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Anime / Gekiganger 3

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"Let's Gekiga In!"

A Show Within a Show to Martian Successor Nadesico, Gekiganger 3 is an affectionate pastiche of Super Robot anime of the 1970s and 1980s. An OVA was released in 1998 which compiled all the Gekiganger 3 clips seen in Nadesico in chronological order and included a Short Film.

The ancient Super-Paleolithic people predicted that the alien Kyo'akk empire would invade the planet and left behind plans for a Super Robot, Gekiganger III, to stop them. Professor Kokubunji builds it, and Hot-Blooded pilots Ken Tenku, Joe Umitsubame, and Akira Daichi take it into battle against the mecha monsters of Prince Akara and his overlord, Emperor Hyperion. Midway through the series, Joe is killed and the Gekiganger III is destroyed only to be replaced with Gekiganger V and new pilot Tetsuya Ryuuzaki.

Sounds exactly like every other Super Robot series out there, right? Good, that's the point.

The OVA movie, Gekiganger 3: Hot-Blooded Great Battle (with the Framing Device of the Nadesico cast seeing the movie in a theater) features the return of the Super-Paleolithic people, who attack both the humans and the Kyo'akks in an attempt to reclaim the world. Akara must temporarily join forces with the Gekiganger team to stop them.

Title completeness aside, not to be confused with Juken Sentai Gekiranger.

This Show Within a Show includes examples of:

  • Abusive Precursors: In the OVA, the Super-Paleolithic people who designed Gekiganger return to take the Earth back from humanity.
  • Aliens Steal Cable: The Kyo'akks research Earth culture by watching anime.
  • All There in the Manual: We only see short clips of the series in Nadesico and the first part of the OVA, but there's plenty of supplemental material included with the merchandise that tells more of the Gekiganger story.
  • Americans Are Cowboys: Cowboy Johnny and the Texas Robo are from America.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Aquamarine, an enemy who gets amnesia in a crash and falls in love with Ken.
  • Back from the Dead: During the final battle, Joe Umitsubame returns from the dead in Gekiganger 3 to finish off the Big Bad alongside Gekiganger V's pilots.
  • Bad Santa: Satan Clock M is a Santa-based robot piloted by Sicoose (Rokuro Kokubunji).
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: The pilots announce "Let's Gekiga In!" when combining.
  • Calling Your Attacks: It's a Super Robot show, what do you expect? GEKIGAN SWORD!
  • Chest Blaster: GEKIGAN FIRE! Only on Gekiganger V curiously enough.
  • Combining Mecha: Gekiganger 3 is a combination of the Gekiga Jet, Gekiga Tank, and Gekiga Marine. Gekiganger V is a combination of the Gekiga Drill, Gekiga Mach, and Gekiga Crasher, though it is never shown combining in either Nadesico or the OVA.
  • A Day in the Limelight: In one clip, Nanako, Junpei, and a lab technician take over as pilots of Gekiganger.
  • Days of Future Past: Despite being a perfect imitation of a 1970s super robot show, it was supposedly created in the 2090s.
  • Deflector Shields: Both Akara's robot and the Kokubunji lab have them, the former of which was, oddly enough, based on the Nadesico's Distortion Field. A strange result of the Clip Show episode causing a recursive case of Show Within a Show.
  • Eagleland: Cowboy Johnny and his Texas Robo are from America.
  • Enemy Mine: In the movie, Prince Akara temporarily allies with the Gekiganger team to fight Emperor Jashin and the Super-Paleolithic People who are trying to wipe out humans and Kyo'akks alike.
  • Expy: The main cast are all Expies of the cast of both Getter Robo and Voltes V.
  • Eye Beams: Gekiganger's eyes can shoot GEKIGAN BEAM!.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Nanako's brother Rokuro becomes a villain named Sicoose who fights for the Kyo'akk.
  • Finishing Move:
    • Gekiganger has Nekketsu Giri, a sword slashing attack, and Gekigan Flare, a flaming punch.
    • Umiganger has Gekigan Shock, in which it electrifies the Gekigan Net.
    • Rikuganger has Musashi no Jigoku Meguri, a judo throw attack.
  • Flash Step: Umiganger's high speed allows it to perform GEKIGAN VISION! A reference to Getter Robo, it's alternately depicted as either looking like Umiganger teleported or is just running very fast.
  • Fully Absorbed Finale: Not exactly a "finale", but the OVA actually does advance the story of Nadesico briefly, by showing that Akito and Yurika are going to get married.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Sapphire pilots her mecha-monster into a missile to save Joe; Joe allows General Massaka's sword to stab Gekiganger and himself so that Ken can defeat Massaka with a Gekigan Flare; Aquamarine self-destructs her robot to save Ken.
  • Hot-Blooded: This is a theme that comes up a lot, to the point that it even shows up in the rarely-seen full title of the series, "Nekketsu Robo (Hot-blooded Robot) Gekiganger 3". It's most evident in the movie when Professor Kokubunji points out that even though the Super-Paleolithic people designed Gekiganger, they didn't account for "the power of passion".
  • Land, Sea, Sky: Gekiganger represents sky (being the only form of Gekiganger 3 with wings), Umiganger represents sea, and Rikuganger represents land (with its legs splitting open to become tank treads).
  • Lost Technology: The design for Gekiganger 3 was left behind by the Super-Paleolithic civilization to combat the predicted invasion by the Kyo'akks.
  • Meaningful Name: Ken Tenkuu's name when said in the proper Japanese order of Family -> Given, is rendered as Tenkuu Ken, which was the name of the weapon used to execute Voltes V's Finishing Move.
  • Mecha Expansion Pack: Spaceganger is an upgrade to Gekiganger V that allows it to travel into space, seen during the final battle. Dragonganger is another upgrade to Gekiganger V, stated in Nadesico to have never actually appeared in the series, which gives it a more powerful beam attack.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The Kyo'akk aliens use mechanical monsters to battle the heroes.
  • Monster of the Week: Presumably... we don't see Gekiganger every week, but most of the given clips feature the Gekiganger team facing various monsters.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: After Joe's death, the Gekiganger 3 is destroyed and replaced with the Gekiganger V.
  • Narm: Intentional, as part of the Affectionate Parody. Even In-Universe some people comment on how ridiculously melodramatic the plots can get.
  • On the Next: After Joe's death, the introduction of Gekiganger V and Tetsuya is presented through a preview of the following episode, though we never actually get to see any of it.
  • Recap Episode: The Gekiganger team watches the Recap Episode of Nadesico. The OVA also starts with a recap of sorts- a compilation of several Gekiganger clips that had previously been seen in Nadesico.
  • Retraux: The art style is based on 1970s anime. In reality, it was made in 1996. In the Nadesico universe, it's even more of an example, as it was made in 2096.
  • Rocket Punch: Gekiganger is equipped with GEKIGAN PUNCH! As with most classic robots it shoots its forearms at the enemy. One time it even punched through a title card saying "Gekigan Punch" on it.
  • Say My Name: "JOOOOOEEEEEEE!!!" is the most famous, but there's also "SAPPHAIAAAAAAA!", "AQUAMARIIIIIINE!" and even, in the movie, "KEEEEN!"
  • Shout-Out: If it's not foreshadowing for the plot of Nadesico, it's probably a Shout-Out to an old-school anime.
  • Show Within a Show: Martian Successor Nadesico. It runs both ways. Don't try to figure out how that works.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Done only slightly less obviously than usual in the movie- Nanako wants to replace Ken in the Gekiga Jet but Joe tells her she should stay with him instead. Despite this, the Jovians in Nadesico who based their culture on Gekiganger follow this as a philosophy.
  • Theme Naming: The family names of the main pilots have to do with where their vehicles run. Also, Aquamarine and Sapphire are both named after jewels and both fall in love with a hero.
  • Title Theme Tune: Let's Go Gekiganger 3 is the main title theme of the series, seen at the start of the clips portion of the OVA. The show's introduction in Nadesico clarifies that this theme song wasn't used in-universe for the first couple episodes.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Sapphire reveals that Joe is actually an alien from the same planet she is. He ultimately considers himself an Earthling.
  • Unobtainium: Gekiganger is made of Gekiganium alloy. Presumably it's supposed to be very strong, since they only bring this up when some part of the robot is damaged (like its fist or wing).
  • You All Look Familiar: Civilians are shown fleeing from a monster- in two lines of entirely identical people so that the animation can loop.

Anime series that receive a Shout-Out in Gekiganger 3 include:

  • Combattler V and Voltes V: The villains are similar to those of these series; Gekiga Jet, Marine, Tank = Combattler V's Battle Jet, Marine, Tank; Gekiganger V's name comes from Combattler V and upon its appearance performs the same pose; Gekigan Sword = Voltes V's Tenkuu Ken, which also gave its name to Gekiganger's hero. And "Let's Gekiga In" is a play on Voltes V's "Let's Volt In".
  • Daitarn 3: the logo for the show is very similar in the design for the "3"
  • Devilman: Gekigan Cutter = Devil Cutter.
  • Getter Robo: the three-machine/three-robot system; the character archetypes of the pilots and supporters; Gekigan Vision = Getter Vision; one of Rikuganger's finishing moves is named for Musashi; the death and replacement of a main character (though not the same archetype); the final pose in Gekiganger's transformation sequence is the same as that of Getter Robo G; Cowboy Johnny/Texas Robo = Jack King/Texas Mack.
  • Mazinger Z: Gekigan Fire, Gekigan Punch, Gekigan Beam = Breast Fire, Rocket Punch, Koshiryoku / Photo-Atomic Beam; "Gekiganger Dies In Flames!" = "Kouji Kabuto Dies In Lava!"; The movie has a similar plot to one of the Mazinger Z movies and begins with a similar opening sequence. The Gekigan Sword is also deployed from the side of the knee, just like the Mazinger Blades. Joe's Big Damn Heroes moment at the end of the series is similar to Tetsuya and Great Mazinger's introduction in the Mazinger Z movie as well.
    • The Gekiganger robot itself looks a lot like the Grendizer. The archetype of female guest character who makes a Heel–Face Turn because of the affection for the protagonists also seems like the influence of Grendizer (among many other shows).
    • Great Mazinger and Daimos: The Sixth Ranger Tetsuya Ryuuzaki is named after the main characters of Great Mazinger (Tetsuya Tsurugi) and Daimos (Kazuya Ryuuzaki).
  • Science Ninja Team Gatchaman: The Hero and The Lancer are Ken and Joe, respectively. Joe even dies and returns later.