Review of Genesis Survivor Gaiarth (1992)

Moving picture, 135 minutes

Seen in 2022.

I saw the US dub.

Humans and robots used to work side by side as equals in the post-apocalypse, but after another hundred years, the remaining cities are defended only by robots and a handful of professional scavengers. The majority of humans have forgotten the lingering threats and aren’t fit to fight even the rogue mechanical beasts, much less the rumoured new warlords. Seeing the problem, two cynical scavengers team up with a robot and a pure-hearted young man raised by a similar robot. Some of them want to save the world, but first they have to understand it better.

This series survives by its charmingly soft fantasy premises, in which the giant travelling city of Warspite is ruled by a queen named Ayatolla, as a minor detail in a serialized narrative. To name just one other detail, there’s an heirloom weapon of the old world, a sword of mass destruction called the Grand Slayber. This is of course a portmanteau of “slay” and “sabre”, which fits right in with the “war-roids” (war androids, not associated with hemorrhoids or steroid-induced rage) on “Gaiarth” (Gaia Earth).

This three-part OVA was co-written and co-directed by Aramaki Shinji, the man behind “Metal Skin Panic MADOX- 01” (1987) and a lot of other cool mechanical design. For a designer-led melodrama that runs almost entirely on the rule of cool, the plot and dramaturgy hold together surprisingly well in the end. The animation and backgrounds are rarely impressive, the characters are weak, the music is bland, the sound effects are subpar and the visual design work is distinctly early-’90s, with bright colours, big eyes and bigger shoulder pads, but therein lies the kitsch value.

moving picture Japanese production animation fiction series