Compared to the 2008 series (Casshern Sins), in some aspects the Robot Hunter OVA feels like more of a somewhat faithful remake of the 1973 original than a full re-imagining, even with the narrative re-ordering here. (However, that’s not to claim that this version makes zero updates or alterations either).
Casshan: Robot Hunter (Robotto Hantā Kyashān) 1993
In other ways it’s very different.
I won’t do heaps of comparative notes here, as I plan to save that for a future post, but the tone of this OVA had an interesting balance between mournful, hopeful and dystopian, whereas I think of Casshern Sins as almost despairing in a way.
As is often the case with stories people write about the future, technology is a bitterly duel-edged sword, appearing as both a tool of violence, of oppression and liberation.
It’s a fairly dystopian society shown in the OVA but as I mentioned, the resistance plot does offer hope and progress toward the eventual showdown between Casshan and Braiking Boss / Black King.
Elsewhere, the music* stood out for me, at times being more symphonic than I was expecting from a 1990s OVA. (Maybe that’s a little dismissive of me, and I mean to note that I enjoyed it as much as the perhaps more to-be-expected rock).
And on the note of OVAs, this is anime, and so it will of course feature an obligatory shower scene featuring Luna – not unlike a typical film from just about any other medium, for that matter.
Anyway, one thing I appreciated was that this OVA does tell a full story – just be sure to steer clear of the Harmony Gold, cut-down film-length version. The proper Robot Hunter is four short OVAs and is roughly 20 mins longer all told.
Ideally, I’d spend a bit more time on the differences, but basically if you’ve not heard of Harmony Gold, they’re known for making cuts, changing scripts and generally aiming to change anime to be more kid-friendly.
Getting back to Casshan, if you’ve seen any iteration of these characters and were hoping that the classic acrobatic attacks are still here – they are, and they usually look fairy good, everything does generally speaking, but some of the fire effects do seem a bit old-fashioned.
But hey, this is around 30 years ago now.
I will quickly mention two more comparative things, such as the direct visual quotes that I recognised from the first episode of the 1973 series, (see further below) and the way that Braiking Boss’ name was changed in the subs which was interesting.
But again, I’d like to save more of that for the comparison post!
So, is this OVA worth seeking out?
Maybe for Casshern-completionists or for fans of the era (say, where the OVA schedule offered a bit more time to add extra detail to the frames etc), or if maybe you like the classics. Or at least, updates on classics 🙂
*Michiru Ōshima, also known for (among many other things) FMA.
And here we go – an example of one of the shots that references the original 🙂