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Cover of the first DVD volume
|Written by||Jirō Gyū|
|Published by||Akita Shoten|
|Magazine||Weekly Shōnen Champion|
|Original run||August 6, 1982 – May 3, 1985|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Kunihiko Yuyama|
|Original run||June 5, 1983 – February 26, 1984|
Plawres Sanshiro (プラレス3四郎 Puraresu Sanshirō?) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Jirō Gyū. It was serialized in the Akita Shoten magazine Weekly Shōnen Champion from August 6, 1982 to May 3, 1985. An anime adaptation aired in 1983 in Japan, Hong Kong, Greece and Arab countries. The name is a shortened derivative of "Plastic Model Wrestling Sanshiro." The animation is based on the manga of the same name, though the visuals of the characters, in particular the PlaWrestler robots, were different.
The story is about a young boy named Sanshiro Sugata and his miniature PlaWrestler pocket robot with super LSI circuit named Juohmaru. Initially, the show was about Sanshiro's battles with Juohmaru against other PlaWrestlers in robot battle tournaments that were a hybrid blend of modern professional wrestling, hi-tech Robot Wars and Japanese noh theatre. As the series went on, its focus shifted to Sanshiro exploring the possible uses of PlaWrestling technology in medical implants, and his clash against those who wished to use it for military purposes instead.
Sanshiro is the series' protagonist and a PlaWres modeler. His PlaWrestler, Juohmaru (柔王丸 Jūōmaru), is custom-made. Initially, Sanshiro is an ambitious rookie, and his overconfidence and brashness leads to several mistakes that he sometimes does not get out of. As the series, progresses, Sanshiro learns to think more rationally and consider the benefit of others rather than only his own.
Kyoko's is Sanshiro's friend and possible love interest. She is assistant judo instructor at the Sugata family dojo. She is energetic and outspoken and does not hesitate to scold Sanshiro whenever he makes a mistake. Kyoko works at her family's eatery business and can drive a motorcycle.
Shota is Sanshiro's best friend, whose job is collecting information of any kind, particularly on rival modelers. Shota is hyperactive and is shown frequently running in a peculiar style of his own invention. He is also flirtatious, a loudmouth and quick to judge on first impressions. However, he takes his duties seriously.
Tetsuya is Juohmaru's mechanic, responsible for fine tuning him, upgrading him and repairing him, especially during the minute-long break between a battle's rounds. He is shown to be very capable, a quick thinker and an innovator, although at times he has taken offence at Sanshiro overriding him for Juohmaru's maintenance.
Shinji is Juohmaru's programmer. His code, along with Sanshiro's manual control, guides Juohmaru in the battle ring. Like Tetsuya, Shinji is portrayed to be good at his job and a cool thinker compared to Sanshiro and Shota.
Sanshiro's grandfather and judo master of the local dojo. For the most part, Kennosuke is critical of Sanshiro's PlaWrestling exploits, preferring him to practice judo and eventually succeed him as dojo master instead. However, he is also shown secretly watching many of Sanshiro's fights and worrying about the outcome. Eventually, Sanshiro's success and determination convince Kennosuke to let him pursue his own dreams.
Sanshiro's mother. Kaoru seems to be somewhat aloof, which makes her a foil for Kennosuke when discussing about Sanshiro. Despite her impression of naivety, she occasionally exhibits moments of profound insight in a situation, attributing them to her "maternal instinct".
Sanshiro's little sister. Machiko is a lively child who supports Sanshiro in his endeavours. Despite her small age, she is prone to making surprisingly insightful remarks to many of her elders.
- Kenichiro Sugata (素形健一郎 Sugata Ken'ichirō?)
Sanshiro's father. Kenichiro died before the series begins and appears only in his photograph and Sanshiro's imagination. Kenichiro's research created PlaWrestling. His further attempts to use it for the benefit of mankind met with resistance from arms dealers who wished to use it as a means of warfare. Kenichiro ended up dead in a suspicious accident. After learning this, Sanshiro resolved to use PlaWrestling to continue his father's research, which was a pivotal moment in the series.
- Jose Garcia
The mastermind behind all the plans directed against Sanshiro. Jose Garcia is a ruthless arms dealer who manipulates the PlaWrestling scene worldwide by funding and essentially bribing its officials. In this way, he hopes to exploit PlaWrestling technology to develop robotic super-soldiers. It is possible that he orchestrated the accident in which Sanshiro's father died. Somewhat atypically, Garcia is not defeated by the end of the series. He actually manages to develop and market robot soldiers of questionable competence, and Sanshiro believes in allowing the world to judge for itself whether the peaceful or aggressive use of PlaWrestling technology is more useful.
Chairman of the World PlaWresting Association (WPWA) and henchman to Jose Garcia. Ballesteros is a self-important man who manipulates the Association, its Japanese branch (JPWA) and the Fighting-type Modeler League to further Garcia's ends. After Garcia develops his robot soldiers, he loses interest in PlaWrestling and cuts funding, leading an enraged Ballesteros to face off against Sanshiro in the series finale. Like Garcia, Ballesteros suffers no consequences for his villainous actions besides feeling defeated and humiliated.
An enigmatic, beautiful woman riding a motorbike, Shiela spies on Sanshiro from the first episode and constantly manipulates events and people to force him to give up PlaWrestling. Eventually it is revealed that she works for Jose Garcia, who has convinced her that he will heal her brother's Mash's legs, who were disabled when Garcia's car crashed into Sheila's motorbike. After she realises Garcia's deception, Sheila becomes an ally of Sanshiro. She also has an unnamed female PlaWrestler.
Boisterous and self-important, Kurosaki is Japan's national PlaWrestling champion for three consecutive years. However, he loses from Sanshiro in the first episode, partly due to damage his PlaWrestler, Mad Hurricane, sustained during the championship match. This event makes Kurosaki a fierce rival of Sanshiro, and they clash for most of the series. Later on, Kurosaki becomes more sympathetic after seeing the troubles Sanshiro has to overcome and ends up his ally. Kurosaki is the region's foremost Fighting-Type modeler, following the philosophy of winning at any cost.
In contrast with Kurosaki, Narita is the region's foremost Hobby-type modeler. Hobby-types generally view PlaWrestling as a contest of skill and place the well-being of their PlaWrestlers above winning. Narita is down-to-earth, intelligent, collected and has the respect of Sanshiro and his team, but his attitude sometimes makes him take things too seriously and appear cold and distant. Narita's PlaWrestler is called Ikaros Wing.
- Dr. Warmer
A colleague of Sanshiro's father, Dr. Warmer helped develop PlaWrestling technology. After telling Sanshiro of his father's desire to use PlaWrestling to help the disabled, Sanshiro gathers data from Juohmaru's battles and send them to him. Dr. Warmer analyses this data and eventually comes up with a novel technology that relies on brain wave induction to restore a person's mobility.
Mad Hurricane, Ikarus Wing, Majin, Rocky, Mosquito, Cherry Bomber, Iron Killer, Blue Hawaii, El Matador, Stardust, Ganchanko, Hiryu, Pretty Rosa, Big Bang, Asteroid, Death Trap, Devil, Yoga, Great America, Western Buffalo, Red Arrow, JJ, El Cid, Mad Maximum, Great Simba, Siegfried, Ivan, Jupiter.
|Lead Director||Kunihiko Yuyama|
|Producer||Isao Onuki, Yoshiro Kataoka|
|Director for episode 1, 2, 6, 9 and 13||Masahisa Ishida|
|Director for episode 3||Masamune Ochiai|
|Director for episode 4, 7, 12||Eikichi Kojika|
|Director for episode 5, 10, 14||Kimiharu Oguma|
|Director for episode 8||Osamu Sekita|
|Script||Junki Takegami, Kenji Terada, Kosuke Fujikawa|
|Original creator||Jirô Gyû, Minoru Kamiya|
|Music||Yanusori Tsuchuchida, Yasushi Tsuchida|
|Character Design||Mutsumi Inomata, Shigenori Kageyame|
|Art director||Junichi Mizuno|
|Animation director||Hisashi Takai, Kazuhiro Ochi, Masamune Ochiai, Mutsumi Inomata, Shigenori Kageyama, Toshihiro Hirano, Toshio Arata, Yoshiharu Fukushima|
|Animators||Mutsumi Inomata, Hitoshi Yoshinaga, Kazuhiro Ochi, Hirotoshi Sano, Takashi Sogabe, Satoshi Yamazaki|
Six Plawres Sanshiro DVDs are available spanning 37 episodes at 25 minutes each.
Plawres Sanshiro Vol.1 – Episode 1,2
Plawres Sanshiro Vol.2 – Episode 3 - 9
Plawres Sanshiro Vol.3 – Episode 10 - 16
Plawres Sanshiro Vol.4 – Episode 17 - 23
Plawres Sanshiro Vol.5 – Episode 24 - 30
Plawres Sanshiro Vol.6 – Episode 31 - 37
|Episodes (names translated from Japanese)|
|1. Juohmaru, This is Plawrestling!!|
|2. Death Match! Kurosaki VS. Sanshiro|
|3. The Majin, Power Attack|
|4. Take That! Fireball Attack!|
|5. Danger! Sanshiro Is In Big Trouble|
|6. Finally! Female Plawrestler!|
|7. Tekkamen, the Assassin Lullaby of the death|
|8. Beat the rival!! Narita VS. Sanshiro!!|
|9. Mad Hurricane's revenge!! Stand up, Juohmaru!!|
|10. Crash!! Skateboard kid Challenger from Hawaii!!|
|11. Knock Down Matador! Get Angry, Juohmaru!!|
|12. Killing Stardust! Targeted Juohmaru!!|
|13. Plawres Wars! Juohmaru Aims Championship!!|
|14. Fateful Rivals! Hard Crash, Juohmaru!!|
|15. Strong Opponent! Kung-Fu Vs. Juohmaru!!|
|16. Dueling In Georama City! Juohmaru, 2 Vs. 1!!|
|17. Beautiful Challenger! Juohmaru, Dance of the Beast!!|
|18. Highway Battle! Desperate Juohmaru!!|
|19. A New Sunrise! Come back alive, Juohmaru!!|
|20. Heart & Machine!! Juohmaru! The Long Way!|
|21. Trap of the Space Shuttle! Fly to the Cosmos, Juohmaru!!|
|22. Kurosaki, desperate challenge! Survive, Juohmaru!!|
|23. Plawrestling war! Be the star of Asia, Juohmaru!!|
|24. A tower of execution! Juohmaru, fight with anger!!|
|25. The champion from America! Juohmaru, departure for tomorrow!!|
|26. Juohmaru! A midday western fight!!|
|27. Juohmaru! Run for tomorrow!!|
|28. The night of evil! Tear the darkness, Juohmaru!!|
|29. A stage of death! Awaken, Juohmaru!!|
|30. Juohmaru! Oath for tomorrow!!|
|31. Juohmaru! Glowing Plawrestling spirit!!|
|32. Enemy plane over! Jump over Juohmaru!!|
|33. This is brain wave induction! Run softly Juohmaru!!|
|34. Juohmaru! Road to champion!!|
|35. Juohmaru! It is the day when the world changes!!|
|36. Juohmaru! Plawrestling Eternally!!|
|37. Juohmaru! Soldier is wanted! Last time!!|
The 1983 Plawres Sanshiro soft vinyl robots are considered extremely rare. Instead of selling giant robots scaled down to toy size, what was sold and marketed to the public was pocket robots at about 30 cm tall claiming to be identical in size to the TV show version. Despite having the rival robots available for sale, the consumer trend at the time was to purchase the protagonist robots, thus most sales were limited to just 1 robot.
In the end, there may have been reissues and re-releases of the toy line, including models that require assembly. But because there were so few Plawres Sanshiro soft vinyl robots in circulation to begin with, the 80s original model is considered an exceptional collectible gem.
Plawres Sanshiro came at a time when the Asian late 70s - 80s anime scene was practically dominated by giant robots every year. The show was uniquely different since it mixed genre and featured a lead robot character that did not tower over buildings, grow in size or carried any firearms. Because of its unique substance, contents, and a relatively short episode count of 37, it had a very limited lifespan in the market.