So the new Super Robot Wars V trailer was shown last week, 4 months after the initial teaser video. It was an excellent trailer, showcasing a good balance of fan service in what was shown, as well as the developers listening to the fans. However, for many people following this, due to it being the first licensed title to get an English release to some degree, they aren't aware of what the trailer was focused on showing, why certain units shown got very positive reactions from fans. So we're going to go through and break down every single one, and give a little bit of context and a history lesson for the related anime and if it appeared in previous games. In case you haven't seen the trailer, here it is so you can follow along. I'll also be leaving time stamps under each photo in case you'd rather skip around.
One of the biggest things to note in this trailer was that a large number of series that will in Super Robot Wars V are not shown, or at least, content seen from the previous PS3/Vita entry, Super Robot Wars Z3. These series are:
A large reason for this is that, as many fans have noted, the game reuses the art style seen in the Z3 titles. In addition, those with keen eyes noted that some sprites were straight up reused. This has lead some fans to be very nervous about how much is being reused from the previous games. As a result, anything shown from a series that was in Z3, such as Evangelion and Full Metal Panic, were generally new sprites, for one reason or another. In this part we'll be covering everything in the trailer before the original units are shown. So with that out of the way, let's continue.
This was the first big reveal of the trailer, the first one they showed. The debut of the Shin Mazinger Z incarnation of Great Mazinger, in all its glory. For fans of the original series, and those that have been following since Shin Mazinger Zs debut in SRW Z2 on the PSP, it means a lot. The plan for the show, which was a reboot of the original Mazinger, was to follow up with a reboot of Great Mazinger, and it even teased Great Mazinger and ended on a cliff-hanger to lead into it. Great is considered to be superior to the original Mazinger Z, and the focus switches over from one to the other as a result, usually with Mazinger Z being taken fully out of commission by an enemy too strong for it, as the cliff-hanger ended on. However, the follow up never happened, leaving the show on a very painful ending. As a result, subsequent titles following Z2 that featured the show would often run through alternative takes on what happened during and/or after the cliff-hanger, either with the return of Hades(long story) in Z3, or using the Great General of Darkness like the show did in BX. However, despite even being teased in Z2, Great Mazinger has never showed up in these takes, but no one knows why. So for those that have been wanting closure on that cliff-hanger, this game will be the closest thing to the Great Mazinger reboot that never happened.
Fun fact: Great's return marks the first time since SRW GC, which was released in 2004, that the original series, regardless of spinoff or incarnation with the exception of Gundam, in the first Super Robot Wars title were in the same game: Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger, Getter Robo and Universal Century Gundam. Also I'll give you one guess as to what platform it was on.
This is the Xi Gundam piloted by Hathaway Noa, prominently featured from the novel Hathaway's Flash. According to promotional material, Hathaway's Flash is being used for units only. While it doesn't necessarily rule out some plot elements making their way in, as has been the case in the past, it means the it needs to make up for it with unit presentation, especially since this is the debut of Hathaway's Flash for the series. Most likely it will play a role for the events of Char's Counterattack, which was the debut for Hathaway Noa. There is also the chance it may find its way into the events of Unicorn or Crossbone, but this is unlikely. For non-Gundam followers, it faces the challege of 'What makes it different from being just another Gundam?', especially since some feel there is a Gundam overload. Funnel missiles, a twist on the classic Gundam funnel weapons, are used here, showing off a smooth and fluid animation for them, while also forging its own identity. What further tricks it has up its sleeve for the game remain to be seen.
Here we have Might Gaine from The Brave Express Might Gaine. This sequence is merely demonstrating the ranged capabilities of the title mech with the 'Signal Beam' attack. However, the series actually has the most screen time in both this trailer and the previous teaser, with only Yamato and Mazinger having roughly the same amount. This is partly due to the shoes that Might Gaine is expected to fill, due to being a part of a metaseries known as 'Brave series'. Releasing annually throughout the 90s, the Brave series contained seven separate anime, and played a key role in reintroducing the Super Robot genre to the mainstream Japanese audience. However, of these seven, only one has ever seen distribution, been a part of SRW, and made its triumphant return to the series after 8 years, to fan praise, in SRW BX on the 3DS last year. That entry is The King of Braves GaoGaiGar, the final entry of the series and the one most publicly known and holds the most influence. To put this in perspective, think of the Final Fantasy franchise, and the varying amounts of fame each one has, ignoring the quality or how overrated the title is. GaoGaiGar is the FFVII of the group in that regard.
Also fun fact, the main character for The Brave Express Might Gaine, whose name is Might Senpuuji also voices Guy, the main character for GaoGaiGar. In addition, he was the one who provided the voice work for Link in Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask.
Here we see Athrun Zala in the Infinite Justice Gundam from Gundam SEED Destiny, where he's the deuterogamist. Now you're probably thinking 'But Torch, you said no content from SRW Z3. Clearly he would be in it if he has that big of a role.' Well you'd be horribly wrong. Z3 only had two characters from the SEED series as playable units. They were Kira Yamato, the protagonist of SEED, and Shinn Asuka, the protagonist of SEED Destiny. While I love the games, the Z3 entries suffered from too many series at once, a classic crossover problem, due to having to jump from the PSP to PS3, and adding in even more series both installments of Z3. In the process, several series, such as King Gainer and Eureka Seven, were cut in the jump from PSP to PS3 as a result, while others, such as Gundam SEED and Destiny, were reduced to a single unit. This issue is also suspected to be one of the reasons why Tetsuya never happened in Z3. Athrun being shown off is meant to show that the team is avoiding the mistakes of Z3, taking care to ensure that each series has its proper representation.
I feel like I shouldn’t have to explain who this one. It's Asuka piloting Unit-02 from the Rebuild of Evangelion movies. Obviously it's a given she'd be in, as she's one of the central four characters of the movies. The movies had actually been featured in the previous Z3 games, and so there was a major concern for assets being reused as a result. However, the footage shown from the previous trailer and this one show that new entirely new attacks are being implemented, and returning attacks, which we'll cover in the next blog, are being redone. This is a good step forward to showing the Evangelion units won't simply reuse their Z3 assets.
However, there were other concerns that the trailer did not address. In the second Z3 game, all of the units were swapped out for their 3.0 counterparts as the plot moved from 2.0 into 3.0. However, the amount of attacks they had dropped dramatically, with only Shinji ending up with more than two. Since attacks can run on either ammo for each individual attack, or a shared meter, which in the EVAs case the AT barriers also ran on, it's actually very crippling in terms of offense if the few weapons there are low on ammo and have high energy costs to use. Since those same units have been confirmed will be returning in some form, seeing only 1.0 and 2.0 content, with the exception of a brief glimpse at Mari with Unit-08, is very worrying. On top of this, Rei has been mysteriously absent from trailers, which is concerning as Unit-00 and its two attacks, which were extremely basic, were a source of issue for fans across both games. Hopefully that's been resolved, but the absence of Rei and the 3.0 units doesn't exactly help ease those concerns.
Meet Elpeo Ple, piloting the Quebeley Mk-II, from Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ. This shot has both good and bad implications. We'll focus on the good side of it fist. In Gundam lore, Elpeo Ple has 11 clones. One of them, Ple Two, also stars in ZZ, and will most likely appear as an enemy, unlike Elpeo who is shown as an ally here. However, while the fate of ten of those clones is unknown, the eleventh clone eventually appeared as a major supporting character in Gundam Unicorn, under the name Marida Cruz. In both Z3 and BX, the only two instances that Gundam Unicorn has appeared so far, Marida eventually joined the allied side, either via plot or due to secret objectives. So fans are very excited to see the two interacting, as enemies and allies, as well as Ple Two, hopefully as an ally as well if the stars align.
However, the bad news. Keen eyed fans noticed that the Quebeley Mk-II is merely reused assets. While the Quebely Mk-II wasn't in Z3, the original Quebeley, which is basically the same thing in terms of appearance but with a different coat of paint, is in there because of Zeta Gundam content and it's the same attack animation. The only difference is when the cut-in for the pilot happens. To see that happening does not paint a good picture for the Quebely Mk-II, nor possibly for the original Quebeley if it is also, and it most likely is, in the game.
I don't actually know what this ship is or who the characters featured are, but I know they are from Martian Successor Nadesico: The Motion Picture - Prince of Darkness based on the designs. Martian Successor Nadesico is not a new series to the franchise, having debuted in A on the GBA in 2001 along with the original show being featured in BX on the 3DS last year. However, this is only the second home console entry for the series, and the second time the movie has been in a console game.
The other major part of this shot is the unit featured. There are two unit types in SRW, mechs and battleships. Battleships are very different in terms of stats and abilities from mechs, and are often fewer in number. However, they are also VIPs, meaning losing one results in a game over, and the game requires a mandatory number of them to be deployed each mission, meaning you're going to become very familiar with them over time. Since there are so few, this means that there are at least two new battleships in the game: This one as well as the Yamato. To put this in perspective, Z3, which had a larger number of series included, had 7 battleships, 5 of which are likely to return. So to see new blood is definitely a good thing in this regard.
Here we see Tobia Arronax with the XM-X1 Crossbone Gundam X-1 Kai Kai. If you're wondering, yes, the goofy name matters because there are multiple variants of the Crossbone Gundam. Similar to Hathaway's Flash, Crossbone Gundam is a series of mangas that never left Japan, but are a fan favorite among those that have read them. Crossbones itself isn't new to the series, having debuted and appeared once in Alpha 2 in 2003. However, two of its follow ups, Skull Heart and Steel 7, are new to the series, however Steel 7 is units only. The shots of the Gundam appear to be focusing more on new animations, weapons, and attacks that weren't even present in Alpha 2, perhaps as a way of showing how far the series and hardware has come in 14 years, as well as going along with the general theme of 'Look at all this new content that wasn't in Z3'.
Here we have the titular Yamato from the series Space Battleship Yamato 2199, which is making its debut this game, as well as being the first non-mech space opera to appear in the series. Which is fitting for the series, as it's been cited as a major influence for works such as Gundam and Evangelion. As mentioned earlier, Yamato was the first revealed new battleship for the game. What makes it notable however is that everything in this trailer, and the previous one, indicates that the Yamato may be the only unit from its series. All shots have been focused on it, it's clear that some of its attacks involve deploying others from it, there's no reason to have separate units from it at this rate.
What's interesting though is that the animations for the Yamato are unlike anything else in the series. When it's not sprite based, it becomes a 3D model, and my god, it's a gorgeous model. I'm almost willing to say it's the assets from the show based on the shots and comparing it to the show. Most likely, if I had to guess, the lack of Yamato units to use will be balanced with some of the most unique and beautiful animations in the game. It's also most likely going to be the best battleship in the game, with the largest amount of attacks to boot. It may also be possible that the Yamato is testing the waters to see if the team can potentially get away with switching between sprites and models for future games.
This is the main character from Cross Ange, which just made its debut this game. To be completely honest, this is the one series I can't be bothered to research and look into. I don't hear good things about it, from members of this site and around, clips and bits I've seen are major 'what the hell is this', some of the shots seem directly lifted from Gundam SEED(which isn't helped since both series have the same director). Mech designs are alright, though not my cup of tea. This is just further demonstrating more animations from the main character of the series but I just don't find it exciting. Getting out of the cockpit to finish someone off with a smaller weapon is awesome when done right, but when your mech is still firing at the same time, then it just ruins the moment. Unless the mech is firing at a different enemy, then it's back into awesome territory. Plus, the same thing was done in the previous game and it was done much better, with another Sunrise series no less!
That's how you end an attack like that! No more attacks from the mech itself, only from the pilot. God I wish Armored Trooper VOTOMS was in this game instead. Call me salty/biased/etc, but I just really don't care for Cross Ange. At least it gave us dragons for enemies though, so that's nice at least. Can't go wrong with dragons.
Finally we come to our final moment in this blog, and the second big reveal after the return of Great Mazinger and Tetsuya. The reveal of a new Mazinger mech, named Mazin Emperor G, which will make its debut this game! Tetsuya will be piloting this mech at some point, acting as a midgame upgrade from Great Mazinger. The introduction of new mechs from Mazinger just for Super Robot Wars to act as story upgrades, it isn't a new concept. Mazinkaiser, a popular entry in the series, was originally designed for SRW F Final to act as a plot upgrade for Kouji Kabuto, the original protagonist of the Mazinger franchise. Why this had to happen is a story for another day, but needless to say Mazinkaiser made several more appearances in SRW before it's own series happened. Needless to say however, should Mazin emperor G receive popular reception from fans and continued appearances in later SRW titles, it could receive its own anime.
While some of you may be thinking 'Why is Tetsuya getting a brand new mech when he and his usual mech just returned? You already said Great Mazinger was better than Mazinger Z.'. You are right, however there's a very good reason for the new unit. Kouji Kabuto will be switching over from Mazinger Z to the just debuting Mazinger Zero, and Zero's power will easily overshadow the returning Great. To help understand this, let's put this in perspective with two gifs, so you have an idea of the gap between the two.
All iterations of the Mazinger family possess a chest weapon that fires a beam of concentrated heat, able to melt/vaporize enemies. For the original Mazinger Z, this weapon was called Breast Fire. Here's Great using Breast Burn, it's version of Breast Fire.
Now observe the overall flow of the attack. It comes out quickly, the beam is in the shape of the red heat sink on Great's chest, and the surroundings are unaffected. In addition, while not seen in the gif, the beam itself also doesn't start to expand until after making contact with the enemy. It's fast and powerful, but Tetsuya is in full control of what it hits. Now let's take a look of Mazinger Zero's Breast Fire.
Yep. Charged up, glowing with energy, not even concentrated like Great's, and everything in its path is engulfed in a sea of heat and flames. It's on a whole other level from Great and Mazinger Z, which will further be explored in the next part. To give you a further idea as to how strong Zero is in comparison to Great, we'll refer to the source material. Mazinger Zero is a literal demon that is capable of wiping out all existence, and can, and has, wiped the floor with Great Mazingers like it's nothing. While it most certainly won't be at that level of power as a playable unit, it is still going to be powerful enough that it will overshadow Great Mazinger and give players very little reason to choose it over Zero. Plus it's also the 25th anniversary of the series, so the idea of getting another original Mazinger unit, a way of celebrating Mazinkaiser and its success, was a wise choice as well, especially since the Mazinger franchise is the only one to never miss a licensed game.
Yes, you read that last part right. Even Gundam has missed some Super Robot Wars titles. If you wanted to call the series 'The Mazinger franchise and friends' you wouldn't be wrong.
The other important bit of this to note is the enemy that Emperor is attacking. While I don't know the specific name, due to no guides explicitly naming them besides the faction identity, they are part of the Mycenae Empire, a recurring threat in Mazinger lore, and were present in Z3 for their take on the events after the cliffhanger. While that's not necessarily a huge deal, obviously enemies are going to be reused, it's the gameplay implications that are worrying. When the Mycenae Empire showed up at about the 3/4 mark in the original, it was a hard wake up call for the player. The enemies possessed offensive and defensive abilities that allowed them to assist one another, along with the ability to essentialy take two actions, with high stats to boot, allowing them to tank hits and hit like a truck. They were byfar the most dangerous enemies in the game that were not bosses. I genuinely believe that, if they were not changed in some way for the btter, it will result in an unfair difficulty spike due to a much smaller amount of tankier units compared to Z3. These guys ate Gundams for breakfast in Z3, which isn't great considering how much of the unit list Gundam makes up in this game.
That's it for this part. In this next one we'll cover the rest of the trailer, which includes the original mechs, as well as some other details not covered here. If you've made it this far, thanks for reading! Feel free to leave any questions you have in the comments, and I'll be sure to answer them to the best I can.