The Baron Watches "The Super Robot Red Baron" (SPOILERS)

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:


  • Minoru Daigo, Captain of the team, and sometime owner of an auto repair factory.
  • Sakai Tetsuya, in civilian life he's a car salesman.
  • Daisku Hori, also a newspaper copyboy
  • Mari Matsubara, a news photographer, and the team's sole female.


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.

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Episode 19: "The Beautiful Pilot of Evil"

A robot comes up out of the sea and eats a car with a young couple in it. The Junior Bicycle Squad sees this and reports it to the Inspector and the SSI. ELsewhere, Professor Deviler does some keen exposition, revealing  that the the new robot is Magma Wolf, which was built by Dr. Tsuchida, who killed himself from shame after MW was not included in Robot Expo. (He should've, it's all politics in these things.) The pilot is his daughter Yuka, who is out for revenge.  The SSI doesn't believe the kids (The fools! The kids are always right in these shows!), but th eInspector reports that there have been lots of missing person near the beach, so the SSI looks into it. Some Mecha-Robos shoot Ken (They're crack shots, but only when it's dramatically necessary.), wounding him. The SSI takes Ken to a clinic, which is attacked by M-R's. A "nurse" (mmm, naughty nurse) tries to attack Ken, but he escapes her. She reveals herself as Yuka. She calls out MW, and Ken calls out RB, and the show is on. He's reluctant to fight a woman, so she hits him with WOLF CHAIN! and drags RB away. MW airplane spins RB, which somehow initiates the apocalypse, and then flings him away.  He tries to fight back, but several attacks, including BARON KICK! fail epically. The kids cheer RB on, and somehow, like Hulk Hogan, this spurs him to go on the offensive. Ken tries to talk Yuka down, saying this isn't what her father would've wanted. (How does he know? Maybe her father would've been happy to see his daughter dutifully trying to avenge him!) Yuka has a change of heart, but the Professor wounds her, and puts MW on auto-pilot.  Yuka gets out, and RB takes his turn to spin MW, and it blows up. Ken goes to Yuka, but she dies in his arms.


Ending Scene: Ken carries Yuka's body in his arms.


Overall: A good episode. Yuka made a good adversary.  I've noticed that Yôsuke Okada has a tendency to only intermittently remember when he's supposed to be playing "injured".

Episode 20: "Watch Out! S.S.I."

The SSI assaults and destroys an Iron Alliance robot factory run by Doctor Schenkel. Schenkel runs and calls up a robot, that fights RB. The robot is somewhat less than impressive - it does comedy "Owie-owie-owie" running when it is hit, and shoots itself in the face after doing an "Is my gun not working?" take.  The Inspector catches Schenkel and they decide to keep him at Doctor Kijima's lab, since "It's impossible to escape from here."  (They should know better than to say things like that!)  The SSI  celebrates and Ken give Mari a pendant he tookfrom Schenkel. The Inspector drinks everybody's booze and leaves.  Elsewhere, Professor Deviler is upset and vaporizes a Mecha-Robo. Meanwhile, The Inspector is biking drunk and decides to fall down under a tree.  He discovers a giant finger in the tree, and takes it to the SSI. (Now, there's a sentence I never imagined ever typing!)  The SSI takes it to Doctor Kijima, who doesn't know what to make of it. While Mari examines the pendant, the finger zaps Tetuya and frees Schenkel. They take Mari prisoner. Ken trails them and calls in the SSI. They are confronted by the finger, which is now attached to the Egyptian robot Sphinxer. The IA threatens to kill Mari if the SSI calls in RB.


(As an aside, should Ken ever be allowed on field missions?  As the only one who can pilot RB, isn't he kind of non-replaceable?)


Daigo order Ken to summon RB. He does, then races to rescue Mari. As Sphinxer pummels the pilotless RB, the Inspector rescues Ken and Mari, then guns down the retreating Schenkel. Ken boards RB, and defeats SPhinxer.


Ending Scene: They all have a good laugh!


Overall:  Not a bad episode, though the quality of the IA robots is declining somewhat.

Episode 21: "Reconstruct Red Baron"

A group of human slaves escapes from the Iron Alliance. Mecha-Robos pursue and klill most of him. However, the SSI has overheard an IA radio message, and Ken and Daisaku rescue one of the slaves, Hamada. They are pursued by the French robot, Escargos, which is, you guessed it , a giant robot snail. (Can I mention again how cheerfully insane these shows are?) They manage to trick Snailbot into embedding itself into a mountainside, then take refuge in a handy shack. Finding their radios jammed, Daisaku goes for help.  The jamming stops long enough for Ken to summon Red Baron.  Professor Deviler then reveals that it was all a trick to get him to do just that. The IA has a plan to re-program RB so that it can be re-primed to be operated by another pilot. The SSI and the Inspector come to the rescue. Ken gets to RB and discovers that Hamada was a double agent (Hey, another double agent, just like Harlequin in Johnny Sokko!). Hamada, astonishingly, has been in RB for about five minutes and hadn't gotten around to imprinting himself on the controls! Ken fights him and throws him out of RB. Amazingly, Hamada survives the fall from RB without a scratch.  As Escargos kicks RB's butt (One really gets the feleing that Escargos could've beaten RB without all the run-around), the Inspector works out that Hamada is a traitor. (The Inspector really is a good detective!) Hamada tries to take Mari hostage, but she breaks free, and Hamada blows up real good.  RB dismantles the now directionless Escargos.


Ending Scene: We get a new song about how swell our heroes are.


Overall:  Not bad. I find it interesting how easily our heroes were played by Deviler, however.

I must say that Super Robot: Red Baron is my hands down favorite of these types of shows. I am enjoying every episode immensely. Even when the theme song is stuck in my head, I am happily humming along.

Jeff's Japanese Import = Success!

Tracy of Moon-T said:

I must say that Super Robot: Red Baron is my hands down favorite of these types of shows. I am enjoying every episode immensely. Even when the theme song is stuck in my head, I am happily humming along.

Jeff's Japanese Import = Success!
Yes. While I'm enjoying Johnny Sokko, I'd say Red Baron has a little more "meat" to it.

Episode 22: "Red Baron in Danger"

The Inspector observes an SSI training exercise. Back at HW, Mari is whipping a bowling pin. (I'm not sure what she's training for!) The troubalert goes off - the robot Mongol Star (an interesting robot design) is attacking oil refineries. It turns out that the IA is targeting those plants which produce BR70 - a special oil supplement that RB needs to function. They order some more from the US - Ken is to escort the plane in RB. Later, he and Mari practice their golf swings, and Mari is concerned that he'll be beyond their help. Ken laughs this off, but sure enough, MS shoots down the plane while RB is distracted by fighters. Ken scouts for the enemy base as Daigo orders more BR70. Hikaru stops by to deliver a report, and says that the Inspector has been investigating misisng person reports up in the mountains.  The Inspector is captures by the IA - there's an IA officer who looks a bit like a young Qadhafi!  The SSI comes to the rescue - there's a big fight scene and the prisoners are rescued. Ken calls out RB, and he fights MS, who uses fog to confuse him.  Tetsuya shoots Young Qadhafi, while Ken, who is getting his butt kicked, uses BARON FULL POWER! and blows up MS.


Ending Scene: Red Baron raises a hand in victory!


Overall: A fun episode - it's interesting to see the IA trying different ways to get at RB.

“LOST IN TRANSLATION” for episode #19 is a toss-up between “That’s a load of jive” and “It stinks. It stinks totally.” This episode’s “gigglebot” really needed a safe word with that whip. You thought of Hulk Hogan? That scene reminded me of Tinkerbelle.

20: This episode gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “giving the finger” to someone. The “funny” robot looked like a tree frog. I wouldn’t have thought the SSI members were minors (as the Bicycle Inspector asserted); I imagine he just said that by way of drinking their champagne. Never, ever call a robot “Sphinxer” (it sounds too much like “sphincter”).

No, I don’t think Ken should ever be allowed on field missions. As we have seen, although it is possible to reprogram RB to accept another’s commands, apparently there can only be one controller at at time. Michael (Worf) Dorn is a jet pilot, and during the filming of one of the ST:TNG movies he was contractually forbidden to fly.

Our favorite part of this episode was the little song the Inspector sung while riding his bike: “When he writes a note to me or when he calls me on the phone my boyfriend uses his left hand.” (Wonder what he’s doing with his right hand.)

21: I have a joke about the giant robot snail, but I don’t want to come off ethnocentristic.

22: “Baron Full Power” is a new one.

I’m glad both you and Tracy are enjoying these shows. (Darin, where are you?) As “cheerfully insane” as they are (and as much as I am enjoying them myself), I think I still prefer Johnny Sokko. (It’s more serious and the special effects are better.) Still, if I were to be exiled to a desert island and could take only one such show with me, it would be Ultraman.

Tracy (not me) has already picked the next series we’ll be watching after this one: Iron King!

Episode 23: "Letter of Challenge from Space"

The SSI watches the launch of space probe "Hayabusa", which is made of "Baronium", the same special metal as RB. The probe is attacked and  crashes to Earth, to be found by the Junior Bicycle Squad.  The SSI arrives and finds a threat against RB carved in the side. Professor Deviler sends Mecha-Robos to claim it, but they are driven off by "Ambassador of the Cosmos Angel Killer", who drops muscial notes on their heads! He calls up the space robot Sky Shark. Interestingly, the Professor has no idea where this robot came from. SS destroys the probe with ACID FIRE!, while AK beats up Tetsuya and Daisaku. Daigo wanrs Ken not to fight since SS could dissolve RB.  The SSI asks Doctor Iforgethisname to develop improved Baronium. AK taunts Ken with music, and one of the kids asks him "Is it true that you're trembling with fear?" I've gotta find a way to work that into a conversation.  Ken fights AK, then runs off.  Daigo, Tetsuya, Daisaku and the Inspector try to sabotage SS, but are caught.  Elsewhere, Ken figures out a way to beat SS.  Hikaru visits Ken and Mari looking for the Inspector, which leads Ken to suspect what they've done. Ken goes to where SS is (Apparently AKjust left it standing there!) AK threatens to kill his captives unless RB fights SS.  Ken obliges, and using his special maneuver, blows Sky Shark's head off. SS grows a new head (!) which flies around (!!) and melts RB's shoulder.


Cliffhanger: Things look bad for RB!


Overall: An interesting plot development, introducing what appears to be a new faction to the story. Angel Killer is excessively flamboyant, but is amsuing. the bit with the musical notes was a bit surreal.

Wow, we haven’t had a continued episode in a while.

Man, that Junior Bicycle Squad are everywhere, aren’t they?

Mari has a new hairstyle this episode. She’s working her buh-buh-buh-bangs! (I don’t like it.)

When Tracy saw Angel Killer (who calls Sky Shark to Earth with a sort of “cosmic violin”) she immediately thought of the Silver Surfer, but I thought more of the Black Racer. When Mark Evanier was Jack Kirby’s assistant and first saw the Black Racer, he reportedly said something along the lines of, “So, Kirby, you’ve created a black, quadriplegic, flying armored knight on snow skis, is that right?” to which Kirby reportedly responded, “Yeah, I guess I have.”

In this case, someone has created a swashbuckling, violin playing, caped mountebank in control of a giant robot. Yeah, I guess they have.

In one scene, Angel Killer serenades Ken with a song that would put brave Sir Robin’s minstrels to shame. I didn’t transcribe it, but I wish now that I had. :(

I hadn't thought of the "Sir Robin" comparison, but you're right. "Brave Red Baron ran away, he bravely ran away, away..."

The Angel Killer sings...

"Red Baron is nothing but crimson... scrap! Useless as a firefly without wings to flap! Ken Kurenai is nothing but a craven...coward! He is the world's greatest coward! Who run away and cowers!"

Our villain is wearing a red clown nose with his silver suit and cape, accessorized with shiny purple boots.

The hat is what makes the ensemble for me.

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