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|Divine Demon-Dragon Gaiking|
|Directed by||Tomoharu Katsumata|
|Written by||Sōji Yoshikawa|
Go Nagai (uncredited)
|Music by||Shunsuke Kikuchi|
|Released||1 April 1976 – 27 January 1977|
Divine Demon-Dragon Gaiking (大空魔竜ガイキング, Daikū Maryū Gaikingu) is a Japanese Super Robot mecha anime series produced by Toei Animation. For distribution purposes, Toei refers to this television series as Dino Mech Gaiking or simply Gaiking.
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 US, 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 Shogun Warriors toyline, and also known as the Great Space Dragon in the US English dub) 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. This army hails from the planet Zela whose home planet is facing destruction by their star, Sigma, turning into a black hole as their population starts to become extinct. 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 Dark Horror Army was a robot scientist named Darius The Great 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. He uses four giant robotic leaders called the Death Cross Generals composed of Dr. Dankel, General Asimov, General Killer, and General Desmont. These generals used bomber-like spaceships called Grotectors to create artificial black hole vortexes to travel to Earth and back. Throughout the series the Death Cross Generals and Darius note that natives of Zela originally came to Earth for research purposes before slowly colonizing the planet and using it to hide various dark monsters with the rise of humanity, as far back as one million years before the start of the series until the twelfth century AD. For their military natives of Zela were brainwashed and genetically altered into birdmen called the dark avians with elite individuals becoming dark knights.
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. Both Gaiking and the Daiku Maryu are composed of the super alloy Zolmanium Steel which was later reinforced with iron deposits from the Moon.
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.)
- Black Monster: Appears in episodes 1 and 2. Powers include a storm cloud that emits lightning and cyclones called the Cosmic Spectrum, eye electric bolts and energy beams, levitation, can reflect energy beams from the forehead eye, and mouth flames. Reappears in Shin Super Robot Wars, Super Robot Wars Alpha 2, and Super Robot Wars Alpha 3.
- Gantarooru: Appears in episode 3. Powers include flight, eye energy rings, and mouth flames.
- Fire Bird: Appears in episode 4. Powers include heat resistance, flight, and body flames.
- Baragos: Appears in episode 5. Powers include a heat resistance force field, flight, underside bombs, swimming, twin missile launchers in the back, a whip tail, mouth flames and frost, and a head pincer.
- King Snake: Appears in episode 6. Powers include swimming, coiling, and mouth flames.
- Ra Mu: Appears in episode 6. Powers include hypnotic eye lasers, a statue disguise, fusing with King Snake, and a sword.
- Sharkron: Appears in episode 7. Powers include swimming, reinforced teeth, controlling sharks, eye energy beams, head crest electric bolts, mouth flames that can be used underwater, and launchable tail spikes.
- Octopuzaur: Appears in episode 8. Powers include flight, two tentacles each armed with a pair of whips, and mouth flames and smoke.
- Jaguar: Appears in episode 9. Powers include flight, mouth flames
- Sal Gata: Appears in episode 9. Only known power is flight.
- Konchu Gata: Appears in episode 9. Only known power is lasers from the back horn.
- Tori Gata: Appears in episode 9. Powers include flight and lasers from the neck horns.
- Tokage Gata: Appears in episode 9. Powers include flight, eye energy beams, and mouth energy rings.
- Doon-Raifuun: Appears in episode 10. Powers include flight, eye electric bolts, and mouth missiles.
- Oozora Maryu: Appears in episode 11. Powers include flight, a magic fire ball cannon from the mouth, and a retractable forehead blade.
- Gigant: Appears in episode 12. Powers include flight, mouth fire balls, a spear tail, reinforced fangs, and self destructing.
- Demon of The Desert: Appears in episodes 13 and 14. Powers include burrowing, flight, and invulnerability powered by the original Sasoringer.
- Sasoringer: Appears in episodes 13 and 14. Powers include burrowing, twin pincer claws, a drill tail that fires hot energy bolts, and swimming. Reappears in Shin Super Robot Wars, Super Robot Wars Alpha 2, and Super Robot Wars Alpha 3.
- Gantalos: Appears in episode 15. Powers include a bouncing energy ball bazooka and flight.
- Fake Gaikings: Appear in episode 15. Powers include flight, the Counter Punch, the Back Shredder, and the Saur Geyser.
- Ice Killer: Appears in episode 16. Powers include flight, a freezing liquid from the mouth called the Nuclear Freezer, and mandibles.
- Angyoler: Appears in episode 17. Powers include a stone disguise, swimming, mouth suction that can create giant whirlpools, head torpedoes, reinforced teeth, and flight.
- Mammoth Noah: Appears in episode 18. Powers include a pair of harpoon-like tusks, an extendable trunk that emits electric surges, gusts from the trunk, and eye lasers.
- Kaikon: Appears in episode 19. Powers include flight, coiling, and three gold web shooters for the mouth.
- Keroger: Appears in episode 20. Powers include a statue disguise, mouth flames and homing missiles, high jumping, eye electric beams, and a magnetic field in the abdomen.
- Devil Jaguar: Appears in episode 21. Powers include mouth flames, flight, sharp teeth and claws, an ensnaring tail, and a pair of pendulum blades on the body called the Ring Saturn. Reappears in Shin Super Robot Wars.
- Kabutonga: Appears in episodes 22 and 23. Powers include a pincer horn that fires magnetic bolts, a drill missile on the rear, reformation, wall crawling, and burrowing. Reappears in Shin Super Robot Wars, Super Robot Wars Alpha 2, and Super Robot Wars Alpha 3.
- Moon Condor: Appears in episodes 22 and 23. Powers include flight, holograms from the eyes, talons sharp enough to tear through zolmanium, fire resistance, bladed wings, and missiles from an unknown part of the body. Reappears in Shin Super Robot Wars, Super Robot Wars Alpha 2, and Super Robot Wars Alpha 3.
- Moai Robots: Powers include eye lasers, axes, and spears.
- Oronga: Appears in episode 24. Powers include heat resistance, mouth flames, a thick turtle shell with retractable spikes, and high jumping.
- The Gokibular: Appears in episode 25. Powers include flight, mandibles, burrowing, dual whip antennae that absorb or rechannel electricity and fire lasers, and a mouth spike.
- Gorgon: Appears in episode 26. Powers include traveling in a meteor, a pair of dragon-like heads that emit mouth flames, mouth cyclones, eye lasers, and erecting an extremely tough metal wall.
- Yadokari: Appears in episode 27. Powers include swimming, flight, trail coiling to form a nautilus shell, six face tentacles, and mouth torpedoes.
- Spideros: Appears in episode 28. Powers include flight and strong jaws.
- Neokong: Appears in episode 29. Powers include a statue disguise, size changing, dividing into two bodies, green mouth flames, a pair of combinable pendulum blade staffs in the shoulders that work like a boomerang, and flight.
- Saur Mons: Appears in episode 30. Powers include swimming, energy bolts from the back spikes, a whip-like tail, and sharp teeth.
- Double Eagle: Appears in episode 31. Powers include flight, highly explosive eye lasers from both heads, talons, and twin beaks. Unlike other dark monsters it originated from Earth and was rejected by the United Nations in favor of the Daiku Maryu.
- Shiro Kujira: Appears in episode 32. Powers include swimming and reinforced armor.
- Great Demon Himilar: Appears in episode 33. Powers include a short sword, a shield on the left wrist that deflects fire, intangibility, teleportation, and an entrapping barrier from the eyes.
- Blood Buffalo: Appears in episode 34. Powers include flight, twin head horns, burrowing, reinforced armor, and a whip tail. Unlike other dark monsters it is not a member of the Dark Horror Army, rather a space conqueror named Wilder.
- Satan Ant: Appears in episode 35. Powers include burrowing, mouth acid spray, reformation, flight, and eye energy beams.
- Golden Leo: Appears in episode 36. Powers include a lion form, man flames that can overpower the Death Fire, fangs, claws, and fire absorption.
- Haniwa Dolls: Appear in episode 37. Powers include javelins that fire lasers and a telekinetic beam from the eyes.
- Inodoler: Appears in episode 37. Powers include swimming, flight, and tusk missiles from the mouth.
- Moll: Appears in episode 38. Powers include traveling in a fire ball, strength, and pectoral missiles.
- Takomander: Appears in episode 39. Powers include swimming, extendable octopus tentacles, and acidic ink from the mouth.
- Gasroid: Appears in episode 40. Powers include emitting an acidic gas from the mouth, and a whip tail.
- King Cobra: Appears in episode 41. Powers include photo absorption to grow, venomous fangs, mouth flames and lasers, flight, and a rubbery body.
- Nessie Q: Appears in episode 42. Powers include swimming, fangs, a whip tail, a 3-tube missile launcher in the base of the neck, launchable hook spikes at the base of the tail.
- Kamakirin: Appears in episode 43. Powers include a scythe claw for each hand, eye energy beams, and flight. Unlike other dark monsters it was constructed on Mars.
- Ganimont: Appears in episodes 43 and 44. Powers include swimming, extendable pincer claw hands, acidic mouth foam, flight, and a machine gun in each eye. Unlike other dark monsters it was constructed on Mars.
- Dragonder: Appears in episodes 43 and 44. Powers include burrowing, mouth flames, flight, and eye lasers that summon lightning. Unlike other dark monsters it was constructed on Mars.
- 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 and 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 Jim Terry dub was released on video in the UK by Krypton Force under the name "The Protectors", though the first volume of their "Formators" series actually contained Gaiking episodes instead of episodes from Jim Terry's "Starvengers". Another dub was produced in the late 70s by M&M Productions in Hawaii, who also dubbed "Mazinger Z" for Toei as a potential test for a US release. Isao Sasaki did the English versions of opening and ending songs for this dub. Of this dub, only the eleventh episode survives.
The first 26 episodes of Gaiking were also aired in Italy during the Japanese super robot craze of the late 70s/early 80s, 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 26 July 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, in June 2016. Reception for the release was mostly positive, but was noted for minor translation issues with the word Ankoku, most notably renaming the Dark Horror Army and Dark Monsters to Black Horror Army and Black Monsters, respectively.
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 11 June 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2008.
- 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 23 January 2009. Retrieved 27 March 2008.
- "Serie TV - Gaiking - Curiosità" (in Italian). The Megarobots.it. Archived from the original on 7 November 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2008.
- "News Go Nagai - un uomo un mito" (in Italian). Dom Simone.net. Archived from the original on 23 January 2009. Retrieved 27 March 2008.
- "INTERVISTA A: Federico Colpi - (direttore d/visual Incorporated)" (in Italian). nippofan - magazine. Archived from the original on 23 January 2009. Retrieved 27 March 2008.
- "Go Nagai al Comicon: annunci dalla giornata di sabato" (in Italian). AnimeClick.it. Retrieved 25 March 2008.
- "Notizie Nagaiane" (in Italian). Italymanga. Archived from the original on 3 October 2016. Retrieved 27 March 2008.
- Lieberman, David (19 December 2012). "Japan's Toei Animation To Hit U.S. Market With Live Action Film 'Gaiking'". Retrieved 3 December 2018.
- GAIKINGTHEGREAT47 (28 March 2010). "GAIKING THE MOVIE 2011 - 2012 (AICN's Exclusive Teaser Trailer) (720p)". Retrieved 3 December 2018 – via YouTube.
- (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