Anime: Yatterman

May not look like much but he's
The strongest in the land

Yatta! Yatta! Yatta! Yatta!

Yatterman is the second show in the Time Bokan anime series by Tatsunoko Production (the unrelated Flint The Time Detective uses a similar concept). Running from 1977 to 1979, the series stars Gan-chan, the son of a toy designer, and Ai-chan, his girlfriend, fighting crime as "Yatterman", using inventions and riding on large robots constructed by Gan. Their most regular enemy is the Doronbo Gang (Skull Gang), consisting of Doronjo, Boyacky and Tonzler, who are out to collect Dokuro Stones (Skull Stones), for their boss, Dokurobei.

The show was hugely popular in its time, and fondly remembered by many Japanese adults today. Oddly enough, the key to its popularity wasn't the titular heroes, but rather the terrible trio they fought every week, who were hilarious rather than threatening, and ended up with many viewers rooting for them.

Received a remake series in 2008, and a live-action movie directed by Takashi Miike (yes, of Audition fame) in 2009. Yatterman-1, Doronjo and Yatterman-2 also make appearances as playable characters in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom.

Both the original series and the 2008 remake are legally available to watch on Anime Sols, where you can also pledge money to keep both series afloat in the United States and Canada in exchange for physical goods such as stickers, posters and DVD box sets. However, both have failed to meet the funding criteria since then.

A new series, Yoru No Yatterman was released in 2015 in commemoration of the 40th year anniversary of Time Bokan. Taking place generations after the original series, it focuses on the descendants of the Doronbo Gang as they deal with the Yatter Kingdom.

This show provides examples of:

  • All Men Are Perverts: In one episode of the original series, Boyacky fantasizes about Ai-chan's butt inflating.
    • Boyacky is pretty well known for his perversion towards high school girls, yet Even Evil Has Standards and therefore Boyacky takes great care never to hit on the merely middle-school aged Ai-chan.
  • Animal Mecha: Obviously.
  • Animal Motifs - Doronjo is a bat, Tonzra's a pig and Boyacky's a rat. The last two are emphasized in the live-action movie.
  • Awesome but Impractical: The film has fun with how the heroes ride on the outside of their mecha. A newspaper hits Yatterman-2 in the face on the highway, the girl they take with them can barely hold on, and traveling over the ocean just plain sucks.
    • Yatterman always leap into action in time to try to prevent the Doronbo Gang from stealing a Dokuro stone/ring, they'd save a lot of time if they'd instead prevented the Doronbos from creating a new scam and stealing enough money to build a new mecha.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The 70s series. When Doronjo and her lackeys discover that Dokurobei is the Dokuro Stone (see The Reveal below), they decide to leave their life of crimes, sadly greet each other one last time and take, literally, different paths. The director pans the image to show us that the three paths later will turn into one single road.
    • The Time Bokan OVA describes what became of them: Doronjo became a housewife (with five kids), Tonzura became a business manager, and Boyaky opened his own ramen noddles shop. They're willing to become the Doronbo gang again when they're challenged to a mecha race by the other Time Bokan villains.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: Gan and Ai usually yell "Yatter!" before changing into Yatterman-1 and Yatterman-2. This continued into when they had to change while getting into Yatter-Jinbee, even when the machines put on their suits for them.
  • Callback: The final episode of the 2008 series uses the original 1977 opening.
    • They also add to the end credits a count of the number of times the Doronbo gang has been maimed in various ways during both series to the closing credits.
    • Each episode also has its title card done in exactly the same style as the original series, complete with each episode including "da koron" (Omotchama's Verbal Tic) as part of the title.
    • Early in the live-action film, the Doronbo Gang does the same song they did in the first episode of the '70s version.
    • Even better: the first mecha built by the Doronbo Gang in the film is the same one from the very first episode of the 1977 series, and the film ends (not including The Stinger) exactly like the final episode of that series (see Bittersweet Ending above).
      • That first mecha (The Kitchen Mech) Is also used as Doronbo's racing vehicle in the Time Bokan OVA, and is used as one of Doronjo's super moves in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom.
  • Catch Phrase: Oh, so many...
    • The Yatter mechs, when given mecha food always say a variation of "This week's Surprise Mini-Mecha Launch!" Followed by fanfare.
    • Boyacky and Tonzura both simultaneously respond to Doronjo's commands with "Ai Hora Sai Sei," which literally translated means "One, Two, Yes Sir!"
    • Boyacky preempts the pushing of any button on his mecha with the phrase "Puchii-Tona," which has no meaning but is often translated as either "push like so" or "push the button." It's become so associated with the character that other anime characters parodying Yatterman use the phrase, and Boyacky-themed toys have been released that say "Puchii-Tona" when you push a button.
    • "Victory Pose!" "Yatter! Yatter! Yatterman!"
    • The narrator even has a couple, he begins expository narrations by saying "Please allow me to explain," and signs out every episode with "Yatter, Yatter, Yatterman!"
    • Whenever Boyacky is complimented by Doronjo, a small mecha pig on the mecha's console climbs a coconut tree and says "Even pigs can climb trees." This is often given a motivational subtext. (Boyacky is able to be "the pig who climbs a tree" when Doronjo butters him up.) However, the live action movie gave it the Darker and Edgier subtext that the pig in a tree stands for Boyacky's erection.
  • Cross Over: Being a comedy show, Yatterman has not only run across all the other Time Bokan characters, but also every character in the Tatsunoko library particularly favoring Gatchaman, Polymar, and Speed Racer. The Time Bokan OVA and the 2008 remake's "Golden Week" special was essentially one cameo after another.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: What Yatterwan's mini-mecha inflict on Doronbo Gang's mecha.
  • Genre Savvy: Taken to extremes and combined with No Fourth Wall regarding the Doronbo gang. Not only do they seem to realize that they're merely anime characters, but also are aware of when they're appearing an another media or being remade. They also have relationships with their own voice actors and off-screen characters like the narrator and pre-show announcers. None of this ever seems to help them avoid their usual formulaic failure and misery, though.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The 70's series didn't just get crap past the radar, it practically delivered a sledgehammer smash to the radar long before Ren and Stimpy got to break it.
    • The 2008 remake actually lampshades this in the very first episode when Tonzra obscures Doronjo's exposed chest.
      Tonzra: Safe!
      Boyacky: You know, if it was back then they would've just boldly shown it...
    • The live action movie drops a lot of the subtle innuendo and subtext from the series, making the film at TON more sexual and Darker and Edgier and pretty much patently telling the audience that Boyacky has a crush on Doronjo, Doronjo secretly wants to be a housewife and has a crush on Yatterman, and Dokurobei is basically the devil.
  • Gosh Hornet: Both episode 7 and 33 of the original anime have the Doronbo trio getting attacked by bees. Once as a punishment and once because the episode's Dokuro Stone was actually a beehive.
  • Goroawase Number: The opening theme makes a Wan/One pun with Yatter-Wan's barking.
    When you hear him bark (Wan!) Two, Three...
    • The pun continues into the 2009 animated movie, where Yatter-Wan's Evil Counterpart is called Yatter-Zero.
  • Gratuitous English: In the 2008 remake, Yatterpelican drops the occasional English sentence.
  • Irony: Despite being the most famous series of the Time Bokan franchise, Yatterman does not feature time travel. The only exception is an episode that is a tribute to the first Time Bokan series. They also cover the Time Bokan trio's Villain Song.
    • The 2008 series has an episode which uses Time Bokan's portals (though makes no other mention of the anime) the time travel involved in the episode helps introduce Yatterpelican to this series.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Ai-chan, your typical anime schoolgirl style protagonist, is strangely unaware of how often she tends to use her own sweet nature to solve problems. In the 2008 series, Ai's cuteness is the only thing that motivates both Gan and Yatterwan.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Doronjo. One of the major subtexts of the series, most frequently shown in asides and during closing themes is that Doronjo would like to quit being a villain and become a simple housewife. In some versions, it is even stated that's what she'd use her wish from the Dokuro stone/rings on. Most of the series' endings suggest that she gets her wish.
  • Kansai Regional Accent: Tonzranote .
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Constantly.
  • Love Dodecahedron: In the live-action film.
  • MacGuffin: The Dokuro Stones, in almost every episode of the original series. The Dokuro Rings in the 2008 remake. The Dokuro stone was split into four different pieces. The rings were split into five. Anyone who collects them is said to be granted a single wish. In reality It summons the demonic and chaotic true form of Dokurobei to Earth.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Yatter Wan to Yatter King in both the series and film.
  • Morton's Fork: When the Doronbo Gang fails to find a Dokuro Stone/Ring, Dokurobei punishes them for their incompetence. When they do manage to grab a hold of one, Dokurobei punishes them anyway, citing that he "can't cheat the viewers out of [the Gang's] weekly punishment".
  • Motive Decay: Inverted. In the original series Gan was a stereotypical superhero, who just did good for presumably noble reasons. The 2008 version of Gan, on the other hand is mostly lazy and has no motivations beyond basic teenage interests, and has to be pulled around by Ai to get anything done.
  • Neon Sign Hideout: Any business run by the Doronbo Gang is marked by a large, hard-to-miss red skull on the front. Usually, Gan and Ai take advantage of this and just walk in to figure out where the gang is going next.
  • Nice Hat: Arguably, the hats Gan and Ai wear as their crime-fighting alter-egos.
  • Once an Episode: the Doronbo Gang making some sort of scam to raise funds for their "evil" plans, Dokurobei's self-destructing messages (see below), the Yattermen needing to power up their mechas in the middle of the battle, the minature "bikkuri-dokkiri" mechas Yatterwan produces each week, the Doronbo Gang's mechas exploding in a skull-shaped atomic mushroom, their escape on a triple bicycle, and Dokurobei cruelly punishing them for their failurenote ... The episodes of this show pretty much followed all the same scheme. Oh, and Doronjo's Clothing Damage, which happens at least twice an episode.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The Doronbo Gang are masters of this. They're never recognized despite the fact that both Tonzura and Boyacky never remove their goggle-style masks, and Doronjo always wears a masquerade style mask. Not to mention the buildings they set up to create scams always have a red skull as part of their decor.
    • Sometimes Gan and Ai are smart enough to notice, but always just a bit too late to prevent them from scamming a ton of people and then launching a new mech.
      • Speaking of Gan and Ai, The Doronbo Gang are never aware that these two teenage kids dressed in jumpsuits that seem to show up everywhere are actually Yatterman in civvies.
  • Perspective Flip: In Bokan to Ippatsu! Doronbo Kanpekihen, a Japan-only Shoot 'em Up released for the Sega Saturn, you get to play as the Doronbos and fight the Yattermen.
  • Power-Up Food: The Yattermechs are fed mecha food (or mech matter, depending on translation) in order to increase in power, and also to create the Deus ex Machina mini-mecha that often bring an end to every battle.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: In the original series (but not the remake), if you hear the famous eight note opening to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, it usually means that Dokurobei is going to punish the Doronbo Gang for their failure...
    • Offenbach's Can Can sometimes plays when the Doronbo Gang are escaping on their getaway tandem bike.
  • Rearrange the Song: Yatterman no Uta, the first OP theme for the show, would get rearranged quite a bit. There are six rearrangements in the 2008 series, a rearrangement in Tatsunoko VS Capcom, and in the The Movie. The song is just that famous; it will never leave!
    • The Doronbo Gang's theme "Tenai Doronbo" and their one-time anime closing theme also get arranged a lot. Here's the rearrangement of the former for the 2008 Anime [1]. and here's the arrangement of the latter for Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. [2]
  • Role Reprisal: The 2008 Yatterman Anime brought back Noriko Ohara as the voice of Doronjo from the original Yatterman anime. In addition, Jōji Yanami returned as lacky Boyakkii, and Kazuya Tatekabe returns as lacky Tonzura.
    • This counts as a Marathon Run, The characters and voice actors can never be separated. Even in the live-action Yatterman movie, where established live action actors play the Doronbo Gang, the voice actors still appear as a trio of customers who end up getting scammed by the Doronbo gang.
    • Similarly, Dokurobei has been voiced by Junpei Takiguchi in his every appearance until Takiguchi's death in 2011.
  • Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: The heroes wear jumpsuits, while the main female villain wears a revealing leather outfit. Her ugly cronies also have their midriffs bared at all times.
  • Sexy Silhouette: Doronjo, especially in the remake.
  • Shout-Out: In episode 3 of the 2008 anime, Boyacky suggests to Doronjo and Tonzra that they all should watch "DeathNeet".
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Depending on the source, it may be Yatterman or Yattamannote , Tonzler, Tonzra, or Tonzura, Boyacky or Boyakki, (or Boyacchi), Doronbo or Drombo (or Dorombo) and Doronjo, or Dronjo. Oh, and both Doronbo and Doronjo are different entities, with Doronbo being the organization and Doronjo being the villainess.
    • According to Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, it's Yatterman, Boyacky, and Doronjo. The other names are still open to interpretation.
      • The fan-subs of the 2008 anime series use the name "Tonzura," but the Anime Sols dubbed version of the same show uses "Tonzler."
  • Spice Up the Subtitles: Despite the fact that it's a family show (Clothing Damage aside; see "What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?" in the YMMV section), the translation on Anime Sols has swearing in the first episode alone in the 1977 versionnote  (specifically, there are two lines that each have an instance of the "d" word).
  • Team Rocket Wins: Even though they take a lot of lumps in the process, the Doronbo Gang are actually quite effective at scamming people out of money and stealing the Dokuro stones/rings. They only "fail" when Dokurobei realizes that he'd sent the trio after an impostor stone/ring, though that doesn't stop Dokurobei from punishing them.
  • The Baroness: Doronjo. Her elaborate black leather costume with spiked heels, skull shaped pipe-smoking, and velvet couch-lounging habits make her one of these. She rarely ever gets involved in physical combat, but when she does, there's a touch of dominatrix in there. Best seen in her role as a fighting game character in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. [3]
  • They Fight Crime: Even though those attempts to fight crime always lead to them fighting the Doronbo gang, their battles focus more on righting wrongs instead of preventing Doronbo from getting their hands on the Dokuro Rings/Stones, and the Doronbo Gang often get away with their scams/crimes anyway.
  • 20% More Awesome: Ai does this all the time in the remake (but not the original series).
  • Verbal Tic: Omotchama's "da koron", and Dokurobei's "da bei", as well as Tonzura's "man-nen"note 
    • Yatterwan also sometimes ends his sentences with "wan."
  • Villain Song: The Doronbo Skull Gang usually sings while building their new robots. Most well known of these numbers is "Tensai Doronbo", where they sing about how they love crime, are determined to grab the Skull Stones first, and how everybody loves them more. It pops up in the 2008 remake, and even the live-action movie.
  • Villainous Friendship: The one between Doronjo, Tonzura, and Boyacky is so potent it actually leads to many the series' more dramatic moments.
  • X-Ray Sparks