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.
Episode 33: "Mystery of the Cosmic SPider Robot"
We see Spider Robo webbing a plane at the behest of a mysterious woman who we will later discover is called Android Sashe. At SSI HQ, Mikami tells our heroes about a leisure robot desinged by Doctor Yoshimura, who has requested that Ken pilot it. Ken, Mari, the Inspector and the kids all go to a resort to see the new robot, Donquix One.
Question: Why is the Inspecotr wearing one of my grandmother's old hats?
Ken pilots the robot, then Dr. Y asks to have DO shakes hands with RB. Ken leaves inRB, but is mugged by SR. Elsewhere, the Inspector gets drunk in the bath while the kids go rafting. Someone cuts the kids adrift. Be funny if they ended up in the Land of the Lost: "Daisuke, Hachiro and Yoshiko, on a routine expedition..." Mari drives Dr. Y home, meets his wheelchair-bound sister Chieko. Ken comes stagering up delirious. Mari summons the rest of the SSI, and they are be-set by the SIA. The Insoector searches for the kids in vain. All of our heroes are again be-set by the SSI. They chase Andoird Sashe. Tetsuya and Mari lose her in the vicinity of Yoshimura's house, where they encounter Chieko. Ken finds RB being held in a cave, where the SIA is trying to demolish it. He uses BARON FLIGHT! to escape. RB is attacked by SR and DO - piloted by Dr. Yoshimura!
Cligffhanger: Donquix One slices into Red Baron!
Overall: An OK story, although the swerves were obvious even to an unobservant fewllow such as myself.
Episode 34" "The Treacherous Cosmic Express"
RB drills into the ground using EARTH MARKER! Android Sashe command sthe SIA to search for it. The Inspector, Mari and Tetsuya distract the SIA while Ken and Mikami work to repair it. The Inspector, Mari and Tetsuys infiltrate an SIA base to look for the kids. Mari spots the kids but is caught and tortured pretty brutally by Android Sashe, Mari recognizes Sashe's ring from somewhere. The others rescue her, but she passes out, and they leave without finding the kids. Elsewhere, the Inspector fools the SIA by bowling. The SSI spot the SIA chasing and shooting at Dr. Y, who goes to Ken to apologize. (At this point, I smell a rate. I already suspected that Chieko was Android Sashe from the first moment I saw Chieko, I now suspect Yoshimura of being in on it, and not just a hapless pawn.) Mari goes to get Chieko, and recognizes Chieko's ring, outing her as being Android Sashe, as I had suspected. They have an epic fight, and Mari runs Sashe through.Mari warns her colleagues, but Yoshimura sets off a lfare, summoning SR and DO. RB is ready, and Ken uses HAMMER PUNCH! onDO, before realizing that the kids are aboard it. RB manages to destroy SR and disable DO. Yoshimura refuses to give the kids back. He expalins that he sold out for a chance to ride the Cosmic Express. However, the SIA rats out Yoshimuira and RB saves the kids and blows up the Cosmic Express.
Ending Scene: Our heroes are generally happy about the outcome.
Overall: Again, an OK story, if a little obvious.
Episode 35: "Horror of the Vampire Virus"
Robot Dracubat drops some SIA goons on a village. the inejct the villagers with something that knocks them out. The SSI sends Tetsuya to investigate, while Keb calls out Red Baron. Dracubat jumps RB, then flees. On the ground, a woman warns Tetsuya that the villagers are dying. As he goes to investigate, the woman regards him with the patented "I am secretly a baddy" look. Tetsuya finds the vampre Dracuman posing as a Shinto priest. Tetsuya is caught and the woman injects him. Mari and Ken arrive in time to see Tetsuya being drivne away. They pursue, and, after a fight scene, retrieve Tetsuya and take him to a doctor. Ken and the Inspector go to the village to investigate. The villagers ignore them, but the woman directs them to the Shinto priest. Dracuman reveals himself and tells them he's spread a vampire virus among the villagers. Our heroes flee and end up hiding in a hut. they call HQ, but Tetsuya wrecks the comms room and beats up Mari. (The cad!) Ken wants to cal RB, but has dropped his signal watch. The Inspector tries to run interference so Ken can retrieve it, but they are both caught. Dracuman shows up with Tetsuya and an unconscious Mari. He then does the stupides tpossible thing as he commands Ken to sumoon RB and use it to attack EDF HQ, or he'll kill Mari. Ken boards RB and prepares to stomp Dracuman. The latter order the hyp-mo-tized Tetsuya to shoot Mari, but MIkami appears and shoots Tetsuya with a deus ex machina that cures his vampirism.
(As an aside, I'd like to point out that I find an almost Pythonesque humorousness to the way the SIA goons blow up when they're beaten.)
Anyway, RB and Dracubat skirmish, and -
Cliffhanger: Dracubat shrugs off Elec-Trigger, and flies away with Dracuman aboard, vowing to return!
Overall: An OK episode. the scenses with the villagers running around yelling "Blood!" are somewhat unintentionally (?) humorous.
Episode 36: "The Man from International HQ"
Ken goes out in RB tracking a UFO. Mikami sends Mari and Tetsuya out. They meet up with Keen. The UFO tunrs out to contain "Mister George" from the US branch of the SSI, who claims that he is in pursuit of Dracuman, who escaped from him. (This is the first indication that there's more to SSI than just the four of them.) The SIA attacks, but George zaps them with a "gravity beam". Dracubat appears - RB fights it. D-Bat runs. Mikami meets George at HQ. Oddly, George does not know what Red Baron is. Mari distrusts George. The SSI take George to see RB. They get word that George's jet was stolen by the SIA. Goerge says it was all part of his plan to track down the SIA. As they leave, Geroge surreptitiously hits RB with the gravity beam. Meanwhile, Mari gets word that Goerge is a fake. (Always listen to characters called "Mari"!) Ken, the Inspector, Tetsuya and George approach the stolen jet, as Mari and Mikami race to the scene. Mari wanrs Ken as George revelas himself as Dracuman. Ken tries to call RB, but it has trouble moving. Dracuman paralyzes the Inspector, Ken and Tetsuya. He summons Dracubat as Mikami shoots the gravity beam out of his hand. They have a huge fight scene - thought Mari takes a moment to gloat about being right all the time - and Dracuman flees. RB destroys Dracubat, and then blows up Dracuman for good measure.
Ending Scene: Ken's all happy!
Overall: A fun episode. The depiction of an "American" was amusing. Ken and Tetsuya are seen to be more frightened of Mari than they are of the SIA. As they should be.
#32: It always throws me when the tanks are supposed to be toys.This reminds me of the Lost in Space episode with all the little toy robots.
#33: If you’re going to use a giant web to capture a jet plane, what do you attach it to?
Regarding the Inspector’s headgear, it’s pretty obvious it’s part of the spider woman’s ensemble. I imagine he was clowning around during filming one day and the director thought it was funny.
#34: My favorite bit of this episode was the SIA insult: “Defect!” (which I see as the outer space robot version of “Retard!”).
#36: I always find it interesting to discover how other cultures perceive Americans. (Apparently, Americans say “Huh!” a lot.) This particular “American” reminded me of Gregory Sierra, though (probably because of the hair). It really strains me willing sense of disbelief, though, that any international branch of the SSI would not know about Red Baron. This is suspicious only to Mari? She needs to be promoted to “Boss”, seriously.
Episode 37: "Father's Letter from Across Space"
The SSI is training with Red Baron, as the Inspector takes the kids ice skating. The kids have caught finches to sell at school. The Inspector disapproves. An SIA robot - Deimos Z - appears, and our heroes go into action. DZ vanishes after a brief skirmish. Tetsuya's dad stops by, bringing veggies from the farm. Tetsuya and his dad wrestle playfully. Ken haz a sad. DZ shows up again, popping in and out. It freezes RB, but Tetsuya starts a fire to thaw it out. The SSI draws DZ away, and it vanishes. they see a rocket land, which proves to contain a note from Ken's dad, claiming to be held prisoner on Mars, and asking to be rescued. Ken wants to go, but Mikami is against the idea, as it would be a one-way trip. Ken haz another sad. Mikami finds a beam stone, which sounds like something that would make a Pokemon evolve, but is in reality a deus ex Moffata that will allow RB to go to Mars. Ken and Tetsuya wrestle in celebration. Ken sets out for Mars in RB. Mikami explains that RB now has RAINBOW SHOT! which Ken uses to zap some meteors.
Cliffhanger: Red Baron goes out of control!
Overall: An OK episode. Building up towards the end, ehre.
A “deus ex Moffata.” Heh.
If the beam stone allows unlimited space flight, why does Ken have to find another on Mars to facilitate his return trip? (There’s generally a lot of shouting at the screen when we watch TV in our house. You’d like it there.)
Why are all of RB’s weapons in English?
I notice English used alot in Japanese TV. Maybe it sounds "exotic" to them.
Episode 38: "Red Baron: Disaster on Mars"
Red Baron is brought to Mars. Ken calls the SSI, then heads out to look for his father. The SIA attack, and Ken is stabbed in the arm and caught. He is brought before his father, ho shoots the SAI goon that hurt Ken. Ken haz a horrified as he realizes his old man is in charge. Ken returns to RB and confronts Deimos Z, who smashes the space wings. Ken uses RAINBOW SHOT!, but DZ disappears. Ken calls the SSI, but doesn't tell them about his old man. The SIA catch him again and bring him to his father. As the SSI debate what to do, a guy appears in their HQ claiming to be a salesman from the SIA. He syas that Ken and RB are now a part of the SIA, and insists the SIA surrender or DZ will destroy Tokyo. Mikami works out that there must be a transmat in Tokyo and the Inspector offers to find it. The SSI fights DZ and the Inspector is knocked out. On Mars, Ken discovers that the SIA has put motors o Phobos and plans to ram it into the Earth. He warns the SSI but is caught again. His father sentences him to death.
Cliffhanger: Old Man Kurenai prepares to shoot Ken!
Overall: Fun stuff. I'm eager to see how they wrap this all up.