You remember when Saturday morning cartoons where a thing? (Can you believe I said that?) I am not just talking about shows like Looney Tunes and other shows related to them. No, I am talking about the more advanced episodic adventure shows. Shows where kids went on adventures to exotic locations they wouldn’t be able to go otherwise while also finding themselves in some sort of danger they wouldn’t be able to explain? Those were such fun times. Even though Giant Gorg was created before those times happened for me because it was produced in the mid 1980’s, it felt like a show that I would have watched during that time span and loved it. It is such a fun and cool show that young me would be obsessed about it. To add to how awesome it is, Giant Gorg was directed and had it’s characters designed by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko of Gundam fame, so there was an extra layer of nostalgia and interest there as well. I mean, I love Gundam a lot (surprise, surprise).
Giant Gorg’s story starts off when our protagonist Yuu Tegami arrives in New York after his father was murdered. The last message his father game him was to find the Doctor Tom who used to Yuu’s father’s partner in order to discover the mysteries of a mysterious island by the name of Austral. Of course, the villainous forces that killed his father, which is a huge organization with world wide influence named G.A.I.L., followed Yuu in order to stop him. I mean, Yuu shows up to this cantankerous Doctor Tom’s apartment building where he found the doctor’s younger sister Doris and a dog. With Yuu’s protagonist bad luck skills, the apartment was immediately destroyed by a wrecking ball. The chase is on.
Luckily, the three people and their dog where able to contact their friend Skipper, who is a complete bad ass and has a mystery air about him, and start making their way towards Austral island itself. Of course, they’ve had some interesting adventures just traveling through the United States by being chased through G.A.I.L., or another villain by the name of Lady Lynx and her gang attack them in Los Vegas. Man, I am surprised that Yuu, Doris, Skipper, and Tom survived through so much madness to make it across the United States and the ocean to Austral island. Maybe not in perfect condition, but you know what? Whatever works.
While the Yuu and the others journey through the United States and the ocean help set up the world that Giant Gorg takes place in as a great prologue, Austral Island is where the mystery really starts. First, the story feels similar to when you throw in a lot of King Kong adaptations and Godzilla’s monster island thrown into one film. Austral Island is a pair of islands, the older and newer islands, filled with all kinds of mysteries and surrounded by mechanical monsters. The natives living in the older islands are rather militant in nature because G.A.I.L. has a huge base on Austral Island (of course they do) and they spend a lot of time fighting off G.A.I.L. in order to survive. At the same time, the natives are also followers of God’s Messenger by the name of Gorg. So you can say that our protagonists have made it in the weird land of Austral where a lot of things happen and a lot of mysteries are solved.
So, a last bit of world explanation for Giant Gorg, because it’s necessary. I brought up King Kong for a reason, because the protagonist Yuu and Giant Gorg have a connection with each other. It’s not romantic in anyway, but Yuu is able to talk to Gorg and it’s so adorable and wholesome. Especially since even if Gorg is mechanical, he has a very distinct personality. This where I will stop explaining about going on besides Gorg and crew get chased around by G.A.I.L until the second half where the plot happens in a crazy manner. It’s about the mystery between Yuu and Gorg with some threats to the world thrown into the mix from a mysterious force. Maybe you can figure out what happens just by me saying that, but you can definite figure it all out by watching the show. It’s pretty engaging.
You may have noticed that I haven’t talked a lot about Giant Gorg’s other characters. The truth is, everyone is barely above surface level of complexity when it comes to characterization. Yuu Tegami can be defined as the infinitely durable and unshakable protagonist, though there are moments where he becomes completely gun show when shooting at G.A.I.L. mooks. Doctor Tom is the smart doofus that doesn’t know how to do physical work, so he gets caught up in a lot of situations he can’t handle to add some comedy to the show. Doris, Tom’s sister, is very much the energetic girl with big hopes that cares a lot about Yuu, though I can’t call them girlfriend and boyfriend. Skipper is the large, smooth talking, military bad ass that can gets the three out of trouble. I do have to say that I love the villains Rod Balboa and Lady Lynx in the end. Before then, Rod seemed like the action junkie boss that is hard on his minions and Lady Lynx was the uncaring Fem Fatale. Together, the two work incredibly well. Giant Gorg’s lack of complex characters isn’t an issue for me, because they are still fun and the expressive animation does most of the work for them.
I am honestly stunned by production values put into this 1980’s adventure show. Even without an HD release, Giant Gorg’s visuals are stunning. Different areas of the United States and Austral island feel alive thanks to the hard work put into the backgrounds and set designs. For example, even if our gang spent a small amount of episodes in New York, the way the show was shot and the situations they got in got in make it feel real. Take all that sort of aspect and apply it to Austral Island, and it’s almost like the viewer can live on it. Also, each character is given a distinctive character designs as well that look like Gundam characters. (I am still having trouble wrapping my head around this for some reason.) The animation in general is fluid and impactful is on a character and mechanical level while also giving the characters awesome facial expressions. There is a very small amount of stock footage used in this show, which also blows my mind. From a mechanical perspective, not much to talk about besides Gorg’s design and the giant, mechanical octopus, because everything is very normal real world, military stuff.
In the end, I can’t recommend this adventure story enough. It’s a lot of fun, very emotional, very impactful, and will give you a feeling of nostalgia that you wouldn’t think that was there. The characters are a little lack luster, but everything else is great. I found this on Crunchyroll a while ago and I couldn’t be happier with that. You can still find it there right now. Try a few episodes and see if you fall in love with it as I have. Some aspects in the beginning are a little out dated because it is an older show, but once you get past that part, Giant Gorg turns into a fan experience you can’t get anywhere else these days.