Supercar Gattiger (Known as Cho Supercar Gattiger in Japan) is an anime series created by Hitoshi Chiaki (inspired by the manga Hideharu Imamites), and produced by Wako Productions. The show consisted of 25 episodes and was broadcast by Channel 12 Tokyo between October 1977 and March 1978.
The series begins when Professor Kabuki unveils his newest creation: the Gattiger, an amagamation of five vehicles powered by his breakthrough Solar Energy Engine. During the conference, he also names the five drivers for the prototype, and reveals that a criminal organization called the Demon Empire is after its secrets. Professor Kabuki is murdered soon afterwards, and his son, Joe Kabuki, discovers that his thought-to-be-dead mother is somehow associated with all of this.
With the support of Dr. Waitazuki and the other four members of the Tiger Team, Joe must now travel the world and compete in races under treacherous conditions to solve the mystery, all while stopping Emperor Black Demon and his Demon Empire from stealing the Solar Energy Engine and conquering the world by monopolizing solar power. Each Gattiger Machine is a formidable race car with various abilities; in more desperate situations, the Tiger Team can combine their vehicles into Gattiger, an unstoppable 300mph solar-powered juggernaut.
Subbed versions were broadcast on the west coast of the United States and in parts of Europe. The show was fully dubbed in Italy, which doubtlessly contributed to its popularity there.
This series features the following tropes:
- Car Fu: While the individual Gattiger Machines have their own weapons, the combined Supercar Gattiger usually solves problems by simply ramming them.
- Clip Show: Episodes 19-22 are composed of clips from earlier episodes.
- Combining Mecha
- Conflicting Loyalty: Queen Demon is loyal to Emperor Black Demon as a proper daughter should, but will appear in disguise to save her son, Joe Kabuki, from extreme danger.
- Cool Car: The whole appeal of the show.
- Cool Plane: The Gattiger SuperJet, a massive cargo cruiser that carries Gattiger around the world.
- The Dragon: Erich Bergen is this for Emperor Black Demon.
- Dragon with an Agenda: Erich has his own, more sinister motives for the Solar Energy Engine.
- Five-Man Band
- Flying Car: Done by the fifth Gattiger vehicle, Up Machine.
- Generic Name: The five Gattiger vehicles are uncreatively named Center Machine, Left Machine, Right Machine, End Machine, and Up Machine.
- Good Hair, Evil Hair: The Emperor Black Demon has a ridiculously large and thick handlebar moustache.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Done twice. Emperor Black Demon is Joe's grandfather, and Queen Demon is Joe's mother.
- Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Saiko, though Dr. Waitazuki isn't a Mad Scientist.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Emperor Black Demon.
- Portmanteau: The name "Gattiger" is a combination of the Japanese word "gattai" (union) with the English word "tiger".
- Stock Footage: The Transformation Sequence where the five supercars combine into Gattiger, naturally.
- Weaponized Car: Each of the Gattiger Machines, though the specific abilities differ for each.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Emperor Black Demon wants to conquer the world in order to put an end to war.