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Anime / Raideen
aka: Brave Raideen

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Illustration drawn by character designer Yoshikazu Yasuhiko for the show's first DVD release

Raideen The Brave (Yūsha Raidīn; 勇者ライディーン) 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 series also goes by the names "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.

In typical anime style, Akira is aided by Mari Sakurano, who happens to be the daughter of a prominent scientist, and his friends from the soccer club.

The Raideen the Brave 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 (a division of Bandai), was the first true transforming robot toy.

Raideen the Brave 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 team of five 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.

Despite the word "Yuusha" in the title, it has nothing to do with the later "Yuusha" series produced by Sunrise.

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.

Not to be confused with Raiden, the Shoot 'Em Up video game series, or Raiden the Mortal Kombat character.

This anime provides examples of:

  • Adjective Noun Fred: The show's title is "Yuusha Raideen" or "Brave Raideen".
  • Aliens Are Bastards: The plot is kicked off when the Demon Empire awakens from their slumber and set their sights on Earth. They manage to conquer most of the world save Japan, thanks to Akira and his Super Robot.
  • Amplifier Artifact: The Star of Ra Mu; a crystalline orb with unusual electronic components visible within. It can greatly increase Raideen's strength and size to put it on equal footing with Barao. Only Akira's mother can activate it due to being a powerful enough psychic to do so, but it comes at the cost of her own life.
  • Animal Mecha: Raideen can turns into an eagle-like jet, God Bird, for faster flight and often used for Raideen's finishing attacks.
  • Atlantis: The lost continent of Mu, where Lemuria originated, is Atlantis-like in structure (being situated in the center of Earth's ocean), and home to a race of super-powered aliens.
  • 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.
  • Attack of the Killer Whatever: The Demon Empire's modus operandi is to send the most violent, giant mechanical robeasts towards Earthern civilians, and it's also through these beasts that they destroyed the Mu Empire.
  • Badass Biker: Akira rides the Sparker, a motorbike made just for him by his scientist dad, and uses it to kick demon tail when he's not in Raideen.
  • 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.
  • Betty and Veronica: To Akira, Mari is the Betty (being his sweet, excitable childhood friend who's been by his side ever since they were young and also manages the football team that he's the captain of) while Rei is the Veronica (a mysterious, amnesiac woman with unexplained powers and an aloof demeanor).
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Demon Empire is destroyed for good, however Akira's friend and ally Jinguji is dead after performing a Heroic Sacrifice, and Akira's mother also died after activating the Star of Ra Mu to give Raideen enough power to defeat Emperor Barao. However, as her body is taken away by her ship it is implied that she will be returned to life back at the hidden continent of Mu.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Barao and the Demon Empire are unambiguously evil, and have not a single redeeming quality to name, but Charkin and Agyaru had many humanizing moments throughout the series, with Charkin even offering Akira friendship upon seeing him. When Charkin died, it was the only time Akira seemed shocked and upset for a villain's death.
  • Bowdlerise: The American release (that aired in Hawaii) cut out all the religious references.
  • 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.
  • Clothing Damage: To everyone, combatant or not, each episode. There's even one episode where they all to burn their clothes for fuel.
  • Coming of Age Story: At first, it seems like Akira is just some Kid With The Remote Control who happened to be called upon by Raideen. It later delves into why he was called, revealing that the robot is tied to Akira's past, he was chosen for a reason, and his entire life has been a lie.
  • Darkest Hour: Very briefly near the end of episode 28. Demon Empire's latest Monster of the Week is defeated but in the process it has destroyed Raideen, and Akira dies in the robot's crash. However, both of them are revived thanks to Mutron's divine intervention.
  • 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!"
  • Expy:
    • The character of Char Aznable was based on Prince Sharkin.
    • Midorino Akira in REIDEEN. You would be forgiven if you confused her with Reika Mishima.
  • 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.
  • Invisible to Normals: The transformed Reideens and Chouma in Chouja Reideen.
  • The Lab Rat: Uber-nerdy Dr Sarumaru, resident computer whiz, who also whips up cool gadgets from time to time.
  • Latex Space Suit: Worn by most of the cast, including the Copelander Corps, and Akira's pilot suit whenever he's inside Raideen.
  • The Load: Akira is always surrounded by children who can be counted upon to put themselves in mortal danger every episode.
  • Love Triangle: Both Dan and Akira like Mari, but she likes Akira. Akira is eventually honest about his feelings to her and they date.
  • Militaries Are Useless: Japan does have a military, but they use mere human artillery against a super-powered, millenia old galactic threat, so you can imagine how that turns out.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Robeast: Fossil Beasts are mechanical mponstrous creations sent by the demons to terrorize Earth and cause mass destruction. Once a nation is torn down by them, the demons take it over.
  • Spell My Name With An S: Curiously, most merchandising refers to the original 1970s Raideen as Reideen...
  • 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.
  • Unmourned Death: In episode 30, Rei Asuka and Ichiro Hibiki explore Tibet to gather information on Princess Lemuria's whereabouts but are suddenly attacked by a Fossil Beast. While Raideen defeats it and Ichiro remains unharmed, Rei is nowhere to be seen after being attacked relentlessly. Not only does nobody question her disappearance, she's never brought up in the anime ever again.
  • Villain Song: Barao Ga Warau by Koorogi 73.
  • 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".

Alternative Title(s): Brave Raideen