This is another tokosatsu of which I had never heard, but a collection of which I was sent, and so you all get to enjoy (?) my reactions to it.
We start with:
Episode 01: "Conspiracy of the Robot Empire"
We meet our hero, Secret Scientific Investigation (hereafter "S.S.I") agent Ken Kurenai (in "real life", he's a car dealer) and his older brother Kenichiro, a roboticist. Their life has bene marked by tragedy - their parents and their kid brother Kenzo (Yes, Ma and Pa Kurenai named their sons "Kenichiro", "Ken" and "Kenzo".) We meet Ken's colleagues on the S.S.I. team, who are guarding an expo of all the world's giant robots. They are:
We also meet Inspector Kumano, a bike cop who wields an unbrella gun, sort of like the Penguin used to. He appears to be the comedy relief character, of the sort so beloved by the makers of these shows and which I have always found profoundly unfunny. However, as with Maxwell Smart, bumbler though he is, he does well in a fight, which i just as well, as it at least gives some clue as to why theothers put up with him.
Anyhow, the Robot Expo is raided by the somewhat awkwardly named Invasion Robot Troy Horse (a somewhat unimpressive robot design) under the direction of Professor Deviler of the Robot Empire of the Iron Alliance. While the S.S.I. battles the Alliance's foot soliders, who seem to exist to get beat up, the heels kidnap Kenichi and steal all the robots.
Kenichi is brought before the Professor, who implants him with a control collar, and sends him home, where he meets Ken, who singularly does not ask him what happened to him or how he escaped. Kenuchi presents Ken with the robot Red Baron, which he has been building in secret. I have to say that the Red Baron is not my favorite robot design, but it's OK. Kenichi gives his brother the guided tour of the robot and has him touch the controls, which imprints them on Ken, so that only he can use them. Troy Horse shows up, and Ken pilots Red Baron in battle against it. Red Baron exhibits several attacks, such as the Elec-Trigger, a sort of energy attack, and BARON PUNCH! and BARON BARRIER!, which I foresee will furnish me with endless amusement. Once Ken has won, the Professor reveals that he sent Troy to attack in order to put RB through its paces, then orders Kenichi to hand it over to him. Um, if he rwanted RB for himself, shouldn't he have ordered Kenichi to hand it over before the latter let Ken imprint himself on the thing? Sloppy planning there, Prof!
Thwarted, the Professor sends the robot Big Bison to stand there looking large but otherwise unthreatening, and threatens Kenichi with punishment for his disobedience.
Cliffhanger: Kenichi's control collar is killing him!
Overall: This comes across as quite fun show, I am hopeful of getting quite a bit of entertainment out of this.
You and me both! (Me, not just from the episodes, but from your reviews.) I gotta tell you, though, were about a dozen episodes in to Johnny Sokko (of 26) and Astro Boy (of 52), and Tracy would kill me if I tried to add another Japanese show into the lineup at this time (and this one is not even dubbed in English, but sub-titled). I'll be reading along with you, though, and joining you in watching (albeit somewhat behind) as soon as we're through with Johnny Sokko.
Regarding the Kenichiro, Ken and Kenzo thing, in King Lear Gloucester named his two sons Edgar and Edmund. I always supposed it saved time calling the family to dinner.
"Ed, Edd and Eddie"?
Once I'm done with this show, I'll probably be re-visiting Johnny Sokko, but one show at a time is enough for me!
Two of my father's older brothers were named Charles and Carlos.
The Lovely and Talented: "You do realize, don't you, that your grandmother named two of her sons Charles?"
Me: "Not until just now, no."
Episode 02: "Violent Clash! The Baron Break"
Kenichiro blows up real good. RB battles Big Bison, whose wiggly ears are of little use against BARON MISSILES! Captain Daigo watches it all on aviewscreen that he keep hidden in a piano. In his garage. Ken and the SSI all swear on the Kurenai family grave that they will defeat the Iron ALliance, in a scene that is meant to be moving but is somehow funny.
Elsewhere, some kids call Inspector Bicycle (And can I say again how much I hate this character even as I feel sorry for the actor playing the role?) to investigate a suspicious building. Ken investigates as well, and he and the Inspector are captured by what appears to be a prototype for Doctor Girlfriend. Ken agrees to go quietly if they will let the Inspector go. Bizarrely, ur-Doctor Girlfriend agrees to this, apparently not concerend that the Inspector will immediately summon the SSI. Ken is put in a death trap straight out of 60's Batman - but, it's a trick to get him to summon RB, who arrives, but is promptly knocked over by Black Masai, a spear-throwing (Nothing racist there!) robot with large nipples. (!) BM goes on a rampage, but Ken is rescued by Daigo, and the SSI and Inspector Bicycle kill Man-Girl. Bereft of his controller, BM is left directionless and is easy pickings for RB. Elsewhere, Professor Deviler proimses it's not over!
Cliffhanger: Ken promises his borther's ghost that he will go on fighting!
Overall: Still entertaining, despite some of the worst robot designs I have ever seen.
This is insane!
Yesterday afternoon I told Tracy that Bob had started reviewing Super Robot Red Baron, fully expecting her to rebel, but she actually suggested that we watch the first two episodes last night so that I could keep up with the discussion. We ended up not watching it (last night), but we may work it into the rotation sooner than expected.
If anyone is interested in actually watching these shows along with the discussion, let me know. DVD sets (40 episodes) are available locally for $3, but supplies are limited!
Episode 03: "Trump Card: Android X"
The Professor's newest pklan involves an android version of Kenichiro. His assistant in this is a a young woman dressed rather like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. We cut to the SSI and Inspector Bicycle hunting for a UFO, which attacks Ken and Mari. The others get involved, and, at one point the Inspector flies through the air, and there are clerly some strings involved! Then the robot Agun-Garuda from the Federation of Southeast Asia arrives. It is somewhat ungainly, but has the ability to break apart and have its separate parts attack individually, which I haven't seen before. The SSI searches for A-G's controller, but is caught by IA thugs. They are rescued by Inspector Bicycle. If they must have an unfunny "wacky" character, at least he's not useless. The heels flee, but not before Mari gets a picture of Kenichirobo. A-G flees using a pink smokescreen! Ken sees Mari's photo, and, wondering if his brother is still above, visits the place where he died. John Travolta Girl meets him there, and hands him a note, ostensibly from his dead brother, demanding a meeting. Ken, being a trusting soul, goes to the meeting. Mari sees this and follow, summoning the SSI. Kenichirobo demands that Ken hand over RB. Ken doesn't buy it. Seeing that it's not working, John Travolta Girl and Kenichirobo flee, leavign Ken and the SSI to battle IA thugs. A-G returns, but is defeated by RB and the SSI. Suddenly, the Japanese robot Hiryu (which was the name of one of the carriers sunk at Midway) arrives!
Cliffhanger: Hiryu is piloted by Kenichirobo!
Overall: Interesting stuff. I hadn't really anticipated the soap opera elements they seem to be developing. It would be nice to learn a little bit more about the other SSI members, or maybe even see Inspector Bicycle have a more serious moment now and then.
These summaries are making me want to start watching the show along with you! I tried to work it into rotation last night, but Tracy put her foot down. She said we could watch either Johnny Sokko or Super Robot Red Baron, but not both at the same time. Her liberal attitude Tuesday night must have been temporary insanity.
Well, you can't fight city hall Tracy. ;)
Episode 04: "Sure Kill! The Phoenix Maneuver"
Hiryu attacks RB with its HIRYU KICK! Then he rips RB's arm off and starts beating him with it, which is something I've always wanted to try just horrendously violent. Ken is unwilling to fight back for fear he will hurt his brother. Having humiliated RB, Hiryu takes off. Instead of, I don't know, finishing it off? The SSI repairs RB, but it battle circuits won't work, and they don't know how to fix them. Meanwhile, the Iron Alliance implements its program to enslave humanity by grabbing two or three people from time to time, which strikes me as somewhat inefficient. Perhaps it's a sort of Ponzi scheme - you enslave ten people, they each enslave ten people, and so on. Inspector Bicycle is walking some kids to school when IA thugs attack. They escape with the kids, but IB manages to kill one (a thug, not a kid) with a sword, then sets off in pursuit. Ken happens along, and he joins the chase, and summons the SSI. Ken and IB infiltrate the IA base. Ken disables a guard by punching him in the groin (!), whilst IB settles for hitting one with his umbrella. Ken beats up a medical team, but IB is caught, and so Ken has to surrender. Ken is prepped for Cyberconversion, but Mari has infiltrated dressed as a nurse (Woo-hoo!), and our heroes break free. IB works to get the kids out, tossing a grenade (!) at some thugs. The SSI arrives and after a brief gun battle the thugs are beaten. Hiryu shows up, and there's a brief skirmish in which the SSI jeep is claearly a toy. Using X-rays, they determine that Kenichirobo is a toaster. Ken prays to his brother's ghost, and some moonbeams come down from Heaven and reveal the location of RB's schematics, enabling the SSI to fix RB. RB begins demolishing the IA base as a means of drawing out Hiryu. But it's all a trap as Hiryu immobilizes RB so that the IA can melt RB using giant flamethrowers. This does not work well, as Hiryu melts, the flamethrowers overheat, and RB survives!
Cliffhanger: Not really, but what will Boss Hogg the IA get up to next?
Fun stuff. Maany scenes that are meant to be moving or melodramatic, and turn out quite funny instead.
Bob, your summaries are hysterical!
Why oh why don't I own this?