I've written about the unique history of mech anime that came during the 80s from the duo of anime studio Kokusai Eigasha/Movie International Co., Ltd. & anime writer Masaru "Yu" Yamamoto a couple of times in the past on this blog. Back in 2012 I did a general overview of MIC's giant robots to see if they were "innovators" or just mere "oddities", while in 2018 I did something similar for Yu Yamamoto's overall history of mech anime, due to him passing away about a week prior. However, I have never actually had the opportunity to watch any of MIC & Yamamoto's conceptually interesting mech anime, outside of an episode or two, primarily because they were not easily available to English-speaking anime fandom; there were some fansubs here & there, but the actual quality of the translations varied wildly. The most I had previously covered here was the first episode of Galaxy Whirlwind Sasuraiger back on Volume 5 of Demo Disc in 2016.
However, in just the year 2021 alone, things have changed in all the best ways.
On February 23 of this year, Discotek Media released Makyo Densetsu/Legend of the Mysterious Places Acrobunch on SD-BD, under the wonderfully localized title of Acrobunch: The Quest for Treasure (though the Japanese-conceived English name of "Acrobunch in Devil-Land" is a close second). This is MIC & Yamamoto's second collaborative mecha effort, which debuted back in mid-1982 as freshman effort Galaxy Cyclone Braiger was entering its last few episodes; Discotek would later release Braiger on SD-BD on September 28. Acrobunch would run for 24 episodes while the second entry in Yamamoto's iconic J9 Series, Galaxy Gale Baxinger, was also in production; they aired on completely different days on completely different networks, though. Also of note is that halfway into Acrobunch's run, alongside a change in air date & time, MIC outsourced the animation to Toei, which was helping MIC out with some other shows during that time, including both Braiger & Baxinger; because of this, each half has some unique staff, namely directors.
So, after nearly 40 years, let's see if Acrobunch: The Quest for Treasure is a journey filled with fortune & glory, and if it belongs in a museum.