|Original Manga||Mitsuteru Yokoyama|
|Made By||Palm Studio, TV Tokyo|
|Episode Length||25 Minutes|
|# of Episodes||26|
Sum it up in a Sentence
Boy detective solves mysteries involving the secret horrors of World War II with the help of his giant robot.
Though his late father gave his life so that his mechanical creation would never be used, the young boy detective Shotaro Kaneda finds himself in control of the most powerful secret weapon built during World War II: the giant robot Tetsujin 28. Set during the post-war period in Japan, the reawakening of Tetsujin 28 only foreshadows the events to come, as the sins of Japan's past come back to haunt the nation. Shotaro must solve the mysteries behind Japan's dark past while he struggles to understand the true nature of his father's involvement in the war and his final creation.
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I consider this series to be a spiritual prequel of sorts to Imagawa's earlier Giant Robo. Indeed, both being based on legendary Mitsuteru Yokoyama manga, they not only share many of the same characters and character designs, but they also contain many of director Imagawa's standard themes. As seen in most of his major series, Imagawa tends to deal with father/son relationships, sins of the past, and the need to confront those sins before one can move on into the future. In that sense, it's very much like its predecessors Giant Robo, G Gundam, and its successor Shin Mazinger Z.
The bizarre thing about this series, though, seems that the art style and direction almost runs counter to the dark themes, setting, plot, and characters. There's almost a tonal whiplash from the lighthearted, happy-go-lucky opening theme followed by the relatively somber and serious show that follows. The use of the older art styles implied to me at first that the series was going to be a tribute to the early campy super-robot shows from the mid-late sixties. I wasn't prepared for what actually followed.
The series itself is well written and surprisingly complex. Unfortunately, my major issue with the series is that the plot seems plodding and slow-paced. Some episodes just feel long, and not in a good way. I wouldn't be surprised that the tone of the series is partly to blame. Despite being a show about a 10 year old boy and his three-story tall robot, it can quickly and easily find itself heavy and weighed down by the depressing stories and dark mysteries, sucking any energy out of the story. Also, despite being a young boy, Shotaro is extremely mature for his age. While some may be glad that this is the case, it almost defeats the purpose of having a child as your protagonist. He just seems to be drained of any youthful optimism or playful enthusiasm. It's not a bad series by any stretch of the imagination, but at the same time I personally feel that its slow pace keeps it from being a truly great series. Still, if you're a fan of Imagawa's other works, I'd highly recommend catching up on this series as well.