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Series / Kikaider

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1972 Tokusatsu series

"Change, Switch On! 1,2,3!!!"
Jiro saying his famous transformation call

Android Kikaider (人造人間キカイダー, Jinzō Ningen Kikaider) was originally a 1972 Japanese tokusatsu live-action series that aired alongside a tie-in manga version, both created by Shotaro Ishinomori. The tokusatsu was a huge hit and a classic among superhero media.

The basic story follows Jiro, a robot who was built by Doctor Komyoji in order to stop DARK and Professor Gill from achieving world domination. What will enable Jiro to do so is GEMINI, a special conscience circuit designed to help Jiro distinguish between good and bad and thus ignore the evil orders of Professor Gill. However, GEMINI was left incomplete due to Professor Gill catching wind of Doctor Komyoji's intentions and taking him prisoner. Jiro meets the doctor's daughter, and the two of them, along with a private detective, his assistant, and Mitsuko's little brother, set out to find the Doc and attempt to fix Jiro's broken conscience circuit. Professor Gill sends out his robot minions to try and thwart them, but Jiro is able to change into his high-powered alter-ego Kikaider and stop them.

The tokusatsu series was followed by Kikaider 01, which focuses on a new Kikaider model of the same name who goes under the civilian identity of Ichiro. An animated version was produced in 2000 in a rather retro art style quite similar to that of the manga. The overall plot of the animation was also much closer to that of the manga than the plot of the live-action series was, which took many liberties with the story and was slightly more Monster of the Week type story. An OVA version of Kikaider 01 was also produced which serves as a sequel to the first anime series, but despite the title, focuses more on Jiro than Ichiro. A spinoff movie titled Mechanical Violator Hakaider was made, which recasts Kikaider's rival as an Anti-Hero. The Darker and Edgier Kikaider Code 02 manga began publishing in 2000.

A film remake, Kikaider REBOOT, was released in May 2014. Similar to Gavan and Go-Busters, Kikaider had a crossover with Gaim to promote the movie.

The TV anime series and the OVA aired on [adult swim] in 2003.

Now it has a character sheet under construction.

This show provides examples of:

  • Adapted Out: Big Shadow and Waruder doesn't appear in the Kikaider 01 anime.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Gattaider, the merged form of the Hakaider Force.
  • The Alleged Car: Hattori's car is constantly breaking down.
  • Alternate Continuity: The original toku series, the manga/anime adaptations, the Mechanical Violator Hakaider movie, and the Kikaider REBOOT movie takes place in their own continuities.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: A variant occurs at the end of the first anime. Jiro, who has spent most of the series longing to be human, realizes as he kills Gill that humans are flawed creatures who have the potential for both good and evil. However good Jiro might have been, he needed the capacity to be evil in order to become human.
  • Artifact Title: The OVA series being entitled "Kikaider 01" as it was based on the series starring Ichiro. Even though he isn't the star in this adaptation, Jiro is.
  • After the End: The Mechanical Violator Hakaider spin-off movie is set after an unknown apocalyptic event took place.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: "Is that a good order, or a bad order?"
  • Back for the Finale: Dr. Komyoji returns in the final episode of Kikaider 01 after not making any appearances throughout the series.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Despite frequent nudity, the Darker and Edgier Kikaider Code 02 manga had no genitals or nipples. Except for a blacked-out outline of Professor Gill's penis.
  • Become a Real Boy: The general premise, aside from saving people from killer robots, is of Jiro learning and adapting his conscience from the positive and negative experiences and thus grow more human.
  • Big Bad: Professor Gill, leader of DARK.
  • Brain in a Jar: Hakaider carries the brain of Dr. Komyoji in his head; it usually doesn't have any role in Hakaider's personality or actions. Professor Gill later has his brain transplanted into Hakaider's body following his demise.
  • Brown Note: Gill's flute, which controls all of DARK's robots and can drive Jiro Brainwashed and Crazy.
    • Saburo's whistling can do the same thing.
  • Canon Character All Along: Mechanical Violator Hakaider features the seemingly new character Michael who rules over Jesus Town alongside Gurjev. The climax of the film ultimately reveals him to be a heavily modified Kikaider, implied to have been reprogrammed by Gurjev to obediently enforce his twisted justice.
  • Composite Character: Professor Gill's children, Akira and Hiroshi, were reduced to just one character in the OVA.
  • Continuity Nod: In one episode Mitsuko's little brother befriends some people who turn out to be the Monster of the Week, after Jiro destroys them the boy is horrified and cries for them. An episode or two later it shows him hiding and secretly still mourning them.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The DARK androids all have a theming that goes "[color] [animal]. The Hakaider Force in Kikaider 01 continue this theming.
  • Crossover: The 2003 had an OVA episode where Jiro met another Ishinomori hero, Inazuman; this episode wasn't included in the US release presumably because the character isn't well-known outside of Japan.
    • The 2014 reboot was kicked off with an appearance from Jiro in an episode of Kamen Rider Gaim.
  • Cultural Cross-Reference: The fact that the conscience circuit has a name resembling that of a certain cricket is not a coincidence.
  • Darker and Edgier: The anime and the original manga are this compared to the tokusatsu version from the 1970's.
    • And the OVA manages to be Darker and Edgier than that.
    • The Kikaider Code 02 manga has a considerably darker atmosphere.
    • The spinoff film Mechanical Violator Hakaider runs on Black-and-Grey Morality.
  • Duality Motif: The Kikaider series of androids had sports of blue (which signifies their altruistic impulses) and red (which signifies their capacity to do evil and harm that lies underneath) on their body designs. Notably, the "red" side is also the side that has part of Kikaider's robot brain exposed.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: When asked in the OVA why Jiro is bent on protecting Rieko, whose backstory is pretty suspiciously vague, Jiro just says it's the right thing to do.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Gold Wolf was built with a partial conscience circuit and thus objects to harming innocents.
    • Saburo avoids killing innocent people and he revolted against Gill when he momentaneously destroyed Kikaider with dirty methods.
  • "Everybody Dies" Ending: In the OVA, Every single android, good or evil, is annihilated by Jiro's hands, as the city lies in complete destruction with only a handful of survivors.
  • Evil Counterpart: Hakaider/Saburo.
  • Evil, Inc.: Notably, DARK averts having Offscreen Villain Dark Matter and several episodes see them marketing their robots to investors in an effort to gain more finances.
  • Evil Plan: Gill, leader of DARK, wants to take over the world with robots.
  • Fairytale Motifs: The story of Pinocchio is referenced throughout the manga numerous times. The plot parallels are fairly obvious.
  • Fem Bot: Bijinder's actual robot form is more this trope, rather than her Robot Girl casual appearance. Complete with two giant yellow cones jutting out of her chest so we know she's female.
  • Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: Both Jiro and Ichiro love doing this to the monsters of the week in the toku.
  • Henshin Hero: One of the pioneers of the genre, alongside Kamen Rider. Whenever Jiro wants to transform, he shouts "Switch On" and clicks the buttons on his shoudlers to become Kikaider.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: Bijinder is the only female (well, fembot) member of SHADOW and the only one to turn good.
    • The gold bat robot seems to slowly be affected by his interactions with Mitsuko.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Giant Devil, a massive robot devised by Professor Gill.
  • Journey to Find Oneself
  • Large Ham: Being a Toku, Android Kikaider has all its villains be hammy and melodramatic.
  • Laser-Guided Tyke-Bomb: Hakaider, who was purposed by DARK specifically to kill Kikaider.
  • Law of Inverse Recoil: in the spin-off movie "Mechanical Violator Hakaider".
  • Lighter and Softer: The 1970's toku compared to Kamen Rider, due to a more comedic tone and the Destructoids having a more cartoony design compared to Shocker's kaijin.
  • Made of Explodium: When a robot is defeated they always explode.
  • Mecha-Mooks: All of the monsters Jiro fights are only robots. Though he still has trouble finding it morally acceptable to fight them, as he considers them to be his family.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: As they're all robots with expressionless faces (or People in Rubber Suits in real life), Kikaider, Kikaider 01 and the various monsters of the week use body movements to convey their expressions.
  • Monster of the Week: DARK's Destructoids, which are all differently colored animal robots, and are sent out each week to go after Jiro or just cause general mischief.
    • SHADOW has their Deathbots, though they had considerably more variety than the Destructoids before them. They could be anything from a Youkai to a five-man team of Rōnin robots.
  • Nebulous Evil Organisation:
  • Noble Demon:
    • The Gold Wolf robot is a friendly guy when he's not transformed, even setting free hostages DARK had taken, thanks to him having a prototype version of the GEMINI circuit.
    • Saburo has shades of this. His goal to destroy Kikaider but only Kikaider, and he would rather not harm anyone else.
    • Waruder, who is a Friend to All Children.
  • Once per Episode: In Android Kikaider, after Jiro destroys a Destructoid the scene always cuts to a bunch of metal junk being thrown into the ground.
  • People in Rubber Suits: The 1970's series.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel:
    • Kikaider was deliberately programmed by Dr. Komyoji to be this, as he intended to use him to protect his children from DARK's androids
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Akira and the doomsday device.
  • Precap: Each episode of the toku starts with a brief clip show of the episode.
  • Pun-Based Title: The name "Kikaider" is pronounced in Japanese like the phrase "kikai da" or "it's a machine".
  • Put on a Bus: In the OVA series the Komyoji's home is completely empty, because they apparently went overseas for their father's recovery. This very quick offhand mention is all we ever see of them.
    • This is actually foreshadowed at the end of the first series when Hattori and Etsuko visit Mitsuko she mentions that her father's doctor suggests going overseas for his rehab.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Jiro's appearances in Kikaider 01 became more sporadic as his actor Daisuke Ban had been cast as Goro Watari, the eponymous hero in Inazuman.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Every evil robot has red eyes, and whenever Jiro is under control his eyes turn red.
    • Gil seems to have red eyes normally.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Jiro is alluded to have been built by Dr. Komyoji as a semi-replacement for his own lost son Taro.
  • Remember the New Guy?: In the OVA There is Ichiro and Rei, Ichiro is an Android Created right before Jiro and Rei was an Incomplete android which was Komiyoji's last creation before getting kidnapped. Non of them are eluded to in the Previous series.
  • Restraining Bolt: Jiro and his brothers are unique in not having these.
  • Rival Final Boss: Averted at the end of Android Kikaider. Before Kikaider and Hakaider can have a proper final duel, Gill sends his final and most powerful Destructoid, White Bone Flying Squirrel, to take out both of them. After Hakaider is fatally damaged, he asks Kikaider to avenge him and laments that he couldn't die to Kikaider instead.
  • Robo Family: The three androids built by Komyoji, as is evidenced by the names of their human forms. Ichiro ("first son"), Jiro (literally "next son") and Saburo ("third son").
  • Robot Girl: Bijinder, a Fembot built by SHADOW to lure 01 into a trap. Before her, it would be revealed Rieko is one too in the form of a robot wearing a Human Disguise.
  • Robotic Reveal: Rieko is revealed midway through 01 to be a robot, right before she sacrifices herself to save Akira and Hiroshi.
  • Robot Superhero: While not the first Japanese media to feature android superheroes, Kikaider is the first in the tokusatsu genre, spawning many influences to other franchises as well.
  • Spell My Name with an S: The officially licensed subtitled DVDs of the tokusatsu version by Hawaiian-based JN Productions calls the show Kikaida
  • Spiritual Successor: Chōjinki Metalder is pretty much the '80s' version of Kikaider.
  • Stealth Pun: Gemini Circuit = Jiminy Cricket
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: In the OVA series Rieko and Akira have an uncanny resemblance to Mitsuko and Masaru. Dr. Gill in one instance slightly lampshades this by mentioning their resemblance may have been what attracted Jiro to them.
    • Then in the OVA there is the evil organization SHADOW. In no way related to DARK.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Saburo/Hakaider's one given objective was to destroy Kikaider, and he's determined to let anyone get in the way of him doing so.
    • In Kikaider 01, the newly rebuilt "Gill" Hakaider quickly develops this attitude towards 01.
  • The Stoic: Kikaider 00, who spends his time in the OVA leaning angstily, and discussing how love and feelings are dumb.
  • Token Minority: The black android toting a lovely afro in the fourth episode of the anime is one of the few black people seen in anime these days.
  • Toku: Android Kikaider is one of the most well known classic Toku shows.
  • Torpedo Tits: Bijinder, who can fire lasers out of her boobs.
  • Tragic Monster: Gold Wolf, Gold Bat, Black Spiny Anteater and his daughter tiny spiny anteater.
  • Transformation Sequence
  • Transformation Trinket: Jiro must push the two switches in his shoulders to transform.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Akira has been described as tragically huggable.
  • 12-Episode Anime: Quite literally.
    • Although the DVD adds one episode that is nothing but clip shows and filler.
  • Monster of the Week: For quite a large part of the anime it had this format.
    • Played straight in the 1970's series.
  • Villainous Crush: Waruder towards Bijinder in the live action show.
  • Villain Song: Hakaida No Uta(Hakaider's Song) and Gill Hakase No Uta.
  • Was It Really Worth It?: The ending of the OVA poses this question of Jiro's quest to Become a Real Boy. He's truly gained the spectrum of emotions necessary, but he's tormented by the fact that he had to kill Gill. Because this question is posed at the very end, we never get an answer.
  • What Have I Done: Jiro in the second episode, after being controlled by Gil's flute
    • And in the first episode when he accidentally breaks a bunch of eggs in a birds nest.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In the 1970's series a lot of victims of the week would disappear midway through without explanation.


Video Example(s):


Waruder Shadow

Waruder has SHADOW's "Shadow Replicator" device used on him. As Waruder is a samurai mercenary with a code of honor, the newly created "Waruder Shadow" is his opposite as an erratic warrior with no concept of morality who switches between doing good and evil acts.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

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