The Bad Guys run a scam on unsuspecting customers when the Good Guys happen upon the scene. Surreptitiously, the two heroes listen in on orders from the villains' high boss, who tells the gang to go to a place and time where they can steal part of a special stone. The Bad Guys escape the angry customers in a new robotic vehicle and the Good Guys follow on their heels with a robotic vehicle of their own. The Two sides then do battle through surrogate tiny robots under their control. The Bad Guys get blown up and are forced to escape in a bicycle built for three.
Even though every episode follows that same pattern, this 1977 animated television series is still hilarious. The "bad guys," called the Dorombo gang, consisted of villainess Doronjo and her two male cohorts, Boyakki and Tonsler. Doronjo, the leader of the gang, is a bit over the top in her dress, resembling a dominatrix. Boyakki is a geek who devises the various mechanisms they travel in and fight with. Tonsler is the muscles of the group. The three took their orders from a remote and unseen ultra-villain named Dokurobe--sort of like Charley in Charley's Angels. Gan, a teenage boy, is Yatterman Number 1 and Ai, a girl, is Yatterman number two. Over the course of the series, they had a few different robotic vehicles (Mecha), the most prominent being "Yatter-Wan," a dog mecha. "Wan" is Japanese for "Woof."
Lately, Yatterman has returned with a vengeance--as a new animated series on television and as a live-action movie to be released in the near future. While the story lines in this new series all follow the same 1977 pattern, the characters are slightly different. The chemistry between Gan and Ai is better in the new series, but the characters on the Dorombo Gang side are less dimensional.
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