Crown Jewels of Anime: Giant Gorg

Posted by Guest Author on May 18, 2008 in Animation |

Giant Gorg

In this exclusive series our guest author Tim Eldred picks the top ten crown jewels of anime:

As a guy who started watching anime in 1980, I was lucky enough to catch the virus when the medium was in a creative upswing the likes of which simply hasn’t been seen since. Of course, there was great stuff before that, but never in quite so much abundance. The early 80s in particular were chock full of shows that had the power to make me (A) cry like a baby or (B) leap out of my chair like a sports fan. And any show that could do both became a crown jewel in my eyes. They haven’t all been officially exported yet, which means a lot of people still have an opportunity to experience them for the first time. Here’s number 7 on my top ten list:

Giant Gorg

Among the pantheon of superstars who were responsible for all the best anime of the early 1980s was a phenomenal artist who works just as hard today as he ever did: Yasuhiko Yoshikazu. He rose through the ranks of character designers in the 1970s, contributing to Yamato, Combattler V, and ultimately Mobile Suit Gundam to explode into American consciousness with the phenomenal Crusher Joe feature film. As the director, Yas supervised the production so closely that in the end it was as if he’d drawn every frame in his signature style, which is a gorgeous combination of effortless organics and rock-solid mechanics. Crusher Joe was a triumph of design and story. And Giant Gorg was its successor.

Giant Gorg: The robot and scenes from the show

Gorg’s 26-episode run took it from late ‘83 to early ‘84 and was every bit a visual feast as Crusher Joe. The stars must have lined up just right to make this happen, since all too often the mad crush of early 80s anime production forced a lot of outsourcing that often compromised their consistency. Not so with Gorg; either Yas personally vetted every frame of the series or an army of Yas clones had been engineered for the task. The point is, one way or another, Giant Gorg deftly eluded the usual pitfalls of TV production to become one of the most beautiful series ever made‹a claim that holds up as well today as it did back then.

So what about the story? If you were ever a Jonny Quest or 007 fan, you’ll be right at home. The focal point is the mysterious Austral Island, a haven of weird and spooky ?anomalies of nature? that is being fought over by natives, gangsters, and the monolithic GAIL corporation. Into this mix arrives a young boy named Yu Tagami, who follows the footsteps of his lost father into this lion’s den. Waiting for him is a giant blue robot and a plot-twisting path that would give Indiana Jones a run for his money.

Naturally, the series was far too good (or to be fair, far too expensive) to be exported to the Western world, but once you’ve seen it with your own eyes you’ll never look at anime the same way again.

Below: Promotional artwork from Giant Gorg and the opening titles.

Giant Gorg: Promotional illustration

Tim Eldred is a graphic novelist, TV animation artist, and hopeless fanboy. You can see his work at and

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