Space Ironmen Kyodyne

Space Ironmen Kyodyne

was a Japanese tokusatsu science fiction superhero television series. The show, like numerous others of its type and era, were produced as a joint effort between manga-ka Shotaro Ishinomori and Toei Company producer Hirayama Tôru. It premiered in 1976 and ran for 48 episodes. The show is well-known for its strange plot and costume design, rapid-fire and purposefully disorienting editing, and unique, sometimes surreal, atmosphere.

Plot summary

The plot of the program involves an alien empire from the planet "Dada" called the "Robot Army Corps". When they kidnap a human scientist, Dr. Hayami, and two of his three sons and force him to improve their technology, he has no choice but to go along with them, despite his deep anger, resentment, and guilt.

One year later, their empire sufficiently advanced, the Robot Army Corps return to Earth, ready to put their plans into action-- however, two here-to-forth unknown robots charge in and stop their invasion cold. It is then revealed that Dr. Hayami programmed the personalities of his two kidnapped sons, Jouji and Ryouji, into these super-powered robots to both stop the Robot Army he was forced to work for, and care for his youngest son, Kenji. Jouji and Ryouji, now "Skyzel" (as in "sky) and "Granzel" (as in "ground"), are armed with awesome strength and powerful shape-shifting abilities, able to transform into a jet and a car respectively. With these abilities, they carry on their father's legacy and fulfill his wishes.

Characters

Dr. Hayami

Skyzel - Jouji Hayami

Granzel - Ryouji Hayami

Kenji Hayami

Gonbesu GA-49

Gonbesu (or Gombess) is the brother's robot helper. It separates into two parts - its head, like a flying saucer, and its body, which resembles a huge bowling ball - when fleeing or attacking an enemy.

Uniqueness

The oddity of the show is reflected in the costume designs -- Skyzel has features of a jet, such as a nosecone on his head, not unlike the Transformers character Dirge, and rockets on his chest, and Granzel's outfit features exhaust pipes, headlights and superfluous tires. The props used to represent the transformed versions of the characters echo this aesthetic, with anthropomorphic features like fists featured on the vehicles. The most obvious example of this is that when the sculpted mouths that move like a puppet's when the characters speak.

The editing is another aspect of the series that adds to its novelty. The fight scenes, which due to the nature of the series are very prominent, are edited in such a way that the action is seen from a variety of different angles very quickly and repeatedly, creating a disorienting and kinetic atmosphere.

Merchandise

As with most other programs of this type, the series was heavily marketed. Die-cast action figures of the main characters and their alternate vehicle modes were produced as part of Popy's Chogokin during the series' run. The vehicles were later imported to the United States as part of the Shogun Warriors line. Jumbo Machinder versions of Granzel and Skyzel were also produced.

In later years, soft vinyl toys of two protagonists were produced as part of Bandai's "Soul of Sofubi" toyline, and slightly stylized and reimagined versions were immortalized in statue form as part of the "Super Imaginative Chogokin Artistic Soul" series, also by Bandai.

Culture

Though it has not had a profound impact on culture like its brethren "Ultraman" and "Kamen Rider", the occasional reference to "Kyodain" crops up in modern Japanese pop culture. For instance, the first episode of the anime "Lucky Star" used the series' opening theme song as its ending theme, under the pretense of one of the characters, an otaku(voiced by Aya Hirano) singing it at a karaoke bar. The theme to another tokusatsu program, "Akumaizer 3", was used in the second episode.

References

*imdb title|id=0185115
* [http://japanhero.com/tokusatsu%20reviews/kyodain.htm A review of "Kyodain"] at "Japan Hero".
* [http://zincpanic.com/view_series.phtml?toys=377 An index of licensed toys from the series] at "Zinc Panic".


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