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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Adventure > Science Fiction > Horror > Camp > Giant Monsters > Superhero > Comedy > Japan > Iron King/Super Robot: Red Baron/Ultraman – The Complete Series (BCI Eclipse Home Video)

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



Alongside 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.


They are 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.


Less 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.


Each set 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 links:


Volume One



Volume Two




-   Nicholas Sheffo


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