|Divine Demon-Dragon Gaiking|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Tomoharu Katsumata|
|Written by||Sōji Yoshikawa
Go Nagai (uncredited)
|Music by||Shunsuke Kikuchi|
|Original network||Fuji TV|
|Original run||April 1, 1976 – January 27, 1977|
It ran from April 1976 through January 1977 and consisted of 44 episodes of 25 minutes each. Gaiking was notable for being one of the few super robot series to take place in real places outside Japan, and for being the first Super Robot series to have a mobile carrier for the chief robots. In the USA, Gaiking was part of Mattel's popular Shogun Warriors import toy line of the late 1970s and Jim Terry's Force Five anthology series. In 2005, a remake titled Gaiking: Legend of Daiku-Maryu was produced.
The story chronicled the battle between the crew of the semi-transformable carrier Daikū Maryū (also called the Kargosaur in the US version, and also known as the Great Space Dragon) and the Super Robot Gaiking invented by Dr. Daimonji (Prof. Hightech in the English-language version of the show or Dr. Diamond in Spanish version) against an invading race of aliens called the Dark Horror Army from the planet Zela whose home planet is facing destruction by a black hole as their population starts to mutate (the fact that their giant bearded ruler now wears his mouth on his forehead is considered only a minor mutation which leads to a total deception at the end of the series). Notable aspects of the series include the dinosaur-based designs of the Daikū Maryū and its support machines and the use of part of the carrier to form the main robot. The robot Gaiking was piloted by former baseball star named Sanshiro Tsuwabuki (Sanshiro's name was changed to Aries Astonopolis for the English version with the carrier being called the "Great Space Dragon", a literal translation of "Daikū Maryū". Likewise, for the Latin America version the main character was called Brando Drummond and the carrier "Gran Dragon del Espacio") who was drafted for the job because his latent psychic powers made him the only one capable of doing so, all other similarly empowered candidates having been assassinated by alien agents with he himself having been injured in an attack that ended his sports career. Gaiking is most easily distinguished from other mecha by its skull-shaped golden torso formed from the head of the Daikū Maryū and its golden horns.
The leader of the alien villains was named Prince Darius or Dario el Grande in the Spanish version and all of their ships and mecha were fish-shaped, which most likely inspired the Darius series of video games.
A mecha defender robot consisting of three separate components: the Great Space Dragon's head, an arm unit, and a leg unit (the arm and leg units are stored inside the Great Space Dragon and exit from a gateway located below the Dragon's head). These three launch from the Great Space Dragon and combine, while in flight, to form Gaiking. The Great Space Dragon's head forms Gaiking's core (i.e., chest and back) and contains Gaiking's own head. Gaiking is operated by baseball star Sanshiro Tsuwabuki ("Aries Astonopolous" in English and "Brando Drummond" in Spanish).
A gigantic dragon-shaped robot (known as the Great Space Dragon or Kargosaur in the English version) that defends Earth from invaders from the planet Zela. It possesses numerous weapons and houses the sections of the Gaiking super-duper attack robot.
A small tank-like robot resembling a Plesiosaur, Nesser is used for scouting missions in water. Its weaponry includes lasers emitting from its eyes, a flamethrower emitting from its mouth, and three mortar cannons located on its chest. (Known as Dynatar in the English and Super-Caracol in the Spanish versions, respectively.)
A small jet-like robot resembling a Pterodactyl, Skylar is used for scouting missions in the air. Its weaponry includes machine guns and missiles. (Known as Skylar in the English and Spanish versions as well.)
A small, but very fast, tank-like robot resembling a Triceratops, Bazolar is used for scouting missions on land. Its weaponry includes laser canons, a drill, and a mortar cannon. (Known as Rhinatar in the English and Super-Tanque in the Spanish versions, respectively.)
- Sanshirō Tsuwabuki (石蕗三四郎 (also ツワブキ・サンシロー))
- Doctor Daimonji (大文字博士)
- Fan Li
- Gen Sakon (左近元)
Shunji Yamada (Keaton Yamada)
- Bunta Hayami (速水文太)
- Peter Richardson
- Midori Fujiyama (藤山みどり)
- Yamagakake (山ヶ岳)
- Hachirō (八郎)
Production & Release notes
Daikū Maryū Gaiking was Toei Animation's first super robot series not based on an existing manga (the company's previous super robot anime Mazinger Z, Getter Robo, etc. were based on manga series by manga artists and writers Go Nagai and Ken Ishikawa respectively).
The program was shown in English internationally as part of Jim Terry's Force Five lineup, and was also broadcast in Latin America as "El Gladiador" as part of a 4 anime mecha show called El Festival de los Robots (with the other 3 being "Starzinger", "Magne Robo Gakeen" and "Kotetsu Jeeg", known as "El Galactico", "Supermagnetron" and "El Vengador" respectively).
The first 26 episodes of Gaiking were aired also in Italy during the Japanese super robot craze of the early 1980s, under the name Gaiking. In the late 1990s the whole series was released in Italy in dubbed DVD boxes. Two episodes from Jim Terry's Force Five Gaiking series would be redubbed as an episode of Robo Formers.
On July 26, 2015, Discotek Media at the Otakon anime convention announced that they had acquired the entire 44-episode 1976 television series and would be issuing it in a complete box set, in Japanese with English subtitles, sometime in 2016.
In 2009, William Winckler Productions produced three all-new English dubbed movie versions edited from the original series. William Winckler, known for Tekkaman the Space Knight, wrote, produced and directed the English films, which are seen on broadband in Japan, and released on DVD in North America by Shout! Factory in 2013.
Toei Animation credited the show as being based on an original idea by Kunio Nakatani, Akio Sugino and Dan Kobayashi. However, in reality the original idea was of Go Nagai. Toei deliberately took Nagai out of the credits in order to avoid the payment of royalties. Because of that, Nagai sued Toei and stopped further collaborations with Toei for a long time. The legal battle lasted more than 10 years. Nagai himself confirmed that he was the creator of Gaiking in the Comicon 2007 in Naples, Italy.
- In 2012, it was reported that Toei was teaming with The Walking Dead producer Valhalla Entertainment for a live-action adaptation of Gaiking.  And there was even a CG trailer.  However, no further developments since then have been noted.
- "Gaiking" (in Italian). Archived from the original on 2007-06-11. Retrieved 2008-03-27.
- Davide Castellazzi. "I robot giganti negli anime - Parte seconda: Dal successo di Mazinga Z alla nascita di Gaiking" (in Italian). Japan Animation.it - DeAgostini. Archived from the original on 2009-01-23. Retrieved 2008-03-27.
- "Serie TV - Gaiking - Curiosità" (in Italian). The Megarobots.it. Archived from the original on 2007-11-07. Retrieved 2008-03-27.
- "News Go Nagai - un uomo un mito" (in Italian). Dom Simone.net. Archived from the original on 2009-01-23. Retrieved 2008-03-27.
- "INTERVISTA A: Federico Colpi - (direttore d/visual Incorporated)" (in Italian). nippofan - magazine. Retrieved 2008-03-27.
- "Go Nagai al Comicon: annunci dalla giornata di sabato" (in Italian). AnimeClick.it. Retrieved 2008-03-25.
- "Notizie Nagaiane" (in Italian). Italymanga. Retrieved 2008-03-27.
- (in Japanese) Daikū Maryū Gaiking website on Toei Animation
- (in Italian) Pictures and summaries of Daikū Maryū Gaiking chapters
- Gaiking (anime) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
- (in Italian) Gaiking, il robot guerriero (Anime Mundi), detailed production information
- English trilogy: Gaiking on IMDb, Gaiking 2 on IMDb, Gaiking 3 on IMDb