The Golden Bat

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Ōgon Bat as seen in a kamishibai

Ōgon Bat (Japanese: 黄金 バット, Hepburn: Ōgon Batto, literally Golden Bat), known as Phantaman or Fantomas in various countries outside Japan, is a Japanese superhero created by Suzuki Ichiro and Takeo Nagamatsu in autumn of 1930 who originally debuted in a kamishibai (paper theater).[1] Ōgon Bat is considered by some to be the world's first superhero,[2][3] and is a precursor to later superhero characters such as the Japanese kamishibai character Prince of Gamma (debut early 1930s), and the American comic book characters Superman (debut 1938) and Batman (debut 1939).[1]

Ōgon Bat later appeared in numerous Japanese pop culture media, including manga, anime, and Japanese films, as well as toys and postage stamps dating back to 1932.[4] It was adapted into a popular anime television series in 1967, which was released in various European and Latin American countries.


Kamishibai artist narrating a story on Ōgon Bat.

Ōgon Bat was created by 16-year-old Takeo Nagamatsu and 25-year-old Suzuki Ichiro in 1931, and was named after the Golden Bat cigarette brand. The two were inspired by drawings of mythological characters in Tokyo's Ueno Royal Museum to create a new hero based on science rather than mythology. The character debuted in a kamishibai, a type of traveling show in which a sequence of pictures are shown, narrated by a storyteller.[1][2][3] The character was popular enough to survive the decline of kamishibai following World War II, and was eventually adapted into manga (including one by Osamu Tezuka) and anime.[5]

The character featured in three live-action movies: Ôgon Bat: Matenrô no Kaijin, released in 1950; Ôgon Batto, released in 1966; and the comedy biopic Ôgon Batto ga Yattekuru, released in 1972.[citation needed] He also appeared in a 52-episode anime series that aired on Nippon TV from 1967 to 1968.[5]

In December 2022 a new manga adaptation illustrated by Kazutoshi Yamane was launched in Champion Red magazine by Akita Shoten.[6]

Character description[edit]

Ōgon Bat is a being from ancient Atlantis who was sent forward in time 10,000 years to battle evil forces threatening the present day.[3][5] He has a golden skull-shaped head, wears a green and white swashbuckler outfit with a high-collared red cape, and carries a rapier. He lives in a fortress in the Japanese Alps. His superpowers include superhuman strength, invulnerability, and the ability to fly.[1][2][3] Ōgon Bat has an evil counterpart known as Kurayami Bat (暗闇バット "Dark Bat").[3] His main enemy is Dr. Erich Nazō (ナゾー), the leader of a crime syndicate bent on world domination, who wears a black costume and mask with bat-like ears, a red eye and a blue eye.[3]


Ōgon Bat
Directed byHajime Sato
Written bySusumu Takaku
StarringSonny Chiba
Distributed byToei Company (Japan)
Release date
  • December 21, 1966 (1966-12-21) (Japan)
Running time
73 minutes

A live-action film version of Ōgon Bat was released theatrically by Toei in Japan on December 21, 1966, starring Sonny Chiba as Dr. Yamatone (ヤマトネ博士, Yamatone Hakase).[citation needed]


When young Akira Kazahaya spots the rogue planet Icarus on a collision course for Earth, he is recruited by Captain Yamatone into the Pearl Research Institute in the Japanese Alps, secretly an U.N. organization that protects the Earth, who is searching for the final component to complete Dr. Pearl's Super Destruction Beam Cannon to destroy Icarus. When Captain Yamatone's unit, along with Akira and Pearl's granddaughter Emily, searches for the material for the lens on a mysterious island they soon realize is Atlantis, they are attacked by the evil forces of the Ruler of the Universe Nazō (ナゾー) in a drill-shaped tower ship, who is the one who sent Icarus towards Earth, and force Yamatone to retreat into an ancient tomb holding a sarcophagus with a prophecy that after 10,000 years, a crisis will inevitably come and to awaken the one within to fight it. Just as Nazō's men burst in and try and surround the institute's people, Emily places water on Ogon Bat's chest and revives him. Laughing, Ogon Bat sizes up the situation, defeats the alien attackers and sends a bat to Emily, which turns into a pin, allowing her to call him when there is danger. Ogon Bat then fights off Nazō's tower, allowing Yamatone and the institute people to return with the lens.

Undeterred, Nazō gathers his three top agents, Viper, Piranha, and Jackal, who he sends to infiltrate the Institute and retrieve the lens and the beam cannon using their own unique abilities. Nazō successfully captures Dr. Pearl, Emily, and the Super Destruction Beam, but is frustrated by his minions' inability to find the lens and Dr. Pearl's resistance to interrogation, Pearl realizing far more than Earth would be in danger if a villain like Nazō were to gain the weapon, until he realizes Yamatone gave the lens to Ogon Bat, and Nazō tricks Emily into calling for him, resulting in a climactic battle with the fate of Earth at stake.


  • Sonny Chiba as Dr. Yamatone (ヤマトネ博士, Yamatone Hakase)
  • Wataru Yamakawa as Akira Kazahaya
  • Hisako Tsukuba as Naomi Akiyama
  • Emiri Takami as Emily Beard
  • Andrew Hughes as Dr. Parl
  • Hirohisa Nakada as agent Shimizu
  • Kōsaku Okano as agent Nakamura
  • Kouji Sekiyama as Nazō
  • Youichi Numada as Keroido / Viper
  • Keiko Kuni as Perania / Piranha
  • Keiichi Kitakawa as Jackal
  • Yukio Aoshima as police officer


Golden Bat
(Ōgon Batto)
GenreFantasy, Superhero
Anime television series
Directed byNoboru Ishiguro
Kujiro Yanagida
Seiji Sasaki
Tadao Wakabayashi[5]
Written byMitsuhide Shimauchi
Music byTanaka Masashi
StudioDai-ichi Dōga
Original networkYomiuri TV, Nippon TV
English network
Original run April 1, 1967 March 23, 1968

Golden Bat (Japanese: 黄金 バット, Hepburn: Ōgon Batto) is an anime television series released in 1967. It was released internationally in a number of countries under various titles including Phantaman and Fantomas. The anime series was very popular in many European and Latin American countries.[5]

List of anime episodes[edit]

Title Original air date
1"The Birth of Golden Bat"
(Japanese: 黄金バット誕生)
April 1, 1967 (1967-04-01)
2"Mammoth Killer"
(Japanese: マンモスキラー)
April 8, 1967 (1967-04-08)
(Japanese: ゲーゲオルグ)
April 15, 1967 (1967-04-15)
(Japanese: 危機一発)
April 22, 1967 (1967-04-22)
5"Man Eating Plants"
(Japanese: 人食い植物)
April 29, 1967 (1967-04-29)
6"In Pursuit of the Melon Bombs"
(Japanese: メロン爆弾大追跡)
May 6, 1967 (1967-05-06)
7"Monster Sand Beronya"
(Japanese: 怪獣サンドベロニヤ)
May 13, 1967 (1967-05-13)
8"Space Monster Alligon"
(Japanese: 宇宙怪獣アリゴン)
May 20, 1967 (1967-05-20)
9"Worm Monster Gaigon"
(Japanese: 怪物ガイゴン)
May 27, 1967 (1967-05-27)
10"The Battle of Uranium Island"
(Japanese: ウラン島大決戦)
June 3, 1967 (1967-06-03)
11"The Mystery of Finkhamen"
(Japanese: 謎のフィンカーメン)
June 10, 1967 (1967-06-10)
12"Dr. Jinger's Poison Mushrooms"
(Japanese: ジンガーの毒キノコ)
June 17, 1967 (1967-06-17)
13"Mutant 5"
(Japanese: ミュータント5)
June 24, 1967 (1967-06-24)
14"Atomic Black Gyatt"
(Japanese: 原子ブラックギャット)
July 1, 1967 (1967-07-01)
15"Nero the Destructor"
(Japanese: 破壊魔ネロ)
July 8, 1967 (1967-07-08)
16"Ghilton, the Stone Man"
(Japanese: 岩人ギルトン)
July 15, 1967 (1967-07-15)
17"Galgar the Monster Bird"
(Japanese: 怪鳥ガルガー)
July 22, 1967 (1967-07-22)
18"The Star of Polynesia"
(Japanese: ポリネシアの星)
July 29, 1967 (1967-07-29)
19"Bat vs. Bat"
(Japanese: バット対バット)
August 5, 1967 (1967-08-05)
20"The Land of the Blue Flame"
(Japanese: 青い炎の国)
August 12, 1967 (1967-08-12)
21"The Queen of Root Sigma"
(Japanese: ルートシグマの女王)
August 19, 1967 (1967-08-19)
22"The Mystery of Volcano Peron"
(Japanese: 謎のペロン火山)
August 26, 1967 (1967-08-26)
23"Black Mask the Thief"
(Japanese: 怪盗ブラック仮面)
September 2, 1967 (1967-09-02)
24"The Devil's Ruby"
(Japanese: 悪魔のルビー)
September 9, 1967 (1967-09-09)
25"The Robot City"
(Japanese: ロボット都市)
September 16, 1967 (1967-09-16)
26"Rayman Boldo"
(Japanese: 光線人間ボルド)
September 23, 1967 (1967-09-23)
27"The Eye of Tarangé"
(Japanese: タランゲーの眼)
September 30, 1967 (1967-09-30)
28"Sword of the Queen Axis"
(Japanese: アキシスの剣)
October 7, 1967 (1967-10-07)
29"Mystery of the Space Bat"
(Japanese: 宇宙コウモリの謎)
October 14, 1967 (1967-10-14)
30"Superpowered Cyborgs"
(Japanese: 超能力改造人間)
October 21, 1967 (1967-10-21)
31"The Ghost Tower"
(Japanese: ゆうれい塔)
October 28, 1967 (1967-10-28)
32"The Devil's Giant Statue"
(Japanese: 悪魔の巨像)
November 4, 1967 (1967-11-04)
33"The Invisible Monster Glassgon"
(Japanese: 透明怪獣グラスゴン)
November 11, 1967 (1967-11-11)
34"The Great World Flood"
(Japanese: 世界大洪水)
November 18, 1967 (1967-11-18)
35"Underground Monster Mogurah"
(Japanese: 地底怪獣モグラー)
November 25, 1967 (1967-11-25)
36"The Great Explosion"
(Japanese: 地球大爆発)
December 2, 1967 (1967-12-02)
37"Two-Headed Monster Gegera"
(Japanese: 双頭怪獣ゲゲラ)
December 9, 1967 (1967-12-09)
38"The Dinosaur Trap"
(Japanese: 恐竜の罠)
December 16, 1967 (1967-12-16)
39"The Skeleton's Pilotage"
(Japanese: 骸骨の水先案内)
December 23, 1967 (1967-12-23)
40"The Day of Darkness"
(Japanese: 地球暗黒の日)
December 30, 1967 (1967-12-30)
41"The Indian Princess"
(Japanese: インドの女王)
January 6, 1968 (1968-01-06)
42"The Witch and Monster Hiidoro"
(Japanese: 妖婆の怪獣ヒードロ)
January 13, 1968 (1968-01-13)
43"The Cyclops in the Mine"
(Japanese: 廃坑の一つ目怪獣)
January 20, 1968 (1968-01-20)
44"Revenge of the Liger Man"
(Japanese: ライガーマンの逆襲)
January 27, 1968 (1968-01-27)
45"The Death-bringing Woman"
(Japanese: 死を呼ぶ女)
February 3, 1968 (1968-02-03)
46"The Bat Hag and the Monster Shelgon"
(Japanese: こうもり老女と怪獣シェルゴン)
February 10, 1968 (1968-02-10)
47"The Mysterious Gerontium 90"
(Japanese: 幻のゲロンチューム90)
February 17, 1968 (1968-02-17)
48"The Little Assassins"
(Japanese: 小さい暗殺者)
February 24, 1968 (1968-02-24)
49"The Bat Man"
(Japanese: 怪人こうもり男)
March 2, 1968 (1968-03-02)
50"Circus Monster Gablar"
(Japanese: サーカス怪獣ガブラー)
March 9, 1968 (1968-03-09)
51"The Resurrection of Dark Bat"
(Japanese: よみがえる暗闇バット)
March 16, 1968 (1968-03-16)
52"The Crumbling of the Nazō Empire"
(Japanese: ひびわれるナゾー帝国)
March 23, 1968 (1968-03-23)


  1. ^ a b c d Bradner, Liesl (2009-11-29). "The superheroes of Japan who predated Superman and Batman". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2018-10-13. Retrieved 2015-06-19.
  2. ^ a b c Bradner, Liesl (2009-11-27). "Origins of manga and anime". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-07-07.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Davisson, Zack (December 19, 2010). "The First Superhero – The Golden Bat?". Comics Bulletin. Archived from the original on November 9, 2014. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  4. ^ Hagen, Dan (27 November 2019). Thomas, Roy (ed.). "The Golden Bat: Japan's "Dark Samurai" Returns!". Alter Ego. No. 162. TwoMorrows Publishing. pp. 35–28. Retrieved 16 May 2022.
  5. ^ a b c d e Clements, Jonathan; McCarthy, Helen (2014). The Anime Encyclopedia, 3rd Revised Edition: A Century of Japanese Animation. Stone Bridge Press. p. 193. ISBN 9781611720181. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  6. ^ Moroboshi, Sig ra (21 November 2022). "Fantaman - Annunciato il nuovo manga". (in Italian). Retrieved 22 December 2022.

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