I remember when watching the first several episodes of the Giant Robo anime series, the score stood out as being one of the most exhilarating of any film or anime I'd ever seen, matching the dynamic story and animation scene for scene. Fortunately the score to the first episode manages to remain every bit as enthralling on its own in pure musical form.
Giant Robo's music seems very much a tribute to classic adventure cinema from decades past, and in the process of hailing such works reaches all over the musical spectrum. Tracks like "Main Title" and "Train Chase ~ Whereabouts of the Black Attache Case" are in the spirit of old black-and-white serial adventures with their uninhibited blaring brass and soaring strings. Running full steam for six minutes straight, "Train Chase" brings to mind classic John Williams action marathons like the battles of Yavin and Endor in Star Wars, understandable given the common cinematic influences of that series. "Escape" shifts the musical tone just a bit with rolling snares and even more prominent brass to mimic classic Western movie action scores (a style that is even more dramatically utilized in the second episode's soundtrack).
Perhaps most surprising is the theme for the "Tragedy of Bashtarlle", a performance of the aria "Una furtiva lagrima" from the opera "L'elisir d'amore" in which the somber orchestral instrumentation and virtuoso tenor solo voice perfectly capture the mood of tragedy and sadness. Apart from being completely unexpected for an anime score, it's sheer beauty is captivating.
Other highlights include the bombastic orchestra-choir combination in "Tragedy Repeats Itself...", the poignant theme of personal loss found in "G's Storage ~ Theme of the Experts of Justice", and lighthearted refrains in tracks like "View from Up High" and "Lovey Tetsugyu". What is already a must-have musical score then concludes with possibly its most powerful piece, "Next Episode", which combines the power of orchestra, choir, and contemporary percussion for an immensely dramatic conclusion that will indeed have listeners clamoring for the next installment.
Despite the wide variety of musical styles in Giant Robo they're all implemented superbly, with not a mediocre moment to be found. If there were any nitpicking to be done, it would be that a few well-scored tracks sacrifice musical impact for cinematic effect in following the on-screen action, and even those are exceedingly few. As a whole the score is one of those rare gems that is both cinematic and narrative while standing completely on its own as an exciting musical experience. As the founding and possibly strongest installment in an amazing soundtrack series, Giant Robo I Original Soundtrack is a must for any soundtrack fan.