JOHNNY SOKKO AND HIS FLYING ROBOT
A Complete Episode Guide to Toei’s 1960s Sci/Fi Series
Episodes 1 – 8
(Originally published in KAIJU-FAN Issue #5 June 1997)
Revised edition published in G-FAN # 53 October/November 2001
Episode 1: Daikaiju Dakora
(“Giant Monster Dakoler”)
Dracolon, The Great Sea Monster
Out of the incredible vastness of space, a flying saucer enters our solar system. Its destination: Earth. Radar bases around the world detect it, and a squadron of fighter jets is launched to meet the invader. When contact is made, the craft’s commander identifies himself as Emperor Guillotine from the Andromeda Galaxy. His purpose in coming to Earth is to conquer it. The saucer then destroys the fighter jets and plunges into the Pacific Ocean. In the days that follow, a series of ship sinking occurs. Aboard the passenger shipMerryis reporter and journalist Juro (Jerry) Minami, investigating the mysterious occurrences. He meets a young boy named; Daisaku Kusama (Johnny Sokko), who is enroute from Japan to visit his uncle in Hawaii. Suddenly, a monster attacks and sinks the ship. Juro and Daisaku leap overboard from the doomed ship. Regaining consciousness, the two find themselves on a mountainous, solitary island. Radio wave interference prevents Juro from contacting Japan’s Unicorn headquarters with his wireless device. Several strangely garbed men appear and take them captive. They are followers of Emperor Guillotine’s organization (known as Big Fire) and the island is their base. During interrogation, Juro’s true identity as Unicorn agent U3 is revealed. At the first unguarded moment, he and Daisaku escape. Following an exchange of gunfire between Juro and Big Fire, Juro and Daisaku seek shelter beneath the base’s underground workshop. There, they behold a great wonder of science: a giant robot. The pair is aided by a genius scientist named Dr. Guardia, who was coerced by Big Fire into constructing the mechanical marvel known as Giant Robo. Intended to be the spearhead of Guillotine’s invasion of Earth, an electronic microphone in the form of a wristwatch is used to control the robot. Robo can only be activated by the first voice transmitted and recorded in its electronic brain. Jokingly, Daisaku shouts into the wristwatch mike. Rebelling against Big Fire’s dangerous misuse of Giant Robo, the doctor plans to overthrow them. He has placed an atomic bomb on Robo powerful enough to destroy the secret base, and sets it to go off. While aiding Juro and Daisaku in escaping, Dr. Guardia is killed during a gun battle with Big Fire. Once outside the base, the pair witness a massive explosion. As the mountains are blown aside, Giant Robo is revealed, unscathed by the explosion. It stands stationary, the only sign of “life” its glowing belt buckle. Juro remembers that Daisaku’s voice was recorded into its electronic brain, and when the boy gives a command through the wristwatch, Robo obeys and flies them back to Japan. Infuriated by Robo’s seizure, Guillotine orders Big Fire’s head commander, Spider, to dispatch the sea beast Oakoler to recover it. Appearing in Tokyo, Oakoler wreaks havoc at the Harumi Pier. Unicorn’s chief, Commander Azuma, informsJuro/U3 of the attack. Oaisaku hurriedly commands Robo to the scene. A great battle begins as Robo confronts Oakoler. With a series of Megaton Punches and Rocket Bullets, Oakoler is defeated. As Robo and the pair depart, their passage is being watched from below by Spider. The war has begun and Earth his a new defender: Giant Robot!
Commentary: In the Toei version, the character of ‘Dr. Guardia’ is played by an English actor with his voice dubbed over into Japanese. For the Americanized version, he was renamed “Dr. Guardian.” Guillotine identifies himself as being from the planet Gargoyle, instead of Andromeda. Kanji newspaper headlines are omitted and not rewritten in English. During the clash with Dakoler, Johnny (Daisaku) refers to Robo’s Megaton Punch as the “Atomic Punch.” How can Daisaku possess such an awareness of Robo’s arsenal? Dr. Guardia didn’t have much time to explain things prior to his untimely death. Did he come across a Giant Robo Owner’s Manual perhaps? Viewing this episode on commercial videotape, laser disc or DVD, it’s possible to see Giant Robo’s bulk split beneath his left arm while clashing with Dracolon.
Daffy Dubbing: When a cruise ship falls victim to the monster Dracolon, the captain yells, ” A monster! Run for it!” They are on an ocean liner, so where is there to run? Think about it…
When Johnny and Jerry are washed up on the island…
JOHNNY: That monster! What was that thing anyway?
Uh, hello… does Unicorn have a Monster Who’s Who book? Even Commander Azuma knows the monster’s name. In the Toei version, Jerry (Juro) spoke no such dialogue. The monster’s name was only spoken by Emperor Guillotine and Spider.
During Robo’ s fight with Dracolon, Jerry (with gun in hand) pursues Spider.
JERRY: Spider! Give up!
There was no such dialogue in the Toei version. Though Spider was in the first story, he didn’t formally introduce himself by name until the next episode.
Both Japanese and U.S. versions say Dr. Guardia uses an A-bomb to blow up the Big Fire base. An atomic bomb? It sure didn’t live up to its name; There was no mushroom cloud, and the explosion should have destroyed the entire island, along with Daisaku and Juro. But then, that would have ended the series really quick, wouldn’t it?
Episode 2: Daimakyu Guro-ba
(“Giant Evil Ball Glober”)
Nucleon, The Magic Globe
One evening, a huge crimson meteorite crashes into the Hakone Mountains, and the townspeople are awakened by the great commotion. The next morning, a team of soldiers and scientists arrive to investigate the mysterious stone from space. At the same time, Giant Robo is undergoing tests at Unicorn headquarters on the outskirts of Tokyo. The first test involves Robo’s resistance to heat, and another focuses on its flying abilities. The exhibition is being monitored by Spider and Big Fire. At a speed of Mach 17, Robo is impossible to track, but Spider is instructed by Emperor Guillotine to snatch the machine from Unicorn control. For this purpose, Guillotine summons forth his new space weapon to lure both Giant Robo and young Daisaku. Without warning, the meteorite splits open to reveal the huge, evil ball, Glober. It resembles a metallic mace, but once it retracts its numerous protuberances, the robot looks much like a bowling ball with multiple holes. Tumbling down from the Hakone Mountains, Glober destroys the defense unit’s tanks one by one with its rolling attack. Daisaku, by request of Commander Azuma, is sworn into the ranks of Unicorn. Since he is the only one that can control Giant Robo, it seems the obvious thing to do. Daisaku is given the recognition number U7. The sole female member, U5, enters and informs Azuma of Glober’s appearance. He instructs U3 and U7 to defend the town of Hakone with Giant Robo. The mechanical marvel soon engages in battle with Glober. U3 and U7 are attacked by Big Fire and rendered unconscious by Spider’s gas gun. This causes Giant Robo’s activity to cease. Glober then transports the immobilized machine beneath the Pacific Ocean toward Emperor Guillotine’s space saucer. Before Spider can decide the fate of the Unicorn agents, his unit is fired upon by a reconnaissance team led by Commander Azuma. Spider reverses the tide of the battle by calling forth Glober, who attacks the Unicorn force. Meanwhile, U7 and U3 awaken, and Giant Robo is back in action, much to the surprise of Emperor Guillotine. Once again, the two robots clash, as Spider and his men attempt to escape. Robo, however, takes Glober and drops it onto their car, destroying it and the ball monster.
Commentary: At one point, the announcer refers to the mechani- cal hero as “Flying Robo.” When Daisaku is sworn in, Unicorn just happen to have a child-sized uniform available for him.
Episode 3: Uchu Shokubutsu Setan Rozu
(“Space Plant Satan Rose”)
Gargoyle Vine, A Space Plant
Emperor Guillotine calls for assistance in his efforts to conquer Earth from Big Fire’s supreme leader, Doctor Over. A self-styled famous doctor, Over’s cruelty is well known throughout space. His assignment is to revive the Satan Rose space plant, so he heads for Japan and the home of the country’s famous botanist, Dr. Fusaku Yasui. He abducts the good doctor and takes him to Big Fire’s Tokyo headquarters, which is inside a huge gas tank. Dr. Yasui is the only person capable of reviving the fossilized seed which contains the Satan Rose. Knowing the terror it represents, Dr. Yasui refuses to cooperate. Infuriated, Over uses a space saw/scalpel to conduct brain surgery on him. Now under Over’ s influence, Dr. Yasui revives the Satan Rose. Doctor Over is aware, though, that his brainwashing technique can only last for a short time. Yasui’s kidnapping is reported to Unicorn, and U3 and U7 are assigned to the case. As they approach Yasui’s home, they meet his young granddaughter, Yoshiko, who is very distressed over his disappearance. Returning to their headquarters, they inform Azuma of Yoshiko, mentioning that her grandfather has knowledge of the Satan Rose’s existence. After bathing the fossil seed in various chemicals and applying intense heat, it opens, and the evil space plant is revealed. Disguised as a gardener, Spider (having survived his encounter with Glober) places the plant inside a tea house shop in one of the main Shinjuku buildings. Instantly, the Satan Rose begins changing, moving, and growing, until it reaches the height of a human. At Big Fire headquarters, more fossil seeds are presented to the brainwashed Dr. Yasui, but he has reverted back to his normal self and begins smashing them. He is given an injection by Doctor Over. Doctor Over steals Yasui’s notes from his home, leaving the unconscious botanist behind. With the vital information in hand, Over speaks to Commander Azuma via television monitor, demanding him to surrender. The Satan Rose, in the meantime, has grown to giant size, and breaks out of the building, causing chaos as it goes. Dr. Yasui is taken to a nearby hospital. Commander Azuma and US are there, as well as little Yoshiko. Unfortunately, the Medical staff , can find no method capable of awakening the unconscious man. The defense unit goes into action against Satan Rose, but their efforts are ineffective. A strange tentacle with a crimson rose at the tip extends from the space plant’s body and releases a yellow pollen. The toxin causes steel automobiles to rise from the ground and adhere to the creature’s body, then drop onto the military’s tanks, destroying them. U7 calls upon Giant Robo, but not even it can vanquish Satan Rose’s innumerable tentacles. Megaton Punches and Rocket Missiles have no effect. One of the tentacles entwines itself around Robo’s body and immobilizes him. Back at the hospital, Yoshiko’s tears awaken her grandfather, who tells Azuma of Satan Rose’s weakness… electric current! Contacting U7 with the information, the young agent orders Robo to grasp the space plant’s leg while extending his own foot towards the high tension lines of a nearby transformer. When contact is made, the current channels through Robo’s body into the Satan Rose, causing the sinister space plant to explode. Free of his bonds, Giant Robo stands victorious once again.
Commentary: In the U.S. version, Dr. Yasui was named “Dr. Dorian”. During the scene where Doctor Over steals the Satan Rose notes, a section of wall drops, revealing the face of the drugged Dr. Yasui. A moment later, he is seen full body, inside the room, with that same gaping hole behind him.
Daffy Dubbing: When a disheartened little Yoshiko almost gets hit by a taxicab carrying Johnny and Jerry:
JERRY: I nearly hit you! (Jerry is not driving.)
When Big Fire, disguised as gardeners, drops off the Gargoyle Vine inside the Shinjuku cafe:
SPIDER: …and why should I work so hard? The commander… just a gardener!
Episode 4: Yoju Raigon
(“Calamity Monster Lygon”)
Tyrox-Lygon, A Strange Monster
Emperor Guillotine’s next invasion takes place in Arabia. By burning up the entire petroleum supply, the evil space being would place the world’s economy in great chaos. With the help of Doctor Over, he uses the calamity beast Lygon to destroy oil fields in the Near and Middle Eastern regions. Doctor Over also wants to possess the Ultra Drill. During one of the raids, petroleum boring engineer Eizo Nishino is taken captive by Big Fire. Over knows that he is the inventor of the Ultra Drill. During intense grilling, Eizo witnesses the executions of his co-workers at the hands of Big Fire. By the time the last man is shot to death, he gives Doctor Over the Ultra Drill’s construction details. At Unicorn headquarters in Japan, commander Azuma’s fears have come true as news of the destruction of Unicorn Arabia arrives. He assigns U3 to the area. Suddenly, a frantic U5 enters and requests permission to fly to Arabia as she wishes to know the whereabouts and safety of Eizo Nishino, her older brother. Azuma grants her request and the pair board a Unicorn plane. Unknown to them, one of Spider’s men has placed a time bomb on board. They also don’t know that U7 and Robo are secretly following them. Thanks to U7’s alertness, US and U3 both jettison moments before the plane explodes. After reporting the incident to Unicorn headquarters, Azuma officially makes U7 a part of the away team. Along with Robo, the trio arrives safely in Arabia, acquires a jeep and drives to the area of Eizo’s last whereabouts. They find a mysterious pyramid and once inside, behold a gigantic, almost lifelike statue. Its head resembles a lion somewhat, with iron chains for a mane and the body of a dragon. At the foot of the statue, a pendant is found that U5 had given to her brother. Later, at the Arabia Hotel, they meet Hasil, commander of the onetime Arabian Unicorn branch. Since his headquarters’ demise, he has been keeping a low profile in the guise of an Arab, to avoid capture by Big Fire. The reunion is cut short, when a Big Fire assailant (also disguised as an Arab), tries to shoot them. U3 grapples with the attacker until he realizes that he’s a walking bomb. U3 and the others dive for cover just as the bomb explodes. Still suspicious, U5 sets out on her own when night falls. Again, and unknown to her, U7 follows. Once inside the pyramid, U5 hides, as one of the burial tombs opens and a mummy rises from it. It is, in reality, one of Big Fire’s subordinates. Doctor Over and Eizo also appear, entering through a secret opening at the foot of the statue. Lygon is not only a mechanical monster, but also serves as a Big Fire base. US is hit from behind, taken prisoner by Big Fire, and placed in a cell with the surviving Arab Unicorn members. U7, however, is successful in getting inside the colossal statue unseen. With the push of a button, the pyramid’s wall panels collapse and the beast Lygon comes to life, now fitted with the Ultra Drill on top of its head. After making contact with Daisaku, U3 and Hasil proceed to the Kasil oil field, Lygon’s next target. As the monster begins its assault with its flame breath, U7 calls for Giant Robo. Protesting against Over’s scheme, Eizo is soon placed in the cell with Mitsuko and the others. Giant Robo appears and battles the mechanical beast. Though he fights valiantly, he doesn’t damage Lygon, knowing that U7 is still inside. The young agent places a time bomb in the engine and frees U5, Eizo and the others. Once outside the mechanical monster, they reunite with U3 and Hasil. Robo is attacked by Lygon’s ball and chain Ga/Gang anger bolos, as well as the Ultra Drill. When the bomb explodes, Robo strikes back. Lifting Lygon’s body, he throws the metallic beast and disables it completely. Thanks to Giant Robo, the oil fields of the world are snatched from Big Fire’s grasp. Eizo and Hasil will rebuild the lost resources, and bid farewell to Robo and the Japanese Unicorn team, which heads back to Japan.
Commentary: In the American version, Eizo is called Igon. A kanji subtitle “ARABIA HOTEL” ‘was erased, but on the Orion Home Video version, it was replaced with an English one reading “BACK IN TOWN.” American International also retitled the episode as “Monster Ligon-Tyrox, A Strange Monster.” Actually, only the Tyrox name was heard throughout the story. The Lygon (or rather, Lygonian) name was only mentioned during the artificial creature’s second appearance in Episode #10. The opening sequence involving both Emperor Guillotine and Doctor Over looks identical to the one in the previous story. The time length, positions and gestures; even the lip movements are exactly the same (at least with Doctor Over; Guillotine doesn’t have exposed lips). It looks as if that entire scene was made utilizing stock footage, except for some brief shots.
Episode 5: Kyowan Ganga
(“Gigantic Hand Ganger”)
The Gigantic Claw
Dr. Tadokoro of Unicorn has developed a transparent metal known as QQV, At their testing grounds at the base of Mt. Fuji, efficiency tests are performed, with the help of Giant Robo. QQV can withstand his Jet Flame and Rocket Missiles, as well as a few Megaton Punches. News of the discovery reaches Spider, who plots to steal the transparent metal for nefarious purposes. Disguised as a Unicorn agent, Spider invades the National Science Research Institute and succeeds in stealing the blueprints. While in pursuit of his escape vehicle, U7 and U3 encounter Big Fire’s latest weapon, the gigantic mechanical hand, Ganger. U7 summons Giant Robo, and after a brief struggle, they narrowly escape the five-fingered terror. Feeling triumphant after stealing the plans, Spider reports to Emperor Guillotine. But the joke is on Spider, since the stolen attaché case has been booby trapped with a sneezing bomb, and does not contain the blueprints. At the National Defense office, preparations are being made to transport the QQV blueprints to the Hamamatsu air base. From there, they are to be flown to the United Nations in New York. To avoid an attack from Big Fire, an elaborate plan is developed. Units from Tokyo and Yokohama will proceed secretly to Hamamatsu, while U7 and U3 transport the actual blueprints via another route. The group is unaware that their entire strategy has been overheard by Spider, who had bugged the assembly room. Big Fire sets its sights on U7 and U3. Making an emergency stop at a service station, U7 and U3 are taken by surprise and captured by Big Fire. Deprived of their weapons, badges, wireless and wristwatch, they are at the untender mercies of Spider. Suddenly, contact is made on one of the wireless communicators. Spider answers and realizes that U7 and U3 were the ultimate decoy, as the convoy unit had the actual blueprints. Spider and his men proceed to the area, leaving the pair behind. Spider’s radio deception, however, does not fool U5, who has been monitoring all communications by the group. Controlled by Spider, Ganger appears before the escort party and attacks. U7 and U3 are rescued by the quick thinking U5. Daisaku activates Giant Robo, and before Ganger can destroy the escort group, it must deal with the gallant defender. In the meantime, Commander Azuma (who has the blueprints), U3, and the soldiers ward off Big Fire. Robo is entwined in a cable and is soon to be crushed by the gigantic hand. Making a narrow escape and avoiding Ganger’s ramming attacks, Robo strikes. Using his Rocket Missiles and Jet Flame, Robo destroys Ganger. Though the Big Fire unit is apprehended, Spider manages to escape once again.
Commentary In the American version, four times certain scenes were scanned and cropped to eliminate kanji signs. However, on the Orion Home Video version, the kanji were replaced by three English subtitles. U5’s character has very little dialogue. In the Toei version, she has only three short speeches while in the U.S., one has been eliminated. The same also happens to one of U3’s lines. When Spider and Big Fire trigger the booby trap bomb in the U. S. version, they are heard coughing, in contrast to the Toei version where they sneeze. A rare, comic moment occurs with Spider. Following the booby trapped, a wisp of smoke exits from Spider’s mouth when he speaks to Guillotine. When Spider, disguised as a Unicorn agent, enters the institute grounds, he identifies himself as U9. This occurs in both versions. There would be a story surrounding the actual U9 later in the series (Episode # 15). Both U7 and U3 are seen riding in a special automobile fitted with some gimmicks that would make James Bond proud, though the car isn’t bulletproof. In the very last scene, Robo, U3 and U7 are seen flying back to headquarters together. How is it that U7 and U3’s jet packs can keep up with Robo’s gigantic twin boosters?
Episode 6: Ninja Kaiju Dorogon
(“Ninja Monster Dorogon”)
Dragon, The Ninja Monster
Two major incidents occur to threaten world peace. First, the X-8, the country of Somja’s newest jet, disappears from the sky while undergoing testing. Next, the Frenkoff Republic’s atomic submarine vanishes without a trace. The two nations suspect each other of committing the deeds. In reality, Big Fire is responsible for the seizures, thanks to their latest evil apparition, Dorogon, the ninja beast. Tensions mount as the two nations threaten to go to war. Unicorn is called on to help avoid the crisis. Representatives and delegates from Unicorn branches around the world are to meet at a secret, uninhabited island. Emperor Guillotine watches with glee as the Unicorn leaders arrive. He recognizes one of the jets as belonging to Unicorn Canada’s chief, Anex Lloyd, enroute to the meeting, and orders Spider to bring it down. Later, disguised as Lloyd, Spider enters the gates of the meeting place with ease. His subordinates gun down the guards and replace them with their own. One Unicorn guard tries in vain to issue a warning before he is killed. Feeling a sense of uneasiness, U7 continues patrolling the front gate area. Lloyd/Spider has an attaché case containing a time bomb to kill all of the Unicorn leaders once they are inside the assembly room. U7 spots the Big Fire members, but is trapped before he can act. However, thanks to U3’s assistance, he makes a narrow escape. Pinned down by BF rifle fire, they are unable to proceed to the assembly center. U7 calls forth Giant Robo for assistance. Aware of Big Fire’s bomb strategy, U7 contacts U5 on his wireless communicator. She quickly jumps into action and locates the bomb. At the same time, Lloyd/Spider makes a hasty retreat, leaving behind the attaché case. U5 finds it and takes it outside. It is then retrieved by Giant Robo, who makes off with the bomb and drops it on the murderous assassins. Infuriated over the bombing failure, Spider calls forth Dorogon. The ninja beast attacks the already abandoned assembly center. Giant Robo clashes with Dorogon, who easily evades Robo’s blows by vanishing within its smoke screen, thereby confusing the mechanical wonder. In a moment of comic relief, Dorogon suddenly realizes he can no longer disappear, and jumps up and down in a tantrum. Seeing through Dorogon’s concealment, Robo uses its laser beam eyes and zaps the monster. After a series of Megaton Punches, Dorogon plunges into the water and sinks out of sight. At the same spot where Dorogon sank, the missing jet and submarine miraculously float to the surface. U7 and U3, with the help of Robo, retrieve the craft and return them to their respective countries. A major war is averted, thanks to Unicorn and Giant Robo.
Commentary: In the U.S. version, Anex Lloyd becomes “Alex Lloyd”. Soruja becomes “Solarnia” and the Frenkoff Republic is renamed the “Alvion Republic.” The fate of the pilot and the submarine crew is never explained. Mitsuko/U5 is ,dressed in a two piece yellow outfit instead of her usual Unicorn uniform. Big Fire needs to go back to the drawing board and find a way to perfect their ‘time bombs’. When U5 stumbles with the lethal briefcase, its meter reads only twelve seconds left before detonation. Yet, when Giant Robo retrieves the bomb and drops it on Big Fire, the whole event takes 52 seconds. The Unicorn unit is at its worst in matters of defense; the disguised Spider manages to infiltrate the grounds easily by using the Unicorn password. Their alertness to Big Fire was lax throughout this story. Not one time did Unicorn acknowledge the phony Anex Lloyd as Spider or the demise of the Canadian commander. Incidentally, the actor portraying Spider also played the part of Anex Lloyd.
Daffy Dubbing: As Azuma, Johnny, Jerry and Mitsuko speed toward the island where the meeting is being held:
MITSUKO: There it is, Johnny. Look!
JOHNNY: Is that the island?
MITSUKO: Yep! (Mitsuko is from the Far East, not Texas.) She makes no such verbal reply in the Toei version.
Episode 7: Tekiwa Kaiju Ikagerasu
(“Our Enemy, Scalion”)
Enemy Monster Ikageras
One of Unicorn’s many branches is beneath the Osaki Lighthouse. This particular base also houses Unicorn’s only code deciphering mechanism. With it, passwords or codes can be transmitted from various places around the world. One night, a white, luminous object swims toward the lighthouse, and Big Fire’s latest threat emerges from the ocean in the form of the mollusk monster Ikageras. The deadly beast destroys the camouflaged Unicorn base, killing the entire staff. The decoder machine is soon in the hands of Big Fire. Unicorn Japan has recruited another child member into their ranks. From New York comes Mari Hanason/U6. Marl is a code specialist who can speak 39 languages. When Commander Azuma receives news of the lighthouse attack, he assigns both U3 and U7 to the scene. They find only debris and corpses in the ruins, making note of the decoder machines’ disappearance. As U3 reports the situation to Unicorn headquarters, Commander Azuma is very concerned, knowing that with the decoder machine in their evil hands, Big Fire could locate any Unicorn branch in the world. U3 and U7 are unaware that their conversation is overheard by Spider and his minions, courtesy of their usual “bug” mikes. Azuma then announces the arrival of a new decoder machine to replace the stolen one. So advanced is the new model that it makes the stolen one obsolete. U3 and U7 are well aware that Azuma’s information is nothing more than a lure for Big Fire, in hopes of recovering the stolen cipher device. Big Fire takes the bait, and plans to plunder again. As the Unicorn agents return to their vehicle, they are greeted at gunpoint by two Big Fire members, and forced to drive to where Spider awaits. After turning the tables on Big Fire, they escape. Spider then summons forth Ikageras, who attacks their car with its flapping wings. U7 contacts Giant Robo and an intense battle ensues. While the giant combatants clash, U3 engages in a gun battle and fisticuffs with Spider’s men. Ikageras releases a corrosive acid from its mouth which dissolves Robo’s right arm. U7 and Robo are forced to retreat, leaving U3 behind as Big Fire’s captive. Feeling responsible for his capture, Daisaku later learns from Azuma that it was intentional. U3 is taken to Big Fire’s secret base, a huge ocean liner, where he discovers the missing decoder machine. Spider grills U3 regarding the nonexistent new one. At an opportune moment, U3 frees himself, escapes, and manages to make contact with Unicorn so U6 can pinpoint his location. Recaptured, U3 is about to face execution when suddenly, the entire ship is raised out of the water by Giant Robo, now completely repaired. Ikageras appears and their battle resumes. U3 and Spider fight for the decoder machine. Ikageras sprays its acid fluid, which Robo avoids, but Spider is showered with the agonizing rain and completely dissolves. Robo then throws Ikageras toward the ship. With the help of his laser beams and flame weapon, Ikageras is defeated, along with Big Fire. The decoder machine is recovered, and U7 and U3 return to Unicorn headquarters by means of Giant Robo. Another victory for the mighty machine hero of Earth!
Commentary: Emperor Guillotine is not seen in this story, and Big Fire deputy chief, Piranha, changes his beard to more of a goatee style. In the trailer for this episode, when Ikageras fans the lighthouse with a wind gust, you can actually see the entire lighthouse keel over like a paper airplane. Unlike in the original version, Ikageras’ (Scalion’ s) high-pitched squeal is omitted throughout most of the story, and replaced by a ridiculous sound. Scalion gives Robo a good fight, and the dissolving acid on Robo’s arm looks very convincing. During their second encounter, Scalion flies upward to battle Robo. When he shoots his acid again, Robo avoids it. Losing one arm was enough.
Episode 8: Ryomen Kaiju Daburion
(“Challenge of the Two-Headed Monster”)
Double-faced Monster Dublion
Three children, Kenichi, Jiro and Satoko, go exploring in a cave. Inside a cavern, they see a strange, blinking light in the distance, As they approach closer, they realize that it is from the eyes of an ominous, craggy, monstrous face. Terrorized by the ghastly sight, they flee to safety, only to have their route barred by three Big Fire members. The bearded chief, Piranha, explains to the children that they have seen the face of the monster Dublion. Because they have also accidentally discovered Big Fire’s new secret base, the children are to be taken prisoner. U7 and U3 are patrolling the downtown warehouse piers in one of the Unicorn helicopters. A one-eyed man is being stalked by gun wielding Big Fire members. Though he manages to shoot two of them, the odds are still against him. He also is chased by auto bikes. Observing the scene from above, U3 and U7 leap into action to rescue the hunted man. They successfully neutralize the murderous assassins, and the one-eyed man tells them he’s a former member of Big Fire himself. Sickened of the horrible operations that take place within Big Fire, the man defected, in hopes of stopping the evil organization. He seeks the aid of Unicorn in rescuing the three innocent children they have captured. Blindfolded, he is taken inside the Unicorn compound. After explaining the circumstances, Commander Azuma agrees to help the dissident. U5 confirms the children’s disappearance, and Azuma directs U7 and U3 to accompany the man in rescuing them. Everyone at Unicorn call appreciate the man’s plight except U6, who alone harbors suspicion and distrust of the man. The man guides U7 and U3 to the entrance of the cave. After overpowering the Big Fire guards, they infiltrate the secret base. Once inside, the one-eyed man separates from the Unicorn agents, who soon find and release the three children from their bonds. But before they can escape they are confronted by their former companion. Not only is he a member of Big Fire, but the commanding officer as well, Spider’s successor, Black Dia. The trap was well laid, even at the cost of some of his own men. When U7 attempts to activate Giant Robo, Black Dia shatters the wristwatch control, making Robo non-functional. With the group imprisoned, Black Dia awakens Dublion, a mechanical monster with two faces, each possessing a fierce weapon. One emits oil from its mouth and the other spits fire. As the creation attacks them, U7 activates Giant Robo with his wristwatch. The one that Black Dia destroyed was an imitation! Concealing the children, U7 and U3 stand before Dublion. When U7 is about to be trampled, Robo reveals himself, smashing the prison gate. Robo charges at Dublion as the others flee. At the cave entrance, the group is challenged by Big Fire, being led by Black Dia. Using himself as a decoy, U3 attracts their gunfire long enough to give U7 the chance of getting Kenichi and the others to safety .The intense battle forces both Giant Robo and Dublion to emerge from the mountain. Robo’s Rocket Missiles appear to have little effect on the creature. The battle takes a turn for the worse, as Black Dia captures U3 and forces U7 to suspend Robo’s activity. Dublion then tries to scrap Robo but cannot knock him over. A backup team led by Azuma appears, as U6 had earlier told him of her suspicions of the “defector.” Skeptical at first, the commander dispatched a unit to observe Dia’s true motives. Mari’s suspicions were well justified. A smoke bomb is tossed, and there is a gun battle. Black Dia and his men disappear into the secret base’s cavern. U7 reactivates Robo and the fight resumes, with Robo throwing Dublion and disabling it completely. Using its eye lasers on the cave entrance, Robo destroys the enemy base. However, Black Dia survives the carnage and vows revenge on U7 and Robo. With the children’s rescue accomplished, U7, U3 and Robo return once again to Unicorn headquarters. As they leave, Guillotine vows that Johnny and Giant Robot will feel his vengeance.
Commentary: In our Americanized version, Kenichi, Jiro and Satoko were renamed Kenny, Sonny and Sally. A child actor at that time, Pepe Hozumi (Jiro), would later be cast in the role of “Daisaku (?) Hon” in the super robot series Red Baron six years later.
Daffy Dubbing: As Jerry and Johnny untie the three missing children:
JERRY: There. You’re safe now.
SALLY: Oh, it was awful!
JERRY: Don’t cry… (The voice actress did not demonstrate weeping, contrary to the child in the Toei version.
Guillotine’s only dialogue, at the end:
GUILLOTINE: That stupid Harlequin (Black Dia ) ruined the whole plan, again! (We are led to believe that this is Harlequin’s second appearance when actually, it’s his first).
A major flaw is noted in the American International version: Dublion was ridiculously renamed “‘Double Head”. The only thing duplicated was the face, not the head. Dublion’s original roar was also dubbed over with minster Lygon’s roar. A.I.T. repeated the tactic time and time again with Robo’s other adversaries. What is it about Lygon’s roar they liked? From this point on, U5 is seldom seen throughout the series.
My acknowledgments and gratitude to Mike Temple for supplying me with the material necessary for this research, to Ms. Nola Kiely, for additional input, and, of course to Lenell “Ultra” Bridges, Gertrude Smith, Annand Vaquer and Mark Nagata for helping me get this project off the ground.
Article © 1996, 2004 Keith Sewell/Daikaiju Publishing. Reprinted with permission of the author.