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Media Blasters Lets Loose ‘Giant Robo'

18 Aug, 2004 By: Edwin De La Cruz

Media Blasters has announced the October release of “Giant Robo,” one of anime fandom's cherished series.

The series is a re-tooling of the classic 1960s TV show, “Johnny Socko and his Giant Robot” that keeps the two major characters, but adds high-end animation and an expanded story arc that keeps viewers hooked throughout the seven- episode series. “Robo” took the anime industry by storm with its 1960s retro-style character designs.

“‘Giant Robo' is widely recognized as a major work by anime fans, and the lack of a domestic DVD release was an opportunity to jump on, so while no one was paying attention, we acquired it,” said Mike Pascuzzi, VP of sales and marketing at Media Blasters.

“Giant Robo” was originally released in Japan in 1991 with the promise of a new episode every six months for a total seven episode series. Hectic production schedules and demand for quality sometimes lead to a year wait between episodes. By the series' final episode in 1998, the total running time had reached nearly six hours.

In the United States, the series had gained momentum through word-of- mouth and was released by Manga Entertainment on VHS and quickly became one of the early hits of the genre but has never been available in the United States on DVD.

“That VHS release contained an inconsistent dub due to the many years elapsed between episodes. This new release will be digitally remastered and restored,” Pascuzzi said.

Media Blasters is planning a massive re-launch of the influential series that will include a digital remaster, but will also come with one of the most original DVD packages yet: a collector's box made of injection molded plastic in the form of the monstrous “Eye of Folger,” a mechanical menace in the series. The eye will house upcoming Robo releases as well as the made-for-video Ginrei series, which has never been available in the United States.

Pascuzzi said that retailers need not be concerned about stocking this eye-shaped box, whose size is just eight inches in circumference. “By now most retailers selling anime have come to understand that anime fans love boxed sets, special editions and such,” he said. “The more elaborate the better. Consumer demand will dictate that they bring this in.”

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