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Stage 1: The Steel Ghost

 

Review by Peter Laliberte

January 1, 2007

 

Summary

 

Two mechs battle it out and the pilot of one tells the other to accept his fate and become one with him. The other pilot refuses and they attack each other with the Infinity Cylinder and Ain Soph Aur attacks. The attacks collide and both machines are flung in opposite directions. A man wakes up in a pod and wonders who he is. A face appears and calls him Aleph Barshem, telling him to carry out his mission. Humanity has moved to space, ushering in the Space Era. However, lifestyles have barely changed since two meteors crashed into Earth, halting humanity's progress. Many battles erupted and the Earth Federation Government was formed. In Space Era 179, a third meteor fell to Earth. Space Era 186, in Tokyo, Ryusei Date admires mech models in a store window and his friend Kusuha Mizuha tells him they'll be late. She comments on how he really likes robots and he says super robots are every man's passion. Kusuha mentions the military's Personal Troopers but Ryusei says they're real type robots and that super robots are flashier with cool moves. Kusuha says it's still a robot and Ryusei figures a girl can't understand a man's passion. Kusuha says he always sounds like a child when he talks about robots and he abruptly stops. He doesn't say a word and continues walking. They go to the hospital to see Ryusei's mother, Yukiko, and he tells her he's considering skipping college. He says he has to get a job to pay for her hospital bills but she says she's against it. She adds that he has his whole life ahead of him and he shouldn't rush things. A nurse enters for Yukiko's check up so Ryusei and Kusuha leave. They take a train and Kusuha says they should still make it in time for the tournament. Ryusei says it'll be his last Burning PT tournament for a while and that he's interested in the regional champion, Tenzan Nakajima. Kusuha wishes him luck and he says he'll give it a flashy finish. At the tournament, Ryusei and Tenzan meet in the finals and Ryusei offers his hand. Tenzan refuses and they enter the simulators. They start up the game and their mechs appear. Outside in a Federation vehicle, a telekinesis pulse is detected in Ryusei. Major Ingram Priskin looks at his data and says he'll make a fine sample. Aya Kobayashi wonders if Ryusei is like her. The match between Ryusei and Tenzan begins.

 

Ryusei's Komet SS fires, but Tenzan Ocherous-Ausfuhrun dodges. Tenzan tells him to make it fun and Ryusei criticizes him for eating during the match, attacking him with a beam saber. Tenzan easily dodges and says he can't fight on an empty stomach. He finishes eating and says he better end it. He shoots the beam saber out of Ryusei's hand and circles around him. He keeps firing and Ryusei's mech takes major damage. Ryusei tries to attack but is shot back. Tenzan crushes Ryusei's head and says it's game over. Tenzan is pronounced the champion and after Ryusei asks why he was messing around. Tenzan says it's only a game and he shouldn't get so worked up. He says he should go level up and try again, adding that he died ten times that day. Ingram is asked if he wants to see Tenzan's data, but he says being good at a game means nothing, only if they make good samples. Unidentified enemy units are detected and an explosion rocks the arena. Ryusei and Kusuha go to check it out and a bug-like mech climbs out of the rubble. It attacks with its ring laser and flies away. Ryusei sees Kusuha stuck under some rubble and tries to get her out. She wonders what's going on and Ryusei says it's a battle. Messer fighter planes try to take out the bug with their missiles, but to no avail. Aya wonders why they're there and Ingram tells her to send out the Gespenst Mark II Type-TT to test Ryusei. Ryusei tries to move the rubble but Kusuha tells him to run away. He says he won't do it and a trailer arrives, opening up to reveal the Gespenst. Ryusei notices it has the same cockpit as the game and heads over to it. He boards it and a bug heads over to him. Ryusei takes a few steps out but the bug rams into him, grabbing hold and flying into the air, dropping the Gespenst to the ground. He gets up and Aya's voice tells him to fall back. Ryusei remembers Kusuha and says he's going forward. He charges at the bug and grabs it. He keeps punching it until it explodes but several other bugs surround him.

 

Commentary

 

The first episode introduces us to the Space Era and to a few of the main characters. Ryusei is another normal kid forced to pilot a giant robot but it's more like a dream come true for him. For the most part, this episode stays faithful to the game. The major addition is the fight against Tenzan who wasn't at the tournament in the game. One questionable aspect of this series is the CG mechs. While I will always prefer cell animation over CG, the CG mechs here aren't too bad. They give it a video game like feel and, considering the source material, could very well be intentional. The big mystery however is the mechs at the beginning. They are the Astranagant and the Dis Astranagant, two of the most powerful mechs from the Super Robot Wars Alpha timeline. They could merely be a treat for the Alpha fans, or they could very well play a role in the future. If they do, things could change drastically.

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Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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SRW OG Episode 1 SRW OG Episode 1

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Buy the collection (eps 1-26, OVA 1-3) on DVD from Amazon
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