Iron King/Super Robot: Red Baron/Ultraman – The Complete Series (BCI
Eclipse Home Video)
Picture: C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C/C/B- Episodes: C+/B/B
the rise of Animé, Japanese TV created a major cycle of hit TV series modeled
after the success of Toho’s big screen giant monster movies like Godzilla, including Ultraman and dozens of others. While Ultraman is the one that made it big in
the U.S. and worldwide, the others have not been seen much outside of Japan
until now. BCI Eclipse has issued three
of these series on DVD as Complete
Series collections. You can find out
more about Ultraman below at the end
of this text, which we already covered in the two separate sets issued. So that leaves us looking at Iron King and Super Robot: Red Baron.
also so entertaining, it is a shock they never were imported to the U.S.,
especially with Ultraman such a huge
success, but here they are and they are more than worth your time, especially
if you liked Ultraman.
Iron King ran 26 episodes and is the
unintentionally hilarious adventure show about a Japanese Country Music singer
named Gentaro who is part of Japan’s National Security Force. He also has a wacky sidekick named Goro who
is also a member of the organization, but he has a deeper secret. With his wacky hat, he can transform into the
title hydraulic robot. Unlike other such
shows, this 1972 hit is trying to absorb so much early 1970s U.S. pop culture
that it becomes a free-for-all of the best kind and is a comedy when it does
and does not try. This was made by the Ultraman producers and this was their
riotous way of stretching out what they saw as everything in the genre. Samurai and Spaghetti Western (as rightly
noted in the booklet included) are also prominent, so you have to see this one
to believe it and if you need a few good laughs, the price is right.
Super Robot: Red Baron ran 39 episodes, as many as Ultraman, once again coming from the
same team. This time, a mad scientist
makes robots to kidnap all the other giant robots of the world, but misses the
title character. The show becomes about
the survivor taking on the evil rogue’s gallery of giant monsters while a crew
of action agents took on bad humans on the side and did their best to join in
the battle to win against the evil plot.
amusing and more action filled like Ultraman,
this was a hit in the 1973 – 74 season and sadly never made it to the U.S.
either. Fortunately, they are here now
and the three make for a great trilogy to own on DVD. Let’s hope this is only the beginning of such
sets for BCI and the U.S. market.
comes with a booklet that includes key information and essay history on the
shows they respectively cover and their context in the cycle and all the other
shows involved, as authored by historian and scholar August Ragone. For information on Ultraman, which has the same playback picture and sound quality as
the other two sets, with the addition of the classic English dubbing, try these
- Nicholas Sheffo