In 2200 AD, at a time when Mars and the Moon have been colonized. The story of Joe Maya, a teenager on Mars dreaming of returning to Earth. One day, an Alien Space craft crash lands on Mars, and he accidentally activates one of the ship's mecha, which combines with the mysterious Tobikage, a Ninja Robot.
CBS International licensed the broadcast rights to the series in the 90s, and produced an English dub titled Ninja Robots at Sonic III in Miami around 1995. This dub aired on Cartoon Network in Australia, India, and South-East Asia, but was never picked up in North America or Europe. Though obscure, this version has amassed a small cult following for its quirky improvised dialogue, making it something of a Gag Dub. In 2013, Anime Sols began streaming the series subtitled in North America, but their crowdfunding campaign for a physical release was unsuccessful. Discotek Media released the series on Blu-ray in 2022 in Japanese with English subtitles, and with almost the entire English dub, which was only possible through contributions from fans.note
This show provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Rennie the ninja girl.
- Aliens Speaking English: Inverted. The aliens in this series actually speak a foreign language the main characters don't understand. This briefly results in the main characters being held hostage until the aliens offer to let them ride one of their robots.
- Animal Mecha: When each of the mechs combines with Tobikage, the combined form is either a lion, falcon or dragon.
- Anime Hair: Lampshaded by Joe in the dub, when he's angry with Radoria commander Icelander, early in the series- he loudly calls out Icelander's 'bad haircut', and then shouts out "I was talking to carrot-top here!"
- Big Damn Heroes: Tobikage has a tendency to show up whenever the heroes are getting whupped.
- Deconstruction: Unlike most (but not all) giant robot anime, the Earth's military are the bad guys more or less, and the main character Joe is a total anti-hero jerk who does whatever he wants and doesn't care what others think. He'll even go so far as to disobey orders (although this ends up turning out to be for the best...).
- Dark Is Evil: Tobikage (Cybertron), the heroic robot, is white. Zerokage (Mantis), the evil robit, is almost black.
- Disappointing Heritage Reveal: Played with. Joe Maya has always wanted to return to Earth, having grown up on the Mars colony. As he, Maiku and Rennie are able to pilot the three mecha that can combine with the titular Tobikage (and this suggests that they're descended from the legendary ninjas who'd helped the Radorian people in the past), the Radorians agree to bring them along as they leave Mars and head for Earth, hoping to ask them for aid. While they do successfully arrive at Iga Village, homeland of the ninjas, they find that it's become a tourist attraction. The ninja elder observes that they'd be willing to help, but based on his observation Joe, Maiku and Rennie are vastly more skilled than they are simply because they've actually survived real combat. The Radorians are disappointed, but the possibility that the ninjas wouldn't be able to help or might not even exist anymore had been brought up previously and so they were at least braced for bad news. At the very least, the Iga ninjas are able to provide Joe and the others with actual ninja training to improve their skills.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The colonization of Mars and the Moon using prisoners as the first settlers should remind anyone familiar with Australian history.
- Dub Name Change: Tobikage is called Cybertron in the dub. Reni/Leni/Rennie Ai's name was also Anglicized to "Jenny," and Maiku's was localized as "Mike."
- Forgotten Superweapon: Kurojishi combines with Tobikage to form the Juuma, an agile, hyperactive lion, most often, while Houraioh combines a few times to create Kuuma, an eagle formation that flies slowly and casts fire over a long length. We don't, however, catch Bakuryu combining to form Kaima, a dragon that unleashes large lightning storms, more than twice.
- Highly-Visible Ninja: Partly subverted with the ninjas from the hidden ninja village, except they're a tourist attraction. Played straight in that the robots are mostly ninja themed.
- Karma Houdini: Played so very nearly straight with Hazard Pasha. He gets his at the very end, but everything else up until then is a mild inconvenience.
- Love Triangle: Between Joe, Rennie/Jenny, and the Princess. Another exists between Joe, the Princess and Icelander.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Annex Zaboom. Hazard Pasha.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Ninja robots.
- No Name Given: None of the robots or mecha have any specific names in the English dub. The piloted mechs are simply called "Golden Ninja", 'Scarlet Ninja', 'Blue Ninja', while the combined forms of each with Tobikage are not named at all.
- Obviously Evil: Annex Zaboom has pale skin and black eyes, and his minions are also pale of complexion.
- Spice Up the Subtitles: Anime Sols' subs, even more so than Yatterman. In two episodes alone, there is at least one instance of PG-13 rated swearing, and this is despite the fact that this is a family show, even in Japannote .
- Spell My Name with an S: Reni/Leni is problematic. The dub avoids this issue by calling her Jenny. Of course, the dub makes OTHER changes too. On the other hand, the Anime Sols subs romanize her name as "Rennie".
- Stock Footage: Nearly half the animation, including all sequences. Two whole clip episodes were only stock footage!
- The Song Remains the Same: Averted in the English language dub. The original Japanese theme was a silly love song. The English language dub not only changed the instrumental backing, but also changed the lyrics to something awesomely heroic- about Ninjas.
- Totally Radical: The English dub is RIFE with this.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: The love triangle between Joe, Rennie, and Romina is never resolved, despite the fact that the theme song lampshades it. Joe's love confession for Rennie near the end was an additional bit added in the English dub.
- What Song Was This Again?: Again, listen to the Japanese opening. Now here's the English dub's intro.