Monday, October 27, 2008

Super Robot Profiles: Tekkaman

(In the unlikely event you might be curious about my earlier mention of a speech in the area by Scott McCloud, no, I didn't go. Ah, well. Considering I didn't know about it 'til the day before, it isn't surprising.)

Tekkaman is kind of an odd duck to be included in "Super Robot Profiles," as the series fails to meet one very significant aspect of my super robot definition: Size. Tekkaman (also known as Teknoman, and I may slip and call him that by accident for reasons I'll explain) is only marginally bigger than a human being. Primarily, this is because Tekkaman actually is a human being.

See, it's all through the powers of magic anime physics that he actually mass-shifts and transmutes himself into a towering, red and white metallic pseudosamurai. (Well, I don't really know about the original Tekkaman, although it sounds like it must have been reasonably similar to the one I'm familiar with.) If you're a fan of Western media, particularly comics, you may snort, but don't bother telling me it's goofy-it's hardly any goofier than a guy suddenly turning into a giant green invulnerable bodybuilder. And a big mecha samurai man certainly seems like it'd be more dangerous than some dumb lug. (Please disregard the inherent goofiness of the preceding sentence.)

I suppose that the series makes up to a small extent for Tekkaman's small size by including an actual giant robot, although not a "true" giant:

Of course, in the first Tekkaman, this is counteracted by the robot's sheer ugliness. It might not be such a bad idea to have Tekkaman riding around on a spaceship/robot (named Pegas or Pegasus, depending on whom you're asking) if he weren't so darned ugly.

A decade or so after Tekkaman came Tekkaman Blade. No, I don't know why there was such a long gap.

Tekkaman Blade, unlike its predecessor, looks FREAKING AWESOME. (cough) Even Pegasus looks like total awesomesauce, if a bit too Gundamy for my tastes. And it was a pretty good series, too.

See, unlike a lot of these series that I profile, I actually saw a good-sized chunk of Tekkaman Blade. To hear anime purists talk about it, it was horribly butchered... but it was still something incredible to my much-younger self. (And let's not even talk about what kind of effect it had on the psyche of someone I know...)

Looking back at this all these years later, this was a really retro dub for the time period (early-to-mid '90s). Also, calling Teknoman a "superhero" strikes me as somehow incredibly incongruous.

Teknoman (er, Tekkaman Blade) also made it into the Super Robot Wars games, which gives him extra super robot street cred. I mean, not that he needed very much, as he passes the requirements other than size with flying colors (he slaughtered stuff ten times his own size with less effort than swatting a fly, if nothing else, and if that's not super robot street cred, I don't know what is-in one episode, he shoots down a "nuclear missile" [not really a nuclear missile per se-it was something more exotic] that was as big around as a football field).

One more note: The original Tekkaman's full title was Tekkaman: The Space Knight. Why does that sound familiar?

-Planning on looking for Tekkaman Blade/Teknoman footage on YouTube in the near future, and signing off.

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