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Anime / Chargeman Ken!

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Charging! Go! Go, Ken!
Ken Izumi dons his special uniform and drives his Cool Car called the Sky Rod to fight against evil alien invaders called the Juralians. Ken is joined by his sister Caron and his robot dog Barican (who looks more like some sort of robo-duck).

Chargeman Ken! is a notoriously bad 1974 Cult Classic anime. Although the studio that produced the show, Knack Productions, was known for low-quality productions emphasizing cheap gags over quality, this show may be the bottom of the barrel even by their standards. The production was something of a reunion for those who worked on Astroganger. Individual episodes only ran five minutes twenty seconds apiece (excluding the opening and end credits). It was cancelled after 65 episodes.

Sadly, no country outside of the series' homeland has ever officially released or dubbed the show. (This was first averted in 2017 when Discotek Media has secured the license to release the show in the United States and Canada into home video.)

Two different manga adaptations of the series, which ran on TV Land and Adventure King respectively, were published in tankobon format in March, 2013. A stage musical based on the series ran from October 31 to November 6, 2019 in Tokyo.

Chargeman Ken! provides examples of:

  • Adjective Noun Fred: Chargeman Ken.
  • Anti-Hero: Ken, although it's unlikely the creators meant for that to be the case.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Hilariously done in episode 35, with Ken's infamous "Dr. Volga, forgive me!" line as he launches him at the enemy as a human bomb.
  • Arson Murder And Life Saving: The Juralians mostly messed with Asshole Victims; they've stopped a suicide, a bank heist, a plane hijacking, and even an asteroid impact onto the earth.
  • As Lethal as It Needs to Be: Ken's Alpha Gun has a tranquilizer mode, that can put a lion to sleep. However, the tranquilizer mode disintegrates Juralian aliens Ken fights against.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Dinosaurs in "Dynamite in the Brain".
  • Big Bad: The Juralian General Maou, naturally.
  • Blatant Lies: Ken claims Hoshi changed schools after he killed him.
  • Br Inwashed And Crazy: In episode 45, Caron is brainwashed by her piano teacher and tries to stab Ken.
  • Brought to You By the Letter K: Ken's street clothes, such as they are.
  • Circus Episode: In Episode 58, "The Devil's Circus!", Ken, Caron, and Barican visit a circus. Ken doesn't have enough money for them to get in, but one of the clowns recognizes Ken and lets them in for free. Naturally, it's a trap set up by the Jurals to kill Ken.
  • Circus of Fear: As the episode's title implies, the circus in "The Devil's Circus" is led by Jurals who disguise themselves as circus performers to kill Ken. At one point, they even unleash the lions upon the audience!
  • Cool Train: In "Dynamite in the Brain", one appears at the beginning, only to get destroyed by a dinosaur.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: A lot of what makes this show funny is how incredibly cruel Ken (and his family in some episodes) is.
  • Complexity Addiction: The Juralians suffer from this big time. One of their wacky plans was to save a species of butterfly from extinction, give them the ability to eat human cells, breed them for fifty years, then unleashing them on human cities. Not only does this plan end up foiled in five minutes as usual, but there's no explanation on why they didn't just launch the attack fifty years ago when Ken wasn't around to stop them yet.
  • Creepy Circus Music: At the beginning of the Circus Episode, the waltz "Waves of the Danube" is played in a minor key, and has a very melancholic tone. Justified, because it's an early cue that the circus is a trap to kill Ken.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The fights in this show typically last a few seconds and largely involve Ken shooting Juralian invaders. The one time this formula was inverted was when Hoshi (himself a Juralian) leads his football team to an 18-0 shutout against Ken's.
  • Double Entendre: In Episode 33, it is mentioned that there are 5 bases on the moon. The way how it's said (kichi ga itsutsu)can be heard as kichigai tsutsu, with kichigai meaning 'crazy'.
  • Elevator School: In a rare attempt at actual worldbuilding, episode 6 reveals that in the show's futuristic setting, all grade levels from elementary school to university are housed in a single school building, and this is the case with schools the entire world over. The school Ken goes to is 70 stories tall.
  • "Everybody Laughs" Ending: A lot of episodes end this way. Usually, the characters are laughing at Barican's expense.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: The Juralians and General Maou.
  • Excuse Plot: Most episodes. Ken abruptly concludes the Juralians are responsible for the incident, although there are few clues to support him.
  • Girl with Psycho Weapon: Caron becomes one in episode 45, due to her piano teacher (who, predictably, is a disguised Juralian) brainwashing her into trying to kill Ken. She's snapped out of it when her mother slaps her.
  • Immune to Bullets: The Jural, strangely enough, are not affected by bullets, but they are by Ken's laser gun.
  • Light Is Good: It's used to power up Chargeman Ken, the hero of history.
  • Limited Animation: Not as much limited as it is barely there. Between each episode's short length and the horrendous budget, individual episodes almost never exceed 50 total frames of animation.
  • Planet Looters: The evil aliens are supposed to be a case of them.
  • Ray Gun: Ken's weapon.
  • Redemption Equals Death: For X-6 and J-7, anyway.
  • Role Called: Chargeman Ken!
  • Robot Dog: Barican, called the "grandpa robot" in the show and looks like a screwed-up predecessor of Haro.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: Jurals, of the Aliens as Nazis variety.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Ken.
  • Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?: Caron is seven years old but is always fighting space escapades while she should be at school. Ken himself doesn't look more than about eleven or twelve. Their teacher and classmates do appear, however, and are usually victims of whatever may happen.
  • Transformation Sequence: A 20-second one in every episode. Also seen in the theme song.
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: "Dynamite in the Brain" flashes back to a scene that occurred literally 30 seconds earlier.
  • Would Harm a Senior: In "Dynamite in the Brain!", the Juralians implant a time bomb in the head of an old man named Dr. Volga. Ken drops him to destroy a Juralian spaceship.
  • Zeerust: The show's visions of the future is so 70's it hurts, which only adds to the charm.