Over the highways he roars
The flying bullets go
And everything explodes
Goes the flying Tetsujin
Number 28, go!
Gigantor — Tetsujin Nijuhachi-go, or "Iron Man #28" in the original Japanese — is a Humongous Mecha controlled by a young boy, Jimmy Sparks (Shotaro Kaneda). They live on a remote island with Jimmy's uncle, a scientist, and fight crime. Originally set just after World War II, the English dub portrayed the show as being set in the then future year of 2000. Based on the original manga by Mitsuteru Yokoyama, it is one of the first popular anime to air in America, both the original form, produced by Eiken Studios (formerly called TCJ), and in the revamped New Adventures of Gigantor originally produced in 1980 by TMS Entertainment, and aired internationally in the late '80s / early '90s. The sequel, Tetsujin 28 FX was produced by the same production that created New Gigantor and was aired in 1990's in Japan. It was also remade in 2004 and given a live-action adaptation in 2005. Recently, Tetsujin-28 Gao was produced by the same company that created and animated the first Gigantor series and was aired by 2013.
Tetsujin-28 also has the distinction of being the first Humongous Mecha anime in history, predating Mazinger Z by a solid 10 years, making it the grandpappy of all the mecha series you see today.
In late 2009, the city of Kobe in Japan completed a statue of the robot. It is full size, 60 feet tall and weighing in at more than 50 tons. Just looking at it shows how impressive a real-life Humongous Mecha would be.
On a more unsavory note, protagonist Shotaro Kaneda is the Trope Namer of "shotacon" in Lolicon and Shotacon ("shotacon" stands for Shotaro Complex), together with the other term "lolicon" (or, Lolita Complex).
- 20 Minutes into the Future: In the Gigantor dub. The original version was set around the end of World War II (or about a decade after it in the 2004 anime). Eventually inverted by the aforementioned 2004 series, which not only is truer to the original Japanese version (including retaining the characters' original Japanese names), it was even released under the original name of Tetsujin-28 in North America.
- The '50s: The setting of both the 2004 series and the original anime.
- Adorably Precocious Child: Shotaro is an excellent example, and was even that trope's former Trope Namer.
- Alternate History: At least in the 2004 version, it's mentioned that in 1945 the Japanese attempted a last-ditch attempt to stop the Americans by launching the other Tetsujin models on the West Coast. It didn't work.
- Big Bad: Uchuu Maoh (Moldark) in the '80s series.
- Bragging Theme Tune: Both the Japanese and American versions had one, both quoted above.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Happened TWICE in the '80s series.
- The 21st episode has children becoming mindless child soldiers (the helmets they wore were brainwashing devices) of a fancy dressed lady or rather a man dressed in that costume. Unfortunately, Makie was among them.
- The 47th episode has Shotaro becoming a (temporary) mindless "test pilot" of Tetsujin as part of the Canadian criminal's (Dorombo's) plot to sell Tetsujin.
- Downer Ending: In the 2004 series, Tetsujin suffers a Bagume-induced Heroic RRoD and melted along with the Black Ox clones. The only solace was, thanks to Tetsujin's sacrifice, Japan was able to prosper in the post WWII reconstruction era.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: In the 21st episode of the '80s series, the woman in a fancy Chinese suit (the culprit abducting and brainwashing children, including Makie) turned out to be a man when the mask was removed.
- Shotaro's stepbrother (Shoutarou) in the 2007 movie is based on most characters that resembled him from Yokoyama works, notably Tendou the Berserker .
- Tsukie Kayano is based on Liu Bei's mother from the Yokoyama's adaption of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: In the 1980s series, Tetsujin used that to the villains, specifically to the Chinese criminal from the 28th episode and Gura in the second to the last episode
- Humongous Mecha: Trope Maker.
- Kid Detective: Shotaro in most versions.
- The Kid with the Remote Control: Possibly the Ur-Example, at least in the mecha genre.
- Lighter and Softer: The Gao series.
- Live-Action Adaptation: The 2005 film.
- Nuclear Weapons Taboo: In the 2004 series there's the Sun Bomb, powered by an element (Bagume) that can only be kept stable in water, no less.
- Panty Shot:
- Shown briefly in the 1980's series (particularly Makie's / Bonnie's).
- This also happened in FX wherein Futaba showed her underwear, depicting a blue-hued original Tetsujin in the back part, to the 2 men.
- Product Placement: In the original Japanese version, there's a sponsor spot (just before the opening proper) for the Japanese candy company Glico (makers of Pocky). It goes "GURIKO! GURIKO! GU! RI! KO!" ("guriko" being the Japanese pronunciation.)
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: In the 2004 series, the Mafia steal the remote control box and are able to control Tetsujin. During this time, Tetsujin's eyes turn red, with no In-Universe explanation as to why.
- The manga and the 2004 version of the series has some amounts of World War II references. One of these examples is the Tetsujin project, which is initiated by Dr. Kaneda, being based on German rocket missiles initiated by Werner von Braun.
- Manga classic AKIRA makes a Shout-Out to Gigantor with some character names: Shotaro Kaneda and Shikishima. Katsuhiro Otomo was a fan of the series though.
- Dave Mustaine of Megadeth cited Gigantor as one of his favorite cartoons and named his tour "Gigantour" in its honor.
- Submarine Pirates: The 15th episode of the 1980's series: The New Adventures of Gigantor ("The Pirate Submarine").
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: In the 2004 series, towards the end, with Shotaro's role as Kid Detective. Because he used to be supported by the Chief Ootsuka and Professor Shikishima he could operate one. But when Ootsuka is removed from his position and Shikishima dies he loses a lot of his privileges.
- Ur-Example: Gigantor created the Super Robot Genre, which Go Nagai's series would expand upon.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair:
- This is rarely shown in the 1980's series (notably, teal haired Gura / Coldark) and FX (notably, purple-haired Franken).
- Gao has some amount of color haired characters (i.e. Prof. Shikishima in purple-hued hair).
- You Killed My Father: In the 1980's series where Shotaro's father was killed by Branch (Dr. Murkybottom). This trope was only applied in the 24th episode wherein Shotaro seeks revenge on Branch but Branch was later abducted by aliens which were actually Uchuu Maoh's minions.