After half a century since it initially aired, this April will see the Tetsujin 28-gō return to the screens in a 50th anniversary remake of the Fuji TV anime series.
The show, entitled Tetsujin-28 Gao!, will begin airing on April 6 at an exceptionally early show time of 4:52 AM. Details on the new show are sparse so far, but it is understood that the revival will be screen by Fuji TV as a series of short (approximately 8 minute) episodes covering the adventures of Tetsujin and his detective sidekick, Kaneda Shotaro.
The Rise of the Robot
Tetsujin 28-gō has a long and rich history. The original manga was written way back in 1956 by the highly influential Mitsuteru Yokoyama (of Sally the Witch and Babel II fame) who sadly died in a house fire in 2004.
Tetsujin 28, a gigantic robot and the first of its kind to appear in an anime series, hasn’t been in danger of turning rusty since its post-WWII origins. The original manga ran for ten years and spanned 97 chapters between 1956 to 1966. They’ve also been serialized and re-released every decade since running their course.
To mirror these, Fuji TV commissioned 97 episodes as an anime series in 1963, although only 53 were treated to a dubbed US release under the name Gigantor. The Americanized series was enjoyable and has aged remarkably well, but it was somewhat of a shame that the timeframe was moved from WWII to a futuristic 2000AD setting, and all the character’s names were made silly (Kenji Murasame was changed to Dick Strong, for instance).
Other Remake Efforts
The rather unimaginatively titled Shin Tetsujin 28-gō followed the original anime series much later in 1980, and much later still in the US when it was released as The New Adventures of Gigantor in 1993. Whilst being pretty much more of the same but with updated artwork, the remake series brought a number of new fans to the genre given the lengthy pause between shows. Indeed, a whole new generation of talent who graduated from animation schools since the original was utilized to give it a fresh new look.
A couple of Japanese-only releases followed, including a sequel series which departed from the original characters and the first feature-length Tetsujin film (Hakuchu no Zangetsu) in 2007.
The film itself was remarkably good and neatly encapsulated the Tetsujin story as well as bringing some compelling new characters to the franchise. Given its high acclaim, it’s a mystery why no foreign release attempts have ever been made.
Instead, English and American fans had to make do with a live action straight-to-DVD release which hit the shelves in 2006. It was sound in theory, but the execution was lackluster and overly drawn-out with a run time of nearly two hours.
So, what can we expect from the latest remake when it lands in a few months?
Tetsujin for a New GenerationThankfully, from what we’ve seen so far the Fuji TV remake of the 1963 series appears to be a return to form albeit with a fresh new pop style.
The rebooted graphics themselves look pretty great, and director Hara Daisuke has promised accessibility to both new fans and those loyal to the original anime alike. Indeed, the source material of Tetsujin 28-gō lends itself very well to family-friendly viewing while being enjoyable to followers of more mature anime so chances of a successful run are looking good.
Here’s hoping Fuji TV will produce something that fans on both sides of the Pacific will embrace, as well as a series which Mitsuteru would have been proud of.
- This article is presented by New York Film Academy -