Mazinger Z

Mazinger Z is an anime series in the Mazinger franchise
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Robot inventor Dr. Hell (Dr. Demon) wants to control the world with his MachineBeasts, who are led into battle by his minions, Baron Ashler/Ashura (Devleen, "half man, half woman, and the worst of both"), whose body is literally split down the middle, left side male and right side female, and Count Broken (Count Decapito), a cyborg who carries his head tucked underneath his arm. His attacks are resisted by the Photon Research Institute (Volcanic Research Institute). Photon inventor Dr. Kabuto's grandson, Koji (Tommy Davis), works out how to operate Mazinger Z, Kabuto's giant superalloy robot (see Godaikin and Shogun Warriors), climbing inside its head and using it to fight back against Hell, aided by his stepsister, Yumi Sayaka (Jessica), her robot Aphrodite A (later upgraded to Diana Alpha 1), and Boss Borot (Bobo-bot), a comic-relief machine driven by the local tough-guy, Boss. Based on a 1972 Shonen Jump manga by Go Nagai, Mazinger Z (TranZor Z in the U.S.) was the first "pilotable" robot, not a sentient being like Astro Boy or a remote-controlled toy like Gigantor. This changes the relationship between the young hero (and therefore the viewer) and the robot; instead of merely observing its actions, the viewer wears it like a suit of armor and controls it as if he and the robot were one. Secondly, the robot bristled with cool weapons that were all activated by the hero calling out their names ("Rocket Punch!"), which added to the viewer's involvement in the show as well as the play value of the toys. The "gadgets 'n' gimmicks" approach was to have a long life in robot merchandising-see Gundam, Evangelion, et al.

After the 43-minute crossover movie Mazinger Z vs. Devilman (1973), the show returned as Great Mazinger (1974). With Koji absent in South America, the pilot of the new, improved prototype is Tetsuya Tsurugi, with new token girl Jun Hono (and her token girl robot Venus Ace) and Boss Borot retained from the old series. They were fighting the subterranean army of Mikene and its mechanical monsters, led by Jigoku Daisensei, the reincarnation of Dr. Hell. Koji returned for the grand finale and would also appear in the Nagai robot-series Grandizer along with Boss Borot. The robots appeared again in short cinema outings alongside other Go Nagai creations including Mazinger Z vs. the General of Darkness (1974), Great Mazinger vs. Getter Robo G (1975), and Great Mazinger/Grandizer/Getter Robo G: Battle the Great Monster (1976).

The concept was also rehashed as the short-lived God Mazinger (1983). Japanese teen Yamato Hibino is sucked through a time warp into the past, where the dinosaur army of the Dragonia Empire threatens the world, and Queen Aira of Mu (see Super Atragon) needs Yamato to help her fight back with the aid of the guardian God Mazinger, which looks suspiciously like a giant robot. Their chief opponent is the evil Emperor Dorado of Dragonia and his golden-haired son, Prince Eldo, whose vendetta against the dark-haired Yamato was only just beginning when the series was canceled. Though Nagai still drew the tie-in manga, the anime robot was designed in "the Nagai style" by Satoshi Hirayama. More remote tie-ins were the 1988 Mazinger manga Nagai wrote and Ken Ishikawa painted for First Comics (the first manga done specifically for U.S. release) and the Mazin Kaiser robot created for Banpresto's Super Robo Wars multiplatform game in 1991, which subsequently featured in the video anime Mazin Kaiser (2001). Finally, the lead robot in Nagai's Psycho Armor Gobarian bears a staggering resemblance to Mazinger Z.

Series Credits
Person Name Episode Count
Tomoharu Katsumata
Go Nagai

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Original US Poster Art

General Information Edit
Name Mazinger Z
Name: マジンガーZ
Romaji: Majingā Zetto
Publisher Toei Animation
Start Year 1972
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Aliases TranZor Z
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