Ninja Senshi Tobikage

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Ninja Senshi Tobikage
Ninja Senshi Tobikage Title.jpg
Ninja Senshi Tobikage Logo
忍者戦士飛影
Genre Adventure, Mecha
Anime television series
Directed by Masami Annō
Written by Yūji Watanabe (original concept, series composition)
Studio Studio Pierrot
Network Nippon Television
English network
Original run 6 October 198513 July 1986
Episodes 43
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Ninja Senshi Tobikage (忍者戦士飛影 lit. Ninja Warrior Tobikage?), also known as Ninja Robot Tobikage and Ninja Robots, is a Japanese anime television series, produced by Studio Pierrot, which aired from 6 October 1985 to 13 July 1986 on the Nippon Television network. It was also broadcast to parts of Asia and Australia, and, in 1995, was broadcast under the title Ninja Robots in the United States on Cartoon Network. The series is currently streaming in North America via Yomiura Group's planned Anime Sols video service, as of spring 2013. [1]

Plot[edit]

In the 23rd century, earthlings have colonized Mars and the Moon. Much like convicts in Australia during the 18th and 19th century, the settlers of Mars consist mostly of convicts from Earth. The Martian colony is run by military dictator Hazzard Pascha, who tests every settler on whether they should serve in the military or become a laborer.

Joe Maya is a 16-year-old who lives on Mars with his father. His dream is to return to Earth. He has two friends Mike Coil and Jenny Ai (Reni Ai in the Japanese original). During an escape from Martian military police, Joe and Mike stumble upon a crashed spaceship, the Xenos 5 (the El Shank). Inside, they encounter three human-looking aliens: Princess Romina, whom Joe instantly finds attractive, her willowy attendant Jade (Shaf), and a young red-headed general named Icelander (Irbora). But before they can converse, a group of robots land and attack the spaceship. As the three aliens hide, Joe jumps into a machine, but it turns out to be a ninja robot named Black Lion. The battle leads outside the ship where a mysterious ninja robot Cybertron (Tobikage) suddenly appears. It wipes out several of the enemy robots before it merges with Joe's robot, which transforms into a mechanical lion that eradicates the remaining attackers.

After the attack, the aliens adjust their translators and communicate with Joe and Mike. They are from the planet Ladorio (also romanized as "Radorio"), and are in a war with the Zaboom army. They convince the boys and Joe's friend Jenny to help them out because the three teenagers are the only humans who have the innate ability to operate their ninja robots. The teens agree as it gives them a chance to escape Mars and go to Earth. Along the way, they make new friends and sometimes re-open old wounds, while Cybertron looms mysteriously in the background.

Characters[edit]

Humans[edit]

Joe Maya (ジョウ・マヤ Jō Maya?), Voiced by: Kazuhiko Inoue
Joe is a 16-year-old boy who lives with his father on the Mars colony at the beginning of the series. He lost his mother when he was young, but often reminisces about the fun he had on Earth. He tends to be rebellious and impulsive, the opposite of his father, who is calm and thoughtful. He is the first of his friends to discover and to operate the ninja robots; he pilots Black Lion.
Joe's best friend is Ronin, whom he has known since childhood. Among his other friends, he and Mike refer to each other as brothers. He enjoys teasing Jenny about his friends who are interested in her, but otherwise treats her like one of the guys. He falls in love with the Princess upon their first meeting, and is willing to do anything to protect her. In the English adaptation, he eventually confesses his love to Jenny in the final episode.[note 1]His infatuation with the princess, as well as rude and rash behavior, puts him at odds with Icelander.
At first, Joe attempts to leave his friends in order to go after Hazzard, but they support him when his father is kidnapped. He notices that Cybertron continues to aid him in battle, and eventually he gets to pilot it.
Jenny Ai (レニー・アイ Renī Ai?), Voiced by: Noriko Hidaka
Jenny is a 17-year-old girl who is friends with Joe and Mike. She is portrayed as a tomboy, but has a sweet side, and cares much about her family who stayed behind on Mars. She becomes jealous and possessive about her relationship with Joe. She is the second of the group to operate a ninja robot; she pilots the Phoenix Thunderhawk and is almost as daring as Joe in combat.
Jenny acts as a sister to Mike and tries to help him get to know Jade. A local boy, Kenji, has a crush on her, but she does not reciprocate, and she gets irritated whenever Joe teases her about him. Whenver Princess Romina hugs or flirts with Joe, Jenny becomes upset and hurt. As a result, she regularly asks Joe how he feels about her. She even says that she loves him and just wants to be with him, even if he went to Ladorio. Eventually, Joe reciprocates her feelings.
Mike Coil (マイク・コイル Maiku Koiru?), Voiced by: Masami Kikuchi
Mike is a 15-year-old boy who treats Joe like an older brother, although he is opposite in personality in that he is soft and reserved. He completes the initial trio of teens who pilot the Ninja Robots; he pilots Burst Dragon. He falls in love with Jade, who is Romina's aide.
Damian (ダミアン Damian?), Voiced by: Masamichi Satō
Damian is an 18-year-old boy who is the son of the Martian north pole's guerrilla leader. At least he mistrusts Joe and the others, but later joins them. When Joe becomes the pilot of Cybertron, Damian pilots the Black Lion. In one story, he falls in love with a female ninja who was originally sent to trap his friends, but she sacrifices her life due to his love.
Ronin Sanada ( ローニン・サナダ Rōnin Sanada?), Voiced by: Masashi Hironaka
Ronin is a childhood friend of Joe and the gang. He is the son of an Earth military commander. He helps his friends by using his father's connections, and provides equipment and supplies for their battles.
Kegare Sanada (ケガレ・サナダ Kegare Sanada?), Voiced by: Rokurō Naya
Kegare Sanada is an Earth military commander and Ronin's father.
Hazzard Pascha (ハザード・パシャ Hazādo Pasha?), Voiced by: Takeshi Aono
Hazzard is one of the series' main antagonists. He is sent to Mars to become the commandant of the colony. He is power-hungry and opportunistic. During the first few battles on Mars, he allies himself with the Zaboom army with the ultimate goal of conquering the Earth that sent him away. He often uses manipulative tactics to bring people to his side. Eventually he tries to kill everyone on the Xenos 5 but is defeated by Phoenix in Houraiou mode.
Dog Tack (ドッグ・タック Doggu Takku?), Voiced by: Takashi Taniguchi
Dog Tack is Hazzard's right-hand man in the military. He is 35 years old.
Kenji, Voiced by: Takashi Taniguchi
Kenji is a young, immature and sexually frustrated boy who has never been kissed. He directs much of his unrequited love towards Jenny.

Ladorio[edit]

This is a list of the notable characters from the planet Ladorio.

Romina Ladorio (ロミナ・ラドリオ Romina Radorio?), Voiced by: Sumi Shimamoto
Romina is a princess and future empress of the planet Ladorio. She is about 15-16 years old. She has sad blue eyes, a slender build, and silvery-lavender hair.
When Ladorio was invaded by the Zaboom army, Romina escapes with her companions Jade and Icelander. Her parents give her the mission of finding 'ninjas' from Earth who would be able to pilot her ninja robots. Although she puts up a brave front, she also mourns over the loss of her home world and family. She is loyal to her friends and expects the same loyalty from them. When Joe falls in love with her, he tries to cheer her up and helps her out. She also develops feelings for Joe and is willing to risk her life to save him.
Jade (シャフ Shafu?, also "Schaffe"), Voiced by: Rika Fukami
Jade is Romina's assistant. She is 18 years old and dresses like a maid. She initially did not believe that Joe was a ninja candidate. She is kind, considerate, and understanding, and later in the story, reciprocates Mike's feelings.
Icelander (イルボラ・サロ Irubora Saro?, also "Yllbora Saro"), Voiced by: Kenyu Horiuchi
Icelander is a reserved but ambitious general who can be egotistic and aggressive, but noble and courageous. He is 20 years old, and is known as "The Best Warrior of Ladorio". He tends to look down on others, but seems to be deeply in love with Romina, and is determined to fight for her to the end.
He becomes very jealous of Romina's attention towards Joe. Both he and Joe are "people of action" and this mutual antipathy ends up in open quarrels and fights, which tends to upset the otherwise peace-seeking Romina. He dreams of great power; when Zaboom general Grathan Gryn offers him power in exchange for princess Romina's life, he considers the offer and leaves the Xenos 5 for good. However, he cannot forget his love for Romina, and is racked with guilt.
Icelander eventually pilots a ninja robot named Mantis. He remains conflicted between absolute power and loving Romina. At the end of the story, when he becomes seriously injured, he decides to tell Romina his feelings.
Gameran (ガメラン Gameran?, also "Gamellun"), Voiced by: Masashi Sugawara
Gameran is the second in command aboard the Xenos 5. He is 19 years old and is very protective of Romina. He despises Joe and has attempted to kill him at times, but if the princess is in danger, he will sometimes side with Joe.

Zaboom[edit]

A list of notable characters in the army of Zaboom.

Grathan Gryn (グラサン・グリン Gurasan Gurin?), Voiced by: Hōchū Ōtsuka
Grathan Gryn is the first commander of the Zaboom army. Hazzard considers him a silly commander. When he attempts to kill Romina, Cybertron intervenes and destroys him.
Charme Veker (シャルム・ベーカー Sharumu Bēkā?), Voiced by: Eiko Yamada
King Annex's devoted advisor. She is lovely, but devious.
King Annex (アネックス・ザブーム Anekkusu Zabūmu?, also "Annex Zaboom"), Voiced by: Masaaki Okabe
King Annex is the ruler of planet Zaboom. He seeks to become the master of the universe, and invades Ladorio, the home planet of Romina. He is the arch villain in the series, and possesses a large fleet of spaceships and robots. Joe eventually kills him with a time bomb explosion.

Machines[edit]

Ninja Robots[edit]

The ninja robots are a group of mecha that are controlled by humans who possess special piloting abilities. They assume a regular robot form, but are powered up when they join forces with a special ninja robot called Cybertron (Tobikage).

Cybertron (飛影(とびかげ) hi kage (tobikage)?)
Cybertron is a small ninja robot, approximately 3.6 m (12 ft) tall and weighing 500 kg (1,100 lb). It mysteriously appears whenever the ninja robots are low on power or are facing overwhelming odds. It can fight on its own, or can combine with one of the ninja robots to form a more powerful mode. In later episodes, Joe is able to summon and pilot Cybertron. He also learns that Cybertron comes out of a secret chamber aboard the Xenos 5. Its Japanese name "tobikage" means "flying shadow".
Black Lion (黒獅子(くろじし) kuro shishi ( kurojishi ) ?)
Black Lion was the first ninja robot to be activated. Joe initially pilots Black Lion, but when he changed to Cybertron, Damian pilots it. When it merges with Cybertron, it is known as "Beast Demon Kurojishi" (Juuma Kurojishi), and looks more like a lion. As per its namesake, it has an armored mane that shoots bullets, and is the most agile and speedy of the ninja robots. It is 6.5 m (21 ft) tall and weighs 10 tons.
Phoenix Thunderhawk (鳳雷鷹(ほうらいおう) ootori kaminari taka ( houraiou ) ?)
Phoenix Thunderhawk is the ninja robot used by Jenny. It has powers of fire. When it merges with Cybertron, it is known as "Sky Demon Houraioh" (Kuuma Houraiou), and resembles a fiery phoenix. In this form, it can fly and cast a flame that spans its wings. It is 7.2 m (24 ft) tall and weighs 9.6 tons.
Burst Dragon (爆竜(ばくりゅう) ( baku ryuu ) ?)
Burst Dragon is the ninja robot used by Mike. When it merges with Cybertron, it is known as "Sea Demon Bakuryu", and resembles a dragon. Its form is large and strong, but slow and ungainly. Its special ability is a lightning strike that is capable of wiping out entire robot armies. It is 8.3 m (27 ft) tall and weighs 12 tons.

Zaboom Robots[edit]

Shadow Bots (シャーマン shāman?)
The generic battle mecha used by the Zaboom army. They are colored red and are equipped with kamas. They are 3.6 m (12 ft) tall and weigh 750 kg (1,650 lb).
Stealth Destroyers (バンクス bankusu?)
A more powerful mecha used by the Zaboom army. They are equipped jumonji type yari and are significantly larger than the Shadow Bots at 10 m (33 ft) tall.
Mantis (スケルトン, sukeruton (skeleton)
Icelander pilots a giant blue robot when he defects to the Zaboom army.
Zerokage (零影(ぜろかげ) rei kage ( ze ro kage )?, (also "null shadow"))
Zerokage is a very agile and sentient Ninja Robot. It merges with Icelander and has clashed with Cybertron on many occasions. Both robots are comparable in ability. It is 4 m (13 ft) tall and weighs 550 kg (1,210 lb).

Fortresses[edit]

Xenos 5 (エルシャンク, Ellshanc)
The mother ship for the aliens from Ladorio. It is 300 m long and 250 m wide. It carries a crew of 50 people.
C-Terahertz (C・テラヘルツ C . tera herutsu ?)
The space fortress used by the Zaboom army. It is 500 m tall.
G-Excellent
Another Space fortress used by the Zaboom army.
Famille Ship
A cruiser used by Hazzard.

Conception[edit]

Anime[edit]

The anime series was produced by Studio Pierrot, and aired on Nippon Television network from 6 October 1985 to 13 July 1986. It ran for 43 episodes.

It was also broadcast across to South Asia, Southeast Asia and Australia (including Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Malaysia) by Cartoon Network. It was also dubbed across Russia by Ren-TV, across Ukraine by Pershyi Natsionalnyi, across the Philippines by Solar USA after Cartoon Network Philippines removed it from it airwaves, across France by TF1, under the title Tobikage, and across Chile by TVN de Chile, Mexico by Televisa Canal 5 and Peru by América Televisión 4.

In 1995, it was dubbed & under the title Ninja Robots in the United States. The series was written, produced, and directed by Buz Alexander of Alexander Entertainment Group. The English cast was listed as Voice Talent and consist of: Cam Clarke, Steve Kramer, Wendee Lee, Mike Reynolds, and Doug Stone.[2]

The opening theme song is titled "Love Survivor" (LOVEサバイバー LOVE Sabaibā??). The closing theme song is titled "Ichi Seikime no Angel" (一世紀めのエンジェル Ichi Seikime no Enjeru??). Both songs were written by Kumiko Aoki, and the composition and arrangements were done by Yūichirō Oda. They were performed by HIT BOY. In the English adaptation, the opening theme song is used for both the opener and closer; the lyrics were written by Lisa McBride and the song was performed and arranged by Jerry Cobb.[2]

Episode list[edit]

No. Episode Title Original Japanese airdate
1 "The Opened Door"
(開かれた扉) 
October 6, 1985
2 "Encounters with the Unknown"
(未知との出会い) 
October 10, 1985
3 "The Wounded Princess"
(傷だらけの姫君) 
1985
4 "The Legendary Ninja"
(伝説の忍者) 
1985
5 "The Polar Cap — A New Trial"
(極冠新たなる試練) 
1985
6 "Blizzard of Battle"
(戦いのブリザード) 
1985
7 "The Law of Heroes"
(勇者達の掟) 
1985
8 "The Wandering Warriors"
(さまよえる戦士たち) 
1985
9 "Farewell Howl"
(別れの咆哮) 
1985
10 "Souls Drawing Together"
(歩みよる魂) 
1985
11 "The Devil's Whispers"
(悪魔の囁き) 
1985
12 "Time of Parting"
(訣別の時) 
1985
13 "The Raging Stream of Destiny"
(激流の運命) 
1985
14 "Chapter of Suspicion"
(魅惑の断章) 
1986
15 "Our Homeland — So Far Away"
(故郷、遥か遠く) 
1986
16 "The Unwelcome Return"
(望まれぬ帰還) 
1986
17 "Never-Ending Relationship"
(断ち消えぬ友情) 
1986
18 "Old Soldiers Never Die"
(誇り高き戦士) 
1986
19 "Powerful Enemies"
(立ちはだかる者) 
1986
20 "Grathan's Gone"
(焦躁の果てに) 
1986
21 "The Shocked Universe"
(震撼する宇宙) 
1986
22 "Run Towards the Hope"
(希望への脱出) 
1986
23 "The Recorded Road Mark"
(印された道標) 
1986
24 "Dropping Wings In Dance"
(舞い降りた翼) 
1986
25 "A Short Meeting"
(束の間の出会い) 
1986
26 "Heavy Quickening"
(大いなる胎動) 
1986
27 "The Transform of Position"
(変わりゆく風) 
1986
28 "New Arousal"
(新たなる目覚め) 
1986
29 "The Forgotten Age of Seventeen"
(忘れられた17歳) 
1986
30 "The Closed Legend"
(閉ざされた伝説) 
1986
31 "The Respective Confusion"
(それぞれの惑い) 
1986
32 "The Endless Fight"
(果てしなき苦闘) 
1986
33 "The Walk by Oneself"
(たった一人の暴走) 
1986
34 "Women Ninja — Red Shadow"
(女忍者・紅影) 
1986
35 "Small Cranny"
(細やかな亀裂) 
1986
36 "Collapsed Authority"
(崩された威信) 
1986
37 "Growing Ambition"
(迫り来る野望) 
1986
38 "The Final Harmony"
(果たされた和睦) 
1986
39 "The Final Battle of Defence"
(決死の攻防戦) 
1986
40 "End of Aggression"
(侵略の終焉) 
1986
41 "Another Door"
(もうひとつの扉) 
1986
42 "Summary & Preface"
(彼方よりの軌跡 総集編・前編) 
1986
43 "Limitless Milky Way"
(見果てぬ銀河 総集編・後編) 
1986

Reception[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Japanese version has no resolution for the love triangle among Joe, Jenny, and the Princess.

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://animesols.com/series/11
  2. ^ a b Ninja Robots episode closing credits.

External links[edit]