Binge 'N' Purge - Machine Robo: Revenge of Cronos
Back when we were still only seeing prototypes of what would prove to be the awesome new Machine Robo/GoBots toys, well…I got a little carried away. [Because that never happens. – Ed.] Not only did I purchase the remainder of Hannah-Barbera’s Challenge of the GoBots cartoon (and am very, very slowly slogging my way through that), but I was also able to find 3 discs worth of the Japanese Anime for Machine Robo: Revenge of Chronos. Great, I thought, now I’ll be able to see a bit more of a mature interpretation of the GoBots.
Paging Jacob Marley…Jacob Marley, you have a call on the white courtesy phone.
So, yes, the point of this episode of Binge ‘N’ Purge is to warn you: Don’t make my same mistake.
It’s not all bad…the anime styling of the characters does imply a more mature interpretation (it isn’t). And while it could be viewed as a negative, personally, I’m glad that only the first 15 episodes are available here in the States on DVD. You see, the show ran for 44 episodes…so we really only have access to the first third of the so-called story. [Of course, if you REALLY hate yourself, yes, there’s always the internet…have fun. – Ed.]
Now let’s take a look at that so-called story. The evil Gades has come to the peaceful planet of Cronos to find a powerful energy called the Hyribead. Seeking to protect its location, the chief of the Wolf Clan, Kirai Stol, sacrifices himself all the while charging his son and daughter (Rom and Leina) and their companions Blue Jet (Fitor), Rod Drill (Screwhead) and Triple Jim to follow signs to the Hyribead’s location and protect it. This very quickly devolves into wandering around, finding Wolf Clan emblems, helping the village nearby out of the problem/enemy of the day/week/whatever and then off to the next location. There’s seemingly always a ‘moral’ to the story, with the lead character, Rom, going on about it at some length before he springs into action. His lectures usually end with him saying “That is what people call (insert moral/principle here).” Then the foe of the day or one of the evil field commanders will counter with “Who said that?”…and finally Rom announces “You don’t deserve to know my name!” and violence ensues. After 5 episodes, it was okay, but between episode 5 and episode 10, I’d gotten sick of it. Not helping matters was that many of the episodes simply feel like they’re spinning their wheels…meaning there’s absolutely zero progress in the quest to find the Hyribead…and really by the third disc, I stopped caring. There is one thing that I do have to give the writers credit for though. You see, they make it a point to tell you that everyone on this planet, whether they transform or not, are robots…so when the violence/action starts to ratchet up, they don’t hold very much back.
Were there at least some GoBots present? Yeah…there were, but most of the appearances were little more than glorified cameos. So, in this regard, it was kinda cool to watch the shows as almost a “Where’s Waldo” sort of exercise…spot the GoBot and try to remember who he was. Fitor and Screwhead got the most attention as they’re part of the main group…but the main character, Rom, has no transformation ability. Instead, he merges with 2 different power suits that follow the natural anime progression of ‘I’m getting my butt kicked -> merge to next powerful form (in this case a suit called Blade Dragon…or Kenryu in Japanese, which the disc’s subtitles will alternate back and forth on) -> still getting butt kicked -> merge to ultimate form (here called Vikung-Fu…which sounds like an AWESOME name for a Norse martial art!) -> win”. Like Rom himself, none of these suits are able to transform either.
The only way I could really suggest someone watch these is to say that this is a look at all the possible characters Action Toys can make for their new toy line…and you come away with some really exciting possibilities. The one that’s got me excited the most is that I wonder if they’ll try to tackle the combiner Monsterous (called the Devil Satan 6 in the anime). Well, that and Road Ranger did make one of those very brief cameos…that’s got me pretty stoked. But overall, the trite and repetitive storytelling far and away overpowers any possible cameos or anime interpretations of GoBots that you might be looking for. If you’re really curious to see what might be up Action Toys’ sleeve for future waves, you’d be better off reading articles about the show from those of us that have already suffered…not subjecting yourself to this dreck.