"I am the Resurrection, and the Life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." The words of Jesus Christ, borrowed to begin the eulogy of the man who had become the latter-day savior of mankind. Sakaguchi Ango tells us that "the notion that there is justice in war, that there is some great underlying principle, is a monstrous lie. War is nothing more than wholesale slaughter." And it is war that the world of Giant Robo is engulfed in, war between the IPO and the B.F. Organization. Whether Sakaguchi Ango's statement is correct or not is to be tested by the central question posed in Giant Robo: "Can happiness be obtained without sacrifice?" Daisaku will have to find his own answer to this question on behalf of the audience. But for Dr. Shizuma, at least, the answer was no.
In explaining the philosophy behind his telling of the story of Giant Robo, Imagawa explains that even though his world contains super powers and strange technology, the underlying loves and hates and dreams and fears common to humanity are unchanged. Giant Robo, like many good works of fiction, beguiles the viewer with glimpses of characters that are larger than life, struggles more glorious than the daily grind of school or work. Energy must be added by the show to the viewer, to get him out of his accustomed potential well and reawaken him to the wider, richer emotional landscape outside. To restore meaning to falling in love. Or falling in battle.
In the interest of helping the viewer appreciate some of the color that Giant Robo offers, I'd like to mention a few things about the ruling cadre of the IPO: the Nine Great Lords of Heaven. Selected from all over the world to head the resistance to the B.F. Organization, they represent the most powerful force for good in the world, and they command the rest of the Experts of Justice. Unfortunately, not all of the Nine will appear in the series, and Imagawa admitted in the liner notes to not having even completed concepts for all of them. But the two of the Nine who do directly appear in the show have central roles. The full roster of the Nine is this:
Taisou the Spiritual Buddhist
In addition to these, Imagawa alludes to the secret leader of IPO, someone named Rai-se the Yellow Emperor, who is never even mentioned in the anime itself. It appears that Marshal Kanshin is the titular head of the Nine, though he is only briefly mentioned in the course of the planning to oppose the Giant Monster Sphere.
Silent Chuujou, real name Chuujou Shizuo, is referred to as "Chief" ("choukan") by his subordinates. He commands the Peking Branch of the IPO, the last IPO branch capable of mounting full-fledged resistance against the B.F. Organization. His powers surpass even those of Taisou, but none of his men have seen him actually go forth into battle. The most obvious reason for his nickname seems to be his habitual emotional reserve, but it is also thought that it might be due to his reluctance to use his abilities. His primary power will be revealed by the end of the series. As an interesting sidenote, Chuujou has the same name as a recently deceased Japanese actor who Imagawa considered to be one of the four best in Japan. Borrowing his name for the character was intentional, but letting the audience know about it was not -- see the liner notes for episode 6 for full details.
Taisou the Spiritual Buddhist is the most recently inducted member of the Nine Great Lords of Heaven. An elder-brother figure to Tetsugyuu and the husband of Youshi the Blue-Faced Beast, his powers include spontaneous generation of electricity with his body. He has a long-standing feud with Albert the Impact, dating back to an incident during a previous (and sadly, not animated) story arc called the "Domino Operation". His posting to the Peking Branch of the IPO is surely one of the factors that has kept it from falling to the B.F. Organization. Taisou has also positioned himself as something between an older brother and a father for Daisaku. His concern for Daisaku's well-being is all-encompassing, and he will be one of Daisaku's most important defenders over the course of the show.
Interestingly, the majority of the characters on the "good guys" side of Giant Robo are not from the top but from the "rank and file" -- this is not the case for the "bad guys". All ten members of the Magnificent Ten will make their appearance at some point or another. I will give a bit of information about them in my next article. Since Daisaku is himself just an ordinary Expert, this is perhaps not all that surprising. Also, the audience can probably better identify with the struggle of the "normal guy" against the high-and-mighty than of the high-and-mighty against each other. In any case, keep your eye on the dynamics of who has power and who uses that power most effectively as the show progresses.
There are many miscellaneous things to be said at this point, but one useful factoid might interest you. In episode three, there is an incident where Uraenus is able to move and fight despite being under the influence of an Anti-Shizuma Field. According to Imagawa, the way this works is that inside Uraenus's body are thousands upon thousands of Shizuma Tubes. By using them in rapid succession, it can get a brief amount of power from each before the Shizuma field renders them useless. Of course, even if the number of tubes is large, it is finite, and hence Uraenus can't operate this way forever -- thus Ivan's comment about having to hurry. Note that this power system had not yet been installed in episode two, which is when Uraenus was halted then by Dr. Shizuma's desperate action.
I highly encourage those with an interest in learning more about this fascinating, gripping show to look at the translations of the liner notes at http://psy-s.cjas.org/~mneideng/trans/giantrobo/. They contain far more information than I can compress into these articles, and much of it never even comes out in the animation itself.
By the way, the title to this article is a shameless adaptation of the title of the fourth soundtrack to Shoujo Kakumei Utena: "Tenchi Souzou Sunawachi Hikari". Translating to "Angelic Creation, Namely, Light", the album showcases some of the best vocal chorus music by J.A. Seazar used in Utena. To those members of the audience who can appreciate character study, sophisticated world concepts, clever humor, and psychological stuff, I cannot recommend Utena highly enough.