Hyper-Psychic Geo Garaga Review

Hyper-Psychic Geo Garaga Review

Hyper-Psychic Geo Garaga anime movie cover art
Hyper-Psychic Geo Garaga

Planet of the Apes (and Psychics)

Hyper-Psychic Geo Garaga, also called Garaga (ギャラガ), is a sci-fi anime movie from 1989. It was the worst, full-length, Japanese anime movie I found on MyAnimeList. There were worse movies, but they either weren’t full-length of were Korean.

So, of course, I decided we’d watch Garaga for August’s movie night in the DoubleSama Discord server. I was hoping that it would be so bad it was funny, like Garzey’s Wing. But, that wasn’t the case. Though, that could partly be because we watched it in Japanese, not the English dub.

Anyway, what makes Garaga bad is that it really doesn’t make much sense. While watching the movie, I thought I was following along with the plot just fine. But, after thinking back on the movie, I have no idea what was going on or why.

Jay using his weapon from the anime movie Hyper-Psychic Geo Garaga
Jay using his weapon

The basic plot of Garaga is that a space ship crash lands on a planet called Garaga. And on this planet are at least two sentient races, the Umlangans and the Lars. The Umlangans are ape-like creatures and the Lars are psychics who look like humans. Well, at least, that’s what Lars are supposed to be.

As far as I remember, there’s only one psychic in the whole movie, Farla. The other Lars we see don’t ever exhibit psychic powers. I could be forgetting when they do. But, they’re functionally the same as humans other than Farla.

Anyway, the Umlangans and Lars are in a war over control of Garaga. And, because of course, humanity chose a side and got involved. The humans are on the side of the Umlangans fighting against the Lars. But, not because they want the Umlangans to win. They want the Lars to lose so that the humans can strip Garaga of its natural resources.

It Was the T-800 All Along

So far, nothing I’ve explained should be confusing. The very basic plot of the movie makes sense. It starts getting messy once we introduce all the various characters and their goals. There are quite a few characters in this movie. And each one seems to have their own motive you need to keep track of.

Though, don’t worry if you forget why a particular character is doing a particular thing. The majority of these character arcs don’t go anywhere and are never explained. For example, there’s Galliego (pictured below), one of the bad guys.

For some reason, he raises Kina to believe that Farla is a traitor to the Lars. But, then on his deathbed, he admits he was lying about that the whole time. We never get an explanation for why he lied about Farla. Though, I assume the answer is because he wouldn’t be a villain otherwise.

Galliego from the anime movie Hyper-Psychic Geo Garaga
Galliego

There are also multiple human factions running around Garaga doing their own things. Some want to assassinate the human general. Others want to deliver the general’s daughter to him in a warzone, for some reason. And then there’s Jay, whose mysterious background we never learn. He’s the protagonist, by the way.

So, who’s the actual villain of the movie? Is it Galliego, the “evil” Lars? Is it Farla, the traitor? Kromen Gornue, general of the Umlangans? What about General Yun, leader of the human forces? Well, it’s none of them. It’s a guy named Alf Dolf.

Alf Dolf, which is a great name, is a cyborg who works directly under General Yun. And like any good cyborg, his goal is to eradicate all the organic life forms in the galaxy. Why are the humans, Umlangans, and Lars fighting a war against each other? Alf Dolf manipulated them all.

I Guess the Apes Won?

The very end of the movie also doesn’t make much sense. Jay goes off on his next adventure without explaining things. But, that’s par for the course when it comes to Jay, at this point. What doesn’t make sense is how the war over Garaga gets resolved.

Once Jay defeats Alf Dolf, everything should be fine. He was the cause of the war. Alf Dolf was brainwashing General Yun into committing atrocities on Garaga. And one of those atrocities was turning the Umlangans into super soldiers. Before the humans arrived, the Umlangans were a peaceful race.

So, without Alf Dolf in the picture, General Yun has no reason to turn the Umlangans into soldiers. And, the humans pull out from Garaga, which resolves the war with the Lars. So, yes, everything is fine once Alf Dolf is gone. But, there’s still one confusing detail left.

Farla from the anime movie Hyper-Psychic Geo Garaga
Farla

You see, the humans aren’t the only ones who leave Garaga. All the Lars also leave Garaga. And I have no idea why. Wasn’t the whole point of the Lars (Farla) fighting to protect Garaga from being exploited? The Lars are also a native race of Garaga. So, why are they leaving?

My only guess is that due to the experiments the humans performed, the Umlangans became too smart. Maybe the issue is that there can only be one sentient species at the top. Before, that would have been the Lars. But now, the Umlangans have advanced technology and culture, as well.

That still doesn’t exactly make sense, though. I mean, without the humans in the picture, why would the Umlangans and Lars fight? Ideology? Maybe. But, wouldn’t the same thing happen if the Lars go to Earth with the humans? Though, to be fair, we don’t know where the Lars are going.

Garaga: 5/10

Hyper-Psychic Geo Garaga isn’t a good movie. But, it’s also not actually that bad. Yes, when you think about the movie after the fact, it doesn’t make much sense. However, while watching the movie, I thought it was pretty average for an old anime. So, it gets a 5/10 from me.

Some people would rate Garaga lower just for being old. I’m not going to hold that against it. Also, the basic plot is pretty good, even if it’s not executed well. The biggest problem with the movie comes from all the loose ends. But, I feel like a lot of older anime movies have the same issue.

I mean, look at Akira, a good anime from a year before Garaga. It only covers the first half of the story and then ends. So, plot points being left unfinished or rushed isn’t exactly unique to bad anime from that time.

Anyway, if you enjoyed this review, remember to share it with everyone you know. Also, follow me on your social media of choice so you don’t miss out on any future articles — links are in the footer.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman and JasonHK for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about becoming a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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