Anime: Time Bokan

"8!
7!
6!
5!
4! 3! 2! 1!
TIIIIIIME BOKAN!"

A long running meta-series by Tatsunoko Production, the Time Bokan meta-series typically involves a Battle Couple, a Robot Buddy, and Mini-Mecha based off animals stopping a Terrible Trio (maybe even THE Terrible Trio) from doing misdeeds.

The first in the series was the aforementioned Time Bokan in 1975. It involved the aforementioned Battle Couple traveling through time to find a Plot Coupon and a missing scientist, while racing and going up against a Terrible Trio consisting of a Fat and Skinny male duo and a Stripperiffic female. Following this it was decided that Time Bokan would become a meta-series and each of the sequels would carry the name as a subtitle.

The second series in 1977 would become the longest and arguably most memorable in the entire meta-series: Yatterman. While maintaining a similar plot as well as having Expies of the heroes and villains, the story this time didn't involve time travel, instead opting for a Sentai, "Mecha of the Week"-type format. Yatterman would eventually get a Revival in 2008, as well as a live action adaptation in 2009. It even found itself a sequel series in 2015 with Yoru No Yatterman, which also serves as the Time Bokan franchise's 40th anniversary special.

The rest of series: Zenderman, Otasukeman, Yattodetaman, Ippatsuman, and Itadakiman would more or less feature the same concept. Some series would feature time travel, and others would be set in the present day. Yattodetaman and Ippatsuman are the only two series to not have a Battle Couple but rather a titular hero fighting the antagonists. They are also the only two series to feature Humongous Mecha. Following a 1993 OVA involving the then seven Terrible Trios in a parody of Wacky Races, the eighth and final series Kiramekiman aired in 2000.

As of 2012, there are no plans to make another Time Bokan series not counting the Yatterman remake. The 1993 OVA, Time Bokan: Royal Revival, has been licensed by Sentai Filmworks for a US release.

Since Yatterman sort of became its own entity outside of the Time Bokan franchise, it gets its own page here.

Tropes found in most or all the series of Time Bokan:

  • Battle Couple: Standard formula found in almost all series, save for Ippatsuman and Yattodetaman.
  • Blondes Are Evil: Save for Mun Mun, Yan-Yan and Atasha, every leader of their respective Terrible Trio is blonde.
  • Canon Discontinuity: There was a 3-episode OVA in the 90's called Sengoku Bushou Retsuden Bakufu Hissatsuman, made by the same studio behind the Casshan: Robot Hunter OVA. Despite being directed by franchise director Hiroshi Sasagawa and being thematically similar to other Time Bokan series, Tatsunoko does not consider it a part of the franchise.
  • Clothing Damage: To the villains. The female leader tends to get the "worst" of it.
  • Fat and Skinny: Found in ALL installments.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Often shows partial nudity to the female lead villain. Can be averted since Japanese television standards aren't as high.
  • Idiosyncratic Series Naming: Every series after the original Time Bokan has "-man" somewhere in the title.
  • Mini-Mecha: Rode or driven by the protagonists and antagonists. Usually based off some form of animal.
    • In Ippatsuman and Yattodetaman, the mechas are larger and form into a Super Robot.
  • Ms. Fanservice: All the leaders of the Terrible Trio.
  • Naked People Are Funny
  • Pigeonholed Voice Actor: All three members of each Terrible Trio in starting from Time Bokan have been voiced by the same Japanese voice actors, for the past 30 years.
  • Robot Buddy
  • Stripperiffic: All female leaders of the Terrible Trio.
  • Terrible Trio: Can possibly be the Trope Codifier, if not Trope Namer.
    • Inverted in Kiramekiman - the trio is still comedic and rather incompetent, but they're technically the good guys (being detectives), while the heroes are thieves.
  • Time Travel: Ironically, Yatterman is the only exception.

Tropes specific for the series.

    open/close all folders 

    Time Bokan 
  • Animal Motifs: Bugs. Lots of bugs.
  • Art Shift: The credits are styled after paper puppet shows.
  • Brick Joke: Early in episode 2, Chorobou threatens Perasuke with being grilled and eaten if he doesn't reveal where Dr. Kieta is. When the gang is sent back to Ancient Greece, Perasuke is taken by the Persians, who almost do exactly that.
  • Brought To You By The Letter "T": This series' insignia uses a stylized "T" on everything belonging to Dr Kieta, often seen on the Time Bokans and quite prominently on Tanpei's outfit.
  • The Cameo: Not in their series, but Junko and Tanpei show up alongside other Battle Couples in the Royal Revival OVA. They also appear as teenagers in the 2008 Yatterman reboot.
  • Chromatic Arrangement: The Mechabuton (Blue), Dotabattan (Green) and Kuwagattan (Red) mechs follow this pattern.
  • Compilation Movie: The series managed to get a video in the 80's, editing the Fairy Tale Episodes into a single movie called Time Fighters in the Land of Fantasy.
  • Continuity Nod: The Royal Revival OVA has the Time Skeletons use the Gorilla variation of Gaikotts as their mech. This version was also the first one they ever fought Tanpei and Junko with.
  • Cool Helmet: Tanpei and Junko have these as part of their attire. They even go with the Bug motif, as they resemble bug eyes.
  • Evil Counterpart: Gaikotts, the Time Skeletons' version of the Time Bokans.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Tanpei and Junko, despite their young age. Tanpei was even the one who built Chorobou in the first place.
  • Gosh Hornet: One of the scouting mechs on the Kuwagattan is modeled after one.
  • Henpecked Husband: An almost literal example of the trope in Perasuke. In fact, he continues to avoid going back to his time specifically to avoid his wife.
  • It Was with You All Along: Dr. Kieta was in the present day the entire time. After traveling back from Perasuke's time, the Doctor left the Time Bokan. Perasuke accidentally booted it back up while the Doctor wasn't looking, and ended up landing it where it should have landed in the first place-the lab. He then stumbled out of the cockpit, encountering our heroes in the process and kickstarting a 27-episode long search and a gang of thieves on their tails for their trouble.
  • Japanese Beetle Brothers: The first and third mechs resemble a Rhinoceros and Stag beetle respectively, while the Mechabuton's scouting mech resembles a ladybug.
  • Kid Hero: Junko and Tanpei are 10 and 13 years old, respectively. This makes them the youngest group of heroes in the franchise, since at the very least both members of the second youngest group are 13.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Unlike later protagonists in the franchise, Tanpei and Junko always wear their Iconic Outfits. Slightly justified as they might be standard attire for Dr. Kieta's lab.
  • Living MacGuffin: Perasuke for the Time Skeletons, as he's the only one who knows how to obtain Dynamonds.
  • Lemony Narrator: The narrator tends to pepper in his own commentary during his recaps and concluding speeches.
    Narrator: Will they ever find Dr. Kieta? Eh, I don't know. Find out next week, maybe.
  • Made of Explodium: Gaikotts and the titular Time Bokan tend to explode when leaving for new time periods.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Granddaughter: Junko qualifies, though her grandfather isn't completely mad.
  • Market-Based Title: Almost. The series would have been called Time Fighters in the West had Tatsunoko gone through with the localization.
  • Meaningful Name: Marjo's name is derived from "Majo", the Japanese word for witch. The word can also mean "old hag" depending on how it's used.
    • Walther's romanized name (Warusa) means "Evil Behavior".
  • The Mole: Grocky serves as this in episode 1, as he worked for Dr. Kieta for about half a year to get information on the Time Bokan project.
  • Non-Action Guy: Marjo generally refuses to fight the heroes, often letting Grocky and Walther do the dirty work.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The titular Time Bokan. It actually refers to three mechs over the course of the series: the "Time Mechabuton" (the first), the "Time Dotabattan" (a locust mech), and the "Time Kuwagattan" (a Stag beetle mech). The term "Time Bokan" itself just refers to its carrier functions, as they all carry smaller mechs inside them.
  • Only One Name: Everyone, save for perhaps Junko.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Junko and Tanpei.
  • Polly Wants a Microphone: Perasuke, the parrot of Dr. Kieta.
  • Post-Kiss Catatonia: Tanpei often goes into this whenever either Junko or another cute girl kisses him on the cheek.
  • 60 Episode Cartoon
  • Smoke Out: One episode has the Time Skeletons pull a smoke bomb in order to disguise Gaikotts' time travel abilities.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Perasuke/Parrosuke.
    • Majo/Marjo.
    • Grocky/Glocky.
    • Walther/Walter/Warusa.
    • Chorobou/Chorobo/C-Robot.
  • Stealth Pun: Although Gaikotts goes through several design changes over the course of the series, its base form always serves as the skeleton for the changes.
  • Symbol Motif Clothing: Like her successor Ai, Junko has hearts on her clothing.
  • Terrible Trio: Marjo, Walther and Grocky make up THE Terrible Trio, Trope Codifier for all the trios that followed.
  • The Theme Park Version: Being a kid's show, the cast of Time Bokan probably couldn't get away with being historically accurate with the time periods they went to.
  • Time Machine: The titular Time Bokan.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Cream puffs for Perasuke.
  • Unobtanium: Whatever makes up the contents of Dynamonds. In use, they have about 100 times the explosive power of Uranium, making it perfect for the Time Skeletons to power up their mechs.
  • Villain Song: "Soreyuke Gaikottsu".
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Junko has green hair. Oddly enough, the intro for the show portrayed her as blonde at one point.
  • Younger Than They Look: Despite looking the same age as Tanpei, Junko is actually 10 years old.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: The series is a long string of our heroes going to different eras based on what Perasuke tells them that episode, but failing to find Dr. Kieta every time. He is found in episode 27, right in their home time period to boot.

    Yatterman 
See—> Yatterman

    Zenderman 

    Time Patrol Tai Otasukeman 
  • Artificial Intelligence: Tomomot, surprisingly.
  • Big Bad: Tomomot.
  • The Faceless: Atasha's mysterious boyfriend.
  • Fun With Palindromes: Tomomot (Lampshaded by himself).
  • Living with the Villain: In an odd twist for this series, both the heroes and the villains work in the same police Space Station as Time Police.
  • Market-Based Title: According to Tatsunoko's website, it would've been called Rescueman had it been released in the west.
  • Police Are Useless: Because the Otasukemen are so good at stopping the Terrible Trio and setting things back in their proper place, the rest of the Time Patrol never really get their own chance to shine.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Subverted. At the end of the series, the four villains perform a Heroic Sacrifice by blowing themselves up to stop a meteorite that's about to hit Earth. However, before the meteorite explodes, one can make out 4 rescue ships leaving the spaceship.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The Otatsukemen's stock and trade. It's part of their job as Time Patrol officers to maintain temporal order, after all.
    • Inverted with Ojamaman, who usually do the exact opposite. In fact, most of the temporal paradoxes in the series are caused by them under Tomomot's orders.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Hikaru and Nana continuously.
  • Sixth Ranger: Gekigasuki as the fourth member to the Terrible trio.
  • Time Police: Both the two main characters and the villainous Terrible Trio work for the Time Patrol, whose job is to prevent alterations of history. Both the antagonist trio (which later becomes a quartet) and the good guys have secret identities; the former group as Ojamaman, who try to alter history following the whims of Big Bad, and the latter group as the titular Otasukeman, who always manage to put everything back in place.
  • Training from Hell: At the end of each episode, the chief of police allows the main cast to choose randomly between two types of training: a hard and dangerous session, and an easy, enjoyable session. The bad guys always wind up with the former.
    • Throw the Dog a Bone: In one episode however, they manage to get the easy training (and leave the heroes with the other).
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Atasha has green hair.

    Yattodetaman 
  • Action Girl: Koyomi.
  • All Love Is Unrequited/Crazy Jealous Guy: Kokematsu is in love with Mirenjo without any hope and, obviously, he is jealous of Baron Don Fan Fan.
  • The Big Guy: Daigoron (Karen's robot-bodyguard).
  • Big Sister Instinct: Mirenjo wants her brother to become king and is very protective of him.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: Wataru has to chant "Yuki" in order to transform into Yattodetaman.
  • Celibate Villain: Mirenjo Invokes this trope by putting aside her feelings for Baron Don Fan Fan.
  • Combat Commentator: The reporter Sasayaki appears to comment the robot-battle, often accompanied by a huge cameraman of which we only see his lower half.
  • Defeat by Modesty: Yattodetaman loves using this tactic. Mirenjo is often the victim to this ploy- in fact, it happened so often, that Mirenjo decides to undress herself during one episode to avoid seeing her dress getting destroyed yet again.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: A frequent Running Gag in this series. At the end of each battle, the bad guys are begging Mecha Robot for mercy, but they always end up insulting him accidentally (or not). The result... not so good.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Both Karen and Mirenjo are princesses of two different royal families.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Wataru tries to be this in his civilian identity. Too bad that inventions often have no effect on Sukadon.
  • Humongous Mecha/Artificial Intelligence: On there heroes' side, the mechs are completely independent from the pilot.
  • Kid from the Future: Karen is the great-granddaughter of Koyomi and Wataru.
  • Living MacGuffin: The Firebird.
  • Loves My Alter Ego: Koyomi is in love with Yattodetman, but she sees Wataru as a loser.
  • invokedMilestone Celebration: Episode 40 celebrates the sixth anniversary of the franchise. Here, the characters interpret themselves in a theatrical play.
    • The Cameo: Some of the other characters from the previous series appear in the audience during this performance.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: The lackeys in this installment finally manage to break the pattern that Walther and Grocky set before them, as they look nothing like the Fat and Skinny duos we've come to know. Lampshaded in the Royal Revival OVA.
    Kosuinen: We can't lose to the only group that looks different from us!
  • Perpetual Poverty: Mirenjo and her gang have just enough money to live in a decent apartment, but they spend most of their time trying to avoid paying rent and look for food.
  • Something About a Rose: One of Yattodetman's favorite weapons to launch is a razor sharp rose or two.
  • Super Strength: Sukadon. In several micro-sketch, he exhibits his strength in hilarious ways.

    Ippatsuman 
  • Bishōnen: Sokkyu, apparently. Even Doronjo comments on his good looks in the Tatsunoko vs. Capcom crossover.
  • Crossover: Episode 41 has team Otasukeman from Time Patrol Tai Otasukeman show up.
    • Ippatsuman himself got the honor of fighting alongside other Tatsunoko heroes in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Mun Mun, Kosuinen and Kyokanchin are all this for the Osteandel branch of Skull Lease.
  • Excited Show Title!: The show's full name is Gyakuten! Ippatsuman.
  • Expy: Ippatsuman serves as one for the Science Ninjas, Ken in particular.
  • Frame-Up: The Skull Lease trio decide to make their Mega Corp. become the most powerful company in Osteandel by making Time Lease the fall guy for their crimes. Subverted though, since it never works.
  • Humongous Mecha: Gyakuten-Oh, Ippatsuman's mecha.
  • Mega Corp.: Time Lease and Skull Lease.
  • Qipao: Mun Mun often wears this dress as a civilian outfit.
  • Sixth Ranger: Chinami as the fourth member to the Terrible trio.
  • Take Over the World: Skull Lease's ultimate goal, right after beating out their business rivals.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Mun Mun has purple hair, while Chinami has green hair.

    Itadakiman 
  • Big Good: Headmaster Ochaka.
  • Cut Short: The series was cut after 20 episodes.
  • Dirty Old Man: Headmaster Ochaka often harasses his vice.
  • Evil Redhead: Yan-Yan.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: The Dirt Cheap Gang studied hard to apply for Oshaka academy, but only the pure and clearheaded descendants of Sanzo are admitted in.
  • In-Series Nickname: "Kuuchan" for Kusaku.
  • "I Want" Song: The OP, "Itadaki Mambo" (I Want it All Mambo).
  • Kid Hero: Kusaku is only 10 years old, putting him at about the same age as Time Bokan's Junko.
  • Macguffin: Three bronze plates are scattered across the globe. They're part of a larger puzzle board, which when completed will bring honor to the school it currently resides in.
  • Non-Action Guy: The main trio's goal is to obtain the bronze plates. At the end of the day, it's always Itadakiman who always intervenes to save the situation.
  • Pun-Based Title: The title is based on "Itadakimasu", usually said before eating a meal.
  • Shout-Out: The entire series is this to Journey to the West. Itadakiman himself is modeled after Sun Wukong (who else), and the rest of the protagonists are the descendants of Sanzo.
  • Single Line of Descent: Averted big time. All of the protagonists save Itadakiman are descendants of Sanzo, and Headmaster Ochaka runs an entire school dedicated to Sanzo's descendants.
  • Sixth Ranger: Ryuko serves as this for the Dirt Cheap Gang.
  • Year X: The series takes place in the year 20XX.
  • Younger and Hipper: The villain trio compared to their predecessors. Justified somewhat as all of the descendants of Sanzo are in high school.

     Kaitou Kiramekiman 
  • Animal Motifs: Cats for the Kiramekimen, to go with their thief nature.
  • Call Back: The intro for this series starts with a countdown leading to a "TIIIME BOKAN!" Title Scream, just like the first series. Also counts as a series-wide Book End, since this is the last series produced for the franchise.
    • The Kiramekimen are briefly shown with their shadows against a brick wall, similar to the Title Cards used for Yatterman episodes.
  • Caper Rationalization: The Kiramekimen are actually stealing dangerous items to protect the future, rather than stealing random items for profit.
  • Hero Antagonist: The Flower Detective agency, since their job is to capture thieves.
  • Killer Yoyo: Rip uses this as his main weapon.
  • Short Runner: Kiramekiman only managed to last 26 episodes before getting canned.
  • Phantom Thief: Rip and Puff's stock in trade.
  • Trope2000: This is the only entry in the series with the Time Bokan 2000 label as its subtitle.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Rip and Puff, compared to the names of the other protagonists.