Mazinger Z (マジンガーＺ, Majingā Zetto?), known as Tranzor Z in United States, is a Super Robot manga and anime series created by Go Nagai. The first manga version was serialized in Shueisha Weekly Shōnen Jump from October 1972 to August 1973, and it later continued in Kodansha TV Magazine from October 1973 to September 1974. In December 1972, the anime version premiered on Fuji Television. The TV series ended September 1, 1974.
Director: Yugo Serikawa Toshio Katsuta Tomoharu Katsumata Tokue Shirane Nobuo Onuki
Studio: Toei Animation
Network: Fuji Television
Original Run: December 3, 1972 – September 1, 1974
An archeological team discovered ruins of a lost pre-Grecian civilization on an island named Bardos (or Birdos, although some inconsistent translations have identified the island as being the actual Greek island of Rhodes.) The civilization was loosely based on the ancient Mycenae, and was called the Mycene Empire in the series. One of their findings was that the Mycene used an army of steel titans about 20 meters in height (compare with the Greek legend of Talos). Finding prototypes of those titans underground which could be remote-controlled, and realizing their immense power on the battlefield, one of the scientists, Dr. Hell uses them to have all the other scientists of his research team killed except for Professor Kabuto, who manages to escape. The lone survivor goes back to Japan and attempts to warn the world of its imminent danger.
Meanwhile, Dr. Hell created a mobile headquarters with the shape of an island and plans to use the Mechanical Beasts to become the new ruler of the world. To counter this, Kabuto secretly constructs the Mazinger Z, a robot made with the near-invulnerable Alloy Z and powered by phonotic (light) energy, and manages to finish it just before being killed by a bomb planted by Hell’s right-hand 'man', Baron Ashura, a half-man, half-woman being he created. As Kabuto is dying, he manages to inform his grandson Kouji Kabuto about the robot and its use. Kouji becomes the robot’s pilot, and from that point on battles both the continuous mechanical monsters, and the sinister henchmen sent by Doctor Hell, while living at the Photonic Research Institute.
Opening and EndingEdit
The series is noteworthy for introducing many of the accepted stock features of Super Robot anime genres: the first occurrence of mecha robots being piloted by a user from within a cockpit, the mechanical marvel that is the world's only hope, forgotten civilizations, power-hungry mad scientists, incompetent henchmen, lovable supporting characters (usually younger siblings, love interests, or friends of the hero), the scientist father or grandfather who loses his life heroically, and strangely clothed, eccentric or physically deformed villains (the intersex Baron Ashura as one example). Mazinger Z was also the first show to feature a female robot (Aphrodite A(and later Diana A), piloted by female lead Sayaka Yumi), and a comic-relief robot made of spare parts and garbage named Boss Borot (which ended up suffering severe damage in nearly all of his appearances), after its pilot, brash yet simpleminded gang leader, Boss.
The peculiarity about this Super Robot, differing from the ones in earlier robot manga, is that Kouji the pilot has to fly a smaller separate vehicle to combine with the robot (in Mazinger's case, the head). In comparison, previous robots were either autonomous (like Tetsuwan Atom/Astro Boy) or remote-controlled (like Tetsujin-28). An activation code is used to summon the robot and another used to actually activate it("MAJIN GO!" and "PILDER ON!" respectively). This typically signaled the start of an action sequence, and this method is still used in anime such as GaoGaiGar or Koutetsushin Jeeg.
Manga and anime historians see the Pilder-Robot combination as the origin of the “transforming robot” genre, because it marks one of the first published examples in a manga of two distinctive vehicles forming a specific entity. This is often interpreted as the root of later series like GoLion (Voltron – Defender of the Universe), the Transformers, and the giant robots in the Super Sentai Series (the basis for Power Rangers). Mazinger Z is not a vehicle that transforms into another shape, yet it requires the smaller, non-combative vehicle to get going. This idea may have inspired the Core Fighter in Mobile Suit Gundam and the entry-plug in Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Another characteristic is seen in the unusual use of Mazinger's formidable weaponry: Kouji would always announce with a shout the name of the super-power or attack he was about to use, including photon beams, breast burn, rust hurricane, and Rocket Punch. Most of these simple gimmicks were later incorporated in most of Nagai’s robot series, and widely imitated in many other mecha shows. Although the roots of announcing the weapons can also be traced back to Toei's 1968 tokusatsu series, Giant Robo (US title, Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot), or even the way the heroes of chambara eiga and television used to announce their sword techniques before cutting down their opponents.
However, the most notable characteristic that the show brought to the Super Robot genre was the relationship between machines and humans; Go Nagai established from the start the premise that machines and humans could act as one, and interact between each other. Since Kouji piloted the robot from the head, he acted as the robot's "brain", and almost every time Kouji would move, laugh, or suffer inside its cockpit, the robot would act the same, mimicking its pilot. Additionally, some minor characters included were cyborgs, that could act like humans, showing feelings and emotions (even crying). These ideas were used repeatedly in many similar shows (Grendizer, another Nagai work, would have the pilot injured in his own body where the robot was attacked).
In terms of plot, despite being simplistic in its portrait of good and evil characters, the show was able to stay fresh with young audiences with an irresistible mix of action, horror, comedy, and drama, sometimes all in one single episode. Some of them (especially after the introduction of the Boss Borot), were heavy on slapstick and jokes, even to the point of making fun of the hero and the villains; others carried strong melodramatic touches (this characteristics of heavy satire humor and melodrama were in fact staples of almost all of Go Nagai's creations in manga, even before their adaptations to the small screen). We also have a change in the concept of main female characters (already seen in Harenchi Gakuen, later reinforced in Cutie Honey), who were until then modeled after the "quiet, sweet, compliant" Japanese ideal: Kouji's partner and love interest Sayaka Yumi is tomboyish, loud and stubborn, very unlike the traditional heroines. Kouji Kabuto was not your usual hero of the time—a crass, arrogant, impulsive and hot-headed ne’er-do-well—who was the polar opposite of the virtuous Japanese males in the media. While Kouji's very outrageous and abhorrent behavior was very appealing to young boys, it was the bane of many establishment organizations, such as the Japanese PTA.
Later sequels of the franchise share many characteristics of the Japanese tokusatsu heroes as well as 1970s kaiju films. The team-up anime Grendizer & Getter Robo G & Great Mazinger vs. The Giant Sea Monster is very similar to tokusatsu films like Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster. Mazinger Z also spawned a parody series, Panda Z, also by Nagai, in which the main characters of the original series are replaced by anthropomorphic animals.
1 The Birth of the Wondrous Robot
2 Stop the Ashura army
3 Operation annihilate Mazinger Z
4 Mazinger Z driven into a corner
5 Ghost Mazinger appearance
6 Doctor Hell's pair of great mechanical beasts
7 Baron Ashura's great strategy
8 Great devil Abdora's true form
9 Deimos F3 is the demon's bastard son
10 Strong arm flying in the sky Daian
11 Blast phantom's gun Garen!!
12 Traitor! Great transformation robot Bicong
13 emon's great slalom attack!!
14 Infuriate! Sleeping giant Spartan
15 Operation great tsunami mechanical beast
16 Kouji Kabuto's assassination order!!
17 Abyss mechanical beast Holzon V3
18 Pirate gang of blood Glossam!
19 Flying devil beast Devira X!!
20 Flying mechanical beast Stronger
21 Ghost Town's Duel
22 Ambush attack!! Sea floor stronghold Salude
23 Mechanical beast Dan Dan operation big wheel
24 Mach mechanical beast Jinrai
25 Third brother Aeros operation big eruption
26 Clash! Samurai Kouji vs Ashura Mechanical Beast
27 Aphrodite A operation take lives
28 Dark command, operation steal super-alloy
29 Great reversal Mazin Power!!
30 Watch out Shiro, launch Mazinger Z!!
31 Prisoner beast machine operation electromagnetic waves
32 Three headed beast machine of terror
33 Big air-raid! Baras K is the sky's outlaw
34 Deep red flash of lightning, sky flying Mazinger
35 God of death mechanical beast, Desma's fierce attack
36 Metamorphosis mechanical beast living in the Great Lakes
37 Messenger from the darkness, scrander certain kill
38 Enigmatic robot Minerva X
39 Challenge risking the life! Crimson sea Salude
40 Devil governor count Brocken
41 Broken wings sky's struggle to the death
42 Devil's command!! Concentrated attack on air and land
43 Assault!! Parachute surprise attack force
44 Big charge!! Bottom of new sea stronghold Rood
45 Photonic Energy Research Lab devil's target!
46 Ninja twin mechanical beasts appear
47 Heroic! Operation Hell's W
48 Boss Robot combat initiation!!
49 Great fight of the robot of madness
50 Shooting down!! Jet Scrander
51 Assassins from hell Skull's Army!
52 Kouji's crisis, Sayaka mobilizes Mazinger!
53 Second step metamorphosis!! Eye deceiving mechanical beast
54 Explosion!! Powerful Rocket Punch!!
55 Mt. Fuji great straight descent operation
56 Stolen super-alloy Z!
57 Dr. Hell's Japan occupation!!
58 Front base hell's castle!!
59 Hell's castle, the devil's battle proclamation!!
60 Mazinger Z secret weapon shooting!!
61 Song of the robot of fate Ryne X
62 Unexpected?! Boss Robot mid-air flight
63 The beautiful girl carrying a bomb
64 Woman 007 VS Brocken devilish homicide
65 The ballon bomb carried by the wind
66 Shapeless hitman Jenova M9
67 Don't cry Kouji! The life placed in the Cross
68 The bodyguard from hell Archduke Gorgon
69 Air solution! Hover Pilder
70 Invulnerable commander Kouji Kabuto!!
71 Crisis relief!! New Pilder GO!!
72 Certain kill!! Giant swing Rocket Punch
73 Abducted Mazinger Z
74 Heroic!! End of Aphrodite A!!
75 Suicidal attack! Gorgon's mechanical beast
76 Lover of the era Diana A!
77 officer Count Brocken
78 Baron Ashura's falls in the Pacific Ocean!!
79 One second before Mazinger's explosion!!
80 Fall in Birds Island's trap!!
81 Sleep in hell!! Kouji Kabuto!!
82 The one who crossed the Devil's hand, Mazinger Z
83 First meeting!! Demon Officer Viscount Pigman!!
84 The deep sea is the graveyard of Mazinger Z!!
85 Bizarre!! The black shadow's attack!!
86 General attack! Triple great operation of death
87 Bomb victim!! The terrorific Pigman Viscount!!
88 Life or death? Hell's Island's battle to an inevitable death!!
89 Now or never!! The 4,000m under earth wonder!!
90 Enrage Shiro!! Defeat your mother's vestige!!
91 Last Chance!! Dr. Hell's decisive battle to the death!!
92 Death Match!! Resurrect our Mazinger Z!!