Thursday, 22 November 2012

Tetsujin 28 FX

Chou Dendou Robo Tetsujin 28 Gou Fx (超電動ロボ 鉄人28FX, Super Electric Iron Hero 28 Future X, or as the intro calls it The Iron Hero 28 Future X) aired in Japan in 1992 until 1993 for a total of 47 episodes and is the third animated entry in the Tetsujin franchise.

            Tetsujin 28 FX answers the age old questions of what happens to robot pilots after the end of their series. The series is a sequel to the original Tetsujin 28 series that aired in 1963 and takes place around 40 years later. The only real returning character from the original series is Shotaro himself.

Father and son fighting together: Masato (left) and Shotaro (right)
 In the 21st century robot development has advanced greatly. Supreme Ruler Zone has created his own organization the New Black Army and has declared a war against humanity using his robots. The one to stand up against his army is the new Tetsujin robot: Testujin 28 FX.
In the first half of the series the main robot of the series is Tetsujin 28 FX. Tetsujin 28 FX is the 28th robot of a new generation of robots which is why it’s still called 28. What makes Tetsujin 28 FX different from the other robots is that it’s powered by Cho Dendou power which once activated gives Tetsujin 28 FX great power. As with the original Tetsujin it’s controlled from a distance via a handheld gun controller called a Grid Lancer which gets pointed at Tetsujin 28 FX. As times goes on Tetsujin 28 FX gets wings which is from Tetsujin 17 Phoenix they combine on the back similar to Mazinger Z and its Jet Scrander. The original Tetsujin 28 also makes it’s return still controlled by Shotaro.

Tetsujin 28 FX docked with the Phoenix

The series starts off at the World Robot Competition which is showing off various robots of the world which includes America’s Tetsujin 18 Iron Eagle, China’s Tetsujin 24 Sekiryugou, France’s Tetsujin 25 Mirage and Guiena’s Tetsujin 26 Jumbo. The first to be shown off was the original Tetsujin 28 and its pilot the famous Shotaro. Shotaro has continued to use Tetsujin 28 over the years and has created the Kaneda Junior Detective Agency and got married to a woman named Yoko who is robot engineer. Yoko is the one who created Tetsujin 28 FX but the Grid Lancer wasn’t completed in time for the show so it was to be a no show.

During the World Robot Contest however the Neo Black Army appears with Devilcuto, taking this opportunity to declare war on the world and capture the robots shown at the show. However Yoko managed to finish the Grid Lancer on time which is taken by Masato who uses Tetsujin 28 FX to save the day.

Mastao is the son of Shotaro and Yoko who went missing one day and tells his story of how he was on a plane which was captured by the Neo Black Army, trained by them to become a pilot (if you control a robot you are a pilot, regardless of being in the robot or not) along with others. However Masato tells a story of how he had a daring escape and returned that day to be the hero and pilot Tetsujin 28 FX. Masato afterwards included in the Kaneda Junior Detective Agency which includes Saburo, Futaba, Shiori and Genichi. 
From left to right: Saburo, Genichi, Shiori, Futaba and Yoko in the front in front of the computer
 While Masato wants to be the pilot of Tetsujin 28 FX they haven’t decided on the official pilot and they go through some training stages as time goes on. Masato ends up rejecting the training as he’ll be the pilot but at the time the only one with real aptitude to pilot Tetsujin 28 FX is Saburo. While Masato isn’t the official pilot he’s the one who mainly uses Tetsujin 28 FX, Saburo also does on time as he has a rivalry going on with Masato. Genichi is more of a mechanic, Shiroi is better with intelligence and well Futaba is just there.
The Neo Black Army only really has three main people Supreme Ruler Zone the leader who is portrayed as a giant fire eye of sorts, Devilcuto and Zoldick. Devilcuto and Zoldick are the front line commanders Devilcuto is the smart one who doesn’t talk a lot and Zoldick is comic relief failure who constantly gets punished by Zone.

Zoldick on the left and Devilcuto
 The show continues on for a while with the battling against the Neo Black Army with the normal interpersonal conflicts and what not and the fights over who gets to pilot Tetsujin 28 FX in today’s episode. Eventually as time goes on Masato ends up running into a girl that he tried to escape from the Neo Black Army from while Masato got away back then she didn’t. The girls name is Ranfan and she’s been brainwashed to think Masato is her enemy and left her behind. She manages to trick Masato and use gas on him and steal Tetsujin 28 FX away. It’s worth noting that unlike the 80s Tetsujin where a daily ordeal was some enemy stealing away Tetsujin and Shotaro having to get it back this is the only time Tetsujin 28 FX is stolen away. It’s recovered the next episode thanks to a pendant that Masato gave Ranfan. However the Neo Black Army weren’t just sitting around and instead they made a copy of Tetsujin 28 FX which is the next episode a battle of Tetsujin 28 FX vs Tetsujin 28 FX. However since they weren’t able to copy the Choudenou Power they added some missiles on it. During the battle Masato is forced to activate the Choudenou Power which allows them to copy the data and activate the fake Tetsujin 28 FX’s Choudenou Power as well however since it didn’t have the Choudenou microchip the fake Tetsujin 28 FX loses.

This whole chain of events has lead to one of the most important events to happen in the series. The Neo Black Army created a clone of Professor Franken from the original series the creator of the Black Ox, the very same one who died back then and still remembers his death. However the clone is a kid with the worst character design in the series but he’s still a genius and still bares a grudge.

After the failure of the fake Tetsujin 28 FX Franken ends up getting close enough to meet Masato and Masato being the big show off he is ends up explaining that Tetsujin 28 FX has a Choudenou Microchip and the only other one is in France’s Mirage. Franken also ends up briefly controlling Tetsujin 28 FX showing off his skill and saying that Tetsujin 28 FX is no match for Black Ox before leaving. Franken proceeds to head to France and steal the Choudenou Microchip with Black Ox and install it. 

Black Ox
Black Ox ends up being the main rival of Tetsujin 28 FX for the early part of the series built of course by Franken with the help of the Neo Black Army. Franken had returned from hell to take revenge on Shotaro for his death. Black Ox like Tetsujin 28 FX gets a massive upgrade from the original. The design has been completely overhauled and can transform into a Jet Mode which allows transportation of the pilot as well. Black Ox also comes with mounted weapons the Arm Laser and Arm Vulcan on each arm. In the initial fights Black Ox uses Choudenou attacks like Tetsujin 28 FX the most common being the Choudenou Punch. However as time goes on Black Ox loses these attacks in favor of its ultimate weapon the Genocide Buster which is a large powerful beam weapon of great destructive power. 
Black Ox in Flight Mode
               The Kaneda Junior Detective Agency quickly learn that Franken is a clone created from Franken’s DNA as a relative of his handed over Franken’s body to create a clone for revenge. However since Franken isn’t a perfect clone he’s limited in time outside his capsule. Since Black Ox is more than a match for Tetsujin 28 FX what generally happens is Franken gets sick and has to retreat which proves to be the key for Mastato’s survival as Black Ox is constantly on the verge of destroying Tetsujin 28 FX.

The Neo Black Army and the Kaneda Junior Detective Agency move to America to a genius professor of genetics who can prove to be the key to making Franken a perfect clone. The Neo Black Army gains the upper hand and captures the data which is used on Franken. However the data that they captured was fake data and this instead ages Franken to around the age of 16. Thankfully this greatly improves not only his character design but his personality as well as he’s no longer crazily bent on revenge, the wonders of aging.

Franken as a kid
 Using the new aged Franken to their advantage they send him to the Kaneda Junior Detective Agency and he ends up meeting Shiori and they celebrate her birthday party and his as well, despite him not knowing when his actually is, before he ends up attacking with Black Ox. However since his meeting with Shiori he starts to have new feelings inside of him that of love for Shiroi and is unable to finish off Tetsujin 28 FX due to Shiori and instead retreats. These new feeling continue the development of Franken as a character and gets to be quite likeable as time goes on.
Adult Franken
 This is really the height of the series at this point as we get great battles between Tetsujin 28 FX and Black Ox. Specifically at one point Tetsujin 28 FX learns the one episode Choudenou Counter which destroys Tetsujin 28 FX’s arm but launches Black Ox into the air in a stunning fight. The new Franken continues to meet Shiori and starts to learn that he is just being used as everyone tries to convince him that he is being used.

As time goes on the Neo Black Army decides to capture Shiori which gives Franken his opportunity to turn on the Neo Black Army which allows Devilcuto to take control of Black Ox. Devilcuto ends up explaining that Franken is just an experiment and upon his success he was going to be mass produced for pilots of the Neo Black Army’s robots. Tetsujin 28 FX and Tetsujin 28 arrive to save the day and they reclaim Black Ox but Franken is unable to control Black Ox so he hands over the Black Ox controller to Saburo to protect Shiori. Black Ox unlike Tetsujin 28 FX is controlled by a bracelet. With the combination of the robots they save Franken and Shiori and escape however in true dues ex machina Zone appears in the middle of the sky and kills Franken. Honestly with things like he could have just killed Masato in episode 1. This is just really horrible writing.

With the death of Franken the end of the Neo Black Army is near as now with the combined power of Tetsujin 28, Tetsujin 28 FX, Black Ox, France’s Mirage, America’s Iron Eagle, Guinea’s Jumbo and China’s Sekiryugou they move in to attack the Neo Black Army’s base of Devil Island. At this time however Devilcuto reveals to Zoldick that Zone is just an illusion and he is really the ruler. A fierce battle takes place in which even Devilcuto forces Zoldick to get in a robot and fight in however he is defeated and captured.

Devilcuto escapes in the Neo Black Army ship but is perused by Tetsujin 28 FX in the ship and the rest of the robots follow. Devilcuto merges with the ship to create a massive robot that makes every other robot look like a speck. This giant robot also has the ability to regenerate and can take control of other robots. It turns that out Devilcuto was a robot created by the humans to work in space but due to an accident in space he was abandoned and he just waited for the humans to return. Space however gave him great power the great power he decided to use to destroy the humans who abandoned him. Tetsujin 28 FX ends up in the ship fights Devilcuto which allows the other robots to break free of the control. The only option left is for Black Ox to destroy the robot with the Genocide Buster however from the fighting Black Ox is damaged and doesn’t have the energy but with the support of Mirage, Iron Eagle, Jumbo and Sekiryugou the power is granted and Black Ox destroys the robot killing Devilcuto and ending the reign of terror of the Neo Black Army which also allows Masato to escape from inside.

This is really the height of the series and is the halfway point. The next episode is largely a clipshow which shows off the entire Tetsujin series of robots in the show. A lot of the early ones are worker robots or just robots created to test out concepts used in Tetsujin 28 FX. Various countries aside from the previous mentioned countries also have robots including England, Canada, Russia, Norway, Italy and Mexico. However this episode ends with an announcement from Shotaro that he is closing the Kaneda Junior Detective Agency as Interpol’s new leader has asked for their help in fighting crime all around the world. The new chief of Interpol is none other than Shotaro himself! Interpol played a very minor role in the series prior to this as there was one Interpol guy who was worthless and vanishes. Shotaro then hands out the new positions to everyone. Shiori is sent to pilot Australia’s Tetsujin 27 Sakigake, Genichi is to be sent to Mexico to become the new pilot of the Tetsujin 13 Azteca. Mastao is officially made the pilot of Tetsujin 28 FX and Saburo the pilot of Tetsujin 29 Black Ox. Masato and Saburo are to report directly to Shotaro and go anywhere in the world as needed. As for Futaba she’s supposed to stay with Yoko and continue studying… well that’s what they say but she stays with Mastaro and Saburo and never studies.

The show does take a downward turn for the remainder of the show. Genichi only makes two appearances in the show at this point in time for a Mexican episode and the last episode. Shiori doesn’t fair much better but gets three episodes. Tetsujin 28 FX and Black Ox are written at this point to be weaker for the most part.

The original Tetsujin 28 still puts up a fight
            The remainder of the show is Mastaro, Saburo and Futaba traveling wherever Shotaro sends them. There are various episodes which include the various country Tetsujins but quite a few aren’t used like Canada, Russia and Norway. The most interesting one to note is the episode of Tetsujin 19 Kingdom. Not so much because it follows the same way as Mobile Fighter G Gundam and looks the same as John Bull Gundam but because the pilot is Charles Bond. Charles Bond is a genius boy working with MI6 what makes this interesting is that Charles Bond is the grandson of James Bond 007! Continuing with this awesome trend at one point Charles and Masato are tied up but Charles got a present from James the Rolex chainsaw watch that James Bond used in Live and Let Die!

After continuing adventures of random enemies the story comes to an end with an unimportant episode plot of a comet heading towards the Earth to destroy it. Tetsujin 28 FX and Black Ox are both sent to space to destroy it and they do so thanks to the Genocide Buster Cannon. The last episode is largely a clip show with Masato rejecting an award for peace saying they have to continue to fight for the peace.

Like Getter Robo in the previous year which saw a new version come out which was Getter Robo Go, the Tetsujin 28 franchise came out with a new version which proved to be the superior of the two. It’s a fun show to watch but faces some problems. The writing in the first half was great but once the Neo Black Army was defeated the writing failed to keep up. Why they would write out two of the main characters is confusing at best. But more to the point is the fact that once they had the two strongest robots team up they had two main choices. The first being the standard choice of constantly make stronger enemies the second choice being the choice they took was to weaken the robots with bad writing. So in the second time you have them struggling against robots that look really weak and you see them somehow unable to mop the floor but a few times there was something to stand up against them so it wasn’t all bad.