8 Man

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For the rugby union playing position, see Number eight (rugby union).
8 Man
8man-oldanime.jpg
Image from the 1960s television series
エイトマン
(Eitoman)
Genre Science fiction, Action, Adventure, Drama
Manga
Written by Kazumasa Hirai
Illustrated by Jiro Kuwata
Published by Kodansha
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Weekly Shōnen Magazine
Original run 19631966
Volumes 5
Anime television series
Directed by Haruyuki Kawajima
Music by Tetsuaki Hagiwara
Studio TCJ
Network TBS
English network Nine Network
Original run 7 November 196331 December 1964
Episodes 56
Live-action television film
8 Man Has Returned
Directed by Akinori Kikuchi
Written by Masakazu Shirai
Network Fuji TV
Released 31 August 1987
Live-action film
Subete no Sabishii Yoru no Tame ni
Directed by Yasuhiro Horiuchi
Produced by Isao Urushidani
Written by Mitsuyuki Miyazaki
Junko Suzuki
Music by Carole King
Released 1992
Original video animation
8 Man After
Directed by Yoriyasu Kogawa
Produced by Koji Honda
Norihisa Abe
Shinji Komori
Studio J.C.Staff
Licensed by
Released August 21, 1993November 22, 1993
Runtime 104 minutes[1]
Episodes 4
Manga
8 Man After
Written by Masahiro Suematsu
Published by Kodansha
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Weekly Shōnen Magazine
Original run 1994 – present
Manga
8 Man Infinity
Written by Kyoichi Nanatsuki
Illustrated by Takayuki Takashi
Published by Kodansha
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Magazine Z
Original run 20052007
Volumes 6

8 Man (8マン?) or Eightman (エイトマン Eitoman?) is a manga and anime superhero created in 1963 by science fiction writer Kazumasa Hirai and manga artist Jiro Kuwata. He is considered Japan's earliest cyborg superhero, predating even Kamen Rider (the same year, Shotaro Ishinomori created Cyborg 009), and was supposedly the inspiration for RoboCop.

The manga was published in Weekly Shōnen Magazine and ran from 1963 to 1966. The anime series, produced by Eiken with the TCJ Animation Center, was broadcast on Tokyo Broadcasting System, and ran from November 17, 1963 to December 31, 1964, with a total of 56 episodes (plus the "farewell" special episode, "Goodbye, Eightman").

Plot[edit]

Murdered by criminals, Detective Yokoda's body is retrieved by Professor Tani and taken to his laboratory. There, Tani performs an experiment that has failed seven times; Yokoda is the latest subject to have his life force transferred into an android body. For the first time, the experiment succeeds. Yokoda is reborn as the armor-skinned android 8 Man, able to dash at impossible speeds, as well as shape-shift into other people. He shifts himself into Yokoda, this time christening himself as "Hachiro Azuma". He keeps this identity a secret, known only to Tani and his police boss Chief Tanaka. Even his girlfriend Sachiko and friend Ichiro do not know he is an android. As 8-Man, Hachiro fights crime (even bringing his own murderers to justice). He smokes "energy" cigarettes, to rejuvenate his powers, that he carries in a cigarette case on his belt.

In Japan, the character's origin actually varies significantly between the original manga, the TV series, and the live-action movie. In the original Japanese manga and TV series, the character's name does not change when he is reborn as 8 Man. The "Detective Yokoda" name was created for the live-action version. In the manga, Detective Azuma is trapped in a warehouse and gunned down, while the TV series has him killed when he is run over by a car. Also, in the Japanese story, the character is called "8 Man" because he is considered an extra member of the Japanese police force. There are seven regular police precincts and 8 Man is treated as an unofficial eighth precinct all to himself.

The Japanese manga was presented as serial novella stories along with a set of one-shot stories. Many of the stories were edited down and adapted for the TV series, but not all of them. The novella stories were originally printed on a weekly basis in Shukuu Shōnen Magazine in 16-page increments that consisted of 15 story pages and one title page. Ten additional one-shot stories were presented in seasonal and holiday specials of Shuukuu Shōnen Magazine. These stories were generally between 30-40 pages in length.

In the North American version of the series the resurrected detective/android is known as "Tobor" or the word "robot" spelled backwards. Tani is referred to as "Professor Genius" and the sobriquet of 8-Man is changed slightly to "8th-Man". The story content was clearly directed toward a wider audience of both young and adult viewers. Due to changes in cigarette advertising laws in the 1960s, television characters were not allowed to be seen smoking. As this was a major plot device in the series, the show was forced to be removed from broadcast in the United States.

Original Japanese manga story titles[edit]

Novella stories[edit]

  • 怪人ゲーレン (Kaijin Geren) - Galen, The Mystery Man
  • サタンの兄弟 (Satan no Kyodai) - Satan's Brothers
  • 怪力ロボット007 (Kairiki Robotto 007) - Strange Powered Robot 007
  • 光線兵器レーザー (Kosen Heiki Reza) - The Laser Beam Gun
  • 超人サイバー (Chojin Saiba) - Cyber, The Superhuman
  • 人間ミサイル (Ningen Misairu) - The Human Missile
  • 殺人ロボット005 (Satsujin Robotto 005) - Murderous Robot 005
  • 魔女エスパー (Majo Esupa) - Esper, The Witch
  • 超人類ミュータント (Chojinri Mutanto) - Superhuman Mutant
  • 魔人コズマ (Majin Kozuma) - The Demon Kozuma
Jiro Kuwata was imprisoned for possession of a handgun before the final 16-page serial of "The Demon Kozuma" was completed.[citation needed] The final serial was drawn by Takaharu Kusunoki for the magazine version. Jiro Kuwata later redrew the final pages of the story himself by request of Kazumasa Hirai and Rim Publishing so that they could publish a complete version of the final story.[citation needed] (The publishers were not able to use Kusunoki's artwork,[citation needed] so the story was omitted or left incomplete in previous official releases.)

Short episode stories[edit]

  • 死刑囚タランチュラ - The Condemned Criminal Tarantula
  • 決闘 - The Duel
  • シャドウ・ボクサー - Shadow Boxer
  • 復讐鬼ゴースト - Vengeful Demon Ghost
  • 超振動砲 - The Super Vibration Gun
  • マッド・マシン - Mad Machine
  • サイボーグPV1号 - Cyborg Number PV1
  • 殺し屋イライジャ - The Assassin Elijah
  • 燃える水 - Burning Water
  • 幽霊ハイウェイ - Phantom Highway
  • 太陽衛星サンダー (単行本未収録) - Solar Satellite "Thunder" (unreleased story)
This was intended as a lead-in to a series of 23 comic stories adapted from the TV series.

Original Japanese TV episode titles[edit]

  1. エイトマン登場 - Introducing Eightman
  2. 殺し屋ゲーレン - Galen, The Hitman
  3. サタンの兄弟 - Satan's Brother
  4. 死刑台B3 - The B3 Gallows
  5. 暗黒カプセル - The Darkness Capsule
  6. 黄金ギャング - The Gold Gang
  7. 消音ジェット機 - The Stealth Jetplane
  8. 超小型ミサイル - The Ultra Micro Missile
  9. 光線銃レーザー - The Lazer Ray Gun
  10. ロボット007 - Robot 007
  11. まぼろしの暗殺者 - The Phantom Assassin
  12. 海底のウラン - The Undersea Uranium
  13. 人間パンチカード - The Human Punch Card
  14. スーパーパイロット - The Super Pilot
  15. 黒い幽霊 - The Black Ghost
  16. 怪盗黄金虫 - Goldbeetle, The Mysterious Thief
  17. 超音波ドクター - The Ultrasonic Wave Doctor
  18. 台風男爵 - The Typhoon Baron
  19. ゲーレンの逆襲 - Galen Strikes Again
  20. スパイ指令100号 - Spy Directive No. 100
  21. ロボットタイガー - The Robot Tiger
  22. ゼロへの挑戦 - Challenge to Zero
  23. ナポレオン13世 - Napoleon The 13th
  24. サラマンダー作戦 - Operation: Salamander
  25. 超人サイバー - Cyber, The Superhuman
  26. 地球ゼロアワー - Zero Hour: Earth
  27. 大怪物イーラ - Eeler, The Giant Monster
  28. バクテリア作戦 - Operation: Bacteria
  29. 人間ミサイル - The Human Missile
  30. サイボーグ人間C1号 - Cyborg No. C1
  31. 幽霊ハイウェイ - The Phantom Highway
  32. 太陽衛星サンダー - Thunder, The Solar Satellite
  33. 人工生命ヴァルカン - Vulcan, The Artificial Lifeform
  34. 決闘 - The Duel
  35. 冷凍光線 - The Freeze Ray
  36. バイラス13号 - Virus No. 13
  37. 悪夢の7日間 - The 7 Day Nightmare
  38. 怪人ゴースト - The Mysterious Ghost
  39. まぼろしを作る少年 - The Boy Who Made a Phantom
  40. 透明ロボット・ジュピター - Jupiter, The Invisible Robot
  41. エイトマン暗殺指令 - Order: Assassinate Eightman
  42. 女王蜂モンスター - The Queen Bee Monster
  43. 魔女エスパー - Esper, The Witch
  44. 世界電撃プラン - The World Blitz Plan
  45. 死刑囚タランチュラ - Tarantula, The Condemned Criminal
  46. 空飛ぶ魔人 - The Flying Devil
  47. バブル・ボール作戦 - Operation: Bubble Ball
  48. 火星人SAW - SAW, The Martian
  49. 30億人の人質 - 3 Billion Hostages
  50. 怪像ジャイアント - Giant, The Mysterious Statue
  51. 狙われた地球 - Target Earth
  52. 人喰魚ピラニア - The Man-Eating Piranha
  53. ムタールの反乱 - Moutard's Rebellion
  54. シャークの掟 - Law Of The Shark
  55. 超人類ミュータント(前編) - Superhuman Mutant (Part One)
  56. 超人類ミュータント(後編) - Superhuman Mutant (Part Two)
  • "Good Bye Eight Man" - a special look back at the TV series.

The US version[edit]

In 1965, 8 Man was brought to the U.S. as 8th Man (sometimes called "Tobor the 8th Man," as in its English-language theme music), with ABC Films as its syndicated distributor. 52 of the original 56 episodes were "converted" into English.

The characters were renamed as follows:

  • Yokota/Azuma/8 Man - Special Agent Brady/Tobor ("robot" spelled backwards)/8th Man
  • Tani - Professor Genius
  • Tanaka - Chief FumbleThumbs
  • Sachiko - Jenny Hartsweet
  • Ichiro - Skip

Reception[edit]

8 Man was ranked ninth in Mania Entertainment's 10 Most Iconic Anime Heroes written by Thomas Zoth, who commented that, "Before Cyborg 009, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Robocop, there was 8 Man: The first cyborg manga and anime hero. Building on Astro Boy, 8 Man helped to shape the trajectory of robot and cyborg heroes for the next decade."[2]

Legacy[edit]

1991 video game

The 8 Man franchise was revived in the early 1990s by a live-action film, video game and new animated series.

Video game[edit]

In 1991, SNK released a video game edition of Eight Man for the Neo-Geo arcade and home video game system (both versions are identical) where the player took the role of 8 Man and his robo-comrade 9 Man in a fight against an invading evil robot army. The game was released internationally. While the game stayed true to the concept of a crime-fighting super-robot, it was widely panned for being tedious and relying too much on the gimmick of its speed-running effect.

Live-action movie[edit]

In 1992, a live-action film version of 8 Man was produced in Japan. Titled Eitoman - Subete no Sabishī Yoru no Tame ni (8マン・すべての寂しい夜のために, lit. 8 Man - For All the Lonely Night[3]), it was directed by Yasuhiro Horiuchi and starred Kai Shishido as the title character and Toshihide Wakamatsu as Detective Yokota. Distributed in the United States by Fox Lorber video simply as 8 Man, the movie was widely panned for its choppy editing, mediocre direction and low-budget feel. Many modern American viewers, unfamiliar with the older animated series, felt the movie was an inferior version of RoboCop, despite the fact that the latter was a much more recent franchise.

8 Man After[edit]

In mid-1993, the mantle of 8 Man was taken up by Hazama Itsuru in the OVA series 8 Man After. Existing in a world far more corrupt than that of his predecessor, the new 8 Man had no qualms about being extremely violent towards the cybernetic criminals who had murdered him previously. Licensed by Streamline Pictures, it has since gone out of print.

8 Man Infinity[edit]

A manga series called 8 Man Infinity is being authored by Kyoichi Nanatsuki under Kodansha, which is being serialized under Kodansha's Magazine Z.

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ "8 Man After - DVD - 1993 - Region 1 - US Import - NTSC". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved April 4, 2012. 
  2. ^ Zoth, Thomas (January 12, 2010). "10 Most Iconic Anime Heroes". Mania Entertainment. Retrieved January 22, 2010. 
  3. ^ Translation of 8 Man Japanese subtitle by Google Translate

External links[edit]