A different approach to the Japanese Giant 70's Hero formula
Now those familiar with the giant Japanese hero formula of the early 70's was that the hero had the ability to turn big, he joins a Science Group in charge of saving earth from the invaders/bad guys, he turns into the giant hero when all else fails and saves the day and his team members. Well IRON KING is completely different.
The basic premise as Shôji Ishibashi as Gentarô Shizuka, a loner type who in the first chapter (episode 1 thru 10) tries to stop the Unknown Clan from taking over Japan, as they are a clan thats been suppressed for 10,000 years and is now is their destiny to rule Japan, as they have 10 sub-bosses, each with a remote control to control a giant robot. Their leader is played by Shinzo Hotta, who was memorable as Tokageron (lizard man) in Kamen Ryder, and as General Monster in one of the new Kamen Riders and as Arigaban's controller in Aka Kage. When Gentaro is in trouble, his tag-along, Gorô Kirishima, unknown to Gentaro, transforms into IRON KING.
But here is the difference, IRON KING proves to be super weak as he has no special powers whatsoever, as he is easily defeated by the evil robot, so in the end Gentaro saves Iron King's butt by using his steel metal whip (??!!) usually destroying the robot, unfortunatly, the method he uses in destroying the robot actually contradicts with the NEXT episode! Like for example, in the first episode, Gentao destroys Vaccumila by fighting the sub-boss/controller of Vacuumila, who them jumps up to his robot, but drops the remote control, so Gentaro throws the remote control to the robot, making the robot blow up! In episode 2, he steals the remote away from the guy controlling Jairocket, so he somehow knew how to operate the remote, and controls Jairocket, who just beat up Iron King, as Jirocket picks up his master, and squeezes him, killing him causing the robot to blow up! Then in episode 3, he destroys the remote for Double Satan, so it and the boss runs, so when it appears again, beating up Iron King, Gentaro sees a opening in Double Satan, so he throws a gernade in it, blowing it up, BUT in the next episode, he whips the guy controlling Devil Tiger, so the guy drops the remote, which makes Devil Tiger blow up, falling on the controller!
Now if thats possible, why didnt Double Satan Blow up? Or why didn't Black Knight, whos master got killed by Gentaro, blow up as well? the reason Iron King was so weak, and Gentaro was the one finishing off the robots was at the time, Shôji Ishibashi was a popular Tv star with the girl viewers, so in order to make him look good, and to appeal to the girl viewers, he was the one who kill the baddies. This went on until in episode 11, when a new bad group, the Mirage Army, took over, with their remote controlled Dinosaur robots, which again, had Gentaro saving Iron King and destryoing them, usually by using his whip to catch a missile shot out by the dinosaur robot, and he threw it back at them! and from episode 9 to 18, they had the "it" girl of the moments, usually japanese Tv actresses to singers, making guest appearences, as the show to me seem to really wanted to distance itself away from the usual Japanese kid show audiences.Even the cool end credit theme was like a cool "kakoii" theme song, like a regular top 40 hit.
But I guess someone must have said enough is enough, as on episode 16, Iron King FINALLY gotten some weapons (unlike other super heros, he had no weapons whatsoever) and even gotten a "finisher" to kill the monsters. Also when episode 18 started, those 2 was finally revealed to be working for a science organization, as a new leading lady regular was added, as they faced Titanians, 10 aliens who had the power to turn into a giant bug monster (but only 6 turned into a monster, I guess they didn't plan on ending the show at episode 26?)
Still it is a very enjoyable and fun show, and still holds up today, thanks to it being so unique and different from the typical shows of that era (like the Tsuburuyara shows like FIREMAN and JUMBORG ACE).
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