Brave Raideen (Yūsha Raidīn) is a Super Robot anime series. Produced by Tohokushinsha, Asahi News Agency and Sunrise, it aired on NET (now TV Asahi) from 4 April 1975 to 26 March 1976, with a total of 50 episodes. The official name being Raideen the Brave, it is mainly known as "Brave Raideen," or "Heroic Rydeen"
After a slumber of 12 millennia, the Demon Empire, led by Emperor Barao, awakens to seize control of the Earth. Raideen, the giant robot-like protector of the lost continent of Mu, senses the evil presence and awakens within its golden pyramid. A young Japanese boy, Akira Hibiki, is alerted about the Demon Empire by a mysterious voice and rushes to the pyramid. It is soon revealed that Akira is a descendant of the ancient people of Mu who must help Raideen save the Earth.
The Brave Raideen series, originally created to capitalize unsubtlely on the success of Mazinger Z, is renowned in Japan as among the first to include a giant robot whose origins are mystical rather than scientific (as far as anime mecha's go Raideen is the first though several manga only mecha series featured ancient robots); Raideen itself is in fact portrayed as a sentient being. Raideen is also historically noteworthy for being one of the first transforming giant robots (the eponymous hero of Ambassador Magma was an earlier character, although his transformation from robot to rocket ship was not a detailed mechanical transformation). The diecast toy version of Raideen, released in Japan in 1975 by Popy, was the first true transforming robot toy.
Brave Raideen was the first mecha work of anime director and writer Yoshiyuki Tomino, better known as the creator of Gundam. It was also the second collaboration between Tomino and artist Yasuhiko Yoshikazu, the first work to feature both men being Wandering Sun (Sasurai no Taiyō) (1971); the two would later team up again for both Mobile Suit Gundam and Gundam F-91. The latter half of Raideen was directed by Tadao Nagahama, and may be seen as a predecessor to his famous Romantic Trilogy, consisting of Combattler Vnote , Voltes Vnote and Daimos.
There were followup series in the 90s (Chouja Raideen, or Raideen the Superior) and 2000s (simply titled REIDEEN and now animated by Production I.G). Chouja Raideen was a Genre Shift (to Henshin Hero) featuring a Five-Man Band chosen to guard the secret of Reideen from the Chouma, a race of demons who seek to use the Super Robot to their own evil ends. REIDEEN is the story of Junki Saiga, a teenager whose family has come out into the country to identify the remains of his archaeologist father when he finds himself standing in the way of the powerful Reideen and a group of aliens to wish to steal it. REIDEEN is noted for a seemingly slow style of movement and combat that more realistically depicts the sheer size and mass of the mecha and robeasts.
Americans of a certain age are most likely to recognize him as "Raydeen" from the Shogun Warriors line of toys and accompanying Marvel Comic book, which has a completely different storyline from the character's anime roots.
This anime provides examples of:
- Alas, Poor Villain: Prince Sharkin who after failing to defeat Raideen in his giant monster form, commits suicide by Seppuku while shouting glory to his empire to the end. He sheds the first visible blood in the series. Even Akira was sadded by his death and realized what a Worthy Opponent the guy was. Even Raideen looks grief stricken.
- Animal Mecha: Raideen can turns into an eagle-like jet for faster flight and often used for Raideen's finishing attacks.
- Atlantis: The lost continent of Mu.
- Attack Its Weak Point: Played straight on many occasions as certain monsters tend to have one glaring weakness that Akira manages to discover just as he's on the ropes. Even Raideen itself is on the receiving end of this; as the show progresses, many of the monsters aim their attacks directly at Akira's cockpit in the torso, explained in one episode that it's because Raideen's power core is right behind the cockpit itself.
- Badass Baritone: Especially evident when he calls "God" attacks, Akira's voice is way too deep and awesome for kid to have, but nobody cares because it's that awesome.
- Benevolent Architecture: After an earthquake, Akira was riding his bike towards the docks. Some chunks of shattered concrete just had the right shape to use them like a springboard.
- BFS: God Blade in REIDEEN
- Big Bad: Emperor Barao, ruler of the Demon Empire who wants to conquer the Earth.
- Blade Below the Shoulder: God Breaker! Gorgon Sword!
- Blow You Away: Manual Power On! Psychic Rays! God All-phaaaa! Raiiiiii!
- Boomerang Comeback: And it tends to make this kind of movements.
- Butt-Monkey: On the human side, fat kid Dan Araiso. On the demon side, General Agyaru.
- Calling Your Attacks: Every attack beginning with God on this page.
- Chewing the Scenery: And the best part about the above is that Akira's voice drops several octaves as he declares each one, hence the bold emphasis everywhere.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Dan Araiso toward Mari, in several occasion he watch her panties.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Mari Sakurano becomes jealous of Asuka everytime Rei is around him.
- The Dragon: Prince Sharkin in the first half of the series, Co-Dragons The Violence Brothers in the second half
- Eldritch Abomination: Emperor Barao, who's true monstrous form is a cross between Satan and Cthulhu
- Evil Is Hammy: With their booming voices, maniacal laughs, and sweeping arm gestures, the demons seem to be in constant testosterone overdrive.
- Evil Laugh: All demons practice this particular form of performance art, but Sharkin is the virtuoso. His laugh is no mere expression of amusement, it's a battle cry.
- Expressive Accessory: General Agyaru's helmet resembles a demonic head, and its expressions always mirrors the General's.
- Expository Theme Tune: "The Radiant Skies, the sparkling oceans. There is no way, I would let them fall into the hands of demons!"
- Falling into the Cockpit: When Reideen sensed the coming of the Demons, he called Akira by telepathy. Akira led towards Reideen like if he was in a trance. When he woke up he was inside the Reideen's cockpit and surrounded by monsters, and the first thing he did was screaming: "LET ME OUT OF HERE!". Reideen tried calming him down, stating he only needed think what wanted him doing and he would heed his mental commands.
- Groin Attack: Mari does this to General Agyaru.
- Healing Factor: Downplayed example with Raideen itself. Nearly every cut, scratch and hole (except severe damage like severed limbs) disappears after several scenes. Even when the cockpit is drilled or cut into while smashing through control panels, after awhile it appears to be in pristine condition again.
- Invisible to Normals: The transformed Reideens and Chouma in Chouja Reideen.
- James Bondage: Akira's father was the show's damsel in distress. The indignities he suffered included being turned to stone and tied to a cross (not at the same time.)
- The Lab Rat: Uber-nerdy Dr Sarumaru, resident computer whiz, who also whips up cool gadgets from time to time.
- The Load: Akira is always surrounded by children who can be counted upon to put themselves in mortal danger every episode.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: God Block!, a retractable shield in its right arm.
- Everything's Better with Spinning: This is later upgraded to be used as a buzzsaw called God Block! Spin!.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: The God Voice. From the chest of Raideen, some satellite dishes are shown to amplify by several times Akira's voice, who screams "God Ra Mu". Extremely powerful purple sonic rings are launched from those satellite dishes, to entrap enemies and tear them apart at a molecular level. However, this attack has heavy repercussions to its pilot, Akira.
- Malevolent Masked Men: Sharkin wore a cool mask.
- The Nudifier:
- As the heroes of Chouja Reideen find out, you may have been wearing clothes when you transform, but you don't get them back when you revert. One of the Team Mom's main tasks is providing the team with spare clothes.
- This also is present in the subsequent series, REIDEEN. Between the fact that the robot enforces manditory nude piloting, Junki being a definite bishonen, and him spending a good deal of the early episodes naked, it can be a bit hard to follow the plot.
- One-Winged Angel: Sharkin's 150-foot-tall battle form.
- Panty Shot: A Running Gag with Mary that wear always mini-skirt. Even the monsters wanted to see under Mari's skirt.
- Precision-Guided Boomerang: God Boomerang!, a red bladed bird-like boomerang hidden in its right arm. . Justified at Raideen is a robot and can control its trajectory.
- Prophecies Are Always Right: In the ancient chronicle of the land of Mu, it was said when the Age of Demons began, Raideen would awake and battle with the demons. Of course, all of it came to pass.
- Ramming Always Works: God Bird, Change! Chojun Set! Subverted in that we aren't told whether the attack was actually successful.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Akira's eyes turn red when Raideen is talking to him telepathically.
- Religious and Mythological Theme Naming: "Raideen" was named after Raiden, the Japanese god of thunder.
- Shock and Awe: God Thunder! where he summon lightning from the sky and directing it towards an enemy.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Curiously, most merchandising refers to the original 1970s Raideen as Reideen...
- Spiritual Successor: According to RahXephon director Yutaka Izubuchi, the similarity of designs and powers of the title robots and the basic plots of RahXephon and Raideen are intentional...
- Stock Sound Effects: Many of the Fossil Beasts and Colossal Beasts use the roars of Kaiju from the Godzilla and Gamera series. Even Raideen's God Bird form uses Mothra's shriek.
- Thunderbird: Raideen is a Humongous Mecha named after the Japanese god of thunder, lightning, and storms and comes with the powers that that implies. It can also transform into the God Bird.
- Transforming Mecha: Raideen was able to transform into a robotic eagle.
- Tsundere: Mari is a rather high-maintenence girlfriend.
- Villain Song: Barao Ga Warau by Koorogi 73.
- Worthy Opponent: Prince Sharkin, who could be described as a literal Noble Demon.
- Yamato Nadeshiko: Akira's mother, although she's really Ra Mu, not Japanese.
- Younger Than They Look: Junki Saiga, the hero of REIDEEN, could pass for a twenty something year old college student. He's actually a 15-year-old high schooler. Making this even more hilarious is that the in-universe excuse for this is that he's "tall for his age".