Home > Episode Reviews, Mayoi Neko Overrun > Mayoi Neko Overrun Episode 7 – Only the Names Have Changed

Mayoi Neko Overrun Episode 7 – Only the Names Have Changed

There’s something I probably should have mentioned earlier about Mayoi Neko Overrun, but didn’t because I wasn’t quite sure myself. The reason for the stylistic differences between every episode is that each has been headed up by a different director, who has also been responsible for writing and storyboarding the episode.

So episode 3’s excellence was because of Hiraike Yoshimasa, whom I hadn’t heard of before, but whose obvious talent made me want to check out his sci-fi bounty hunter show, Solty Rei (although I am not interested enough to check out his currently-running slice-of-life restaurant comedy, Working!!).

The table tennis scene in episode 4 was the work of Daichi Akitarou, who has been working in the industry (mostly on gag comedies) for as long as I have been alive. And the bewildering terribleness of last week’s episode is the fault of Ikehata Takashi, which shows that the brilliance of Otaku drama series Genshiken was due more to its writing and source material than its production.

Anyway, I was perversely excited for this week’s episode because its director, Kujou Rion, hasn’t directed anything besides a pervy harem series and some direct-to-video hardcore pornography in the 90s. What kind of horrible fan service bonanza was going to come out of such a warped mind?

Great Grand Braver...TRANSFORM!

Instead, it turns out, we get an homage to super robots anime from the 80s. If you’re familiar with the 80s cartoon Voltron, then you’re already familiar with the super robot genre. And if, like me, you grew up in the 90s, you’re probably familiar with its live action equivalent, the Super Sentai shows which provided the action scenes for the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

So, instead of a normal Mayoi episode, we’re treated to episode 26 of made-up super robot series, Grand Braver. The three main girls are energy beings from another world, who lend their powers to three giant robots piloted by humans in order to fight the Machine Empire.

Together with another mysterious mecha pilot (Kaho), they have finally confronted the sinister Duke Machine, Kaho’s father. His strength seems overwhelming, but they combine their robots into one, even more giant robot, and defeat him.

This is episode 26, or about halfway through the show's run. Duke Machine, thought to be the ultimate enemy will be defeated, and the true enemy will reveal himself (after the credits, in this case (it's the boys))

All this is fine and all, but I don’t see the point. Using characters from the show adds nothing, since their personalities become that of the super robot archetypes they embody. It’s not really a parody, since this episode plays all of the conventions of the genre pretty straight.

There’s a lot of (hopefully) intentional continuity problems related to the transforming robots, which are able to comfortably fly around inside Duke Machine’s robot before transforming, but are roughly the same size as it when the four of them combined; there’s a lot of hysterical yelling about energy levels and calling out of special attacks, but this just makes it a convincing replica.

Duke Machine is voiced by the legendarily bassy voice actor Norio Wakamoto, or someone doing a very good impression

And, really, these kinds of shows are so ridiculous to begin with that, if you were to make them even more over the top for parody’s sake, you probably wouldn’t notice the difference.

It’s just an homage to a genre that’s, for all intents and purposes, dead, save the nostalgia of people who grew up with them. But, watching the cobbled-together assembly of out-of-date cliches and character archetypes that makes up this episode seemed very familiar.

I would be lying if I said this episode wasn't mostly giant robots striking cool poses

You see, anime was just as moribund and vapid 20 years ago as it is today: it was just concerned with a different combination of stale, formulaic plots and cookie-cutter, lookalike protagonists. This show was a dead ringer for pretty much every anime I’ve seen from the 80s and 90s, right down to its reliance on dull clichés. And yes, they might be less offensive or insular than today’s incessant pandering to sexually frustrated otaku, but they’re still no more or less artistically shallow.

So, this episode’s sole accomplishment is to bridge the gap between 20 years of history and two vast expanses of popular entertainment devoid of creativity. That makes it better than last episode, but still not anything remotely enjoyable.

The three girls, as energy beings, spend most of the episode tastefully nude (as opposed to their usual state, which is tastelessly becoming nude)

By the way, if you’re interested in a different modern take on the super robot genre, I recommend Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, which pays loving homage to the conventions of the super robot genre while telling a story that is both darker and more serious, and zanier and more over the top. It’s the perfect example of everything this episode is not: a take on old classics that pays homage without drowning in nostalgia, and does something new while staying true to the spirit of its influences.

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