My bizarre encounter with Gigantor!

There are just somethings that pop on to your TV that after about half a second of viewing you just know they are from an era far away and long, loooong ago. I had one of those experiences yesterday when my brother was flipping through channels and stopped on what was I guess an anime channel. Kind of, sort of, a bit. What blasted out of the HD sound board of our 48 inch flat screen at two dumbfounded tech nerds was “Gigantor! Gigaaaaantoooor!” Like watching a train wreck in slow motion, we were both disturbed and fascinated by the spectacle the seemed to be assaulting our poor defenseless twenty-first century technology. With the deep throated chant, the blare of trumpets, complete with bongo drums pounding out the beat, this seemed to be a theme song? A gray scale “robot” with the barrel chest reminiscent of a water heater (Astroboy is measurably cuter) looped across the pale gray sky. Reading the credits that flooded the screen, it evidently took four people to create this “music”. . . . really?!

The Story of Gigantor! Gigaaaaantooor!

There isn’t a whole lot to the story. The anime came out in 1963 (though it looks significantly older) and is about a 12-year-old boy named Jimmy Sparks who controls the giant robot Gigantor that his father created. Whenever danger arises in the world, Jimmy summons Gigantor to take care of it. And that’s about it.

In This Latest Adventure!

In this latest adventure (The Dangerous Doctor Diamond) Jimmy was assisting the Indian government with finding and stopping a diamond smuggling ring (Hmm, not exactly the most dangerous thing in the world). But Jimmy didn’t really need to find anything, because the Indian government already seemed to know approximately where in the mountains the smugglers hideout was. So I guess they needed Jimmy to use Gigantor to blast the smugglers layer open? Again, no. Indian government with a small army escorted Jimmy to the hideout and proceeded to blast the location with their own missiles and riffles and rockets and random bombs. At this point, I’m not really sure why they asked Jimmy to fly all the way over to New Deli from Japan, if they could have just taken care of the problem on their own. But all the rather expensive explosives the military threw at the bad guys ended up being useless because the hideout seemed to be underground. (Ooookay.) And then the bad guys (the very dangerous people that weren’t paying proper import/export taxes)

Doctor Diamond shaking his fists
Very dangerous person that won’t pay import/export taxes!

released from somewhere (not sure where) a herd of robot cows. I’m serious, it was a herd of laser shooting, killer robot cows! Evidently the Indian military wouldn’t fire at the killer robots because they were cow shaped. (cough, cough, yeah) So Gigantor was needed to save the military from the Cow shaped scourge.

Cow shaped scourge!

And then everybody pitches their tent and turns in for the night. Yeah, after the defeat of the bionic bovines they don’t try to capture the evil tax evaders, everyone just kind of calls it quits for the night. I guess getting the proper amount of sleep is important too. Then in the middle of the night the bad guys attack (so rude!) with a bouncy rocket that Gigantor’s punches bounce off of, but the rocket doesn’t do any damage to anything either. It just kind of flies around, that’s it. (Hmm, probably could have just ignored it.) And then the rocket suddenly turns around and shoots Gigantor with a white ray. According to Jimmy, Gigantor is frozen, though there is no indication of this other than that Gigantor stopped moving. It would have been nice if there had been some ice crystals or something drawn in.

Akira flashing a peace sign in front of a frozen Kabane.
Something like this!

And then Gigantor is swallowed by the ground! I’m not really sure how that happened, but there you go! Some filler scenes happen where a secret agent that sometimes works with Jimmy is shown escaping from the bad guys lair, why he was there but didn’t bother informing the rest of the good guys earlier, I’m not sure, but he joined the team. Jimmy reads some books at the New Deli library. Days pass. And then they go back to the mountains and just turn Gigantors thrusters on really high so the robot would break free of its underground prison. Yes, this was something they could have done days ago when the robot was first captured, but I guess they just didn’t think of it?

For some reason, Gigantor breaking free frightened the bad guys out of their impregnable fortress and they try to flee in a flying saucer like hover craft that looks an awful lot like Petra’s vehicle in Flint the Time Detective anime. They are captured rather roughly by Gigantor and the good guys win. And that’s it. The next scene is of Jimmy getting on an airplane back to Japan and waving at the Indian government official and two un-named people standing next to the official. Were these people the government official’s family? friends? it never says. The end credits roll, and my brother silently changes the channel. It’s hard to say whether this ancient anime was good or bad, it was just so odd, it really seems like it should be put in a category of it’s own and valued for its historical significance.

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