It is the fate of every man to grow old as the years go by and yet while I get older the average anime protagonist is still a snot nosed whiney little puke that is still under 18 years of age. But while new anime series have failed me as consistently as the Miami Heat choking in close games against winning teams, Giant Robo is my Boston Celtics. Old middle aged people don’t get much respect these days, rarely will you see a 20-35 year old doing much ass kicking unless they are destined to die as some mentor figure to some young arrogant up and coming kid who can’t even drink beer. So it is with Giant Robo where the older vets are still a dominant force to be reckoned with, while Daisaku can claim to be the master of Giant Robo; we all know he is riding the coattails of Giant Robo and is marginally more useful than the Miami Heat bench. As for people who can claim their awesomeness to be all their own it would be everyone Giant Robo, except Daisaku.
If you like mecha and you are sick and tired of Jesus kiddie characters then Giant Robo is for you, it is about as pure WIN and AWESOME as you can get in a mecha OVA. If you watch it and hate, well it is time to turn in your mecha license and be honest about liking Marty Stus and BL over tones. In Giant Robo we have one of the few moments that top a Bright Slap in the annals of setting kids straight. Not only does a master of Ryozanpaku, Koshin slap the shit out of Daisaku when the latter started whining about trying to save the damsel in distress, but Koshin goes further in calling out Daisaku for being dumb and ungrateful for not knowing that said damsel was ready DIE FOR THE CAUSE and was AS GOOD AS DEAD. Koshin then blew up on Daisaku for treating Giant Robo like some sort of toy and got so mad he sliced through a highway and told Daisaku flat out that he can sit on the sideline he just drew with his sword to cry like baby. In true bad ass fashion Koshin promised Daisaku that if he left that line to runaway he would kill him even if Daisaku was a kid, because Daisaku made and oath and HE WOULD HOLD HIM TO IT. This today would not be acceptable in the age of butt-hurt and no accountability as ADULTS LIE.
No bigger FUCK YOU could you give to Kamille than Gaint Robo, and to be honest it gets better with age. Maybe I am hitting the first patches of anime burn out but I like to see old folks do well and kick ass. Thank goodness life is not imitating anime, because in that event we would all peak at age 16 and be in a slump there after. I shudder to think of a world where child soldiers are the norm, or where a High School football team is besting NFL veterans, or where old teams like the Celtics, Spurs, and Mavericks (maybe even the Lakers) get rolled over by a useless Miami Heat bench and an ex-Wizards point guard. These days there is much hubbub about being righteous and just, but Giant Robo reminds us that embracing the suck and being tenacious and intense have meaning; that sitting on the sidelines asking stupid questions is not a solution, that you should not pull punches if you want to kick ass, that you honor the sacrifices of others instead of trying to question them and insisting that you are right. Certainly in Giant Robo the ass kickings are handed out democratically and I love it because it makes the IPO feel like a team and that Big Fire has their own team of comparable foes.
It’s curious how anime is rather reluctant to have older middle aged protagonists it is as if they fear growing old or simply look back on High School as the best days of their lives. There are a couple of reasons for this since times aren’t so good now and high school seems to be the care free part of their lives. Still my gaijin sensibilities scoff at this attitude as the best days have yet to come that while my circumstances are similarly grim I remain content and look forward to the next challenge. Growing old means having more experiences to enrich your life, if you think back to your high school days and then think of all that has happened since then hopefully if you have been diligent and hardworking you can safely say you are better off now than you were then. It has been almost 8 years since I said good bye to high school and I could not be happier about it. I much prefer my military life to my days as an angry student, I like being able to go around the US watching NBA games. I have had my ups in my current gig and I had something of a down when I went to the Middle East, but I would not trade those moments for any part of my high school days. We get older we can get wiser, and we can get better, but only if we choose to put in the hard work and log in the hours. I have a particular distaste for those who are simply talented, I like to see people who work hard to get where they are it is refreshing and reassuring to see that if you can master something if you put in the consistent effort.
Anime these days is in love with young talented protagonists, particularly in the mecha genre, and while anime goes on and on with under-seventeen kids that are ridiculously talented at least I have real sports. I feel left out in my old age and look forward to the day that the median age for anime protagonists will go up, because after all the people who make anime are growing older too right and it’s not like Japan has a glut of kids anymore. Maybe real life sports drama is just particularly good this year but watching the Spurs demolish the Heat in their first meeting made me miss mecha a little less. I see the Heat as the Celestial Being of the NBA, that they think that they are the future and that they think they are so damn good. Every time LeBron does his chalk toss it reminds me increasingly of GN pixie dust. Last night we all saw who was really a top tier team in the NBA as the gutted the Heat and played a textbook first quarter before showing the Heat how much depth and a good bench matter; that youth and talent can only go so far until they hit a seasoned line of veterans who know how to work as a real team.
So it was with Ryozanpaku who had their base wrecked but still stayed in the fight and kept their cool to get the job done. They could not have done it without Giant Robo, but they held the line magnificently as Daisaku pissed in his britches. While asking if sacrifice is necessary, may be a bit thought provoking for Giant Robo the general trend is that it is, if nothing else, inevitable. I think that Giant Robo is letting us know that sacrifices are necessary even if they are rarely pleasant. If you want to progress you will have to give up something to reach your goal, be it time, effort, or money that could have been used to do other things. Life rarely gives any handouts of worth, most of the time unless you were born rich you will have to give something to get something.
If nothing else watching Giant Robo reminds a person that old age is not something to be feared that your peak should not come and go in High School. So you get old, you can also get better as you grow old, though not everyone chooses to get better with age. So here is to being over 17 and being bad ass, here’s to showing up those children how to get shit done, here’s being more like Koshin in our dotage. So who here has been working hard while growing old, have you managed to better your life since high school, or are did you peak come and go in high school? If you are the former how are you doing now as your own person largely independent now and working towards something bigger? If you are in the latter do you have any plans to have another peak or are you content with a long slide?