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Series / Kikaider

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1972 Tokusatsu series
2000 Anime series

"I was right. You're nothing more than some mad machine."
Mitsuko Komyoji, in Android Kikaider: The Animation in every single episode.

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. An animated version was produced in 2001 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.

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 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.

See also the movie version, Kikaider Reboot, released in May 2014. Like 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:

  • The Abridged Series: Two, one by Chicken monkey studios, and one version by Black bug brutha.
  • Adapted Out: Big Shadow and Waruder doesn't appear in the anime.
  • Adorkable: played Up to Eleven with Hattori Hanpei in the 70's show, especially when he tries to repair his car with ninja techniques or by licking the steering wheel.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Gattaider, the merged form of the Hakaider Force.
  • The Alleged Car: Hattori's car.
  • Alternate Continuity: Mechanical Violator Hakaider
  • 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.
  • Anyone Can Die
  • 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 Hakaider spin-off movie.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: "Is that a good order, or a bad order?"
  • Back for the Finale: The little girl who lost her cat in the beginning of the series shows up again in one of the last scenes of the OVA finale. Along with Hattori and Etsuko, though you'd have to keep an eye out for them in the background to spot them.
  • 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 Gil's penis.
  • Batman Gambit: Professor Gil arranged the death of Dr. Komyoji's older son, and later second marriage to convince him to make his robots.
  • Becoming the Mask: Mitsuko's mother, who was just a mole doing her job. She claimed to Mitsuko that she never wasn't the mask, but reveals that she really does love her children.
  • 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.
    • Though in the live action show, he gets Demoted to Dragon by another villain called Big Shadow.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Both anime series, although Kikaider 01 ends on a far less optimistic note than its predecessor.
    • The closing narration in the OVA sums it up well: "And yet I wonder... in becoming human, did Pinocchio truly find happiness?"
  • Book-Ends: The first episode opens with the story of Pinocchio, and the last scene of the OVA episodes reads the ending to it.
    • One episode begins and ends with a shot of a flower vase as a woman says "I will wait for you."
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Hattori is cheap, and slightly stupid, but he and Etsuko managed to find Jiro well enough when hired to locate him.
  • 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 undergoes an Emergency Transformation into a Hakaider-style body.
  • Breaking Speech: Mitsuko gets one during the anime, with the Monster of the Week asking her if she's thought out her feelings for Jiro and how she'd react if Jiro fell in love with her. Jiro gets the "you'll never be human" one throughout the anime. In the OVA he turns this on Gill, explaining that with the newly implanted submission circuit, Jiro now has the evil heart that Gill wanted him to have. Jiro utilizes this new ability to kill him, saying that Gill gave him the means to finally become human.
  • Brown Note: Gill's flute, which controls all of DARK's robots and can drive Jiro Brainwashed and Crazy. As the page quote indicates, this didn't make a good impression on Mitsuko in the anime.
    • Saburo's whistling can do the same thing.
  • Composite Character: Professor Gill's twin children, Akira and Rumi, 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 Hakaider Force, both in the OVA and the live action series.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: As the OVA shows, to become truly human, you have to learn the good and the bad parts of humanity. If he only learned about love and peace and forgiveness he wouldn't be a real man, he'd be a saint. To become truly human he has to give in to darkness too.
  • Credits Montage: [adult swim] cut out the opening credits when they aired the show, but instead of showing the normal closing credits, they instead played a series of video clips from throughout the series to the tune of the opening credits theme, probably because they really wanted to use that song.
  • 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.
  • Deconstruction: The manga and anime was one to the original live action series. The live action series was more of a straight up Henshin Hero vs the bad guys affair with Jiro acting more like The Cape and everything being lighthearted in spite of the darker implications of certain aspects of the show. The manga and anime uses some of these implications to present a more realistic take on Kikaider. To wit:
    • Even with a conscience circuit, Jiro is literally only days old and only months old at best by the end of the first series. Computer brain, accelerated learning, and conscience circuit or not there is no way he could get a handle on being human in such a short time especially considering some people spend their entire lives trying to get a handle on being human and still haven't gotten the hang of it which often leaves him confused, stressed, shaken, angry, and generally at a loss when it comes to handling his situation or dealing with other people. The anime shows how someone only a short time into their existence yet possessing an adult's ability to learn and understand would deal with the situation. Hint: not well.
    • With Dark and Professor Gill, it shows just how evil and depraved a secret underworld organization with super-tech would be if world conquest was their goal. While the silliness of the robot's designs and abilities remains along with Gill's silly robes and robot controlling flute is used, there is absolutely no humor in what Gill and his minions are doing: murder, destruction, extortion, and terrorism. Sure the giant robot praying mantis seems funny until it charges of up vibro-blade arms and bisects someone.
    • The end of the series shows just what it means to be human and it's a stark commentary on the human condition. While Jiro wanted to be human, being human isn't all about love, compassion, honor, and bravery, because if it were, then evil wouldn't exist. Jiro learns with his act of killing Gill with his own hands that being human is about having flaws and limitations and being able to rise above them which also means that sometimes men must do terrible things in order to help a greater good or prevent a terrible evil. To be truly human is to have flaws and make mistakes.
  • Deep Cover Agent: In the anime, Mitsuko — Dr. Komyoji's daughter — learns that her mother was actually an agent of Professor Gill sent to keep the Doctor "in line".
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Inverted. Bijinder decides to join Kikaider 01 after her side pummels them.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: The infamous "arm repair" scene from "The Machine That Dreams" is close to the type 4 variety.
  • Downer Ending: The Kikaider 01 OVA ends on a very bleak note, with every android dead and Gil finally defeated, but the events have emotionally scarred Jiro, And Even then he's still suffering from the submission chip's effects that even after Gil's demise is still active.
    • The crossover with Inazuman fixes this somehow.
  • Duality Motif: The Kikaider series of androids had sports of blue (which signifies good) and red (which signifies evil) on their body designs.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: When asked in the OVA why Jiro is bent on protecting Rieko, who's backstory is pretty suspiciously vague, Jiro just says it's the right thing to do.
  • Driven to Suicide: Soon after the characters meet Mitsuko's mother, she commits suicide, right in front of them.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The bat android, he fancies himself a gentleman and shows a degree of compassion. Justified because he has a prototype Gemini circuit.
    • Saburo in the live action. While his animated counterpart is a total Jerkass, he avoids killing innocent people and he revolted against Gill when he momentaneously destroyed Kikaider with dirty methods.
  • Evil Counterpart: Hakaider/Saburo
  • Evil Plan: Gill, leader of DARK, wants to take over the world with robots.
  • Fairytale Motifs: The story of Pinocchio is referenced throughout the series numerous times. The plot parallels are fairly obvious.
  • Fake Memories: Rieko, in the 4-part OVA.
  • 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.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • 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.
  • The Hero Dies: The trope is pointed out in one episode by a man who saves an entire city, only to be fatally wounded shortly after. "I thought the good guys always lived..."
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: Bijinder.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: In the beginning of the OVA series, Bijinder is just another robot goon working for the Big Bad. But after encountering Jiro and the others, she starts to grow empathy and feelings for other people. When she asks Kikaider 00 about this, he simply rejects the notion that they can possibly have feelings, and tells her it is nothing more than simple malfunctions, not love.
    • The gold bat robot seems to slowly be affected by his interactions with Mitsuko.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Doomsday Device.
  • I Am a Monster: Jiro spends a few episodes hating himself because people think he's a monster, and Gill makes him do terrible things. For a while he even refused to willingly transform in front of Mitsuko because he didn't want her to think he was ugly.
  • Idiot Ball: One of the reasons why the anime has so many problems with it's story is how it's characters constantly hold the ball for the most idiotic of reasons, or none at all.
    • Kikaider himself claims to have no knowledge of basic concepts like a "guitar" or a "story" and yet for some reason knows what a reflection is. It's like the anime picks and chooses what things he knows and what he doesn't.
    • Professor Gill has a flue which can be used to cause Kikaider to go crazy. He uses it sometimes, but he eventually just stops using it for no reason whatsoever. It's a clear weakness Kikaider has and... he just doesn't use it.
    • Mitsuko is told to her face that her mother was working for Professfor Gill just to use her dad and didn't care about them one bit. And Mitsuko STILL insists on wanting to talk to her more. It ends up coming off like the anime needed to deliberately waste time to fill in the full episode.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Played straight, but not the way you think. Mitsuko hates all robots. All except Jiro.
  • Instrument of Murder: Jiro in the OVA "The Boy Who Carried a Guitar: Kikaider Vs. Inazuman" has a guitar that acts as a machine gun. He can also play it as an instrument and incapacitate people.
  • I Will Wait for You: Mitsuko after Jiro runs away at the end of the anime. Jiro does eventually try to return to her in the OVAs, only for her and her family to have left the country by then.
    • The woman in one episode who is waiting for the man she cared for to return to her. Not realizing he died that night to save the entire city.
  • Journey to Find Oneself
  • Just a Machine: Mitsuko lays it all out by bluntly stating the page's quote up there. And then again, and again. And then they play flashbacks of that quote a lot of times in the show. If you don't learn to laugh about it, it'd drive you insane.
    • Most of the robots built by DARK tell Jiro that they do not have sympathy or goodness or even evil in their hearts, because they are just machines fulfilling what they were programmed to do.
    • Kikaider 00 fully believes that he is nothing more than metal and wires, and that any notion that robots can feel emotions is completely ridiculous.
  • Instant Expert: Jiro knows how to operate The Sidemachine (his motorcycle) immediately after finding it, and can play his guitar at a virtuoso level after watching a guy play scales a single time.
  • Kill 'Em All: 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.
    • Averted in the live action Kikaider 01's finale.
  • Large Ham: The golden bat robot guy, who seems to be as melodramatic as it gets. It helps that he's voiced by Norio Wakamoto in the japanese dub.
    • All the villains in the 1970's version.
  • Laser-Guided Tyke-Bomb: Hakaider
  • Law of Inverse Recoil: in the spin-off movie "Mechanical Violator Hakaider".
  • Lighter and Softer: The 1970's toku compared to the first Kamen Rider series 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.
  • Magic Pants: Jiro transforms into a his robot form by his hair, skin and clothes literally being ripped off of him. Somehow when he's done fighting he's back to normal.
  • 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: Kikaider, Kikaider 01 and the various monsters of the week does this in the 70's shows since they are actors wearing expressionless masks.
  • Ms Fan Service: Ofcourse every girl wears a mini skirt in the show, but Bijinder seems to be the only character explicitly meant to be sexy.
  • The Mole: Ichiro/01 accuses Bijinder of being a spy when she decides to go with them. But it turns out the real mole was Rieko, who helped Gill track them down. Though she herself didn't know it.
  • Monster of the Week
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Bijinder and Rieko's emotions are connected, and Bijinder can feel what she's feeling if intense enough. This is because Rieko's actually asimilar-model android, making the two akin to twins and playing off of the myth of twins having ESP... only with robots. Best not to think too hard about it.
  • Mysterious Parent: Apparently Mitsuko and Masaru had no idea what their father was up to in his free time in their backyard castle. It turns out he is involved in a complex conspiracy. And lets not even start with their mother.
  • Noble Demon: The Golden Bat robot, who has a prototype version of the GEMINI circuit.
  • No Name Given: A lot of the monsters of the week weren't given real names, or at least weren't clear about them. Such as giant mantis, robot black ant guy, golden bat vampire dude, and that one leopard robot, and the flying turtle that shoots rocks.
    • They do have names which pretty much boil down to what color they are and the animal they're based on.
    • I'm not sure if it's ever mentioned more than once at most in the anime, but Hattori's assistant is apparently named Etsuko.
  • Not Worth Killing
  • Oh, Crap!: A few with Dr.Gill, one in particular is when Jiro sheds a tear despite being impossible for a robot to do. Gill Literally recoils back from the screen questioning what the Gemini Circuit is doing to him.
  • Offing the Offspring: Mitsuko's mom holds a gun up against her head and threatens to kill Mitsuko. But ultimately can't go through with it.
  • Once per Episode: In the 1970's series, after Jiro destroys a Destructoid the scene always cuts to a bunch of metal junk being thrown into the ground.
  • Only Six Faces: Bijinder seems to be Mitsuko in a different outfit, and Rieko looks and dresses exactly like Mitsuko only with long hair.
  • Panty Shot: A very blatant one during Bijinder's transformation
  • People in Rubber Suits:The 1970's series.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel
  • Pinocchio Syndrome
  • 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.
  • 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 (literally "next son") was modeled after the likeness of his creator's dead son Ichiro ("first son"). Hakaider's human name, Saburo ("third son") continues the theme.
  • 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.
  • Robo Family: All androids refer to each other as siblings.
  • Robot Girl: Bijinder, and as it turns out, Rieko is one too.
  • Robotic Reveal: Used a few times for dramatic affect, usually getting the same reaction of terror from everyone.
  • Robo Sexual: Mitsuko had quite a hard time dealing with the fact that she was in love with her robot brother.
  • Say My Name: Mitsuko, after the DARK headquarters ignites with Jiro still in there.
  • Sixth Ranger: Kikaiders 00 and 01.
  • 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: Choujinki 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.
  • Sweater Girl: Mitsuko spends all of two scenes in the series not wearing a tight form fitting sweater.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: DARK, a very vague eeeevil shadowy organization that wants to do... bad things, it's not always very clear, but world domination is involved, but seems mostly focused on just beating the tar out of Jiro.
    • As stated above, the OVA series has SHADOW. A vaguely different organization ran by the same people. But they seem to be confused about themselves too because now and then they refer to themselves as DARK.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Saburo/Hakaider
  • Tears from a Stone: In one episode, Jiro sheds a tear, and everyone around him is astounded at how impossible that is, Gill in particular is terrified at the implications of what Jiro's conscience circuit could be evolving into. Does it actually make that much sense? Well, no, but it's just so dramatic we let it slide.
  • 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
  • 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?: After Dr. Komiyoji takes over his body, we never see Saburo/Hakaider again for the rest of the series, and was never given a suitable defeat as once he returns he is then immediately killed by Gill and thus never got a proper final fight with Kikaider. In the OVA Gill returns in a Hakaider-style body, but that's not quite the same.
    • Also in the 1970's series there are victims of the week.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: In the OVA series Akira is used as the important component of a weapon of mass destruction.
  • World Made Of Cardboard Speech: In the end when Jiro is partially corrupted by Gill (he still has good inside but now has evil inside to). Gill, throughout the series tells Kikaider that he isn't human and will never be human. Ironically, because of Gill, Kikaider is now capable of cruelty, anger, and deceit. This culminates with Jiro stating to Gill that he is at last human and then holding Gill's brain jar in his hands and crushing it saying "with this act I am at last human".
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Mitsuko and Reiko both fit this trope very well. Mitsuko sort of subverts it initially with her hatred of machines and therefore temporary hatred of Jiro, but she eventually breaks out of that and plays the trope quite straight.


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