So…I did last week’s installment so I could do this week’s.
With the success of Iron Man 28 (which must have confused Japan when Madhouse made that Iron Man anime based on the MCU interpretation), giant robots were big in Japan, pun intended. The “super robot” genre was huge (not intended this time) in the 1970s. Soon teen were actually piloting the robot from inside, they gained all these weapons, and even could be made up of smaller robots or vehicles. They had a huge impact still felt by the nostalgic today. A lot of these shows also spread through Europe but until the “Japanimation” craze in the 1980s that calmed down during the 1990s only a select few were popular. Voltron (aka GoLion) was the only one to achieve any real popularity in the West. My area got a show called Tranzor Z, a redub of Mazinger Z. (And no, Sean, I can’t find full episodes of Tranzor Z, just the intro. Sorry, folks, but I know my friends.) The live action Johnny Sokko And His Flying Robot was taken from Giant Robo. Force Five was an anthology made up of five different giant robot cartoons but I never saw the show in my area.
America would try their hand but I only know of four actual series not a Voltron continuation, and two of those (Megas XLR and Titan Maximum) were parodies. If you didn’t know Mighty Orbots, which also followed the Voltron formula with an American twist, was one I was talking about you either missed the 1980s or you’re new around here. Welcome. I hope you enjoy the site. Further back in time you had Frankenstein Jr., which was clearly inspired by Gigantor but also given a Western twist. In both cases the robots are independent thinking robots and not human-piloted mecha. In the same vein The Iron Giant was loosely based on a UK novel and may or may not also fit into this since he doesn’t really control the robot in either version. If you like your robots unthinking piloted machines there was also the Shogun Warriors toyline and Marvel Comic, the latter also creating Red Ronin and decades later the Mega Morphs.
With the success of the super robots it was probably only a matter of time before the OGR (original giant robot) made his return to remind the young punks that you didn’t need a giant sword or missiles in your nipples to defeat your enemies. New Iron Man 28 would bring the space age robot into the world of color to fight a new legion of criminals with crazy evil machines. There would be two more returns for the character but this is the only one to have gotten a US appearance under his classic US name. Fred Ladd and TMS teamed up to create The New Adventures Of Gigantor, as they built a new Gigantor to keep up with changing technology. But no rocket punches or other weapons. Gigantor is a boxer and that’s how he still operated. The show doesn’t have an official release (at least in this form) but it did air on the old Sci-Fi Channel so we still get to see this series in action thanks to other people uploading and nobody claiming it. Yet.
I have to give the dub credit. They kept the Gigantor tradition of oddly named villains. Doctor Murkybottom? It may be 1993 when this 1980 anime was dubbed but they kept to the formula. They even kept the original dub names although it looks like this is less a continuation and more a reboot. Granted I’m not sure even the episode knew which it was given some of the dialog. Of course they would have to give it a new name anyway thanks to the Marvel Comics hero. He might not have been the household name Spider-Man was but Iron Man had cartoons and of course the comics by then. Nice way to explain the “28” on Gignator’s new body though.
The show ran for 51 episodes, and according to Wikipedia the last episode is “The Sun That Never Shines”, which means the sun would show up again as something to fight over I imagine. This one you’re going to have to track down for yourself since there’s no official release of this version while the old show can still be found on old DVD sets. It is available in Japanese from Japan if you have a region-free player. I don’t know about the original manga the franchise started from. Meanwhile, two more Iron Man 28 shows would also be produced but they have never been Gigantor. Tetsujin 28 fx (translating as Iron Man 28 FX I assume) from the 1990s featured the son of our hero piloting a newer Iron Man 28 while 2004’s Tetsujin 28-go (that’s the untranslated name) did get an English dub and video release, just not as Gigantor. I’d blame the anime purists but I don’t know the real reason why. It’s closer to the original manga but still does its own thing. I haven’t seen it but you’ll have to find that one too. So while the genre has weakened in recent years the legend continues.