Panda Z: The Robonimation is an incredibly light-hearted Mazinger Z parody as told through 26 three-and-a-half minute doses of adorable robotic animals.
Yeah, that doesn't help.
Let's try again. Panda Z is the story of Pan Talon, the robotic panda pilot of the Super Robot Panda Zet, who defends Animal City against Skull Panda and his army of evil Warunimals. Among his robot friends and allies are bunny nurse Rabinna, dog/public telephone Denwan, lightbulb monkey Etekkii, the loyal repairmen Hamgears, and a large team of Firebears and Rescuebears, public servants who are vaguely, well, teddy bear-like. Finally, there's the senile, alcoholic and mildly Ecchi grandfather, Panjii.
The show's tongue is buried so far in its cheek that spelunkers have been searching for its tip for years. The show takes extra care to poke the most affectionate kind of fun at everything Mazinger Z held dear, starting with the Rocket Punch, the enemy beast robots, and a great many of the hero and villain archetypes. Mixed in with these are episodes that are about roughly nothing - Pan Talon struggles to eat batteries (with helpful warnings for children) and searches for a ghost; Rabinna gets lost in lightning storms, failing to get rescued because, y'know, robots short out in rain. One villain is constantly captured and tortured by the promise of snacks; another battles the main characters with Old Maid.
Recommended to check out if you want a couple hours of incredibly light fun.
This program provides examples of:
- Affectionate Parody: Yes.
- Afraid of Needles: Talon and Medical Bear have an insanely cool gunfight when Talon refuses to get his shots. Have you ever seen a cute robot bear use pistols that shoot syringes?
- Flipping the Table: The subject of all of episode 2, "Table Manners."
- Humongous Mecha: Panda Z. And yes, it gets the Scrander, if you were wondering.
- Punch-Clock Villain: All the Warunimals. A few episodes focus on their day-to-day lives. One is just Warunimal grunts complaining about the generals they work for.
- Punny Name: Denwan is made from denwa for phone and wan for the sound a dog makes. It's often claimed that "Pan Talon" is a play on "pantalones".
- Rocket Punch: Talon fires both of Panda Z's fists in one episode, and spends the last thirty seconds of it sorrowfully gazing at them because he can't get them back on. In another, he fires one of his fists, then uses it to play catch with the wolf general.