The sci-fi shounen genre has never had it this good. Okay, not never since Giant Robo, but this anime managed to claw its way out of the pile of junk that sometimes stinks up the shounen genre to provide something really refreshing. Tengen Toppa is loud, it's brash, it's explosive just like all the others, and yet it also delivers deep characterisation and moving subplots. It's Gundam on speed, GaoGaiGar with brains, Getter Robo with sentiments, and has a liberal dose of Toward the Terra's epic feel. In essence, it looks asinine on the surface, but actually spins a mature and compelling story without losing that heart-stopping sense of adventure.
The first half is not just a great series of episodes but a remarkable laying down of groundwork. At first, what seemed to be merely fun concepts, such as mecha combining, primitive societies living in caves, and battles occurring with giant drill-shaped arms, actually took on meaning in the latter half that lifted the show to epic proportions. The focus shifted from providing a series of power-ups and simple good-versus-evil battles to a fairly complex weaving of political and philosophical ‘grey areas', human empowerment, and romance. Tengen Toppa basically tried to be everything to everyone - it tried to let us have our cake and eat it - and to a large extent, it succeeded.