashing lights really really hurt my oversensitive eyes.
  • K-Off
    (Sunday, Jul 24. 2016 06:54 AM)
    @Real I don’t see that happening with this writer. Gekkan Shojo is quite literally a clutter of jokes filling up every single frame. It doesn’t know subtley.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Sunday, Jul 24. 2016 06:52 AM)
    I need to go back to frequenting anime more instead and action films for a little bit now for a change of pace.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Sunday, Jul 24. 2016 06:48 AM)
    @Mario: I think I’ve spent a year and half overindulging on these alternative films, they’ve become a norm for me, to where it feels odd when I try to watch blockbusters. I don’t think I’ve balanced out what I was watching lately.
  • reaLjustified
    (Sunday, Jul 24. 2016 06:47 AM)
    @Mike I guess that means I need to catch up on Oresama Teacher then. It turned a little too angsty between chapters 50-70 but I don’t have an issue with the repetitive humor as long as it happens at the right moments.

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