Cover of the first DVD volume
(Anime Oyako Gekijō)
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Masakazu Higuchi|
|Written by||Akiyoshi Sakai|
|Studio||Tatsunoko Productions, Production LOOSE|
|Network||TV Tokyo (Japan), CBN (United States)|
|Original run||October 1, 1981 – March 29, 1982|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Masakazu Higuchi|
|Written by||Akiyoshi Sakai|
|Network||TV Tokyo (Japan), CBN (United States)|
|Original run||April 4, 1983 – September 26, 1983|
|Directed by||Tom Bancroft, Rob Corley, Bryant Paul Richardson|
|Country of origin||(United States)|
|Original channel||CBN (United States)|
Superbook, also known as Animated Parent and Child Theatre (アニメ 親子劇場 Anime Oyako Gekijō?), is an anime television series initially produced by Tatsunoko Productions in Japan in conjunction with the Christian Broadcasting Network in the United States and more recently solely produced by CBN for global distribution and broadcast.
The series chronicled the events of the Bible's Old and New Testaments in its 52 episode run. The first 26 episodes aired from October 1, 1981 to March 29, 1982. The series returned as Superbook II (パソコントラベル探偵団 Pasokon Toraberu Tanteidan?, lit. Personal Computer Travel Detectives) with 26 episodes to air from April 4, 1983 to September 26, 1983. Between both series in the first run was the companion series The Flying House. The Christian Broadcasting Network is producing a new Superbook series and has released twenty episodes.
The first series (Anime Oyako Gekijo) began at the home of a young boy named Christopher Peeper (Sho Azuka in Japanese) who discovers the magical Bible "Superbook" (Timebook) that speaks and sends him, his friend Joy (Azusa Yamato), and his clockwork toy robot Gizmo (Zenmaijikake) back in time to the early events of the Old Testament. Gizmo can walk and talk, but only for the duration of the adventure (and he still needs to be wound up regularly).
In the first episode, Chris and Joy were cleaning the attic for Chris's father (a somewhat eccentric college professor) when they noticed an old book glowing. The children tried to open the book, but were unable to open it, no matter how hard they pulled. The book promptly opened on its own, shining a blinding light around Chris's bedroom, and started to speak before whisking the children and Gizmo back in time to the Garden of Eden to experience the story of Adam and Eve.
In Superbook II (Pasokon Travel Tanteidan), which took place two years after the first series, the book fell onto a computer keyboard, giving anybody the ability to see into the past from Christopher's home via the monitor. Ruffles, Chris' dog, managed to get lost in time, prompting Gizmo and Chris' cousin Uriah (or "Uri" for short; Hisashi in the original Japanese) to search for her. Chris and Joy kept watch and control of the computer from the present. The older children also had a hard time trying to keep what happened a secret from Chris's parents. Gizmo appeared as a functioning robot in the present day rather than as a toy in the second series, but still needed to be wound up on a regular basis. Gizmo also had a built in computer keyboard and a monitor in his chest in order for Gizmo and Uri to stay in contact with Chris and Joy in the present day as well as transporting to other places in time or returning to the present.
The first series of Superbook featured stories chiefly from the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), although a few episodes dealt with the life and ministry of Jesus Christ and the final episode was about the conversion of Paul of Tarsus. The episodes in the first series are chiefly one-shot stories, with no overarching "plot" aside from Chris and Joy learning life lessons from their travels in the Superbook. However, some condensation or editing of stories was necessary in order to fit them into half-hour episodes and make them suitable for young viewers. Also, some additional edits were necessary for the English versions to make the episodes conform to American broadcast standards.
The episodes in Season Two focused solely on Old Testament stories. Season Two covered some stories featured in Season One (for example, the stories of Abraham, Joseph and King David) in more detail, while also covering some stories not included in the first series (i.e. the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah). In Season Two, the overarching plot concern was Uri and Gizmo's quest to find the missing Ruffles. Likewise, The Flying House, which originally aired in Japan between the two Superbook series, was a more in-depth look at the life of Jesus and other events from the Christian Scriptures (New Testament). Additionally, unlike season 1 (and by extension the aforementioned Flying House series), interaction between the modern day characters and the Biblical characters in season 2 is minimal; each episode is mostly a straightforward adaptation of the Biblical stories shown, occurring while Uri and Gizmo are searching for Ruffles.
The main cast of the original series includes:
- Christopher "Chris" Peeper (Sho Asuka) - The main hero of the first series, the son of Professor Fred Peeper. Chris is depicted as a somewhat lazy boy who hates school and goes to sometimes ridiculous extremes to get out of doing housework or homework, which often puts him at odds with his father. However, through his adventures in the Superbook, his attitude slowly begins to improve.
- Joy (Azusa Yamato) - Christopher's next-door neighbor and best friend. She is more conscientious than Chris when it comes to things like schoolwork. Joy is generally sweet-tempered but has a short fuse and angers easily when Chris teases her. In the first series, it is hinted at several times that she may have feelings for Chris, and as seen in the first episode, Chris seems to return her feelings. Joy tends to show signs of jealousy whenever Chris looks fondly at a beautiful woman (such as Eve, Rebekah, or the Queen of Sheba in their respective episodes). Her last name is never mentioned.
- Uriah Peeper or "Uri" for short (Yuu Asuka) - Chris's cousin, son of professor Fred Peeper's brother Kenneth "Ken" Peeper. He was not mentioned in the first series (he is not son of Mrs. Peeper's sister, who was said to give birth in the first series). With Gizmo, Uri travels back in time via the now-computerized Superbook to search ancient Israel for the missing Ruffles. His father appears only in the first and the last two episodes of the second series.
- Professor Fred Peeper (Professor Asuka) - Christopher's father. An eccentric and absent-minded scientist.
- Gizmo (Zenmaijikake) - The name of two characters depending on the season. In Season one, he is an advanced toy robot which needs to be wound up regularly; he grows in size and activates only after being sent back in time. He is also a frequent source of comic relief, as he often tries to protect Chris and Joy from danger or help out in the Biblical stories, but with little or no success (for example, trying to put out a raging fire with his built-in squirt gun). In season two, it is not the same Gizmo, but a life-sized robot built by Uri's father; unlike his toy counterpart, he is always active both in the present as well as biblical time. He is also shown as a more competent protector and companion for Uri. Both Gizmos look exactly alike, only their voices are different.
- Ruffles (Kikyomu) - Chris's small Yorkshire Terrier dog. In season one she is a source of comic relief, and often (much to Chris's annoyance) inadvertently exposes some of his harebrained schemes (in one episode, Chris lifted a small barbell one hundred times, and his father and Joy watched in awe until Ruffles demonstrated that she was able to pick up the barbell in her mouth, revealing the barbell to be a mere toy). In season two, she accidentally gets sent back into biblical times in the now-computerized Superbook, and Uri and Gizmo have to find her before Chris' parents learn what has happened.
- Christopher "Chris" Quantum - An awesome skate-boarder, video gamer and lead guitarist in a garage band with his Valleyview Middle School buddies, Chris uncovers the secrets of Superbook through a mysterious portal to the past.
- Joy Pepper - Next-door neighbor and classmate of Chris Quantum at Valleyview Middle School. Likes to challenge Gizmo and Chris at trivia games. Super athletic and great at sports.
- Gizmo - Created by Chris' dad, Professor Quantum, to protect the kids - but they end up protecting him. He loves upgrades to make himself more useful and would rather stay in the lab than time travel with Superbook. A really cool feature of Gizmo is that he can change his appearance as needed.
- Professor Crispin Quantum - Professor Quantum is a brilliant scientist. He wears a lab coat everywhere, but is only an inventor part-time. Father of Chris and inventor of Gizmo, Professor Quantum can sometimes be a little scattered, but he is always warm-hearted.
- Phoebe Quantum - She's a great counterbalance to her scientific-minded husband, Professor Quantum. She reads voraciously and enjoys a good comedy film. One of her greatest strengths is being always available to her son Chris (and her other 'son' - Gizmo!)
Series I (1981)
NOTE: Japanese titles in Romaji are listed first, followed by a translation of the Japanese title, the official English dub episode title, and, if necessary, a note about the characters and/or events portrayed in the episode.
- Adamu to eba monogatari (The story of Adam and Eve) / "How It All Began" - This is the first episode of Superbook. Chris and Joy discover a book that takes them back in time particularly during Biblical times. This is the story about creation and how Adam and Eve were sent out from the Garden of Eden by God after Eve ate the forbidden fruit after being tempted by the serpent and convinced Adam to do the same.
- Kain to aberu monogatari (The story of Cain and Abel) / "My Brother's Keeper" - It tells the story of how Cain murdered his brother Abel after God found more favor in the latter's offering.
- Noa no hakobune monogatari (The story of Noah's ark) / "The Flood" - It tells the story of Noah building the ark; the flood that killed everyone except Noah's family and the animals in the ark; and God's promise of not destroying the world once again.
- Idai na chichi no monogatari (The story of the great father) / "The Test" - It tells the story of how God made Abraham the descendants of all nations; the promise of God of giving him a son; and how he passes the test of faith given to him by God.
- Takoku no hanayome monogatari (The story of the foreign bride) / "Here Comes the Bride" - It tells the story of how Abraham's servant found Rebekah in the town of Haran to become Isaac's wife.
- Futago no kyodai monogatari (The story of the twin brothers) / "Double Trouble" - It tells the story of how Jacob deceived his father Isaac to be able to steal his twin brother Esau's rightful blessings with the help of his mother, Rebekah.
- Maho no tsue monogatari (The story of the magical stick) / "A Dream Come True" - It tells the story of how Joseph, the governor of Egypt, was reunited with his brothers and his father, Jacob.
- Ejiputo monogatari (The story of Egypt) / "The Miracle Rod" - It tells the story of Moses and the exodus of the Israelites out of slavery from Egypt.
- Fushigi na rappa monogatari (The story of the wondrous bugle) / "Those Amazing Trumpets" - It tells the story of Joshua and the fall of Jericho.
- Sanbyakko no tsubo monogatari (The story of the 300 pots) / "Pitchers of Fire" - It tells the story of Gideon and how he led his people to victory using pots as weapons of war with the help of God.
- Kairiki monogatari (The story of Herculean strength) / "Muscleman" - It tells the story of Samson's birth,the story of his betrayal by Delilah and how he regains his strength to fulfill one last mission by God.
- Uma goya monogatari (The story of the stable) / "The First Christmas" - The birth of Jesus.
- Iesu no kiseki monogatari (The story of the miracles of Jesus) / "Miracles of Love" - It narrates numerous events in Jesus' life such as: The finding of the lost 12-year old Jesus at the temple in Jerusalem; The baptism of Jesus by John The Baptist; The wedding at Cana; The healing of the paralytic in the bed; The Sermon at the Mount; The multiplication of the loaves; and Jesus walks on the water and helps Peter to do the same.
- Karappo no haka monogatari (The story of the empty tomb) / "The Best News Yet" - The death and resurrection of Jesus.
- Oyakoko monogatari (The story of the faithful child) / "Mother's Day" - It tells the story of how Ruth became the wife of Boaz; and her mother Naomi.
- Akuma no yuwaku monogatari (The story of the devil's temptation) / "The Patience of Job" - It tells the story of how Satan challenges Job about his character, integrity and faith to God.
- Kujira ni nomareta otoko no monogatari (The story of the man swallowed by a whale) / "Big Fish and Little Fish" - It tells the story of how Jonah was swallowed by a whale after trying to avoid God's order of preaching repentance to the people of Nineveh.
- Roba kokuo monogatari (The story of the donkey king) / "The First King" - It tells the story of the prophet Samuel and his anointing of Israel's first king, Saul.
- Dabide monogatari (The story of David) / "The Giant Killer" - It tells the story of David. It includes the killing of Goliath; his anointment as the next King of Israel by Samuel; his friendship with Jonathan; and how he eludes King Saul's attempts on his life.
- Soromon monogatari (The story of King Solomon) / "Superbrain" - It tells the story of how Solomon is anointed as the next King of Israel; how God granted him great wisdom;the building of the temple where the Ark Of Covenant was placed; and the meeting between him and the Queen of Sheba.
- Yogensha eriya monogatari (The story of the prophet Elijah) /"A True Prophet" - It tells the story of how Elijah was challenged to prove God's existence over the existence of Baal by setting fire to stone.
- Hi no sensha monogatari (The story of the fiery tank) / "Flaming Chariots" - It tells the story of how Elisha helps the General Naaman of Syria gets cured and how helped the Israelites win the war against the Syrians.
- Raion no ana monogatari (The story of the lion's den) / "The Lion's Den" - It tells the story of how Daniel escapes death after being placed in the lion's den by King Darius.
- Kagayaku joheki monogatari (The story of the shining castle walls) / "Nehemiah and the Walls of Jerusalem" - It tells the story of how Nehemiah led the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem and the purification of the Israelite people.
- Utsukushii ohi no monogatari (The story of the beautiful princess) / "The Beauty Queen" -It tells the story of Queen Esther and how she stood up for her people as well as his father Mordecai.
- Sekai no hate made monogatari (The story until the ends of the earth) / "The Mighty Convert" - It tells the story of the conversion of Saul into becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ and his rise as the Apostle Paul.
Series II (1983)
NOTE: Only the official English dub titles are listed here.
- "Where, Oh Where..." - The series premiere wherein Ruffles gets sucked into the newly "computerized" Superbook. Uri and Gizmo starts their search by going back into Ancient times. God tells Abram, who was later renamed as Abraham, that he is going to become the "father of all nations." Abraham also rescues Lot from his captors, the Sodomites.
- "Hot Dog" - An Angel of the Lord tells Abraham that God is going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot and his daughters escape from Sodom. Lot's wife dies after looking back while Sodom is being destroyed.
- "The Test Of Faith And Obedience" - Three travelers visits Abraham and Sarah that tells them that they are going to have a son and they are going to name it Isaac. God tells Abraham to offer Isaac as an offering to God. But upon seeing his faith, God tells him to do otherwise.
- "Love at First Sight" - Abraham tells his servant to find a wife for Isaac in Heron. At that place, the servant finds Rebekah. Later, Isaac and Rebekah fell in love upon seeing each other and get married.
- "Father's Pet" - The story of Jacob and his twelve sons particularly Joseph, who happens to be his father's favorite. Also, it narrates how Joseph was sold by his brothers as a slave in Egypt.
- "All About Dreams" - The story of the rise of Joseph as he becomes a governor of Egypt from being a slave. Also, it narrates how Joseph was put into prison and how he interpreted dreams for his fellow prisoners and to the Pharaoh.
- "The Hostage" - The interpretation of Joseph's dream came true as Egypt experienced seven years of famine and seven years of prosperity. Joseph, the current governor of Egypt, meets his brothers when they asked Egypt for food and asked them to bring Benjamin.
- "The Family Reunion" - Joseph reveals his identity to his brothers. Also, he gets reunited with his father, Jacob. But everything happened after Joseph made a plan to test his brothers by placing a silver cup in Benjamin's sack and accusing him of theft.
- "A Gift From Heaven" - The Pharaoh's daughter finds a baby placed in a basket and names him Moses. Miriam offers her services to become the nurse of the baby. Moses grows up as a part of royal family but later escapes from Egypt into the land of Midian after murdering an Egyptian, who happens to kill an Israelite.
- "The Burning Bush" - God talks to Moses in the burning bush in the land of Midian and gives him instructions to return to Egypt and talk to the Pharaoh to free the Israelites. He takes Aaron with him. The Pharaoh becomes stubborn as he refuses to follow Moses. Also, Moses clashes with the Pharaoh's magicians. Then, plagues starts to happen to Egypt as the river turns into blood.
- "No More Plagues" - The Pharaoh remains stubborn despite Moses' pleadings to free the Israelites. More plagues happens to Egypt. Finally, the Pharaoh agrees to let the Israelites go after many first born sons were killed including his. The episode also includes the parting of the Red Sea when the Pharaoh and his chariots chased the Israelites after changing his mind.
- "So You Want To Go Back To Egypt!" - The story of journey of the Israelites towards the Promise Land that includes the following:the grumbling of Israelites after experiencing hunger; the provision of manna by God to the Israelites; the battle of the Israelites against the Amalakites; when the Israelites started to worship idols; and the Ten Commandments given by God to Moses and the Israelites.
- "Snakes and a Donkey" - Moses appoints Joshua as the new leader of the Israelites as they continue their journey towards the Promise Land. It also includes the Battle of Jericho. In the end,the Israelites finally reach the land of milk and honey.
- "Worth Fighting For" - Israel fall into idolatry. Othniel,the first of many Judges,was sent by God to deliver them from Chushan-rishathaim, the king of Mesopotamia. It narrates how he led them to a successful battle by calling out to God and how he was rewarded with the hand of Achsah, the daughter of Caleb, for his victory.
- "The Good Left Arm" - After Israel fall once again to idolatry, they were conquered by King Eglon of Moab. Ehud, a judge sent by God, led the Israelites and delivered them against the Moabites. Also, he kills King Eglon with a double-edged sword by concealing it on his right thigh being left handed.
- "Stick In The Mud" - Deborah, a prophetess and a female judge, is sent by God to deliver Israel from the Canaanites. She summoned Barak to become the commander of her army and led the Israelites to overcome the armies from Canaan led by King Jabin and Sisera, their military commander.
- "That's A Promise" - Jephthah, a judge sent by God, was tasked lead and deliver the Israelites against the Ammonites. After his victory, he made a vow to God about sacrificing the first person to greet him which happens to be his only daughter.
- "Just Rewards" - This tells the story of how Samuel became a judge and prophet of God.Hannah prayed to God and asked for a child. She gave birth to a son and called him Samuel. She offered him to be of service to God and undergoes training under Eli, who is a judge in Israel. It also tells the story of how the Israelites were able to recapture the Ark of Covenant from the Philistines.
- "A Wonderful Gift" - Samuel warns the Israelites about their practice of idolatry and tells them to turn to God to help them in their battle against the Philistines. After their obedience to Samuel, the Israelites defeated the Philistines. Also, he selects Saul and anoints him to become the first King of Israel after the people asked Samuel for a King. Then, King Saul leads Israel after their war against the Philistines begins once again.
- "The Mighty Little Shepherd" - Samuel selects another King of Israel with God's guidance after he gets displeased with King Saul. He particularly selects Jesse's youngest son who works as a shepherd named David. Also, King Saul calls for David to play harp for him and became friends with the king's children,Jonathan and Michal.
- "The Bigger They Come" - The Israel and the Philistines go into war which particularly features the battle between David and the giant, Goliath. David kills Goliath and gains popularity among the Israelites.
- "Faithful and True" - King Saul gets jealous of David's more popularity among the Israelites. Then, David leads the Israelites to another big victory against the Philistines and gets Michal's hand as a reward. King Saul tries to kill David but his best friend, Jonathan helps him escape from the palace.
- "David the King" - King Saul continues to harbor feelings of envy towards David that he and his soldiers continue to pursue him. But in the end, the king and his son, Jonathan were killed in their battle against the Philistines. After their death, David becomes the king of Israel and rules them for thirty-three years.
- "In All His Glory" - The story of King Solomon and his great wisdom. It also narrates how he makes judgement about two women arguing and claiming to be the mother of a baby; and when the Queen of Sheba visits him.
- "The Wicked Queen" - Queen Athaliah was known for her wickedness. She tolerated idolatry ordered the death of the entire extended family of her husband, King Ahaziah to put a stop on the worship of God. However, one grandson named Joash was rescued and raised in secret by the priest Jehoiada. After six years, Jehoiada led a revolt to overthrow Queen Athaliah and the seven-year old Joash became the new King of Israel.
- "A Matter Of Time" - The story of King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah. It narrates how the Israelites were able to free themselves from the Assyrians and the miraculous recovery of King Hezekiah from his illness. Also, it is the final episode as Uri and Gizmo find Ruffles.
New Series (2009)
- "In The Beginning"  (Release Date 2010)
- "The Test"  (Release Date 2012)
- "Jacob and Esau"  (Release Date 2013)
- "Let My People Go!"  (Release Date 2011)
- "The Ten Commandments"  (Release Date 2012)
- "A Giant Adventure"  (Released 2009)
- "Roar!"  (Released 2012)
- "The First Christmas"  (Airdate December 26, 2011)
- "The Miracles of Jesus"  (Release Date November 2012)
- "The Last Supper"  (Release Date 2012)
- "He Is Risen!"  (Release Date 2013)
- "The Road to Damascus"  (Release Date 2012)
- "Revelation!: The Final Battle!"  (Release Date 2012)
- "Jonah"  (Release Date 2013)
- "Joseph & Pharaoh's Dream"  (Release Date 2013)
- "The Fiery Furnace"  (Release 2013)
- "Rahab and the Walls of Jericho"  (Release 2013)
- "Esther- For Such a Time as This"  (Release Date 2013)
- "Paul and the Shipwreck"  (Release Date 2013)
- "Noah and the Ark"  (Release Date December 2013)
- "John the Baptist"  (Release Date February 2014)
- "Peter's Denial"  (Release Date April 2014)
- "Gideon"  (Release Date June 2014)
- "Job"  (Release Date July 2014)
- "The Prodigal Son"  (Release Date July 2014)
- "Elijah and the Prophets of Baal"  (Release Date October 2014)
Superbook Series I and Series II were released on various VHS volumes by Tyndale Entertainment. The entire series was available over 26 VHS Volumes. Superbook was released for the first time on DVD late 2005 to early 2006. The three DVD volumes features 4 episodes each from Series I.
Episode 6 of the new 3D animated Superbook series was the first to be released on DVD in 2009.[self-published source?] Episode 1 of the new Superbook series was released in November 2010 on DVD.[self-published source?]. New Superbook episodes are released as part of CBN's Superbook DVD Club.
- Red, Isah. "'Superbook' airs on GMA 7". Manila Standard. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
- "Superbook". CBN.com. 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- 『アニメ親子劇場』形式:30分 全26話 制作:1981年 放映:1981年10月～1982年3月 (in Japanese). Tatsunoko Productions. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
- "First episode of the New Superbook Released on DVD!". CEGAnMo.com. 2009-06-19. Retrieved 2009-06-19.
- "Another Episode of the New Superbook Coming to DVD in November". CEGAnMo.com. 2010-10-19. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
- "Superbook DVD Club". CBN. 2012-12-05. Retrieved 2012-12-05.
- The Original Superbook Anime Official Website
- Superbook 2009 Official Website
- Superbook DVD Club
- Superbook Kids Bible App
- Superbook (anime) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
- Superbook at CEGAnMo.com
- Superbook at the Internet Movie Database
- Superbook at TV.com
- Superbook TV Listing at SmileOfAChildTV.org
- Superbook TV Listing at TBN.org