Daikū Maryū Gaiking (Great Sky Demon Dragon Gaikingnote ) was a Super Robot mecha anime series produced by Toei Animation, credited as an original idea by Akio Sugino. However, in reality the original idea was Go Nagai's. Toei deliberately took Nagai out of the credits in order to avoid paying him royalties. Because of that, Nagai sued Toei and refused to collaborate with them for many years. The legal battle lasted over a decade. Nagai himself confirmed that he was the creator of Gaiking at the 2007 Naples Comicon.
It ran from April 1976 through January 1977 and consisted of 44 26-minute episodes. Gaiking was notable for being one of the few super robot series to take place in real places outside of Japan, and for being the first Super Robot series to have a mobile carrier for the chief robots. In the USA, Gaiking was part of Mattel's popular Shogun Warriors import toy line of the late 1970's and Jim Terry's Force Five anthology series. In 2005, an In Name Only reimagining titled Gaiking: Legend of Daiku Maryu was produced.
The original story chronicled the battle between the crew of the semi-transformable carrier Daikū Maryū (called both the Great Space Dragon and Kargosaur in the US version) and the Super Robot Gaiking invented by Dr. Daimonji (Prof. Hightech in the English language version of the show) against an invading race of aliens called the Dark Horror Army in the dub from the planet Zela which is facing destruction by a black hole as their population starts to mutate (the fact that their bearded ruler now wears his face on upside-down is considered only a minor mutation). Notable aspects of the series include the dinosaur-based designs of the Daikū Maryū and its support machines and the use of part of the carrier to form the main robot.
Gaiking was piloted by former up and coming baseball star named Sanshiro Tsuwabuki (Aries Astronopolis in the dub), who was drafted for the job because his latent psychic powers made him the only one capable of doing so. All other similarly empowered candidates were assassinated by alien agents, with Sanshiro himself injured in an attack that ended his sports career. Gaiking is most easily distinguished from other mecha by its skull-shaped golden torso formed from the head of the Daikū Maryū and its golden horns.
The leader of the alien villains was named Prince Darius, and all of their ships and mecha were fish-shaped, which most likely inspired the Darius series of video games. It was also dubbed in Latin-American Spanish as El Gladiador, which aired as part of a showcase called El Festival de los Robots. In this version, Sanshiro Tsuwabaki was called Brando Drummond with the Daiku-Maryu itself called "El Gran Dragon del Espacio".
In 2009, William Winckler, the man behind the infamously cheesy english dub for Tekkaman, produced equally cheesy english Compilation Movies for Gaiking, along with several other of Toei's older titles. Shout! Factory released all three movies on DVD on May 21, 2013. The original, unedited TV version of the anime has also been licensed by Discotek Media for a DVD release.
And in a rather surprising twist over other Super Robots, Gaiking is getting a CG movie remake. Watch the trailer here.
Tropes relating to the 2005 reimagining Legend of Daiku Maryu do not go here; instead they go in Gaiking: Legend of Daiku Maryu.
Provides Examples Of:
- Abusive Parents: Fan Lee's adoptive parents, hence why he and his younger brother ran away from them.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Both Gen Sakon and his Disappeared Dad.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: King Darius is really a HUGE super computer... that was at first a benevolent AI, but later was corrupted.
- Aloof Big Brother: Peter is this for everyone. And for his little brother, Tom.
- Animal Mecha: Gaiking and Daiku-Maryu are both backed up by three different support units, including Nesser the plesiosaur/submarine, Skylar the pterodactyl/fighter jet, and Bazolar the triceratops/tank.
- Badass Bookworm: Gen Sakon was not only the head mechanic, he also was pretty decent at self-defense.
- Big Brother Mentor: Gen is this to Sanshirou. Arguably, Yamagakake was this to Hachirou.
- Bridge Bunnies: Midori and Peter
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Midori and Gen end up like this at different times, and Sanshirou has to rescue them.
- Bruce Lee Clone: Arguably, Fan Lee. He's even seen making a very badass pose a la Bruce Lee in the original series's ED.
- Butt-Monkey: Oh, Yamagakake.
- Calling Your Attacks
- Cool Ship: The Daiku-Maryu itself, which is what we used to get before we got the White Base assault carrier. Plus, it's a giant-sized Animal Mecha that would play the exact same role as almost any other mecha assault carrier that came after it.
- Country Mouse: Yamagakake's backstory. He came to the city to get a career in Sumo, a kindly professor took him in, and he joined the crew of Daikyu Maryu few after his mentor was murdered.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Yamagakake, for Midori
- Failure Knight: Peter never forgave himself for falling asleep when his dad was drunk, thus not being able to prevent his parents's deaths in an accident.
- Finishing Move: Face Open!
- Game-Breaking Injury: Sanshirou used to be a baseball star, until he was given this by some loony. It turns out he just happened to be the Sole Survivor out of many people attacked, so Dr. Daimonji takes him into his crew and as the pilot of Gaiking.
- Gentle Giant: Yamagakake. He actually used to be a Sumo wrestler before joining the group due to the death of his mentor.
- Also Bunta.
- Harmful to Minors: More than one kid gets hurt or in danger here, with Hachirou the Tagalong Kid being only one of them. Fan Lee's kid brother San-Lee (who's fifteen years old tops) is shot to death, and so is a little girl named Lisa who's the daughter of a member of Darius's army. Plus, Peter's pre-teen brother Tom gets used as a hostage.
- Humanoid Aliens: The Dark Horror Army members. And Midori
- The Professor: Prof. Daimonji is a somewhat more action-geared version, as he also leads the crew.
- Rocket Punch
- Sole Survivor: Sanshirou was the only Daiking pilot candidate that wasn't killed off.
- Super Robot
- Team Dad: Prof. Daimonji.
- Thrown Out the Airlock: Happens to the wife of the already mentioned future member of the Dark Horror Army