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Creator / Go Nagai

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"You see folks, there are two sides of Go Nagai: On one side, you have your light-hearted, slightly pervy Go Nagai, who only wishes to bring the gifts of giant robots and naked anime girls to all the good children of the world. And on the other, you have Go Nagai: the man who plunges into the dark pits of humanity, dredging up violent, nihilist narratives that seek to be a mirror to reflect the inherent evil that resides within the audience's compassionless hearts."
Kaizer Beamz, in his review of Devilman

If Osamu Tezuka is the kindly, do-good-means-well father of manga, Go Nagai (永井 豪, Nagai Gō, born September 6, 1945, real name 永井潔 aka Nagai Kiyoshi) is the cool uncle who lets the kids sneak sips of his beer and always tells the funniest dirty stories. The Roger Corman of manga and anime active since 1967, he has had a great influence on the world of Manga and Anime, as he effectively pioneered many of their most representative genres, such as the Super Robot Genre, the Magical Girl Warrior, and the Ecchi. While best known for his Mecha and Horror series, Nagai has also created a lot of comedy material and media aimed at children, and dipped in Professional Wrestling by creating gimmicks for New Japan Pro-Wrestling members like Big Van Vader and Jushin Thunder Liger.

Nagai began his career after he fell sick in college and believed he had colon cancer, as he wished to leave something to be remembered for. By the time he found out he did not have cancer, he was set on his career. Ironically his first efforts at getting published were sabotaged by his own mother! Fortunately, he caught the attention of Shotaro Ishinomori, (creator of Cyborg 009) who helped him get started. Nagai eventually funded his own company called Dynamic Productions. A 1980s OVA series, CB Chara Go Nagai World, was an Affectionate Parody of Nagai's works which had Super-Deformed versions of his most famous characters interacting with each other.

Nagai is known for intentionally breaking taboos. Even his milder material has a humorously deranged quality to it. His early works got him in trouble with the PTA, and even today some of them can contain controversial material. Nevertheless, most of his TV work is technically safe in the interest of placating censors even in Latin America and Europe (though not the US).

Here at TV Tropes, a signature element in his character designs supplied the original namenote  for the trope which is now better known as Hot Blooded Sideburns.

See also: Ken Ishikawa.

Notable Go Nagai series:

Contrary to popular belief, Go Nagai did not create the Getter Robo manga. That honor goes to Ken Ishikawa. He did however give Ishikawa the idea for a Combining Mecha (though his idea was with cars, as he had been inspired by a traffic accident), and reportedly designed Getter-2 and Getter-3. This, along with both series' respective animes being done by the same companies is why the Mazinger and Getter franchises are so closely associated with each other (compare the relationship between Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Usagi Yojimbo).

Tropes common to Go Nagai's works include:

  • Action Girl: Ironically for an author infamous for his frequent victimization of female characters, Nagai also created some of the earliest examples of strong, leading women in manga. Many of his series, like Iron Virgin Jun, Kekko Kamen, Devilman Lady and the massively influential Cutey Honey, feature female protagonists who often overshadow their male cast in fighting power, plot effectivity and sexual openness. Even when starred by a male, it's rare that a work of Nagai doesn't contain any example of a female fighter who is a force to fear in a way or another.
  • Adaptational Villainy: A lot of his Noble Demon villains get an upgrade in evil in various adaptations of his work. Examples include Amon in the Amon: The Apocalypse of Devilman OVA, Lan Asuka in the Devilman Lady anime, Tarantula Claw in Cutie Honey a Go Go!, and Ryo Asuka in DEVILMAN crybaby.
  • All Anime Is Naughty Tentacles: The Unbuilt Trope. Nagai certainly planted the seeds of this reputation for anime and manga, as he pioneered the Fanservice and Horror genres and took both of them up to eleven through his career, often including rape, mutilation and victimization of women, which originated many inspired works (and many works inspired by those) that can still be traced back to him. On the other hand, he was also the first author to consistently write female protagonists that were badass, proactive and comfortable with their sexuality, and his portrayal of sexual violence has always been presented in an unambiguously villainous light. All in all, and despite his own (and rather accurate) reputation as a Nightmare Fetishist, it can be said Nagai has been a mainstay in both ends of the female power continuum.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Very common in his works. It's more common in his comedy series and tends to be largely absent from his more serious works outside of moments of comic relief.
  • All Women Are Lustful: Similar to its brother trope above, though not quite as frequent.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: In his older works, villains and other nasty characters have a habit of looking pretty goofy, even when they are serious and dangerous.
  • Author Appeal:
    • Bloody deaths and sexual aggression are pretty much his trademark.
    • Nagai seems to have some kind of running gag fetish throughout his works of impossibly strong naked women beating the tar out of men.
    • Particularly in the Devilman verse, cute ladies being paraded on large sticks is a visual motif of his.
    • Several male protagonists in his works like to drive motorcycles.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: The 1970 Harenchi Gakuen TV series has an animated OP sequence, but it's live action, not anime (1972's Devilman was Nagai's first anime). It was also insanely popular, commanding ratings as high as 32% at its peak and remaining one of TV Tokyo's note  most popular shows ever. note 
  • Bittersweet Ending: This is the most hopeful kind of ending for his stories. However, the more serious a series is, the more likely it has a Downer Ending.
  • Black Comedy: Sometimes. Even his most bloody works are not devoid of perversely funny moments.
  • Body Horror: A lot of his works have this in spades. As an example, the demons from Devilman. They can be a blob with tendrils, mouth, fangs and eyes or a giant head with arms and legs attached to them and the humans possessed by a demon are even worse: one of them was a normal-looking woman. Then her arms grow into tentacles, and two heads sprout from each breast. Or the villains and Mooks from his Humongous Mecha series: Baron Ashura is half male, half female, Archduke Gorgon's lower half is a tiger; Pygman has two bodies, one of them sprouting from his bigger body's neck and Gandal has another being inside his head, and every time she wants to speak up, his face splits...
  • Canon Welding: Used to link apparently unrelated works such like Devilman, Violence Jack and crossovers such like Getter Robo vs Devilman.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: His character designs are diverse and very bizarre. It's common to see multiple characters who look like they come from completely different series in the same manga.
  • Chest Blaster: Introduced the concept in Humongous Mecha anime with Mazinger-Z's Breast Fire.
  • Combining Mecha: The creator of the trope. At a time he was staring at a traffic jam (he seems having a lot of his ideas from them), and he saw a car's frontside had crashed into another one's rear. Then he wondered what it would be like if two machines merged into another.
  • Crapsack World: The Devilman and Violence Jack settings especially stand out. If you live in those worlds, your life will be horrible and miserable, and your death will be even worse.
  • Creator Cameo/Descended Creator: Made a cameo appearance in the Cutey Honey live-action movie, and played the role of Dr. Kisaragi in episode 26 of Cutie Honey: THE LIVE.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Shows up a lot in his work, but none more prominently than Devilman.
  • Darker and Edgier: Arguable the Trope Codifier. Many of his works are known for being incredibly gritty and filled with gorn and fanservice.
  • Death of a Child: Children are not safe from harm in his works.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: He has spoken against it, and he has made some measures against webpages that reproduce his work without permission. His last measure, in company of some famous artists such as Buronson, is to sue seven book-digitizing shops because they're accomplices of all of the works that are circulating on the Internet without the author's permission.[1][2]
  • Dirty Old Man: Show up in several works, such like Cutey Honey.
  • Downer Ending: His most serious works tend to end in the same note: everyone, or almost everyone, dies, the world, or universe, is destroyed or the bad guys winning.
  • Ecchi: Harenchi Gakuen is widely regarded as the Trope Maker.
  • Evolutionary Levels: Used mostly in the Devilman universe, although it also shows up from time to time in his works to justify the existence of monsters.
  • Expy: A lot of his works contain parodies of well-known shounen manga characters of the time.
  • Fake Crossover: As a general rule, most of the crossovers between his works (and Getter Robo) are in their own self contained continuities.
  • Fan Disservice: While Go Nagai loved his fanservice, he also did scenes that were anything but titillating, such as in Devilman and Violence Jack.
  • Fanservice: The Trope Maker in manga and anime.
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: It seems like almost every female character in Go Nagai's oeuvre is either bisexual or a lesbian.
  • God Is Evil: God is the Big Bad of Mao Dante and the Greater-Scope Villain of Devilman.
  • Gorn: When Go Nagai wasn't wowing us with his Hot-Blooded heroes, he was delivering incredibly gory violence.
  • Gonk: A large portion of his characters have very unique and very weird designs. In comparison, the more conventionally drawn protagonists tend to fall under Only Six Faces.
  • Guilty Pleasures: A good deal of his work might fit this definition by modern, western sensibilities. Nagai could be accused of poor taste, but he doesn't have a single series that is not entertaining.
  • He Also Did: While Go Nagai is most know for his violent and erotic stories, he also created Majokko Tickle, a Magical Girl series aimed to a younger audience. X-Bomber, known as Star Fleet outside of Japan, is another creation with children as the target audience.
  • Hot-Blooded: Pick a Go Nagai protagonist. Any Go Nagai protagonist.
  • Hot Blooded Sideburns: The trope was even first known as "Go Nagai Sideburns". And even his female characters have them.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Trope Codifier, only because Tetsujin 28 was the Trope Maker. However, Nagai's Mazinger Z was the first robot to be piloted from inside, and this model became by far the most prominent as a result.
  • Lighter and Softer: Majokko Tickle is a much more traditional, kid-oriented example of the Magical Girl genre than Cutie Honey. It's also one of his more obscure works.
    • His Humongous Mecha series are usually this in comparison with his horror works, while also being not as raunchy as his comedies. And their respective animated adaptations during the 70s tend to be much more family-friendly than their manga counterparts.
  • Magical Girl Warrior: One of the Trope Maker and Trope Codifier. Cutey Honey was one of the first examples of the type.
  • Male Gaze: Naked and/or sexy females are the norm. Female Gaze works too, with plenty of barechested, muscled males.
  • Mood Dissonance: The Fanservice in his works has a habit of being really out of place.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Introduced the trope in manga and anime.
  • Noble Demon: Many of his works contain at least one among the villain cast. Mao Dante and Devilman are literal examples.
  • No Ending: Some of his manga works were left unfinished, like the original Demon Lord Dante manga, Abashiri Family (which remained popular in its original run until Nagai decided to drop it along with other series that he was doing at the time in order to concentrate on Devilman), Susanoo (until his reedition, which ends in an Ambiguous Ending), the original Cutey Honey and UFO Robo Grendizer. The New Mazinger manga (also known as Mazinger U.S.A. Version) was also left without conclusion after its first and only issue.
  • Science Fantasy: Another trope he is very fond of, since most of his works have both sci-fi elements and fantasy elements mixed together.
  • Self-Parody: Kekko Kamen is a parody of Magical Girl Warrior series... a type of series Go Nagai essentially invented.
  • Serial Escalation: Since Go Nagai runs his own publishing company, he's been essentially free to create whatever he wants for most of his career. While a few of his mainstream titles are known for their sexuality and violence, some of his more obscure, non-commercial works are amongst the most unrestrained, shameless and bizarre works to come out of Japan, and that's saying something.
  • Slasher Smile: His protagonists tend to sport one as a sign of Hot Blood and not just bloodlust.
  • Super Robot: Though Misuteru Yokoyama launched the genre with Gigantor, Go Nagai's series featured the first Super Robots to be piloted by humans and created or codified many of the tropes that would come to define the genre. Mazinger Z itself (or rather, its Anime Theme Song) is even the Trope Namer.
  • Take That!: If him consistently portraying teachers as either sadistic, often predatorial scumbags, objects of mockery, or both, Go Nagai isn't too found of the school system, given that many of his works satirize it, like Kekko Kamen, Harenchi Gakuen, and Guerilla High, among others.
  • Torch the Franchise and Run: Harenchi Gakuen initially ends with the Moral Guardians conducting a search-and-destroy operation on the entire school, though it's subverted since Harenchi Gakuen would later get multiple sequels.
  • Transatlantic Equivalent: Nagai is basically the anime and manga industry's answer to Hollywood's B-movie maestro Roger Corman, due to their trademark Fanservice and Gorn Author Appeal and their vindicated influences on the industries in the long run that inspired future superior works from Nagai's Devilman inspiring a Signature Sceneinvoked in Neon Genesis Evangelion and Nagai collaborating with Shotaro Ishinomori to Corman launching the careers of many A-List actors and directors such as Jack Nicholson or James Cameron or Francis Ford Coppola. Also, despite their contradictingly different ethnicities, both Nagai and Corman even have similar facial resemblances. Also, the designs ranging from Cutey Honey's physical appearance to Devilman and the demons to even the mecha from Mazinger Z can feel like they were all designed by James Cameron only to be adapted by Nagai just like Cameron's actual superb matte paintings that were used in Corman's films.
  • Transplant: Go Nagai has been known to reuse a character he created for one manga in a completely separate manga when it suits him. Sometimes he'd even have the character break the fourth wall and acknowledge the first series they appeared in.
  • Trope Codifier: He is one of the most influential manga authors of all time, probably second only to the God of Manga himself.
  • Trope Maker: While often misattributed to creating some of the aforementioned codified tropes, there are a few tropes that he can be credited for inventing.
  • Tsundere: He was a pioneer of this too, as Sayaka from Mazinger Z was among the first tsundere female leads according to The Other Wiki. The only reason why he is not more known by this is because female tsunderes are actually not so common in his works (not as much as other character types, that is) and because the Trope Codifier by a wide margin would be Asuka from Neon Genesis Evangelion (also an Unbuilt Trope, ironically enough) decades later. Asuka may not be compared to Sayaka for being one of the first tsundere characters but she is compared to Tetsuya Tsurugi from Great Mazinger, the protagonist of Nagai's work that is the sequel to Mazinger Z where Sayaka is from.