Gigantor

Gigantor

Infobox Television


caption = "Gigantor" Volume 1 DVD
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creator = Mitsuteru Yokoyama Fred Ladd
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starring =
voices = Billie Lou Watt Cliff Owens Gilbert Mack Peter Fernandez
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num_seasons =
num_episodes = 52
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website = http://www.gigantor.org
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imdb_id = 0058807
tv_com_id = 64046

Gigantor is the American adaptation of the anime version of Tetsujin 28-go, a manga by Mitsuteru Yokoyama released in 1956.

Plot And Symbolism

The series is set in the "future" year of 2000. A boy named Jimmy Sparks is the nephew of Dr. Bob Brilliant and lives with him on a remote island. Jimmy usually wears shorts and a jacket, carries a firearm and occasionally drives a car. Jimmy fights crime around the world with the help of a huge remote-controlled robot, Gigantor. The robot is made of steel, and has a rocket-powered backpack for flight, a pointy nose, eyes that never move, and incredible strength, but no intelligence (although in one episode when fighting a smoke bot he started to tap his head as if trying to think). Whoever has the remote control controls Gigantor. The 2004 version of the anime takes place after WWII. According to this version, the robots where supposed to be made for the Axis. But the Axis never agreed to use them, and they shut down the project after that the robots went rogue and disappeared along with their creators.

There is a notable resemblance between the characters of Jimmy and Gigantor and the characters of the boy Hogarth and the giant robot in Ted Hughes' well-known children's book "The Iron Man", which was published in 1968. It is not known whether Hughes ever saw the "Gigantor" series.

In post World War II and then Cold War era Japan, it is likely that the plots for the episodes were symbolic of the things going on in the world at the time. This assumption can be made given how many plots revolved around one oppressive country invading another peaceful one, requiring Gigantor's aid to save them. It is debatable whether or not the writers meant for the oppressive country to be representative of the United States (Like many writers of the time did in the Japanese genre of giant monster and robot heroes) or of the Soviet Union, or even both. The same is true in the reverse, as peaceful countries could be the United States or symbolic of a country under the 'Iron Curtain' (Both would fit with the Soviet Union being portrayed as the oppressor) or as Japan itself (Which would fit if the oppressing country was the United States). Curiously, Gigantor's size, facial features and European knight-style armor suggest that the robot itself may have been inspired, at least in part, by Japanese perceptions of foreigners.

History

In 1963, Fred Ladd, while working on the animated feature "Pinocchio In Outer Space" and on the animated TV series "The Big World of Little Adam" had seen artwork of Mitsuteru Yokoyama presenting a giant robot remote-controlled by a young boy. The Tokyo-based artist had designed the robot for a Japanese shōnen manga series "Tetsujin 28" and later a black-and-white animated TV series called "Tetsujin-28-go".

Ladd, who had produced the successful international, English-language adaptation of "Astroboy", and Al Singer formed a corporation called Delphi Associates, Inc. in order to produce and distribute an English-language version of "Tetsujin-28-gō". They took only 52 episodes of the Japanese series for the American market, and renamed the series "Gigantor". Peter Fernandez wrote much of the English script, and participated in the dubbing. The series became an immediate hit with juvenile audiences, though adult reactions were sometimes hostile.

It was playing at 7:00 p.m. on New York's WPIX-TV in January 1966 when "Variety" gave it a particularly scathing review, calling it a "loud, violent, tasteless and cheerless cartoon." which was "strictly in the retarded babysitter class."

Even this reviewer, however, had to grudgingly admit the popularity of "Gigantor", writing, "Ratings so far are reportedly good, but strictly pity the tikes and their misguided folks." ["Variety," January 26, 1966]

"Gigantor" became a popular Japanese export during this time. The series was shown on Melbourne television in January 1968 through Trans-Lux, on Channel 10 at 5:00pm. It was described by the "TV Week" as an "animated science fiction series about the world's mightiest robot, and 12-year-old Jimmy Sparks who controls the jet-propelled giant." The series was also screened in New South Wales (presumably around the same time) on the 0-10 Network's Sydney affiliate. It was also screened in New Zealand around the same time.

"Gigantor" was one of a number of Japanese TV series that enjoyed strong popularity with young viewers in Australia during the 1960s. The first and undoubtedly the most successful of these was the hugely successful live-action historical adventure series "The Samurai", the first Japanese TV series ever screened in Australia, which premiered in late 1964. It was followed by a contemporary ninja-based live action espionage series, "Phantom Agents", and a number of popular Japanese animated series including "Astro Boy", "Prince Planet", "Marine Boy" and "Kimba the White Lion", the cartoon series which is reputed to have been the uncredited basis for Disney's "The Lion King".

In July 1994, Fox Family Films, a division of 20th Century Fox, acquired the rights to "Gigantor" for a live-action motion picture.Parker, Donna. (July 19, 1994) Hollywood Reporter "Fox reinvents "Gigantor" robot." Page 3.] Anticipating that Gigantor would become a franchise for the studio, Fox tapped screenwriters Steve Meerson and Peter Krikes to prepare the script and budgeted between $35 million and $50 million for the film. Executive producers Fred Ladd and Aeiji Katayama indicated that Mitsuteru Yokoyama would get an executive producer credit and that the 50 foot robot would be updated and modernized for the 1990s with a 12 foot height and morphed and computer-generated features.

Characters

Whimsical English names were given to the show's characters, such as "Dick Strong", a secret agent; a funny policeman named "Inspector Blooper"; and enemies, such as, "The Spider", "Dubble Trubble", and "Dr. Katzmeow".

Jimmy Spark's voice was that of Billie Lou Watt. The voice of Inspector Blooper was that of Ray Owens. Gilbert Mack voiced Dick Strong. Peter Fernandez provided the voices of other Gigantor characters.

Broadcast

Alphabetized by city.

*WRIP-TV / Channel 61• Chattanooga, Tennessee
*KBSC-TV / Channel 52• Los Angeles, California
*WPIX-TV / Channel 11• New York, New York
*WKBS-TV (Philadelphia) / Channel 48• Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
*KTNT-TV / Channel 11• Tacoma, Washington

Episodes

*Battle at the Bottom of the World!
*Sting of the Spider!
*Return of the Spider!
*Spider's Revenge!
*The Secret Valley!
*The Diamond Smugglers!
*Dangerous Doctor Diamond!
*Force of Terror!
*World in Danger!
*Badge of Danger!
*The Smoke Robots!
*The Freezer Ray!
*The Magic Multiplier!
*The Submarine Base!
*Treasure Mountain!
*The Mystery Missile!
*The Giant Cobra!
*The Great Hunt!
*The Deadly Web!
*The Atomic Flame!
*The Incredible Speed Machine!
*The Monster Magnet!
*Target: Jupiter!
*Trap at 20 Fathoms!
*Monsters from the Deep!
*Will the Real Gigantor Stand Up?
*Ten Thousand Gigantors!
*The Plot Seize Gigantor!
*The Space Submarine!
*Gigantor Who?
*The Robot Olympics!
*The Crossbones Caper!
*Ransome at Point X!
*The Gypsy Spaceship!
*The Space Cats!
*Return of Magnaman!
*Vanishing Mountain!
*The Insect Monsters!
*The City Smashers!
*The Robot Firebird!
*Magnaman of Outer Space!
*The Robot Albatross!
*Battle of the Robot Giants!
*Struggle at the South Pole!
*The Deadly Stingrays!
*Gigantor and the Desert Fire!
*The Atomic Whale!
*The Secret Formula Robbery!
*The Evil Robot Brain!
*The Devil Gantry!
*The Robot Arsenal!
*Danger's Dinosaur

Sequels and Spin Offs

An American made "Gigantor" comic book series was released in 2000 by Antarctic Press. The comic lasted for twelve issues and was later collected in 2005 in trade paperback form. The comic used elements from the anime Giant Robo as well as Marvel Comics references though the later issues became closer to the original animation.

Creators behind Gigantor have unveiled plans for another updated design, a "Gigantor for the New Millennium." This newest form of the giant robot is called G3 and differs from past designs. The new Gigantor is a meld of robot and cyborg. According to the main site: "Driven by a complex neuro-system of DNA-impregnated neurochips, Gigantor G3 is a living Cybot!" [http://www.gigantor.org/] ".

Trivia

*Even though Gigantor's official height is three stories tall, he seems capable of significantly altering his size depending on the situation. This is most likely due to animation inconsistency. He may go from the size of Jimmy Sparks to the size of a ship without warning.

*Gigantor was a favorite childhood cartoon of Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine, and as such influenced the name of Gigantour, a heavy metal music festival created by Mustaine in 2005.

*Metal band Helmet once covered the show's theme song.

*The theme song of the show was covered by Los Angeles based punk band The Dickies on their album Dawn Of The Dickies. [Boehm, Mike. (February 16, 1988) Los Angeles Times " [http://news.google.com/archivesearch?hl=en&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tab=wn&q=The+Dickies+opened+with+Phillips+quoting+Bullwinkle+and+finished+with+a+heavy-rock+version+of+the+%22Gigantor%22+cartoon+theme, Punks Make Contact at Lively Dickies/Circle Jerks Show.] " Section: Calendar; Page 8.]

*Gigantor was politically parodied on an April 22, 2007 episode of "Saturday Night Lives TV Funhouse as "Torboto: The Robot that Tortures People."' The main robot "Torboto" looked nearly identical to "Gigantor", yet was built by the United States Government, controlled by Dick Cheney, and used to humiliate and torture prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. The introduction of the sketch patterned itself both visually and musically after the American "Gigantor" theme.
**It should be noted that the name "Torboto" was an amalgam of the words "torture" and "robot", and included the suffix '-tor' from "Gigantor" in its name.

*The theme song of "Gigantor" is parodied in the "Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain" episode "How I Spent My Weekend".

Footnotes

External links

* [http://www.toonopedia.com/gigantor.htm Gigantor at Toonopedia]
*ann anime|id=1293|title=Gigantor


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