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Before Japan's experimental robot weapon project can be used against the Allies, U.S. bombers destroy the laboratory, killing its creator, Dr. Kaneda. A decade after the war, several crimes are found to have been committed by remote-controlled giant robots, the 26th and 27th prototypes of a long-forgotten military project. Kaneda's detective son, Shotaro (Jimmy Sparks), discovers that the syndicates are searching for a mythical 28th prototype, rumored to be even more powerful. He beats them in figuring out its whereabouts, finding both it and Professor Shikashima (Bob Brilliant), another researcher thought dead in the same attack that killed his father. Shikashima and Shotaro decide to use Ironman #28 for peace, not war. The final 13 episodes, broadcast after a hiatus of several months in which the Eiken team concentrated on Prince Planet, featured a change of direction, with Shotaro having a vision that aliens from Planet Magma are about to invade and piloting Ironman against the Magmans' robot champions Magma X and Gold Wolf.

Based on a 1956 Shonen Magazine serial by Giant Robo-creator Mi-tsu-teru Yokoyama, and thereby predating Osamu Tezuka's similar Big X in both anime and manga forms, Ironman's design is not dissimilar to that of Ryuichi Yokoyama's propaganda manga The Science Warrior Appears in New York (1943), suggesting perhaps this is indeed the way that Wartime Anime might have turned out if the war had gone on any longer! However, the postwar Ironman was considered peaceful enough for 52 of the early episodes to get a U.S. release courtesy of Fred Ladd, who toned down some of the death and violence and ensured that almost every villain in the show sounded like a Nazi or a Chicago mobster. The old show is probably best remembered for its classic theme tune from Lou Singer and Gene Raskin redundantly announcing that our hero was "ready to fight for right against wrong." There was also a short-lived 1960 live-action series in Japan (*DE).

The franchise was revived for New Ironman 28 (1980), directed by Tetsuo Imazawa, in which Interpol agent Shotaro works for the antirobot crime division, Branch Robo, and occasionally repels alien invaders, too. The new series removed the wartime angle by beginning in the 1990s with the death of Professor Kaneda and did not appear in the U.S. as New Gigantor until 1993, after the "future year" in which it was originally set.

Super-Electric Robo Ironman 28 FX (1992) was another, less successful TV series from Imazawa that moved the action to 2030 and starred the grandson of the original Professor Kaneda, fighting adversaries such as the "Pink Mafia" and the evil Franken organization, as well as the office politics within Interpol that find him arrested at one point by his own staff. Gigantor also supplied inspiration for creator Katsuhiro Otomo, who wrote a trilogy of adult manga designed to be modern retellings of old classics. They were Fireball, featuring a supercomputer modeled on Astro Boy; Domu, featuring a psychic schoolgirl modeled on E-chan the Ninja; and Akira, in which a Shotaro Kaneda and a General who is the son of an inventor, fight over a classified weapon left over from an old war, known as Number 28.

Gigantor was remade yet again by Giant Robo-director Yasuhiro Imagawa in 2004, in a TV series that restored much of the dark seriousness of the original manga, bringing it full circle to its militaristic origins. There was also a live-action remake, Tetsujin 28 (2005).

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General Information Edit
Name Gigantor
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Romaji: Tetsujin 28-go
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Start Year 1963
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Aliases Ironman Number 28
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