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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Jeff of Earth-J said:

Darin, look for your set to arrive in the mail Wednesday.

 

Arrived yesterday. Thanks, my friend! I'll get a check out to you this weekend.

I've got some catching up to do, so ...

Episode 02: "Violent Clash! The Baron Break"

Early '70's American kids TV had a conspicuous lack of "hero's brother blows up real good right there on screen" scenes.  Also, dialogue along the lines of "Bastards!  I'll send you to hell for this!"  Bob Denver and Chuck McCann never got lines like that.

Black Masai's bondage nipples are ... hypnotic.  I can't take my eyes off them.

Why does Agent Flashpanties get the rad car?  Shouldn't they have put her on the motorcycle?

Ken sures spends a lot of time running through empty fields dodging explosions.

August Ragone has a lot to answer for.

Awesome. Now I've got an image of a tokusatsu version of Far Out Space Nuts in my head.

The robot from last night’s episode looks like he’s wearing a heavy winter coat and a helmet. His arms, however, are a chainsaw and a sledge hammer. He looks not unlike a very dangerous Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. I have a theory about many of these robots, such as this one, which don’t look like they’re made of metal but rather some kind of tough, flexible rubber. I think many of these robots exist simply as a metal frame and they are, in fact, “wearing” an outer “skin” of industrial strength rubber designed to protect their joints and inner mechanisms from damage caused by debris.

This robot wasted valuable time, however, “demonstrating” its chainsaw on a nearby hill when it had Red Baron at its mercy. I still think Johnny Sokko’s robot could take any of them, though, including Red Baron.

Some of you may know that I *hate* the theme for Astro Boy. However, I *love* the Super Robot Red Baron theme music. I find myself bopping along to the music, which I have never done with any other show like this.

I would like to see Mari's outfit as an available costume for parties. That might just be the girl in me though. Her whip must be included!

Really? I always liked the Astro Boy theme. 

"No one likes you, you'll be lied to..."

Jeff does not appreciate my (saving my sanity) lyrics change.

The Baron said:

Really? I always liked the Astro Boy theme.

I did too, which is unusual because, usually, I don't like polka music.

Compare and contrast:

 

Astro Boy Theme

 

Super Robot Red Baron Theme

 

And while we're at it, here's the SSI fight song, which served as the closing song:

 

SSI Fight Song

Episode 12: "Bet Your Life On One Shot!"

We start with the SSI at the firing range. We get some character development as we see that Tetsuya's an excellent shot, whereas Daisaku can't aim. Daisaku argues that it shouldn't matter as the SSI's mission is to protect, not to fight, whereas Tetsuya's more of a "Kill them all" kind of guy.  Daigo summons them all back to HQ to show them the plans for Jinrai, a new robot designed by Doctor Odagiri. Ken and Mari are sent to meet him at the airport.  Meanwhile, Deviler sends Killer Q - who looks sort of like a cross-dressing circus clown - to kill Doctor O.  In her civilian identity, she summons Tetsuya on the pretext of buying a car from him. ( As an aside, I think it would have been funny if they'd made her a regular and had her buy a car from Tetsuya, and set up a running gag wherein he pursues her, not just for her crimes against humanity, but because she's constantly late in her payments. But I digress.) KQ captures and interrogates Tetsuya. We see Ken and Mari escorting Odagiri, whose new robot is expected to be even better than RB. KQ forces Tetsuya to shoot him, then leaves.  Tetsuya declares himself unfit to be in the SSI, and leaves his SSI emblem with the rifle on the scene. The SSI arrives, to find Inspector Kumano on the scene, investigating. They find the rifle and emeblem.  Elsewhere, Tetsuya is off on his own, seeking vengeance outside a McDonald's. (As an aside, we sure do see the Mobil logo alot in this series. I wonder if they were a sponsor?)  He spots KQ and we see an extended, at times almost Benny Hill-esque chase through the streets. The Inspector finds Tetsuya and urges him to come in, but Tetsuya takes off again. He finally catches up to KQ, but she takes off in a car. Tetsuya jumps in his jeep, and gives chase.  OK, hang on a minute! He's been randomly chasing her around the city on foot, but his jeep just happens to be parked right outside her building?  Anyhow, he chases her into the countryside and they have a gun battle. Dunno what she wanted him for, she seems to be a much better shot. She summons Electri-Amazon, a robot with sort of steam shovel/electric shaver case attachments, which menaces him.  The SSI detects this, and RB is sent to the scene, and is promptly trapped by E-A.  KQ takes execessive glee is explaining to Tetsuya that the whole chase thing was a plot to draw RB into a trap. This strikes me as a bit overelaborate of a plan - why not just do like they've done in the past and launch a robot attack? You know, the sort of thing that RB responds to as a matter of course?  Anyway, the SSI and IB arrive as E-A, like the mighty ant-lion, begins spraying RB with acid. The SSI and the Mecha-Robos have a gunfight while a new song plays. Tetsuya shoots the acid sprayer, then hit E-A with a grenade.  This enables Red Baron to blow up Electri-Amazon, while Tetsuya guns down the escpaing Killer Q.  Tetsuya apologizes to Daigo, then starts to walk off. Daigo stops him and gives him his SSI emblem back.

 

Ending Scene: Tetsuya is welcomed back to the team!

 

Overall: Not a bad episode. A bit odd, perhaps, that they did two "a team member is used agaisnt the team" episodes in a row.



Jeff of Earth-J said:

The robot from last night’s episode looks like he’s wearing a heavy winter coat and a helmet. His arms, however, are a chainsaw and a sledge hammer. He looks not unlike a very dangerous Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. I have a theory about many of these robots, such as this one, which don’t look like they’re made of metal but rather some kind of tough, flexible rubber. I think many of these robots exist simply as a metal frame and they are, in fact, “wearing” an outer “skin” of industrial strength rubber designed to protect their joints and inner mechanisms from damage caused by debris.

This robot wasted valuable time, however, “demonstrating” its chainsaw on a nearby hill when it had Red Baron at its mercy. I still think Johnny Sokko’s robot could take any of them, though, including Red Baron.

 

I agree about the "rubber" skin, also about the time-wasting robot. I couldn't figure out what the hell it was playing at.

Episode 13: "10 Minutes Until Five Cities Are Obliterated"

We start with a car being driven off the road by a truck. Yagisawa, his wife Ryoko, and their son Akira take to the hills, but the parents are gunned down by Mecha-Robos.  They then take film from the family's car. The Inspector is on the scene and  guns down several M-R's and then summons the SSI. Yagisawa turns out to be an old buddy of Daigo's. Tetsuya and Daisaku find the camera, and Daigo tries to find the complex shown in one of the photos. He questions a gas station attendant, who is evasive. Daigo goes to the local cop shop, where he is arrested as a murderer. He sees that the cops have a wanted poster of the SSI on the wall, and realizes that they have bene infiltrated by the IA.  The chief cop tries to make him summon Ken. He refuses, but then the other cops bring in Akira, who was hiding in Daigo's trunk. (Been watching too much Speed Racer, obviously.) Reluctantly, Daigo summons Ken, who is busted after a brief struggle. Ken, Daigo and Akira are thrown into a cell, while the chief cop gloats that now they won't able to interfere with "Project MM". When Ken asks what that is, the cop obligingly gives him thorough details of the plan, apparently oblivious to the antenna noticeably sticking out of Ken's jacket. The IA plans to bomb Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Kyushu and Hokkaido at 6:00 a.m., which will somehow establish the Robot Empire on Earth. I'm a little sketchy as to how they think that's going to work, but whatever. I'm also a little sketchy as to why the IA types don't just shoot them all.

(Aside Question #1:  Does the SSI really only consist of our five heroes?  At least Johnny Sokko made the pretense that Unicorn had branches all over the Earth.)

 

Anyway, the SSI has picked up Ken's signal. He can't summon RB, because for once the heels have remembered to take his control bracelet away, but it doesn't matter because he wore a fake in case there was trouble. We see robot McKinley V6, which I assume is meant to be American, because who else would name a robot "McKinley"?  The three are lined up to be shot - the IA loves its firing squads - but the SSI guns the M-R's down using an RC plane, thus inventing drone strikes 40 years early!  The Inspector guns down the bad cop, then sets Ken free, giving him the real control bracelet.  Ken summions RB, and there is a big battle in which everyone says "thank you" to each other alot. Even Akira takes out an M-R, which is a new low for them.  RB fights MV6, and the SSI plants dynamite in the IA launch complex. Why the IA doesn't launch early when they see that it's all going south is beyond me. When I try to take over the Earth, I'm going to announce "zero hour" for 6:00 and then launch at 5:45 just to see the looks on all your faces. The SSI blows up the launch complex. One missile gets away, but RB shoots it down. MV6 wanders around aimlessly until it just falls over and dies. 

 

(Aside Question #2: If the Iron Alliance has all these robots, why send just one of them at a time? Why not attack with six at once and overwhelm Red Baron by sheer strength of number?)

 

Akira pledges to grow up to build robots to fight the IA, which means that he obviously thinks that they'll still be fighting the IA in twenty years' time.

 

Ending Scene: Ken celebrates with Akira!

 

Overall:  Not bad. The "An Old Friend of One of the Heroes is Killed, Thus Making It Personal" storyline is a standard one, but they do it reasonably well. 

Episode 14: "Enigma of the Invulnerable Robot"

Daisaku builds a toy robot called "Roboter" as a present for his brother Daisuke, who turns out to be the same Daisuke that's one of the kids who's always trailing after the Inspector. IB happens along, and tries to play with the robot, sending it flying out of sight.  A Mecha-Robo finds it, and substitutes another one for it. The kids leave Roboter with the SSI  so Daisaku can fix it. Meanwhile, robot King John Bull (I'm assuming it's meant to be British, it's not a bad design.) attacks a radar installation. Ken summons RB, then radios Mari back at HQ for advice on KJB's weaknesses. Dark Roboter comes to life, and shoots Mari, and feeds Ken bad info on KJB's weak spot. KJB pummels RB, then takes off. Mari comes to long enough to shoot Roboter, then passes out again.  The SSI returns to the garage and finds Mari, Assuming she has been attacked., they search the garage. Daisaku gives Dark Roboter to his brother, telling him he'll fix it later.   Mari comes to and tells them about DR.  Meanwhile, an M-R has grabbed DR and Daisuke. Daisaku sets off in pursuit, despite hand grenades and minefields. KJB attacks again, and Professor Deviler taunts Ken that KJB's weakness has been fixed and it is now invincible.  Daisaku, Daisuke and the Inspector have all been captured.  A talkative M-R reveals that KJB's weakness is now hidden in DR.  RB is getting beat up, and the two brothers are thrown in a cell. Daisaku manages to bend the bars enough for Daisuke to escape, allowing the youngster to use the weapons on his brother's bike to free him as well. Daisaku fights the M-R's, who reach a new low when 11 year old Daisuke manages to take out a few. As Daisuke frees the Inspector, Daisaku shoots DR. KJB wigs out entertainingly, and RB uses BARON CHOP! to finish him off.

 

Ending Scene: RB salutes Daisaku!

 

Overall: A fun episode

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