So I finally got around to watching the first Super Robot Taisen Original Generation series, titled Super Robot Taisen OG: Divine Wars and not even 5 episodes in I wondered what the fuck I was doing in 2006-2007 that prompted me not to have watched this during it’s initial run. The answer of course is I was hardly in a position to care due to other events in life to watch anime, but still, this was some fairly awesome Super Robot anime and that is saying a lot.
If you’ve played any SRT (or SRW if you prefer) games, specifically SRW:OG which this series is based from, then it’s nothing too new to what you’ve seen. I personally haven’t played through all of the first game, but it sticks pretty close to the game’s story and plot more or less. In the future, meteors have crashed on Earth and brought about much change, including colonies in space and changes in government. One meteor contains alien technology, and it was the belief that aliens could invade Earth. An institute was created to study the technology and they created weapons and mobile suits, called “Personal Troopers”. In the start of the series, Dr. Bian Zoldark of the EOTI, chief researcher of the technology who helped develop much of it, forms a paramilitary organization and reveals the existence of aliens who are going to invade Earth and how the EAF, the Earth Federation, has known of the aliens for quite some time and were going to supposedly surrender in backdoor meetings with alien representatives. The Divine Crusaders, or DC, set out to take over the EAF under the guise of uniting Earth to fight the aliens. Ryuusei Date, an ordinary guy who entered a robot fighting tournament, faces a random encounter with an alien bug attacking and beats it back with the use of a Gespent MKII, an early PT model equipped with a experimental system known as the T-Link System. Afterwards he is scouted by Major Ingram Priskin with the EAF to participate in experimental SRX Project, designed to produce mobile suits that can fight the aliens. Throughout the series, Ryuusei, along with SRX Team members Aya and Rai, together with fellow mobile suit pilots and ship’s crew, must defend against The DC, as well as the aliens, and even themselves in a battle for the fate of the Earth.
The one thing about this series that is hard to swallow at first is where everything stacks, and it gets damn near confusing at times. Part of the reason I had to suspend SRTOG: The Inspector and grab this to watch was having not played either games fully, I had no idea where people who what. They establish Ryuusei and Kusuha pretty early on, so you know who they are, but the cast of characters literally multiplies in each episode up until about halfway, when it levels off and “gets to burning”, which isn’t to say the first half is boring, it sure isn’t, but I still don’t know where at least 4-5 characters are in relation to everyone else at the end of Divine Wars. (like, who is Radha and what the hell does she do?) I imagine I have to play the game to find out some of these answers, making this a “It’s all in the manual” type situation.
Still, when I say I expected GGG-type Super Robot action, it was mostly because GGG had a lot of different mech types, even though it didn’t have a very large cast of pilots due to how the mechs worked in that series. So in many respects, this felt more like a Real Robot series such as Gundam, Godannar, or perhaps even Overman King Gainer. Still, they mixed real and super units in this series just as the games do, making for somewhat interesting battles where you feel some units were vastly overpowered by super units, only for SUPERIOR TACTICS to save the day.
The characters were definitely one of the high points of this series too. Ryuusei was no slouch, they painted him as a gamer and hot-blooded early on, but he became a formidable fighter by the end, along with Kyosuke of the ATX Team, who you can select to play as in the game as well. Aya and Rai were both given enough character and back history to not be completely trivial to the story, same with Excellen and Bullet. The interesting thing to note is that in traditional SRW games, that feature multiple robot anime series, the player is usually in control of a original Banpresto character and mech, and the game uses stories from the source material modified somewhat to go through, allowing you to choose who you want to play with alongside the main character. So OG and OG2 brought characters from all of the series together into one story. Some of those characters are pretty interesting, such as Masaki and Lune, who pilot very different suits compared to the main characters. They managed to weave even somewhat lesser characters into a pretty convincing story, and they also threw in a little fanservice and comedic relief to keep it fresh, mostly in the form of Excellen Browning, and she only gets better in SRTOG: The Inspector.
The story draws from the game, and it feels like the game draws largely from the plots of many great robot series before it. It has a touch of just about everything you can think of, from Gundam, both UC and Wing, to classics like Tekkaman Blade and GGG. Much like how SRW games draw from their source series, OG draws inspiration from everything out there, and they spun it into a pretty self-contained story that is compelling enough to watch. The music also was a high point, I often would watch the OP over and over because it was just catchy and awesome.
In short, if you enjoy mecha, especially super/real robots, and agree that Excellen Browning is fucking awesome, you need to watch this series. Period.
Title: Super Robot Taisen OG: Divine Wars
Sub Group I Watched: DG
Rating (1-10): 9
Favorite Character: Latooni Suvota
Favorite Mech: Weiss Ritter (Excellen)
Least Favorite Character: Tenzan Nakajima
Least Favorite Mech: Lion (DC’s main mech)
Favorite Team: ATX Team (Kyosuke, Excellen, Bullet)
Obligatory Troll: Shu Shirakawa
Crowning Moment of Awesome:When Bian Zoldark and his suit were beaten by Masaki and the others after his monologue speech of how they would not win. He then went on to monologue about the Sun before exploding.
Least Explained Element of the Series: Kuro and Shiro, Masaki’s cat familiars. The three come from a different game in the SRW series, but they didn’t really bother to at least briefly explain their backstory to you at all in the series, and everyone just accepts talking cats I guess.