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 30: "The Boy Who Controlled Red Baron"

Red Baron refuses to step on Ken. Perhaps Kenicho programmed a "don't step on the pilot" protocol into it?  Mikami arrives and the SSI fights the Spacensteins. Mari collects Ken and drives him to the hospital. RB starts moving again and the SSI bolts. At the hospital, the doctor says that Ken's condition is uncertain. The Spacebots attack the city. there's an odd little scene where the Inspector despairs melodramatically, and the kids all imitate him.  Giras Q announces himself (itself?) as the boss of the Space Iron Alliance and demands that the SSI surrender or he'll destroy Japan. Ken insists on being carried to the car. Mikami agrees, announcing that he has a plan. The SSI surrender to the SIA, somewhat unsubtly planting the idea that Ken's a fake. Fortunately, the SIA are all morons, and they call Shigeru out to ID him. Shigeru comes out, and the Space Wings knock what is obviously a doll off of RB, but Shigeru nonetheless dutifully falls to the ground and explodes. Sloppy of the SIA not to notice Mikami's absence.  A fight ensues. (Why does the SIA fight? Why not order the three space brothers to comeover and step on the SSI?). As it turns out, Mikami has built a short-range remote control for RB. (Why does this only work for RB? Does does RB know who's using the remote control?) Mari drives Ken around while he directs RB in his fight against the space brothers, to allow for all sorts of melodrama as Ken starts to bleed again and why he's not dead by now is beyond me.  Elsewhere, the Inspector has the kids helping him to find the SIA safehouse. (So, he's actively putting the kids into harm's way, now? Don't any of them have parents? Or did he purchase them from the Imperial Orphanarium?)  RB is getitng pummelled, but the Inspector finds the SIA HQ and shoots up the control panel. the space brothers go nuts entertainingly. Ken destroys #1, but #2 and #3 flee. He boards RB and pursues the other two, destroying them.


Ending Scene: Ken thinks of Shigeru as the kids run towards him.


Overall: An OK episode, although with more more than a few questionable plot elements.

Well. you could always just have a "mini-marathon" and watch five of them in one sitting.

You know my darling Jeff would never go for that. :/

Oh, I don’t object to a mini-marathon on Sunday night. I often feel like watching more than one, but an episode a day is a good, steady pace. (Besides, we wouldn’t want to burn the leader of the discussion out, would we?) I don’t usually post on weekends, anyway, so here’s the plan:

Tonight we’ll both watch #31;
Tomorrow, I will watch #32 (so I can post Friday);
Sunday we’ll watch #32-35 together (so I can post about 33-35 on Monday).

I will have to watch #2 twice, but we’ll all be synched up by the beginning of next week.

Shigeru reminds me of David Collins. Too bad they never did a Japanese version of Dark Shadows.

I agree: that “dramatic despair” scene was odd.

Why does this only work for RB?

Because he’s on a different frequency?

Does RB know who's using the remote control?

I imagine that the remote control bypasses the voice and hand-print safeguards and anyone could use it.

Ken starts to bleed again…

Speaking of which, I meant to say yesterday that if the bleeding scene reminded you of Sam Peckinpah, it reminded me of Monty Python: “It’s only a flesh wound!”

Don't any of them have parents?

Speaking of which, Daisuke made his way through the stages of grief to acceptance rather quickly.

I don’t usually comment on the “next episode” teasers, but: “Apples explode all over Japan and many people die.”

That’s just gotta be a great plot. :)

OK, bear in mind, I may be busy on Saturday, so I may end up not posting on Saturday and instead about two episodes on Sunday. Still not sure yet.

Ken starts to bleed again…

Speaking of which, I meant to say yesterday that if the bleeding scene reminded you of Sam Peckinpah, it reminded me of Monty Python: “It’s only a flesh wound!”



Or this.

Or Dan Ackroyd's "Julia Child" skit on Saturady Night Live (which I can't seem to find on You Tube).

I've watched the whole series; I just regarded it as lightweight nonsense at first, but it grows on you and builds to a pretty freaky and finale that was not what I was expecting. The whole series can be found for a couple of bucks on DVD at Half Price Books.

Episode 31: "The Terrifying Apple Bombs"

Apples begin blowing up and killing people in an oddly amusing manner.We see the SSI eating apples, and the Inspector rushes in to warn them. Mikami tells them that something has landed nearby, and Ken and Tetsuya are sent to investigate. It turns out to be the robot Devil Ghoster, who fires apples at them.  Tetsuya takes an unexploded apple (Danger: UXA!) back to Mikami, whilst Ken calls out Red Baron. Tetsuya skirmishes with some SIA goons, then takes off. DG vanishes after blinding Ken. Ken seems to take awhile to learn not to look when DG flashes him. Mikami makes him some super-shades.the Inspector finds an apple bomb in a waterfall and stakes out some suspect characters, summoning the SSI. He questions the suspects and sets off a bomb.  The SSI arrives and skirmishes with the SIA. The apple trucks take off with the SSI in pursuit. Ken calls out RB. Mari and Tetsuya follow one truck, whose occupants lobs bombs at them. Mari shoots the driver dead, and the truck falls off a cliff. The Inspector directs them after the other truck. RB is sent to intercept DB in space. Ken uses BARON SEARCHER! to overocme its blinding attack. He blows DG up, but its claws cuff RB. RB comes in out of control but Ken uses DRILL ARROW! to free RB. The SIA waylays Mari and Tetsuya, but Ken blows up the other truck.


Ending Scene: They all act like idiots over some apples.  Poor Mari. All of her saying of "Ken" doesn't seem likely to do her much good, as Ken seems to be having a fine old time wrestling with Tetsuya!


Overall: A fairly amusing episode.

Devil Ghoster has can openers for hands and fires disco lights from his feet. In space, when DG’s hands attach to RB, exactly what kind of danger did that put him in? Why did RB come crashing to Earth?

Change of Plans: I’ll be taking tomorrow off, so I will return to this discussion on Monday (with reactions to #32-35).

Episode 32: "Remote Control Tanks Commence Attack"

We begin with SIA goons playing with toy tanks. In a moment out of a Warner Borthers cartoon, Tetsuya looks right at one and is shot.  Ken shoots all the tanks, notifies HQ, and takes Tetsuya to a hospital. We see that the nurses are SIA, and they do soemthing to Tetsuya. Elsewhere, the Inspector and the kids are out looking for tanks. They take him somewhat less than seriously. He finds one, and shoots it. SIA goons attack him. Mari arrives and the kisds tell her what's going on. The SIA soon flee from Mari and the Inspector.  Mari warns Ken. Ken shoots his way into Tetsuya's room and finds that he has been replaced by a stuffed animal. Mari and the Inspector jon Ken at the hospital, where they find that several of the staff have been killed. The SIA threatens to electrocute Ken if the SSI tries to find him. Ken calls out RB and ends up fighting a robot called "Mars Bird".  Mari and the Inspector find where Tetsuya is being held and are be-set by the SIA. Ken demolishes RB. Mari and the Inspector rescue Tetsuya and Mari blows the place up.


Ending Scene: Everyone laughs at the kids' pain!


Overall:  An OK episode. You'd think the SSI would have better security, though.

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