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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Action > Science Fiction > Robot > TV > Japan > Gigantor – Volume One + Volume Two (1964/Japanese Animation/Madman Entertainment PAL Region Four/4 Import DVD Sets)

Gigantor – Volume One + Volume Two (1964/Japanese Animation/Madman Entertainment PAL Region Four/4 Import DVD Sets)


Picture: C+     Sound: C     Extras: B-     Episodes: B



PLEASE NOTE: This DVD set can only be operated on machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region Four/4 PAL format software and can be ordered from our friends at Madman Entertainment at the website address provided at the end of the review.



Along with Astroboy and Speed Racer, Gigantor was the beginning of the Japanese animation market that became anime and remains one of its best shows.  With a revival project due in 2011, we were happy to take a look at the 52 restored episodes that first surfaced a long time ago with Rhino in the U.S. and hoped Madman Entertainment’s versions of the same shows would be as good, if not better.


Though not a dramatic improvement, the 1.33 X 1 black and white image and Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono just seem a little smoother than that older U.S. sets, which is likely by default since the older U.S. Rhino copies were pressed so long ago.  These are fine restorations for the time and like the Astroboy set, has some audio issues when it comes to the compression of the English dub recordings of the time.  Still, these are the best possible copies until the original film elements are upgraded (along with their sound) for Blu-ray high definition and the show remains as creative as it is fun.


If you are unfamiliar with the series, terrorism and evil plots run rampant in a newly technologized Japan, so a giant robot (the title character) has been built to resolve this and young pre-teen Jimmy Sparks can control the behemoth through his analog radio transmitter!  Each half-hour show has a new tale of adventure and action that takes us from deep in the earth to the furthest reaches of outer space.  A classic of the genre, it was a big hit on U.S. TV and internationally, with an influence that would go beyond animation itself and along with its classic theme song (by Eugene Raskin and Lou Singer), became an all-time TV classic as well.


There are no two-part shows and the U.S. versions are well written enough with familiar English voices like Peter Fernandez (Speed Racer) doing what became classic voice-overs.  Originally created by Mitsuteru Yokoyama, this is a show that deserves to be rediscovered by every new generation (even with any remakes) and these sets have arrived just in time.


Extras include audio commentary tracks by writer/producer/voice director Fred Ladd on episodes in both sets, with Volume One adding an on-camera interview with Ladd and another with anime historian Fred Pattern from Animation World Magazine and Volume Two also offers Publicity Photos and Profile: Gigantor, The Space-Age Robot article by Patten.


For more on this first era of Japanese animation, try these links:


Astroboy (1963 – 66)



Speed Racer (1967 – 68)





As noted above, you can order these PAL DVD import sets exclusively from Madman at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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