Sunday, April 22, 2012

Discuss: Japanese Import Television

Doug: Any fans out there rooting for Space Giants, Johnny Sokko and His Giant Robot, or Ultraman?



13 comments:

dbutler16 said...

Star Blazers was my favorite cartoon back around 1979-1980. What a great series. I also used to watch Speed Racer. I've also watched a bit of Voltron and a couple of similar cartoons, but I've never really watched a Japanese live action show. Star Blazers was the only Japanese import I really loved, though.

C.K. Dexter Haven said...

The Lugo Men melting gave me a sense of unease as a seven-year-old watching Space Giants in 1978. I believe TBS aired the show on weekdays after school.

Star Blazers was something of a cult hit to every boy in my third-grade class (1979-80). We compulsively drew battles with the "Argo" and talked about the show endlessly. I remember the intensity of the Captain's death, the radioactive meteors' endless bombardment of Earth and those cool guys in black who were a special squadron of aviators.

I haven't seen the Star Blazers show since 1980 because it vanished after my local station (WCIX-Miami) finished the run, I guess.

My friend's brother watched Spectreman a lot, but I was a bit older then and had no use for that kind of stuff. I was too busy reading Enemy Ace, cool middle schooler that I thought I was (I really wasn't).

Anonymous said...

I have some fond (although kind of vague) memories of watching Astro Boy on Saturday mornings, and of coming home from school and watching Ultra Man on weekday afternoons. I also remember the movie Voyage into Space, which was apparently compiled from the Johnny Sokko show, but I never saw the series itself in individual episodes. I suppose most of these series, like the British marionation shows, were syndicated in the USA, so their distribution may have been kind of scattershot. You will hear Americans say, "I remember Ultra Man, but not Johnny Sokko" (or, "I saw Thunderbirds, but not Captain Scarlet"). My barber said she was a fan of Space Giants when she was a kid. For some reason, I never got into Speed Racer or Marine Boy. Maybe I was just outgrowing cartoons and moving on to the monster-movie phase (and Ultra Man was like a mini-Godzilla movie). My grand nephew is too young to remember those shows, but he became a Speed Racer fan after seeing the movie. And a friend's son was obsessed with the Power Rangers in the 1990's. Now he's an adult and a college senior and his memories of the 1990's are as vague as are mine of the 1960's. But my neighbors' daughters are fans of the latest Power Rangers incarnation. So, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Al said...

When I was 12 years old, I discovered Star Blazers - it came on very early (around 6:00 AM) on one of the cable channels (maybe TBS). The animation was rather strange to me at the time, as I was used to projects from Hanna Barbera and Fimation. But I was quickly hooked by the grown-up themes of the storyline. I would get up every morning - extra early - to watch it. Then summer rolled around, and I didn't have to get up early for school anymore. I figured I'd pick it back up when the school year started back, but by then, it was gone. That was over 30 years ago. I have recently found it again on Netflix and plan to begin watching the series soon.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy Ultramam enough to have a DVD I picked up cheap somewhere, it's got a few episodes on it. Also watched a lot of Robotech as a kid. Speed Racer was on after school but I wasn't thst interested as it had a saminess from episode to episode. I vaguely recall Star Blazers and Battle of the Planets. I never really liked the big-eyes, small-mouth stuff; it's part of why most Japanese comics din't appeal to me. Although I did love Area 88, anybody ever read that one? Fantastic airplanes and a pretty cool story.

--Matt alias Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Forgot to say: What anout Astro Boy?!

--Matt Anon

J.A. Morris said...

I loved me some Star Blazers too. I have a few of the dvds, and it's still a fun show, if not as "deep" as I used to think it was.
One of the coolest things about the internet is reading summaries & watching youtube videos about the changes made from the original Japanese version. For instance, Wildstar blows up a Gamilon "drone" tank in an early episode. In the Japanese version, it wasn't a drone, it had a Gamilon driver inside who got killed.
As an adult, I laugh at the way they put the word "space" in front of everything to make it sound "cool".

As in "space tanks!".

Also, best theme song ever!

I enjoyed Ultraman, but I never lived in a market that carried it. But I'd watch it when I visited my grandparents on old channel 44 in the Tampa/St. Pete area. Even as a kid, I knew the show was pretty damn formulaic, but the monsters were cool.

Steve Does Comics said...

It's terrible but I've never heard of any of the shows that've been mentioned so far.

I do though have fond memories of a cartoon called Marine Boy, about a boy who could breathe under water thanks to his special chewing gum. I think he might've had an electric boomerang too, though I wouldn't have thought you'd be wanting to use an electric boomerang if you spent all your time under water like he did.

In the 1970s, the BBC ran a couple of live-action Japanese martial arts shows called The Water Margin and Monkey which were great.

Something else I have fond memories of was a thing called Starfleet (X-Bomber), which was a Japanese puppet show that seemed to have been influenced by Gerry Anderson. Brian May of Queen was such a big fan of it that he released a single in its honour.

Anonymous said...

werent there two voltron shows, one with lions and another with cars or something

david_b said...

Other than having to watch 'Speed Racer' since not much else was on, I'm only peripherally aware of these shows.

I don't recall which, but I earnestly tried to like some of the animated ones in the 80s, but just couldn't do it.

Karen said...

"Voyage into Space" was shown frequently on KTLA in Los Angeles, so I have strong memories of Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot. I also enjoyed Voltron -the one with the lions/robots.

Never saw Space Giants but it looks interesting!

B Smith said...

When Frank Miller started getting into the ninjas and other Japanese things, it was old news to Australian readers of a certain age - we'd seen it a good 15 years before in "The Samurai", a live action hour hour show set in medieval Japan.

It was a smash hit on Australian TV, so much so that the star, Koichi Ose, travelled to Australia and starred in a limited run live theatre adaptation.

Ask Oz blokes aged 50-60, and they'll tell you about ninjas, star knives, leaping great heights...and they needn't even be comics fans :-)

There was another show that came after called "The Phantom Agents" about a ninja-type group set in the modern day - I loved that one as well, but it wasn't the runaway steaming winner that "The Samurai" was.

Check out a clip here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZU5ydq9gpbg&feature=related

dbutler16 said...

Regarding the Star Blazers theme song, even though I haven't seen the show in about 25 years (though my best friend did buy the DVD's_ I can still remember that theme song!

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