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|Panda-Z: The Robonimation|
|パンダーゼット THE ROBONIMATION|
(Pandā Zetto Za Robonimēshon)
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Mamoru Kanbe|
|Produced by||Kōji Morimoto|
|Licensed by||Bandai Visual|
|Original network||Kids Station|
|Original run||April 12, 2004 – November 1, 2004|
Panda-Z: The Robonimation (パンダーゼット THE ROBONIMATION Pandā Zetto Za Robonimēshon) is a Japanese anime short series created by Shuichi Oshida, considered as a parody of Go Nagai's Mazinger Z. The series is produced by both Bee Train and Synergy Japan and began airing in Kids Station on April 12, 2004 to November 1, 2004.
Panda-Z: The Robonimation includes characters that were modeled after the main cast of Mazinger Z. None of the characters are voiced, and the show's infrequent dialogue is instead presented through intertitles. Some episodes have no dialogue at all, relying on mime movement, sound effects, and the show's electric guitar-based blues/rock/fusion soundtrack for expression. Each episode is five minutes long, including both the opening and ending credits. The ending credits also include a profile of one character or set piece from the series.
The series consists of short comedy sketches, involving the adventures of Pan-Taron, a super deformed robotic panda, pilot of the Panda-Z mecha, and his equally small cute robotic friends, as they fight the evil Skullpander, leader of the Warunimal forces. The story is confined to the small Robonimal Island (containing Robonimal City and P-Z Labs) and a tiny nearby volcanic island that is home to the Warunimal base. Buildings in Robonimal City are all topped with panda heads.
Never taking itself seriously, the story is often just an excuse to put the characters in common everyday situations, but with a robotic twist, which allows for comical results.
In several episodes the characters can be seen playing the card game Old Maid against one another. The deck they play with has characters from the show on them, including Skullpander as the Joker. In one episode they play Rock-Paper-Scissors...a game made more difficult by their mitten-like hands. Being robots, they can often be seen ingesting batteries for their food. Some other times, the struggle between the two groups is present, but either one of them, or sometimes even both, don't take the fighting seriously.
List of Pan-Taron's Robonimal friends
- Dr. Panji - Taron's grandfather and the director of the laboratory. He is a researcher at the mysterious "Super P-Z" and an authority on Robonimal engineering. He created the Panda-Z along with Taron's father (who left one day years ago and never returned). But outside of that, he is just a kind grandfather, who loves his grandson very much.
- Rabina/Rabinna - A kindhearted girl that everyone adores. She dreams of becoming a great nurse someday. She has a cheerful, kind personality and also has a strong sense of responsibility. She's a pink robot rabbit with angel wings and a white nurse's outfit.
- Denwan - He is something of a leader in Taron's group of friends. He is dependable, but sometimes, he gets ahead of himself and ends up failing. His dream is to become a great public Denwan someday. (Den means phone and WanWan is the sound a dog makes so he is basically a blue Phone dog.) He is, however, a pay phone...you have to pay him to make an outgoing call. Also, his dial only has seven digits.
- Eteckee - He is a brilliant and talented scholar. Sometimes, he can be timid and a bit of a scaredy-cat, but he dreams of becoming a researcher at the Panda-Z Lab someday. His name seems to be a pun on "techie" and "monkey", and is a yellow robot monkey.
- Hamu Ichiro, Hamu Jiro - They are the mechanical team at the lab. They are both incredible mechanics and Panda-Z's feats are often made possible thanks to these two. They pilot the Ham Gears, giant robots that let them repair Panda-Z at its own scale, as well as carry a damaged Panda-Z off the battlefield. There seems to be no relation between the noncombatant Ham Gears and Dr. Jangarly's Black Ham Gear.
- Zoutank - A green robot that is a cross between an elephant and a tank, with a cannon for a trunk. It seems to be an independent character, rather than merely a vehicle. However, it's large enough for other Robonimals to ride in.
The Bear Rescue Team
The Bear Rescue are the rescue professionals at the Panda-Z lab:
- Firebear - basically the fire fighter of the group.
- Rescue Bear 01, Rescue Bear 02 - Nearly identical bear robots, with "01" or "02" on their ears. They're litter-bearers, among other tasks.
- Medical Bear - A white bear with red rescue flasher ears and a doctor's speculum (mirror headband). Rabinna is his nurse.
List of Warunimal enemies
- Skullpander/Skull Panda - leader of the Warunimals, what's beneath his cloak is a source of mystery to his own generals. He's spooky and mysterious and rarely seems to do anything, generally staying in his cloud-wreathed island headquarters.
- Rubyrabeauty/Rubyraby - rabbit-princess with adult proportions (as opposed to the child-body proportions of everyone else). Her minions are pink. Her giant robot occasionally demonstrates the ability to act on its own, and at one point seems to fall in love with Panda-Z.
- Moogyuu/Mougyu - cow-like appearance. His minions are yellow. Probably Panda-Z's most frequent opponent, he's often cheated of victory because his remote control breaks, or he is injured when he gets dragged along behind it on the remote's cable. His giant robot Moujumbo uses a large hammer.
- Doctor Jangary/Jangarly - robo-hamster with a mustache, his skull is a clear dome that shows his computer brain. When he smokes, the smoke fills his dome and he shorts out. His minions wear black. His "Black Ham Gear" giant robot is not completed until the end of the series, and he frequently threatens dire vengeance once it's ready.
- Wolgaoh/Wolgar - robot wolf who's perhaps a little too domesticated, sometimes playing fetch when he should be fighting. Normally light gray, turns red under a full moon. His minions are light gray, and his giant wolf robot (that also seems to be named Wolgaoh) has a set of "bone nunchaku".
- Kokekkou - A giant robotic rooster, apparently an unpiloted Warunimal asset. It can launch egg bombs, fly, and is assisted by smaller flying robot roosters.
- Warunimal soldier - Identical masked minions, appearing in four color schemes, denoting which general they follow. They don't seem to much like their generals, and sometimes argue amongst each other which group has it worst.
- Bokkuma - Box on legs with panda features. More pet than minion.
By JAM Project
The series is collected in 6 DVD volumes under Bandai's "Anime Legends" banner, each of which also has a bonus 3-D animated short and a short featuring a large rotocast Panda-Z toy. The first volume is available with a pack-in Panda-Z toy 3" (8 cm) tall. Judging from a short sequence in the opening credits, this toy is as big as the "giant" robot is.