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Cover of the 2011 DVD Box set of Emotion the Best: Sengoku Majin GoShogun
(Sengoku Majin GōShōgun)
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Kunihiko Yuyama|
|Written by||Takeshi Shudo|
|Studio||Ashi Productions, Studio Z5|
|Original run||July 3, 1981 – December 28, 1981|
|Released||24 April 1982|
|The Time Étranger|
|Directed by||Kunihiko Yuyama|
|Written by||Takeshi Shudo|
|Released||27 April 1985|
GoShogun (戦国魔神ゴーショーグン Sengoku Majin GōShōgun?) is a super robot anime series produced and aired in 1981 in Japan, with a movie special released in 1982 and a film sequel, GoShogun: The Time Étranger or Time Stranger, in 1985. Its title has been variously translated into English as "Demon God of the War-Torn Land GoShogun", "Warring Demon God GoShogun", and "Civil War Devil-God GoShogun," but in the US and parts of Europe it is primarily known as Macron 1, the title of its North American adaptation.
The GoShogun series and its film sequel, The Time Étranger, were both written by Takeshi Shudo and directed by Kunihiko Yuyama. The series is noted for its witty dialogue and lighthearted parody of its own genre conventions. The Time Étranger shifts away from the original genre, leaving the robot aside entirely to focus on the strong and complex heroine. It has been praised for its serious tone, psychological intensity, and handling of mature themes.
The story is set in the early 21st century, in which a covert evil organization, Dokuga, led by lord NeoNeros, holds near total political, economic, and military control of the world. Dokuga agents try to forcibly recruit a brilliant physicist, Professor Sanada, who sets off a suicide bomb rather than let Dokuga acquire his secret research. His son Kenta becomes Dokuga's next target, but is saved by his father’s colleague and taken on board a teleporting fortress, Good Thunder. Teleportation is enabled by a mysterious form of energy, called Beamler, which was discovered by Sanada. The same energy also powers a giant battle robot, GoShogun, which is operated by three pilots. The crew of Good Thunder travels the world, repeatedly fighting off NeoNeros's forces with GoShogun and often hampering Dokuga's influence on the local level, whether by destroying their bases and businesses, assisting popular rebellions, or by averting environmental disasters. On at least one occasion GoShogun pilots must team up with Dokuga's three chief officers against a common enemy to prevent the destruction of them all. This sets the stage for an eleventh-hour reversal, in which the three Dokuga generals side definitively against NeoNeros with the GoShogun team.
Over the course of the series it is revealed that Beamler energy originates from a meteorite fragment found on the site of the Tunguska impact. It was sent to Earth by a supernatural power and was activated when humans attained the technological capacity for space exploration, in order to test whether humans are worthy of engaging with civilizations from other planets. Beamler's development is closely connected to Kenta, who in the end becomes the incarnate form of the energy and the representative of the earth's collective soul, including not only living things, but also newly sentient robots and machines. NeoNeros turns out to be a negative, evil form of the same energy. After defeating him, Kenta takes GoShogun into space.
In 1985, Saban Entertainment combined footage from GoShogun and Akū Dai Sakusen Srungle (Great Military Operation in Subspace Srungle or Mission Outer Space Srungle), a similar show produced by Kokusai Eiga-sha, to form Macron 1. Taking two (or more) unrelated series and re-editing them to appear as one storyline was common practice in adapting anime series to American television, as the number of episodes in a typical anime frequently fell short of the minimum number required for five-days-a-week syndication in the US market (65). Aside from Macron 1, Voltron: Defender of the Universe, Robotech, and Captain Harlock and the Queen of a Thousand Years were also stitched together in this manner. The combined series Macron 1 was produced and released in the United States, using the same voice cast as Carl Macek's Robotech adaptation.
In the US version, test pilot David Chance is accidentally transported into a parallel universe controlled by a tyrannical organization called GRIP, led by Dark Star. This allows GRIP to send their forces to Earth, leaving Dark Star's cyborg henchman Orn as deputy in the alternate universe. Fighting against GRIP are two teams comprising "Macron 1": the first (from the GoShogun footage) battles against Dark Star's legions on Earth; Beta Command (from the Srungle footage) is working to overthrow Orn. The main focus is on the Macron team on Earth, with Beta Command appearing sporadically.
The Macron 1 adaptation made use of the so-called "Miami Vice formula" introduced a year earlier by the eponymous primetime series, incorporating contemporary pop music into the action scenes. Notable musical adaptations included "Beat It," "Shout," "Safety Dance," and "The Heat is On."
Around the same time as the US adaptation, in 1985, Saban released another version of the series in several European countries, also under the title Macron 1. This version, however, did not incorporate any footage from Srungle or the parallel-universe angle, making the international Macron 1 a more straightforward adaptation of GoShogun, though still heavily edited. In Italy the series was broadcast as Gotriniton-Goshogun, il dio della guerra, and was a direct translation of the Japanese original, without recutting. In France the first few episodes of GoShogun were released under the title Fulgutor.
Good Thunder Team
- Captain Sabarath (v.b. Osamu Kobayashi): Captain of Good Thunder and senior advisor of the GoShogun team; colleague of the late Professor Sanada. Depicted as bald, wearing tinted glasses, and smoking cigars; pragmatic and generally unemotional. Probably named after Telly Savalas, whom he resembles in appearance. Renamed Dr. James Shegall (v.b. Ike Medlick) in Macron 1.
- Shingo Hojo (v.b. Hirotaka Suzuoki): Young team leader and gunman who pilots the jet King Arrow, which docks in GoShogun's chest. He is in charge of GoShogun during battle, voice-activating its launch, the docking of the three jets, and various attacks. Stoic, serious, and a little stiff, but brave and level-headed under pressure. Prior to the events of the series, lost his fiancee in a Dokuga terrorist attack. Renamed Jason Templar (v.b. Cam Clarke) in Macron 1.
- Remy Shimada (v.b. Mami Koyama): Female pilot of the jet Queen Rose, which docks inside GoShogun's left leg. She is in charge of the smaller robot TriThree, voice-activating its assembly, movement, and attacks. Smart, spunky, and beautiful, but unlucky with the opposite sex. Formerly a secret agent in France. Knowledgeable in art; hopeless in the kitchen. Renamed Kathy Jamison (v.b. Lisa Michelson, then wife of Gregory Snegoff) in Macron 1.
- Killy Gagley (v.b. Hideyuki Tanaka): Pilot of the third jet, Jack Knight, which docks inside GoShogun's right leg. A former gangster from New York, nicknamed the "Wolf of Bronx," he is tough, street-smart, and something of a jokester. Has a knack for throwing knives, an eye for the ladies, and is writing an autobiography. Renamed Scott Cutter (v.b. Kerrigan Mahan) in Macron 1.
- Kenta Sanada (v.b. Yōko Matsuoka): The son of Professor Sanada, the scientist who discovered Beamler and built Good Thunder and GoShogun. Ten years old at the start of the series, highly inventive, but initially a slacker and troublemaker. Over time he develops a paranormal ability to communicate with machines and robots, as well as with spirits of the earth's ecosystems, and finally becomes the living embodiment of Beamler energy. Renamed Nathan Bridger (v.b. Barbara Goodson) in Macron 1.
- Father (v.b. Yuzuru Fujimoto): Good Thunder's super-computer and AI, programmed from the mind of Professor Sanada. At times, overrides commands from Sabarath to follow the Professor's instructions and ensure the passing of Beamler energy from one stage of development to the next. Renamed Hugo (v.b. Steve Kramer) in Macron 1.
- OVA (v.b. Satomi Majima): Kenta's robot tutor and caretaker, who becomes more like a mother to him. Renamed ND-2 (v.b. Ted Layman) in Macron 1.
- TriThree: Small robot formed by the assembly of the three jets, piloted by Remy. Renamed MacStar in Macron 1.
- GoShogun: The eponymous robot of the series, renamed MacStar-1 in Macron 1. Its weapons include a gigantic axe, an energy sword, and a photon bazooka. GoShogun can fire laser-like beams from its eyes and other parts of its body. Its most powerful weapon, called GoFlasher, consists of five energy missiles launched from the robot's upper back, giving its head a semi-divine aura. Initially, GoFlasher has a purely destructive power, but as Beamler develops, this power becomes an animating one, giving sentience to enemy robots, which then choose to self-destruct rather than continue fighting.
Dokuga Crime Syndicate
- NeoNeros (v.b. Yuzuru Fujimoto): The evil leader, renamed Dark Star (v.b. Ike Medlick) in Macron 1. A menacing figure on a dark throne, he is always shown in shadow, and his true form is not revealed until the finale.
- Leonardo Medici Bundle (v.b. Kaneto Shiozawa): One of three chief officers of NeoNeros, specializing in intelligence, espionage, and intrigue. Appears as a dandy prince with long blond hair, usually holding a rose or a glass of red wine; judges everything on the basis of beauty or lack thereof, and goes into battle with classical music playing on loudspeakers. Over time, develops a romantic interest in Remy. His first and second names are based on Leonardo da Vinci and Lorenzo de Medici. In The Time Étranger, he is portrayed as a latter-day samurai, preferring the katana to other weapons. Renamed Prince Eharn (v.b. Gregory Snegoff) in Macron 1.
- Suegni Cuttnal (v.b. Kihara Shojiro): Second henchman of NeoNeros, responsible for military strategy. Portrayed as an older-looking, one-eyed pirate, usually with his pet crow sitting on his shoulder. He runs a business selling his own brand of tranquilizers ("Cuttnalizers"), which he himself consumes frequently, by the handful. His other legitimate businesses include Disney-like amusement parks. The Time Étranger gives greater prominence to his role as a pharmaceutical scientist and later as surgeon general. Renamed Captain Blade (v.b. Mike Reynolds) in Macron 1.
- Yatta-la Kernagul (v.b. Daisuke Gōri): A synthetic human with blue-green skin, and third henchman of NeoNeros, responsible for combat operations. Crude, brutish, and has severe anger management issues. One of his driving ambitions, however, is to open a chain of fried chicken restaurants called "Kernagul's Fried Chicken" and a hamburger chain called "KerDonald's". He is shown to have achieved this dream in The Time Étranger. Renamed Lord Jeraldan (v.b. Robert V. Barron) in Macron 1.
- Dr. Jitter (v.b. Mikio Terashima): Scientist working for Dokuga, responsible for inventing various robots intended to destroy GoShogun, as well as other weapons and technological tricks. Often complains about insufficient funding. Renamed Dr. Fritz (v.b. Gregory Snegoff) in Macron 1.
- Mother (v.b. Satomi Majima): Dokuga's super-computer, counterpart to Father.
- Keruna: Kernagul's stress-relief robot, mainly functioning as his personal punching bag during outbursts of anger. Typically a source of comic relief, Keruna also plays a pivotal role towards the end of the show. Renamed Clarence (v.b. Ted Layman) in Macron 1.
The GoShogun Movie, released in 1982, is a combination of episodes 20 and 17 (in that order) from the original series. It includes a summary of key events, snippets from the daily lives and background stories of the characters, and advertisements for fictional products. The closing credits show images of the main characters as children. The last of these, young Remy, would later make an appearance in The Time Étranger.
The Time Étranger
A surrealistic follow-up film, known as The Time Étranger or Time Stranger (1985), is set forty years after the events of the GoShogun TV series. The team has long since disbanded, and most of them have lost touch, but when Remy is rendered comatose in a car crash, her old friends and former enemies gather at her bedside to try to lend her their strength. Meanwhile, in Remy's dream, she and her five friends are in the prime of their lives, and are trapped in a mysterious desert city inhabited by hostile fanatics, who worship a god of fate. All six team members receive anonymous letters that ordain for each of them a brutal death within several days, with Remy set to die first. As they fight back against the forces of fate, Remy is haunted by increasingly disturbing visions of her foretold demise, as well as by flashbacks to her lonely and troubled childhood, designed to drive her to despair. It is notable that the feature-length sequel of a "giant robot" series barely makes any reference to the giant robot, except for a brief shot of a GoShogun-shaped charm on the rearview mirror of Remy's car and a museum devoted to the former exploits of the GoShogun crew. All the fighting in the dream sequence is done with cold weapons and common firearms, such as Remy's trusty revolver.
- The GoShogun team and mecha make several appearances in the Super Robot Wars series with various enemy robots including Debiza (episode 4), Dogab (episode 6), Godneros (episode 18), Doshard (episode 22), and the GoShogun doppelganger GoNagurl (episode 23) as well as the three Dokuga ships and their fighters, the impactors.
- In Super Robot Wars Alpha 2 and Super Robot Wars Alpha 3, Leonardo Medici Bundle's ship has "The Blue Danube" as its default background music. This song is played on enormous speakers, and it is one of the few situations in which Elzam V. Branstein (a.k.a. Rätsel Feinschmecker)'s theme "Trombe!" is overridden.
- "戦国魔神ゴーショーグン(1981)". allcinema.net (in Japanese). Stingray. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
- "戦国魔神ゴーショーグン(1982)". allcinema.net (in Japanese). Stingray. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
- "戦国魔神ゴーショーグン Goshogun IN 時の異邦人（エトランゼ）(1985)". allcinema.net (in Japanese). Stingray. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
- Michael Toole (2013-01-13). "Etranger in an Etrange Land". Retrieved 31 January 2015.
- Michael Toole (2013-11-03). "Reed All About It". Retrieved 31 January 2015.
- Benjamin Ettinger (2009-01-06). "Dorvack & Dancougar". Retrieved 31 January 2015.
- Justin Sevakis (2007-01-18). "Buried Treasure: Time Stranger". Retrieved 31 January 2015.
- Toole, "Etranger in an Etrange Land."
- Brian Cirulnick (2003). "GoShogun: The Time Etranger (Time Stranger): Anime DVD Review". Retrieved 31 January 2015.
- Jonathan Clements and Helen McCarthy, The Anime Encyclopedia, Revised & Expanded Edition: A Guide to Japanese Animation since 1917 (Berkeley, CA: Stone Bridge Press, 2006): 245-6. 
- Site "Macron 1" information about "Macron 1", "Sengoku Majin Goshogun", "Gotriniton" and "The Time Etranger". Video, audio.
- Sengoku Majin GoShogun - aka Gotriniton, Fulgutor or Macron One fansite used to be goshogun.com, holds a lot of information and media
- Sengoku Majin GoShogun (anime) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
- GoShogun section at Encirobopedia
- Sengoku Majin GōShōgun by Takatoku Toys A great article on the GoShogun toys by Erik Sjoen from ToyboxDX.com
- Macron 1 review at Anime Game's Bargain Bin Anime Reviews
- GoShogun: The Time Étranger article