It’s true. Everyone should have just gathered their things and went home in 2003. Since then anime has been nothing but a lifeless husk, floating idly by with no goals and ambitions. Why even bother making more anime? Who could possibly top GaoGaiGar Final? No one.
GaoGaiGar Final is, obviously, the sequel to the last entry in the Brave series, King of Braves GaoGaiGar. I’ve written about the show before. Funnily enough, immediately after writing that I started watching the second DVD set. My complaint about the series being annoyingly formulaic without much of an overarching plot was solved almost instantly. The first group of villains is defeated, and a new group shows up. From that point the show’s narrative becomes more serial, as opposed to the episodic nature of the first half, as the heroes deal with the new threat.
But I’m here to talk about Final so enough about the original series. Final takes the idea presented in the original series, a sincere mecha action series in response to things like Evangelion, above and beyond what the original could have ever done. GaoGaiGar Final is the kind of thing that you, if you were a complete douchetard, would say, “takes itself too seriously.” It’s a series where most of the main character’s dialogue is simply screaming while his giant robot punches other giant robots, and if not that then he’s simply talking (or shouting) about how his courage makes him strong.
GaoGaiGar Final is also full to the brim with intense action, with fights that feel like they have real weight to them. Every time it seems like the heroes have managed to turn the tables on the villains, it immediately gets turned back on them. When Guy gets Genesic GaoGaiGar and it seems like he’s going to make easy work out of the villains, he still gets the shit kicked out of him before managing to turn things around. It’s the kind of action that keeps you on the edge of your seat, wondering how the heroes will manage to win when they seem so horrifyingly outmatched.
GaoGaiGar Final also doesn’t suffer from the pacing issues present in parts of the original series. It’s only an 8 episode OVA, so it has much tighter pacing and plotting and doesn’t spend any time faffing about. There’s also a surprising amount of near-nudity and boob jiggle, something that wasn’t present in the original series, which isn’t all that weird for an OVA. The other kind of odd thing is that partway through the series they switch to full digital animation. At first it’s a mix of traditional and digital, just like the original series, but by the end it’s an entirely digital production. Except, of course, when HoRyu and EnRyu do their symmetrical docking. They just reuse the footage from the TV series there, and it’s kind of jarring next to all the cleaner digital animation.
GaoGaiGar Final was, simply put, the last anime. Since 2003, when the final episode came out, there has been no anime, just some kind of weird pseudo-anime. Well, except for Gurren Lagann. Gurren Lagann was certainly anime. Actually, I guess technically that would make Gurren Lagann the last anime. Well, shit.