Hey guys! The episode just came out yesterday, much faster than usual. The reason for this is that Bandai is no longer running their Bandai Channel webcasts with the two minutes of extra footage per episode. So on the good side, the fansubbers don't have to do the extra work of splicing footage from one version of the show into the other, meaning we get our episodes sooner.
On the bad side, the TV broadcast of Shin Mazinger is still only a scant 20 minutes per episode, meaning we are very likely missing some footage that will eventually turn up in the video release. In previous episodes, a lot of this footage has been vital "what the hell is going on here" exposition, so it's really unfortunate that we'll be losing this for the duration of the show. In related news, the first Shin Mazinger Blu-Ray box will cost $200, contain just nine episodes, and come with a giant, golden vinyl figure of Zeus. I am not ashamed to admit that the moment I am gainfully employed (hire me), I will start putting away money for these boxes. It's important to have priorities.
In other news, the show has a new opening. On the one hand, the new theme song by JAM Project, who you all know I love deeply, is certainly not as awesome as Kanjite Knight was. I mean, it's alright, it's just that it's the typical Jam Project theme song. I don't love JAM because they're always trying new stuff or anything. To be fair, it's really hard to top reassembling your old 80s band, a few of whose members are dead, to turn out an amazing hair-band cover like Kanjite Knight, but still, a show this big deserves a little better from JAM. On the other hand, the animation itself really shows us how far this show has come. Remember the beginning, when this show didn't have a budget? Remember how a couple of the shots in the first opening looked so bad that they had to go back and redraw them for later episodes? There was a time, ladies and gentlemen, and you wouldn't know it by the production values this show has now. We can only assume that the show really has been successful, despite expectations (I'm judging by the low animation budget in the early episodes and the too-short time slot the show is in). I wonder what the ratings look like.
Anyway, we start out with one of the "Hey, kids!" interludes that I really love, and Baron Ashura gets to deliver it. As if this show wasn't bold enough already, Ashura promises us an even greater diversion from the established story, a "new world of Mazinger Z" in which "we (Ashura) shall take part more than anyone else!" If you're paying attention, you'll recall that Ashura was "killed" by the Danube Alpha last episode, and does not reappear in this one: when Dr. Hell meets with his henchmen, only Count Brocken and Viscount Pygman are present. Will Ashura, who has been a sympathetic villain from the very start of this show, return from the shadows and become a independently operating wild card? I sure hope so!
Anyway, this week's episode is a very close adaptation of a one-shot story that Ken Ishikawa did. The hook is that all this time, the brains of the mechanical beasts have been these biomechanical organisms you see in Mazinger's head to your left there: they're called the Kedora, and they are the brains of the ancient Mycenae warriors that Dr. Hell, the Kabutos, and Tsubasa found on Bardos Island all that time ago. Their sole instruction, naturally, is to destroy. Dr. Hell has been hoarding these guys in a cave back at Bardos, and as you can see, this week he got the "why didn't I think of this before" idea to let one of them take over Mazinger's controls. Unfortunately for him, he doesn't yet realize that the Kedora want to destroy everything, not just Kouji and friends.
Meanwhile, there's some family drama as Kouji moves out of Kurogane House into the Photon Power Labs, where there's at least a girl to hit on and there isn't this crazy lady running around who says she's your mom and she killed your dad and it was awesome. But if you know Mazinger, you know the Photon Power Labs, unlike Kurogane, are pretty poorly secured, and it's only a matter of time before Mazinger gets captured and makes a run for Kurogane House, destroying all the city that stands between them. Boss Borot actually makes a surprisingly unglamorous debut here as a construction robot, and it goes without saying that the possessed Mazinger hands his ass to him.
With cover fire from the Kurogane gang and Sayaka flying the Pilder, Kouji manages to jump inside of the head and personally face down the Kedora: this doesn't go so great. Getting impatient, Dr. Hell pops up a small band of mechanical beasts from nowhere and attempts to physically drag Mazinger off. And then there's a surprise: Mazinger's Photon Power overloads, the robot turns into Maoh Dante, and the demon goes on a rampage. When Gramps said Mazinger could be a god or a devil, he meant it literally.
Kouji's still stuck in the head, here, and Tsubasa has to bring the Pilder back around to save him. Apparently all it takes to get the devil out of Mazinger is to park the Pilder in its head, and Mazinger makes short work of the last mechanical beast lying around.
Dr. Hell, realizing that the Kedora are beyond his control and would kill him as easily as Kouji, has the lot of them purged. However, this is too little and too late, as there are much more terrible things than the Kedora hiding out in the depths of Bardos: namely, Duke Gorgon, who has a damn sabertooth tiger for a body. Don't mess with guys like that, or you'll get a cliffhanger ending.