Uncle GoGo Nagai
(永井 豪, Nagai Gō
, born 1945) is a famous Japanese writer and artist, active since 1967. Highly influential in the world of Manga
and Anime; he effectively created many of their tropes, such as the Super Robot Genre
. While best known for his Mecha
series, Nagai has also created a lot of comedy and erotic material, and even one Magical Girl
series aimed at children.
Nagai began his career after he fell sick in college and believed he had colon cancer; he wanted to leave something to be remembered for. By the time he found out he did not have cancer, he was set on his career. Ironically his first efforts at getting published were sabotaged by his own mother! Fortunately, he caught the attention of Shotaro Ishinomori
, (creator of Cyborg009
) who helped him get started. Nagai eventually funded his own company, Dynamic Productions
. A 1980s OVA
series, CB Chara Go Nagai World
, was an Affectionate Parody
of Nagai's works, with Super Deformed versions of his most famous characters interacting with each other.
Nagai is known for intentionally breaking taboos, and even his milder material
has a humorously deranged quality to it. His early works got him in trouble with the PTA, and even today some of them can contain controversial material. Nevertheless, most of his TV work is technically safe in the interest of placating censors even in Latin America and Europe (though not the US).
See also: Ken Ishikawa
Notable Nagai Series:
- Abashiri Family — a gag series about a family of thugs.
- Cutey Honey — The first (or at least the Ur Example) Magical Girl-Magical Girl Warrior series.
- Devilman — Horror/Superhero series. The TV anime is one of the most influential action anime of the early 70s, and the manga is widely regarded as his best work.
- Dororon Enma-kun — Enma-kun, the Prince of Hell, heads up a "demon patrol" with his friends Yuki-chan and Kappaeru, searching for and punishing wayward monsters. In a way, sort of a much younger Devilman, and definitely aimed at kids although too violent (and Ecchi) for America.
- Harenchi Gakuen/Shameless School — Nagai's first work, an Erotic Comedy. (1968-1972), the first Ecchi manga, and the first one to get him in trouble with the PTA. Nagai responded by having the series end with the PTA conducting a military raid on the titular school.
- Iron Virgin Jun
- Kekko Kamen — an even more sexually explicit Magic Warrior; "Nobody's seen her face, but everyone's seen her body."* An outright Deconstructive Parody of the Magical Girl Warrior concept (and Moonlight Mask*), complete with nazi schoolteachers.
- Kotetsu (Steel) Jeeg — a Super Robot with cyborgs and lost civilizations.
- Majokko Tickle - A more straightforward, family-oriented (non-fighting) Magical Girl series. One of his lesser known works (supposedly).
- Mao Dante — Horror series. A demon possesses a boy, and it builds up to a cataclysmic demon war. Elements from this would later be used for his far more successful Devilman.
- Mazinger Z — The first piloted Super Robot series. Without a doubt his most famous and influential work.
- Great Mazinger — The Sequel to Mazinger Z, continuing where it left off.
- UFO Robo Grendizer — The third part of the trilogy and the one that launched Nagai's popularity big-time outside Japan, when it became a massive hit on French TV under the name Goldorak not long after finishing its run in Japan. Also his first work to make it to the U.S. in 1980 as Grandizer (part of Jim Terry's Force Five).
- God Mazinger — The series was intended to be sequel to Mazinger Z but it got scrapped over and turned into a series with no relation to the original series. A boy gets transported from our world to another dimension to reanimate the ancient stone god Mazinger and fight an army of dinosaurs.
- New Mazinger — It was meant to be a Mazinger series done for the American market, but the concept did not take off and it never became more than an alternate universe one-shot.
- Star Fleet — A Thunder Birds style sci-fi puppet series. Known as X-Bomber in Japan, and hugely popular in the UK where it ran on Saturday afternoons in the early 80's.
- Violence Jack — as the name implies, an extremely violent series that really pushed the boundaries for what was acceptable in manga. Part of the Devilman universe, it features cameos from almost all of Nagai's works. One of the first post-apocalyptic manga to be published in Japan, and would later influence works such as Fist of the North Star.
Contrary to popular belief, Go Nagai
the idea for a Combining Mecha
story that became Ken Ishikawa
's Getter Robo
rather than being actual creator.
Tropes common to many (not all) of Nagai's works:
- Art Style Dissonance: The villains in his works have a habit of looking pretty goofy, whether they're serious or not.
- Kaiketsu Fukei-san is always a good one. A police woman who pisses on rapists to arrest them? Seriously Uncle Go?
- Bittersweet Ending: This is the best kind of ending that most of his stories could get. See Downer Ending
- Black Comedy: Sometimes.
- Bloodstained Glass Windows
- Body Horror
- Canon Welding
- Chest Blaster
- Combining Mecha
- Crapsack World: The Devilman and Violence Jack settings especially stand out.
- Dark Is Not Evil
- Digital Piracy Is Evil: He has spoken against it, and he has made some measures against webpages that reproduce his work without permission. His last measure, in company of some famous artists such as Buronson, is to sue seven book-digitizing shops beacuse they're accomplices of all of the works that are circulating on the Internet without the author's permission.
- Dirty Old Man
- Doing It for the Art: Nagai wrote a manga version of The Inferno from The Divine Comedy, which is surprisingly faithful to the source material, and probably wouldn't have been very popular in a country which is predominantly Buddhist and Shinto were it not penned by him.
- Downer Ending
- Evolutionary Levels
- Fan Disservice: See Gorn.
- Fan Nickname: Certain communities refer to him as "Uncle Go" with reverence.
- Fanservice — Trope Creator, using the classic definition of the term (referring only to manga/anime).
- Forgotten Superweapon
- God Is Evil
- Gorn - When Go Nagai wasn't wowing us with his Hot Blooded heroes, he was delivering incredibly gory violence.
- Guilty Pleasures
- He Also Did: While Go Nagai is most know for his violent and erotic stories, he also created Majokko Tickle, one magical anime girl series aimed to a younger audience. "X-Bomber" (Star Fleet) another of his creations was aimed to children, too.
- Hot Blooded — Pick a Go Nagai protagonist. Any Go Nagai protagonist.
- Hot Blooded Sideburns — the trope was even first known as "Go Nagai Sideburns".
- Humongous Mecha — Trope Codifier, despite Tetsujin 28 being the Trope Maker, Mazinger Z was the first robot to be piloted, the model that 99% of mecha shows follow.
- Infant Immortality: Averted often.
- Magical Girl Warrior
- Male Gaze
- Mighty Glacier
- Mood Dissonance: The Fanservice in his works has a habit of being really out of place.
- Naked People Are Funny
- Noble Demon
- Schrödinger's Cat
- Self-Parody: Kekko Kamen is a parody of Magical Girl series... a type of series Go Nagai essentially invented.
- Serial Escalation: Since Go Nagai runs his own publishing company, he's been essentially free to create whatever he wants for most of his career. While a few of his mainstream titles are known for their sexuality and violence, some of his more obscure, non-commercial works are amongst the most unrestrained, shameless and bizarre works to come out of Japan, and that's saying something.
- Slasher Smile: Though this is done by most of his protagonists as a sign of Hot Blood and not just bloodlust.
- Super Robot: Though Misuteru Yokoyama launched the genre with Gigantor, Go Nagai's series featured the first Super Robots to be piloted by humans and created or codified many of the tropes that would come to define the genre. Mazinger Z itself (or rather, its Anime Theme Tune) is even the Trope Namer.
- To the Batpole!
- Torch the Franchise and Run: Harenchi Gakuen ends with the Moral Guardians conducting a search-and-destroy operation on the entire school.
- Transformation Sequence
- Trope Codifier - For many Humongous Mecha and Super Robot tropes.
- Trope Maker
- Tsundere - Sayaka from Mazinger Z was among the first Tsundere female leads, according to The Other Wiki.