||This article possibly contains original research. (December 2014)|
Cover of the 2011 DVD Box set of Emotion the Best: Sengoku Majin GoShogun
(Sengoku Majin GōShōgun)
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Kunihiko Yuyama|
|Written by||Takeshi Shudo|
|Studio||Ashi Productions, Studio Z5|
|Original run||July 3, 1981 – December 28, 1981|
|Released||24 April 1982|
|The Time Étranger|
|Directed by||Kunihiko Yuyama|
|Written by||Takeshi Shudo|
|Licensed by||Central Park Media|
|Released||27 April 1985|
GoShogun (戦国魔神ゴーショーグン Sengoku Majin GōShōgun?) is a super robot anime series produced and aired in 1981 in Japan, with two films released later in 1982 and in 1985. It is variously referred to in English as "Demon God of the War-Torn Land GoShogun", "Warring Demon God GoShogun", "Civil War Devil-God GoShogun" and finally "Macron 1" when it was brought over to America.
Professor Sanada discovers a powerful new energy, called Beamler, emanating from a meteorite fragment that was found on the site of the Tunguska impact, and uses it to power a teleporting fortress, Good Thunder, and a giant battle robot, GoShogun. The Dokuga Crime Syndicate, led by lord NeoNeros, tries to forcibly recruit Sanada, but the scientist sets off a suicide bomb rather than let Dokuga acquire the secret technology. His son Kenta becomes Dokuga's next target, but he is saved by the crew of Good Thunder. The team then travels the world, repeatedly fighting off NeoNeros's forces with GoShogun and often hampering Dokuga's influence on the local level, whether by destroying their bases and businesses, assisting popular rebellions, or by averting environmental disasters. Challenges to Dokuga's worldwide power sometimes arise from an unexpected third party, and on at least one occasion Dokuga's three chief officers must team up with the Good Thunder crew against a common enemy to prevent the destruction of them all. This sets the stage for an eleventh-hour reversal, in which the three Dokuga generals side definitively against NeoNeros with the GoShogun team.
Over the course of the series, it is revealed that Beamler energy was sent to Earth by a supernatural power and became active when humans attained the technological capacity for space exploration, in order to test whether humans are worthy of engaging with civilizations from other planets. Beamler's development is closely connected to Kenta, who in the end becomes the incarnate form of the energy and the representative of the earth's collective soul, including not only living things, but also newly sentient robots and machines. NeoNeros turns out to be a negative, evil form of the same energy. After defeating him, Kenta takes GoShogun into space.
North American adaptation
In 1985, staff in the USA combined footage from GoShogun and Akū Dai Sakusen Srungle (Great Military Operation in Subspace Srungle or Mission Outer Space Srungle), a similar show produced by Kokusai Eiga-sha, to form Macron 1, which portrays the Srungle characters as being part of another branch of the organization fighting evil in a parallel universe. Taking two (or more) unrelated series and re-editing them to appear to take place in the same continuity was a somewhat common practice of the day for importing anime series to American television, as the number of episodes of a typical anime frequently fell short of the minimum number required for five-days-a-week syndication in the US market (65); besides Macron 1, Voltron: Defender of the Universe, Robotech, and Captain Harlock and the Queen of a Thousand Years were also stitched together in this manner. The combined series was produced and released in the United States by Saban, using the same voice cast as Carl Macek's Robotech adaptation.
The US version involves test pilot David Chance travelling into a parallel universe under the tyrannical control of an organization called GRIP, led by Dark Star. Chance's entrance into the other universe allows GRIP to send their forces to Earth, leaving Dark Star's cyborg henchman Orn to remain in control in the alternate universe. GRIP is opposed by the two teams of "Macron 1," the first led by Dr. Shegall and his team on Earth (from the GoShogun footage), while in the alternate universe Chance organizes a band of rebel warriors, Beta Command, to combat and overthrow Orn (from the Srungle footage). The Beta Command members were given much less screen time than the Earth team.
The Macron 1 adaptation made use of the so-called "Miami Vice formula" introduced a year earlier by the eponymous primetime series, incorporating contemporary pop music into the action scenes. Notable musical adaptations included "Beat It," "Shout," "Safety Dance," and "The Heat is On."
Around the same time frame as the US adaptation, in 1985, Saban translated and aired the series in several European countries as well. This version also used the title Macron 1, but did not incorporate any footage from Srungle and thus removed all references to Beta Command and the parallel-universe angle, making the international Macron 1 effectively a straight adaptation of GoShogun. In Italy it was broadcast under the name Gotriniton-Goshogun, il dio della guerra. In France a video of the first episodes was released under the name Fulgutor.
Good Thunder Team
- Captain Sabarath (v.b. Osamu Kobayashi): The captain of Good Thunder and senior advisor of the GoShogun team. Depicted as bald, wearing tinted glasses, and smoking cigars; wise, pragmatic, and generally unemotional; determined to preserve Good Thunder at any cost. Probably named after Telly Savalas, whom he resembles in appearance. Renamed Dr. James Shegall (v.b. Ike Medlick) in Macron-1.
- Shingo Hojo (v.b. Hirotaka Suzuoki): Young team leader and gunman who pilots the jet King Arrow, which docks in GoShogun's chest. He is in charge of GoShogun during battle, voice-activating its launch, the docking of the three jets, and various attacks. Stoic, serious, and a little stiff, but brave and level-headed under pressure. Prior to the events of the series, lost his fiancee in a Dokuga terrorist attack. Renamed Jason Templar (v.b. Cam Clarke) in Macron-1.
- Remy Shimada (v.b. Mami Koyama): Female pilot of Queen Rose, which docks inside GoShogun's left leg. She is in charge of the smaller robot TriThree, voice-activating its assembly, movement, and attacks. Smart, spunky, and beautiful, but unlucky with the opposite sex. Formerly a secret agent in France. Knowledgeable in art; hopeless in the kitchen. Renamed Kathy Jamison (v.b. Lisa Michelson, the wife of Gregory Snegoff) in Macron-1.
- Killy Gagley (v.b. Hideyuki Tanaka): Pilot of the third jet, Jack Knight, which docks inside GoShogun's right leg. A former gangster from New York, nicknamed the "Wolf of Bronx," he is tough, street-smart, and something of a jokester. Has a knack for throwing knives, an eye for the ladies, and is writing an autobiography. Renamed Scott Cutter (v.b. Kerrigan Mahan) in Macron-1.
- Kenta Sanada (v.b. Yōko Matsuoka): The son of Professor Sanada, the scientist who discovered Beamler and created Good Thunder and GoShogun. Ten years old at the start of the series. Over time, Kenta develops a paranormal ability to communicate with machines and robots, as well as with spirits of the earth's ecosystems. In the end, he becomes the living embodiment of Beamler energy. Renamed Nathan Bridger (v.b. Barbara Goodson) in Macron-1.
- Father: Good Thunder's super-computer and AI, programmed from the mind of Professor Sanada. At times, overrides commands from Sabarath to follow the Professor's instructions and ensure the passing of Beamler energy from one stage of development to the next. Renamed Hugo (v.b. Steve Kramer) in Macron-1.
- OVA: Kenta's robot tutor and caretaker, who becomes more like a mother to him. Renamed ND-2 (v.b. Theodore Layman) in Macron-1.
- TriThree: a fairly small robot formed by the assembly of the three jets, piloted by Remy. Renamed MacStar in Macron-1.
- GoShogun: renamed MacStar-1 in Macron-1, this is the eponymous robot of the series. Its weapons include a gigantic axe, an energy sword, and a photon bazooka that is delivered from Good Thunder via teleportation on an as-needed basis. GoShogun can fire laser-like beams from its eyes and other parts of its body. Its most powerful weapon, called GoFlasher, consists of five energy missiles launched from the robot's upper back, giving its head a semi-divine aura. Initially, GoFlasher has a purely destructive power, but as Beamler develops, this power becomes an animating one, giving sentience to enemy robots, which then choose to self-destruct rather than continue fighting.
Dokuga Crime Syndicate
- NeoNeros (v.b. Yuzuru Fujimoto): The evil leader, renamed Dark Star (v.b. Ike Medlick) in Macron-1. A menacing figure on a dark throne, he is always shown in shadow, and his true form is not revealed until the finale.
- Leonardo Medici Bundle (v.b. Kaneto Shiozawa): One of three chief officers of NeoNeros, specializing in espionage and political intrigue. Appears as a dandy prince with long blond hair, usually holding a rose or a glass of red wine; judges everything on the basis of beauty or lack thereof, and goes into battle with classical music playing on loudspeakers. Over time, develops a romantic interest in Remy. His first and second names are based on Leonardo da Vinci and Lorenzo de Medici. In The Time Étranger, he is portrayed as a latter-day samurai, preferring the katana to other weapons. Renamed Prince Eharn (v.b. Gregory Snegoff) in Macron-1.
- Suegni Cuttnal (v.b. Kihara Shojiro): Second henchman of NeoNeros, responsible for military strategy. Portrayed as an older-looking, one-eyed pirate, usually with his pet crow sitting on his shoulder. His legitimate businesses include large portions of the entertainment industry and a number of Disney-like amusement parks. He is addicted to tranquilizers, and even sells his own brand of them, called "Cuttnalizers." The Time Étranger gives greater prominence to his role as a pharmaceutical scientist and later as surgeon general. Renamed Captain Blade (v.b. Mike Reynolds) in Macron-1.
- Yatta-la Kernagul (v.b. Daisuke Gōri): A synthetic human with blue-green skin, and third henchman of NeoNeros, responsible for combat operations. Crude, brutish, and has severe anger management issues. One of his driving ambitions, however, is to open a chain of fried chicken restaurants called "Kernagul's Fried Chicken" and a hamburger chain called "KerDonald's". He is shown to have achieved this dream in The Time Étranger. Renamed Lord Jeraldan (v.b. Robert V. Barron) in Macron-1.
- Dr. Jitter (v.b. Mikio Terashima): Scientist working for Dokuga, responsible for inventing various robots intended to destroy GoShogun, as well as other weapons and technological tricks. Often complains about insufficient funding. Renamed Dr. Fritz in Macron-1.
- Mother: Dokuga's super computer, counterpart to Father.
- Keruna: Kernagul's stress-relief robot, mainly functioning as his personal punching bag during outbursts of anger. Typically a source of comic relief, Keruna also plays a pivotal role towards the end of the show. Renamed Clarence in Macron-1.
A surrealistic follow-up film, known as The Time Étranger or Time Stranger (1985), is set forty years after the events of the GoShogun TV series. Remy is rendered comatose in a car crash, and her old friends and former enemies gather at her bedside to try to lend her their strength. Meanwhile, in Remy's dream, she and her five friends are in the prime of their lives, and are trapped in a mysterious desert city, whose fanatical inhabitants worship a god of fate. All six team members receive anonymous letters that ordain for each of them a brutal death within several days, with Remy set to die first. As they fight back against the forces of fate, Remy is haunted by increasingly disturbing visions of her foretold demise, as well as by flashbacks to her lonely and troubled childhood, designed to drive her to despair. It is notable that the feature-length sequel of a "giant robot" series barely makes any reference to the giant robot, except for a brief shot of a GoShogun-shaped charm on the rearview mirror of Remy's car and a museum devoted to the former exploits of the GoShogun crew. All the fighting in the dream sequence is done with cold weapons and common firearms, such as Remy's trusty revolver.
In popular culture
- The GoShogun team and mecha make several appearances in the Super Robot Wars series with various enemy robots including Debiza (episode 4), Dogab (episode 6), Godneros (episode 18), Doshard (episode 22), and the GoShogun doppelganger GoNagurl (episode 23) as well as the three Dokuga ships and their fighters, the impactors.
- In Super Robot Wars Alpha 2 and Super Robot Wars Alpha 3, Leonardo Medici Bundle's ship has "The Blue Danube" as its default background music. This song is played on enormous speakers, and it is the only situation in which Elzam V. Branstein (a.k.a. Rätsel Feinschmecker)'s theme "Trombe!" is overridden.
- In Minky Momo, another anime produced by Ashi Production and directed by Kunihiko Yuyama, the heroine has a mecha that resembles GoShogun. Like Remy, she is voiced by Mami Koyama, and shares some of Remy's speech patterns.
- Site "Macron 1" information about "Macron 1", "Sengoku Majin Goshogun", "Gotriniton" and "The Time Etranger". Video, audio.
- Sengoku Majin GoShogun - aka Gotriniton, Fulgutor or Macron One fansite used to be goshogun.com, holds a lot of information and media
- Sengoku Majin GoShogun (anime) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
- GoShogun section at Encirobopedia
- Sengoku Majin GōShōgun by Takatoku Toys A great article on the GoShogun toys by Erik Sjoen from ToyboxDX.com
- Macron 1 review at Anime Game's Bargain Bin Anime Reviews
- GoShogun: The Time Étranger article