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Jetter Mars Picture Book cover, illustrated by Osamu Tezuka, 1977.
|Anime television series|
|Written by||Osamu Tezuka|
|Music by||Nobuyoshi Koshibe|
|Original network||Fuji TV|
|Original run||February 3, 1977 – September 15, 1977|
Jetter Mars (ジェッターマルス Jettā Marusu?) is an anime series directed by Rintaro and written by Osamu Tezuka. Originally planned by Tezuka as a full-color remake of the original anime adaptation of his popular manga series Astro Boy, unfavorable circumstances during the pre-production phase of the project led him to abandon it temporarily and create Jetter Mars instead. Although it remains as one of Tezuka's lesser known works, it gained a large following and is fondly remembered.
Unlike the vast majority of Osamu Tezuka's characters, Jetter Mars wasn't first published in comic book form, written and illustrated by Tezuka. In 1977, Tezuka's animation studio Mushi Productions faced bankruptcy, leading Tezuka to work as an animation director for Toei Animation for some time. He wanted to produce a color anime adaptation for his landmark manga Tetsuwan Atom, (known to western audiences as Astro Boy), but due to the financial distress of Mushi Productions, the copyrights on some of his characters were in limbo. Due to the deadline imposed on Tezuka by Toei to produce the new series, he wasn't able to secure the copyrights to his characters on time, which forced him to compromise his original project and redesign it somewhat, reworking it conceptually and visually to some extent.
Tezuka then redesigned Atom slightly, and renamed him as Jetter Mars. Some aspects of Atom's original story are taken and used as the origin of Mars, such as him being created as a powerful android in the image of a boy. Two scientists are involved in Mars' creation, one conceiving him as a combat instrument and the other opposing that purpose, conceiving him as an instrument for peaceful pursuits. This element mirrors the disagreement found in the characters Dr. Tenma and Dr. Ochanomizu in Tetsuwan Atom. Some other borrowed concepts can be found across the series.
Some storylines in the episodes of Jetter Mars were remakes of classic and beloved stories Tezuka wrote and drew in his Tetsuwan Atom manga, such as The Artificial Sun and The Last Day on Earth. The series was beautifully animated, and in the Tezuka tradition, it showcased many of his characters from his various manga works in different roles.
In the same manner he wrote and illustrated his Tetsuwan Atom manga, Tezuka stayed away from graphic violence in Jetter Mars, although the typical traits of his works are also present in it, such as the importance of moral values, humanity and strong emotiveness.
The series was received by Japan's population with mixed feelings, as some wanted the original Tetsuwan Atom and some accepted Jetter Mars wholeheartedly as a different character, as it was intended to be. This made Tezuka lose interest in the series and it finished with 27 episodes produced. Having successfully secured the copyrights on all his characters once again, Tezuka founded Tezuka Productions a few years later, and was able to produce the color anime adaptation of Tetsuwan Atom as he wanted initially, which became a hit, much in the same way as the original anime adaptation from the 60's.
The storyline is set in the year 2015. Two scientist, Dr. Kawashimo and Dr. Yamanoue, have created a robot with advanced capabilities. Dr. Kawashimo created his miraculous artificial intelligence, making him almost human, while Dr. Yamanoue created the robot's body, endowing him with astoundingly powerful weaponry.
As expected from Osamu Tezuka, he put his "character acting company", known as Star System, to use to define the cast of Jetter Mars. He created a few of the characters specifically for the series, such as Mars and Melchi, and the vast majority of the cast was classic and well-known characters from Tezuka's works, playing various roles. In the adjacent picture, it is possible to identify many of Tezuka's characters, from left to right: Daidalos, Shunsuke Ban aka Higeoyaji and Tezuka himself in the upper row; Inspector Tawashi, Rock Holmes and Marukubi Boon in the middle row; and Tamao, Shibugaki, Spider, Chief Nakamura, HamEgg, Acetylene Lamp, Ken'ichi and Hyōtan-tsugi in the lower row; among some others.
The following list describes the characters featured more prominently during the series:
Jetter Mars (ジェッターマルス Jettā Marusu?): The protagonist of the series. A powerful robot built in the image of a boy, he has a body that can be used for destruction of cataclysmic proportions, and a near-human artificial intelligence. He finds himself often in the predicament of choosing to use his gifts for pacific or destructive purposes.
Melchi (メルチ Meruchi?): Mars' non-speaking younger brother, with the body of a baby. Endowed with tremendous physical strength, his only word is "Bakaruchi!" (バカルチ Bakaruchi?) (a word invented by Tezuka with no real meaning), which he always utters after displaying his power.
Miri (美理 Miri?): A robot made in the image of a young girl by Dr. Kawashimo. She possessed powers that enabled her to restore destroyed robots and machinery. Protector of Mars and Melchi, and "daughter" to Dr. Kawashimo.
Dr. Kawashimo (川下博士 Kawashimo Hakase?): Creator of Jetter Mars' incredible artificial intelligence and heart, and creator of Miri and Melchi. Opposing fellow scientist Dr. Yamanoue, he desired Mars to live a life of good purpose and peace.
Dr. Yamanoue (山之上博士 Yamanoue Hakase?): Creator of Mars' body. He designed him as a machine for war, and thus named his creation after the Roman god of war. Mars looked up to him as his father. He disappears after being buried during atomic tests and is left for dead.
Dr. Tezuka (手塚博士 Tezuka Hakase?): In many of his works, Tezuka drew himself as a character, immersed in the universe of his creations, and interacted with his characters. He included himself also in Jetter Mars, appearing as friend and advisor to Mars.
Spider (スパイダー Supaidā?) and Hyōtan-tsugi (ひょうたんつぎ Hyōtan-tsugi?): Two cartoony little characters, that appeared whimsically in nonsensical situations, as comic relief. Tezuka's signature, they appeared in all of his works, be it manga or animated, as they were a form of dialogue between Tezuka and his readers, developed during the years. Hyōtan-tsugi usually appeared falling in front of a character at the most inappropriate of times, and getting kicked out angrily by them, and Spider usually appeared in moments of tension, repeatedly uttering his trademark phrase, Omukae de gonsu! (おむかえでごんすﾞ Omukae de gonsu?), roughly "Here ta meet ya!". Additionally, Hyōtan-tsugi appeared in each episode during the opening intro and end credits sequences.
HamEgg (ﾊﾑｴｯｸﾞ Hamueggu?): One of Tezuka's most recognizable characters in his Star System, he appeared playing non-praiseworthy roles, as usual for him.
The series had 27 episodes, each lasting 24 minutes approximately. Broadcast by Fuji TV, on Thursday nights. As with all Tezuka's works, the series made use of his Star System cast technique, featuring many of his characters from previous works (manga or animated) as guests performing various roles. The following list includes the episode title, airing date and guest characters. 
|Episode #||Title||Guest character||Aired|
|1||Mars is born, year 2015
2015 nen Marusu tanjō (2015年マルス誕生?)
|Faitan||February 3, 1977|
|2||Counterfeiting robot gang
Robotto mitsuyudan (ロボット密輸団?)
|none||February 10, 1977|
|3||Why is Mars crying?
Marusu naze naku (マルスなぜ泣く?)
|Mad Mask||February 17, 1977|
|4||Goodbye, little brother!
Sayōnara, otōto! (さようならオトウト!?)
|Tack||February 24, 1977|
|5||Talent, the greatest robot in history
Shijō saikō no robotto Tarento (史上最高のロボットタレント?)
|HamEggs||March 3, 1977|
|6||The girl that came from the star of dreams
Yume no hoshi kara kita shōjo (夢の星から来た少女?)
|Dori||March 10, 1977|
Kieta Miri (消えた美理?)
|Skunk Kusanagi||March 17, 1977|
|8||Where did dad go?
Otōsan doko okonatta no? (お父さんどこ行ったの??)
|No.1, No.2||March 24, 1977|
|9||Lamp, the space trader
Uchū no shimatsujin Ranpu (宇宙の始末人ランプ?)
|Acetylene Lamp||March 31, 1977|
|10||My lil' brother's name is Melchi
Otōto no na wa Meruchi (弟の名はメルチ?)
|Dr.Spice, Mrs. Tabasko||April 7, 1977|
Shin'nyūsei Marusu (新入生マルス?)
|Mason||April 14, 1977|
|12||Jam Bond, Secret agent
Himitsu chōhōin Jamu Bondo (ヒミツ諜報員ジャムボンド?)
|Jam Bond||April 21, 1977|
|13||Honey, robot exchange-student
Robotto Tenkōsei Hanī (ロボット転校生ハニー?)
|Honey||April 28, 1977|
|14||The vampire from outer space
Uchū kara no Kyūketsuki (宇宙からの吸血鬼?)
|Kuroro||May 5, 1977|
|15||Melchi likes Mouster
Meruchi no sukina Mousutā (メルチのすきなモウスター?)
|Mouster||May 12, 1977|
|16||Zaza, the wandering planet
Samayoeru wakusei Zaza (さまよえる惑星ザザ?)
|Zazians||May 19, 1977|
|17||The samurai robot from the seventh year of the Tenpō era
Tenpō shichi-nen Samurai robotto (天保七年サムライロボット?)
|Yumi, Samurai robot||June 2, 1977|
|18||Resurrect, ancient robot
Yomigaeru kodai robotto (よみがえる古代ロボット?)
|Daidalos||June 16, 1977|
|19||Mars' first love
Marusu no hatsukoi (マルスの初恋?)
|Agunea, Marukubi Boon||June 23, 1977|
|20||Mars becomes a young boss
Marusu waka oyabun ni naru (マルス若親分になる?)
|Black, Dr. Jin||June 30, 1977|
|21||Mighty Robot Joe
Tetsuwan Robotto Jō (鉄腕ロボット・ジョー?)
|Joe Asnaro||July 7, 1977|
Andoroido no komoriuta (アンドロイドの子守唄?)
|Mayumi||July 21, 1977|
|23||The wandering robot
Sasurai no robotto (さすらいのロボット?)
|Adios||July 28, 1977|
|24||Miri, alone again
Mou hitori no Miri (もう一人の美理?)
|Saromi||August 18, 1977|
|25||The wolf-boy from space
Uchū no ōkami shōnen (宇宙の狼少年?)
|none||September 1, 1977|
Kaettekita Adiosu (帰ってきたアディオス?)
|Dr. Kuromaru||September 8, 1977|
|27||The flight beyond tomorrow!
Ashita ni mukatte habatake! (明日に向かって羽ばたけ!?)
|Sari||September 15, 1977|
The anime series also was adapted into a few manga issues published as one-shot stories, based on the storylines shown in the anime. They weren't written or illustrated by Osamu Tezuka, but by various licensed artists. The issues are listed as follows:
- Televiland Comics Issue
- One-shot story illustrated by Shigeto Ikehara, published in the first issue of the magazine in 1979.
- Bōken-ō Manga Magazine Issue
- Illustrated by Rentarō Iwata for the defunct Bōken-ō manga magazine.
- Televi-Magazine Issue
- Illustrated by Kai Nanase and published in 1979.
- Chū'ichi Jidai Magazine Story
- Illustrated by Saisuke Hiraga, published from April to August, 1979. Short-story divided in five chapters.
Several records containing the musical score of Jetter Mars were released during the series run. These are listed as follows
1. Mars LP Record (マルスのLPレコード Marusu no LP recōdo?)
- Jetter Mars' only LP record, it contained several songs along a mini-drama. The songs included in the record:
- Mars, year 2015 (マルス2015年 Marusu 2015 nen?)
- Mars' dream (マルスの夢 Marusu no yume?)
- Melchi, Let's Bakaruchi (メルチバカルチガンバルチ Meruchi Bakaruchi Ganbaruchi?)
- Goodnight, Mars (おやすみマルス Oyasumi Marusu?)
- Fighting Mars (戦いのマルス Tatakai no Marusu?)
- Boy Mars (少年マルス Shōnen Marusu?)
- Hate! Love! (キライ!スキ! Kirai! Suki!?)
- Wandering robot (さすらいのロボット Sasurai no robotto?)
- The March of Mars (マルスのマーチ Marusu no Māchi?)
- Space Scat (宇宙のスキャット Uchū no Sukyatto?)
2. Single Releases
- Several records containing single songs were released. These are listed as follows:
- Mars Single Record 1, included the songs:
- Mars Single Record 2, included the songs:
- Mars Single Record 3, a re-release of the first single record, it also included a track containing the sound effects of the anime:
- Mars Single Record 4, with the same content of single records 1 and 3, except it didn't include the sound effects track. It also contained a Drama track, with the voices and sound effects of the first episode of the anime:
- Mars Single Record 5, its contents were practically the same as Single Record 4, only with some editing variations.
- Mars Single Record 6, included the opening and ending songs of the Jetter Mars anime, along the theme song for the anime adaptation of Yumiko Igarashi and Kyoko Mizuki's classic shōjo manga Candy Candy:
Involved in the production of the series:
Original concept, creator: Osamu Tezuka
Planning: Kōji Bessho (Fuji TV), Takeshi Tamiya
In charge of production: Kiyoshi Ono (first season), Kichirō Sugahara (final season)
Series composer: Masao Maruyama
Script: Masaki Tsuji, Shunichi Yukimuro, Yoshitaka Suzuki, Masaru Yamamoto, Hiroyuki Hoshiyama
Chief Director: Rintarō
Producers: Sumiko Chiba, Noboru Ishiguro, Wataru Mizusawa, Masami Hatano, Katsutoshi Sasaki, Yugo Serizawa, Jihiro Taizumi, Rintarō
Character Design Supervisor: Akio Sugino
Animation Supervisors: Akio Sugino, Toshio Mori, Satoshi Jingu, Wataru Mibu, Tsuneo Kashima, Toyō Ashida
Graphic Designer: Liang Wei Huang
Art: Shohei Kawamoto, Liang Wei Huang, Tadao Kubota
Photography: Masaaki Sugaya
Editing: Masaaki Hanai
Audio Director: Ryōsuke Koide (Arts Pro)
Recording: Hideyuki Tanaka
In collaboration with production: Mad House
Production: Fuji TV, Toei Animation
Music: Nobuyoshi Koshibe
- List of Osamu Tezuka manga
- List of Osamu Tezuka anime
- Osamu Tezuka's Star System
- Tezuka Award
- Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize