Hello again anime vice. It’s M here for another Anime review. I know it’s been a bit since my last couple, but in exchange I’m going to be posted up two. Back to the business of the day, under the pretense of watching anime with old friends (most of which are the M-cast crew) we happened onto an old somewhat obscure anime, IGPX season one.
Produced for the old Toonami, but made by I.G productions of Evangelion and Ghost in the Shell fame. This series was present in my childhood, but neither fondly remembered or disliked. IGPX after two seasons was enough of a commercial failure despite being critically well received to be one of the only shows on Cartoon Network to not return. Some rumors surround it being because of a tax credit that called for it to be removed, but I can’t find a reliable source on that. Either way IGPX found its way into near complete obscurity. Knowing that I took a crack at IGPX to see what exactly happened.
In the Year 2049 the world’s biggest sport ends up being a mix of hot wheels and gundom named the Immortal Grand Prix. Here enters new team Satomi new hot shots off the heels of winning the lower tier championship and uplifted to the IG1. Matched up against the best of teams of the world including the two year champions Team Velshstien, team Satomi must beat and dethrone each one in this mecha battle/racing circuit to become the new champions.
When reviewing the horror stories that are the EA animated movies the idea of a western published, eastern made anime sound like nothing more than a horrific cash in. This idea became so ingrained that when watching IGPX it felt completely shocking how good IGPX actually is. While it’s not exactly the thinking man’s anime, IGPX is just an incredible amount of fun. While I’ve never really gotten into sports the game in IGPX is complex enough to be interesting and exciting, not to mention the battle/racing segments are done in some of the best CG I’ve seen around despite being a show from back in 2005. Simply put I looked forward to every match and often was completely entertained throughout. The story is casual and never trying to be more than it can handle, yet manages to make the characters grow on you just enough to invest yourself in one or two of the teams.
The negatives are present however. The show was made for English voice and while it’s plenty serviceable some voice actors do rein it in a bit more than they should. A lot of plot clichés you’re used to show up in force though are no more offensive then any tropes. The scenes that require any level of fluid animation are done so well that the budget issues begin to pop up on some of the lower intensity moments. This is not so much to say the animation is sometimes bad, just short on frames to cut cost in less important shots. Some of the teams have a bit of gimmicky stuff to them and almost everything is explained via future techno bullshit.
Those things aside IGPX has two more shinning things I need to mention. First off the soundtrack is both fantastic and tragically hard to find. This mostly due to it being nearly all Toonami music, but since old Toonami had excellent music it’s hardly shocking that IGPX when sharing its OST has some of the best music in anime. Lastly the climax of season one ends so well it had me literally on the edge of my seat (And no I’m not exaggerating M-cast co-star Jake never let that go when he noticed) The buildup to the big match between Satome and Velshstein starts episode one and manages to pay off and then some.
I was completely caught off guard by IGPX. Honest I was ready to write it off as more Toonami nostalgia in others then actual quality. This is just not so. While IGPX isn’t as complex or as big in scale as many other anime I tend to like, it’s exciting and just good god damned fun. I can’t promise I’ll look at season two. I’m feeling much the way about this is I did at the end of darker then black season one which is to say content to let it be. Either way IGPX comes in at 4 battle ready house cats out of 5. Later Anime vice.