Considered to be THE granddaddy
of the Super Robot Genre
, Mazinger Z
is the first entry of the Mazinger
trilogy. The first manga version was serialized in Shueisha Weekly Shonen Jump
from October 1972 to August 1973, and it later continued in Kodansha
TV Magazine from October 1973 to September 1974. In December 1972, the anime version premiered on Fuji Television. The TV series ended September 1, 1974. A second manga series was released alongside the TV show, this one drawn by Gosaku Ota, which started and ended almost at the same time of the TV show.
It must be stated that, due to the move from Shonen Jump to Kodansha TV Magazine, there are two
different tankobon releases compiling the original Go Nagai
manga. The Sueisha release compiles chapters that are missing in the Kodansha edition and vice versa, and some chapters are not recompilated in any of them. And neither of them has the chapters chronologically arranged. Nonetheless, an Italian publishing house published an "edizione integrale" (comprehensive compilation) several years ago, recompilating ALL chapters and arranging them according to chronological order.Mazinger Z
tells the story of young Hot-Blooded Idiot Hero
Kouji Kabuto, grandson of a genius professor named Juuzou Kabuto. The Professor secretly built a Humongous Mecha
named Mazinger Z, to battle the forces of evil — led by his rival gone mad
, Dr. Hell. Unfortunately, Juuzou gets assassinated quickly, but he still manages to inform Kouji about his creation. The Professor tells him to take over, but warns him that he could become "a God or a Devil" with its power.
Along with his brother Shiro, Kouji takes Mazinger, reaches the Photoatomic Research Institute directed by Juuzou's former right hand man Dr. Gennosuke Yumi, who practically adopts the boy. Eventually he's pitted in a continuous battle against Dr. Hell, presented in a good ol' Monster of the Week
was followed by Great Mazinger
and UFO Robo Grendizer
. However, being a forty-years-old Long Runner
franchise, it has got many sequels, spin-offs and remakes throughout four decades:
- Great Mazinger: The first sequel, narrating the rise of the Mykene Empire after the Final Battle against Dr. Hell, and the battles between them and Tetsuya Tsurugi, Great Mazinger's pilot. The anime was produced by Toei and Dynamic Planning, and it was broadcast for the first time by Fuji TV in 1974. Two manga versions were produced in 1975. One of them was written by Go Nagai and is two volumes long, and the second was written by Gosaku Ota and is four volumes long (and it features a pretty different ending).
- UFO Robo Grendizer: The last series of the original trilogy, it narrates how Kouji Kabuto found Duke Fleed and Grendizer, and how they fought together against the Alien Invasion from the planet Vega. The anime was produced by Toei and Dynamic Planning, and it premiered in Fuji TV in 1975. Grendizer had THREE manga versions in 1976: the Go Nagai version is two volumes long; the Gosaku Ota version is three volumes long; and the Hidearu Imamichi version is comprised of one single volume.
- God Mazinger: It has nothing to do with the original series, but was originally meant to be its sequel. However the idea was discarded, and the other two series were made instead. Hibino Yamato, a Japanese Ordinary High-School Student is led to Another Dimension to reanimate a giant stone god and together fight an invading empire. It was produced by Tokyo Movie Shinsha and Dynamic Planning, and aired by Nippon TV in 1984. A manga based on it was produced in 1984: ten volumes were published by Kadokawa Shoten and four volumes by Shogakukan.
- New Mazinger: It was going to be a Mazinger series specifically made for the American market, but only one single volume was published in 1988 by First Publishing.
- Mazin Saga: In this series Mazinger is not a Humongous Mecha but a mystic armor that turns the wearer into a giant. Three volumes were published in 1990, and other six in 1997.
- CB Chara Go Nagai World: A Crossover between Mazinger Z, Devilman and Violence Jack, featuring a ton of ShoutOuts to many Go Nagai series. The Devilman main characters find themselves suddenly chibi-fied and trapped into a strange world, and they set off on a quest to ascertain what is happening and get their real bodies back. It was made in 1991, and a manga version was published in 1992.
- Z Mazinger: In this version, Earth was invaded by a race of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens who were mistaken for gods. However, the most powerful alien warrior -named Zeus- rebelled against them and defeated them. Several centuries later they return and attack Japan, but Kouji Kabuto finds Zeus' robot, and he accepts fighting on Zeus' stead, renaming his robot to Z-Mazinger. Go Nagai wrote it in 1998, and it lasted five volumes.
- Mazinkaiser: Following the success of Super Robot Wars, and the Mazinger Z upgrade Mazinkaiser created for the series, this anime received a retelling in 2001 as an OVA series, Mazinkaiser, which introduces said mecha into the Mazinger canon. The OVA also featured the characters from the second part of the original trilogy, Great Mazinger. Go Nagai published an alternate one-shot in 2001, but in 2003, one volume was published adapting the OVA story, written by Go Nagai and drawn by Naoto Tsushima.
- Super Robot Retsuden
- Dynamic Heroes: A Crossover featuring the animated versions of Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger, UFO Robo Grendizer, Getter Robo, Cutey Honey and Devilman. It was published in 2004. Originally it was an e-manga but later it was published. It is four volumes long.
- Mazinger Angels: An alternate story and Charlie's Angels spoof: Sayaka, Jun, Hikaru and Maria form the Mazinger Angels team, a group that uses giant robots to investigate odd crimes and happenings. Written by Go Nagai and drawn by Akihiko Niina, it was published in 2004 and it lasted four volumes. A two-volume-long sequel -Mazinger Angels Z- was published in 2008.
- Panda Z: Affectionate Parody replacing the original characters with animals. Made in 2004.
- Shin Mazinger: A new series, Shin Mazinger Impact! Z Chapter, began airing in April 2009. It is sort of a reboot. Go Nagai wrote a one-shot story set in that continuity.
- Shin Mazinger Zero: Shin Mazinger Zero is a manga that was released in 2009 in the magazine Champion Red, created by Go Nagai and Yoshiaki Tabata. It has no connection with Shin Mazinger, but it is connected with the original anime, and in a nutshell is what you have when the Mazinger Z original manga meets Neon Genesis Evangelion. The manga is nine-volume-long and a sequel is being published.
- Mazinger Otome: A digital comic published in 2009 by Go Nagai and Mikio Tachibana. In this alternate story, Go Nagai classic Super Robots (Mazinger-Z, Great Mazinger, Grendizer, Kotetsu Jeeg) are Robot Girls.
- Mazinkaiser SKL: Made in 2011, it has nothing to do with the previous Mazinkaiser series. A digital manga based on this story was made by Go Nagai and Kazumi Hoshi.
- Robot Girls Z: A possible Spiritual Successor to Mazinger Otome that first aired in January 2014. Features a super-powered Power Trio of moe girls dressed up as Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger and Grendizer that are able to use all of the originals' attacks.
Made by Go Nagai
, who would later inspire the creation of (but not, as common misconceptions would have you believe, actually create) ANOTHER granddaddy of Super Robot
anime: Getter Robo
In the US, Mazinger Z
was aired under the title Tranzor Z
as a response to the popularity of Voltron
. In this dub, Koji became "Tommy" and Sayaka was "Jessica." It was later given a shorter, but more faithful dub run commissioned by Toei
. The Toei dub was hugely popular in the Philippines before Ferdinand Marcos ordered it off the air, and some episodes were released on VHS in the U.K.; before Tranzor Z
, snippets of this dub had been aired in the U.S. on a Christian Broadcasting Network public-affairs program about Japan. And finally, in 2012, it was announced
by Discotek Media
that they will be releasing the full, uncut, subtitled 1970s anime series in 2013. The fans went completely insane.
Other than in all Super Robot Wars
games (before UX
, that is), Mazinger Z
also appears in several videogames: Mazinger Z, a Beat'-Em-Up for Super Nintendo Entertainment System
; Mazinger Z, an arcade Shoot'-Em-Up featuring all robots in the trilogy; Mazin Saga Mutant Fighter, a Beat'-Em-Up for Genesis based on the Mazin Saga
manga; and CB Chara Wars, an action game based on the CB Chara Go Nagai World