Here’s Mitsuteru Yokoyama’s seminal giant robot, in both live action and animated monochrome flavors.
The first TV adaptation of Yokoyama’s 1956 manga was this live action series. Like many other Japanese superhero shows of the time there seems to be an influence from classic US movie matinee serials, but with that unique Yokoyama style as well.
Get episode 1 from Nyaa, Anidex, or Userscloud.
Then we move to the animated version, with the first two episodes of the “second season.” I don’t mean the 1980 color series, which was shown on the Sci-Fi Channel in the 1990s. In May of 1965, Tetsujin #28 seemed to have wrapped up a successful run of 83 episodes, ending with an episode where Tetsujin was put in Peace Memorial Museum because all the evil was vanquished from the world. ( Wha…?!) Three months later, the show returned with 13 new episodes, which featured longer story arcs than the previous season. These episodes begin with Tetsujin being taken out of retirement and souped up by Professor Shikishima so that it can fly through space (obviously a hot topic in the midst of the space race era.) The Earth is being threatened by invaders from the Planet Magna, and Tetsujin flies into space to intercept their communications transmissions.
Get them from Nyaa, Anidex, or Userscloud: 84 85
Also, for those who want to see the animated origin story, Kingmenu has subtitled episodes 1-2.
Another episode, with three more mysterious tales: Black Magic, The Seventh Mystery, and Tea Shop at the Pass. Shown with watchable English subtitles on the Nippon Golden Network in Hawaii.
There are lots of collectors who have still have old videotapes of NGN subtitled Hokuto no Ken, Dr. Slump, Dragonball, Galaxy Express, etc. Apparently there are quite a few episodes of Yonimo available on YouTube and other sites in raw Japanese. But as far as I know, dougo13 may be the only collector who has a few episodes recorded from the subtitled NGN run of this show, sometimes known in English as “The Strangest Story I Have Ever Heard.”
Get it from Nyaa, Anidex, or Mega.
Also, it has been pointed out in the comments that in the last batch of NGN subtitled Kitaro, some of the episodes were numbered incorrectly, and some were duplicates. This was my error, dougo13 sent me the correct episodes, somehow I bungled the numbers at the encoding stage. I’ve fixed all of the links, and also added a bunch of new episodes that dougo13 provided. Scroll down a couple of posts to get the new links.
There’s so much story packed into the last few episodes that it’s getting harder to write spoiler-free descriptions of them. Suffice it to say that this episode is entitled: “The Secret Revealed! Saki and Soto’s Origins.” It does what it says on the tin.
Oh, and voice actor Ryuzaburo Otomo has another cameo as that crazed, fur-wearing guard with the big mallet. That dude might want to seriously reconsider his signature weapon…
Get it from Nyaa.si, Anidex, Mega, or Userscloud.
NOTE: it has been pointed out in the comments that some of these episodes were numbered incorrectly. This was my error, dougo13 sent me the correct episodes, somehow I bungled the numbers at the encoding stage. I’ve fixed all of the links, and also added a bunch of new episodes that dougo13 provided.
Here’s a batch of the first 30 episodes of the third series of Kitaro, as shown on Nippon Golden Network, a Hawaiian pay cable channel with mostly acceptable English subtitles cued live with a Chyron character generator. Thanks to Laurine for episodes 1-5, and dougo13 for episodes 6 and up. As before, I have left in any commercials, promos and station IDs that were recorded before and after each episode, for extra old-school sauce.
I decided to change to a three digit numbering system for third and fourth season Kitaro, since both series do make it past the 100 episode mark.
Get them from Nyaa, Anidex, or Userscloud: 001 002 003 004 005 006 007 008 009 010 011 012 013 014 015 016 017 018 019 020 021 022 023 024 025 026 027 028 029 030 033 034 035 036 037 038 039
Someone pointed out that the CRC for episode 008 is incorrect on the Nyaa and Anidex batches. This won’t affect playback of the file of course. The correct CRC is 0CE9B2B8.
More Kitaro & Yonimo episodes in the near future, as dougo13 continues to make progress finding and digitizing rare old tapes from his collection. And of course several subtitling projects of my own are still moving forward…
Okay, here are two more episodes of the Fuji-TV anthology series, “The Strangest Story I Have Ever Heard,” which were shown with English subtitles on the Nippon Golden Network in Hawaii. Thanks again to dougo13 for providing these rare episodes from his mountain of cool old videotapes!
Get the episodes from Nyaa.si, Anidex, or Mega.
That story where the kid can stop time by sneezing (!) features a couple of US music cues. “Camilla, the Old, Old Story” by Art of Noise is playing near the end, and the time-stopper theme contains a sample of “Kiss” by Prince.
Just as Maurice Sendak’s beloved terrier Jennie made cameos in many of his works, eventually getting a book of her own (Higglety Pigglety Pop), legendary mangaka Leiji Matsumoto often drew cats inspired by his own faithful companion, Mii-kun. In 1978 Matsumoto created a manga devoted to Mii-kun, and in 1999 it was presented as a two part anime micro-series, featured as bonuses on the DVD releases of Queen Emeraldas OAVs 3 and 4.
Mii-kun is a feisty female tabby, adopted by Toshiro (not to be confused with Tochiro) Oyama and his family. “Mii” is the Japanese onomatopoeic equivalent of “mew,” and it’s also a not uncommon cat name in Japan. Toshiro refers to her as “Mii-kun” (rather than Mii-chan) because he claims the tiger-like stripes of a tabby are more common on male cats. I haven’t found any evidence online to support this belief, but the dude also claims to understand everything cats say, and perhaps in the Matsumotoverse, he actually can.
Despite the fact that these are cute cat adventures in a tranquil domestic setting, with no fighter planes or spaceships or robots, familiar Matsumoto themes of life, death, and love are woven into the storytelling. This appears to be a fairly low budget effort, with that late 90s digital ink & paint look, but for me at least, I thought the story was charming enough to overlook its technical shortcomings.
Get it from Nyaa.si, Anidex, or Userscloud: 01 02.
Okay, here’s another insanely rare find courtesy of dougo13’s massive collection of old videotapes. This should please some of the J-Drama fans out there, as well as anybody who likes watching incredibly weird Japanese TV.
Yonimo Kimyona Monogatari (“The Strangest Story I Have Ever Heard”) is a thriller anthology that aired on Fuji-TV sporadically from 1990 to 2003. One could describe it as a low-budget, shot on videotape Japanese version of The Twilight Zone or Tales of the Unexpected, but this doesn’t get across how off-the charts bizarre this show is. Enjoy!
Get the episodes from Nyaa, Anidex, or Mega.
The Hawaiian pay cable channel Nippon Golden Network showed a bunch of these in the early 1990s. Their notoriously shoddy subtitling was at least getting a little better by the time these were shown, the subs are about as good as the ones they did for series 3 of GeGeGe no Kitaro. As with Kitaro, there are a few abbreviated or even skipped lines of dialogue, but the subtitles do provide enough information for English speaking viewers to follow the story. In any case, we owe dougo13 a lot of thanks for rescuing these rare, subtitled episodes from his archive, and sharing them with all of us.
Another thing worth mentioning is the early 1990s J-Pop songs used in the soundtrack. The English language songs in the above pictures segment for example, have to be heard to be believed. Here’s one that gives new meaning to the term “cheesy pop song:”