Idea: A Comprehensive Guide to Essential Episodes

Mazinger Z. Galaxy Express 999. Ranma 1/2. Astro Boy. There are a lot of anime out there that are considered classics (and rightfully so), but the problem with getting into them is that they can be very, very long with anywhere from forty to two-hundred episodes and beyond. Because of this, trying to experience what made these shows great becomes a daunting task, especially when not all of them are “serial,” and instead have large chunks which are simply episodic and, while perhaps decent episodes, are not the ones that can really grab people by the heart and the lungs.

What I am proposing then is that a guide to these long shows be made, pointing out the episodes which are considered, while perhaps not “necessary” to the viewing experience, to be the apex of the show. That way, anybody who just wants to sample the show but in a meaningful way (not just watch the first episode or two and be done with it) can do so and fully understand the reasons that show is called a classic.

But I can’t do it alone.

When the main focus is to be absurdly long shows, no one person can watch everything to make sure that all bases are covered. I would need help. Possibly, I would have to get one or two people watching any given show and have them report back to me what they consider to be the “big” episodes, and then check it out myself to see just how good they are. Something like that.

Maybe this can apply to manga too.

I don’t have any episode lists to recommend at the moment, but I-

Wait, maybe I do.

LEGEND OF THE GALACTIC HEROES
RECOMMENDED EPISODES: 1-110

(Seriously, watch the entire show)

Mazin is Go

2ch rumors abounded a while back that Imagawa Yasuhiro, famous for his work on the Giant Robo OVA, was being taken off of the upcoming Mazinger anime. It’s now been proven otherwise, but with the new announcement also comes a new title for this update to Nagai Go’s most famous giant robot: Shin Mazinger Shougeki! Z-Hen or True Mazinger Impact!! Z-Arc. The “Shin” by the way stands for “True,” so like the Shin Getter in Armageddon and not the Shin as in New Getter.

Now, prior to this announcement, we all thought that the new Mazinger anime was gonna be based on Z-Mazinger, i.e. Mazinger with a Greek mythological influence, and it was touted as such. And even before then, there were interviews with Nagai where he talked about how he wanted to finish off the Mazinger saga he never could back in the 70s due to various difficulties. And now we have what looks to be a total original Mazinger Z remake. What a crazy journey for this show!

But then you notice that last crucial part of the title, “Z-Hen.” Hen means volume or compilation, I translated it as (story) arc, so I think the potential implication is that after these 26 episodes are up, we might get a 26-episode Great Mazinger series, and then possibly more and it actually might finally close out the Mazingers forever. Or until the next remake.

Also, Kabuto Kouji has a new voice actor. Much as I wish the great Ishimaru Hiroya to take the title role again, I’m fine with getting newer blood as well.


Not Plagiarism: Robot Taekwon V

“Robot Taekwon V” is a cartoon that captivated children’s imaginations in the 1970s, and had numerous sequels and remakes through the years. Recently, it was remastered for its 30th anniversary thanks to a lucky discovery of an undamaged print. If you’ve never heard of the Japanese anime Taekwon V, don’t be alarmed.

Because it’s Korean.

Looking at Taekwon V itself, “Mazinger Z” is probably the first thing that pops into your head. The resemblance is unmistakable, and it could easily fit into Nagai Go’s Giant Robot Pantheon. I’ve seen people online, mostly aggressive Japanese posters, decrying Taekwon V as a rip-off, a sign of plagiarism and uncreativity. The director Kim Cheong-gi has gone on the record stating the obvious influence that Mazinger Z had on his design. At the time, Mazinger Z was very popular in Korea and Kim wanted to created a Korean Super Robot so that kids would appreciate Korean culture. The likely scenario is that at the time he thought Mazinger Z was what all super robots should look like, so it’s no wonder that they look similar. That isn’t the reason why I say it’s not plagiarism though.

Taekwon V fights using its namesake, Taekwondo, and its animation reflects this fact. Mazinger Z and in fact every other super robot has never used Taekwondo. While Taekwon V resembles Mazinger Z heavily, its poses, mannerisms, and actions set it apart. Taekwon V is able to follow the movements of its pilot, a Taekwondo champion himself, two years before Daimos. It even has unique attacks, most notably its Rocket Chop (I don’t know the actual name for this), where Taekwon V makes a horizontal, back-handed chopping motion while simultaneously launching its hand to give it some added destructive momentum.

If it looks like a duck, but doesn’t walk like a duck, and it quacks in Korean, then it is Taekwon V.

By the way, this reasoning does not necessarily apply to other Korean Giant Robot shows. I’m looking at you, Space Gundam V.