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Series / Robot Detective

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K posing in front of Joker.

Robot Detective was a series lasting through April 1973-September 27, 1973. It was a tokusatsu by Shotaro Ishinomori about an android named K who fought against the schemes of the terrorist organization BAD, who created robots to commit various crimes.

The show's being made available by Toei in 2020 with official English subs to promote the show overseas.

This series provides examples of:

  • Androids and Detectives: Pretty much
  • Arm Cannon: It's not used until later in the run, though.
  • Battle Strip: When entering Blow-Up Mode, K rips off his human clothing and throws it into the air with a mighty yell.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": K's belt has a giant "K" on the buckle.
  • Cain and Abel: K's creator's brother is the Big Bad.
  • Chest Blaster: K has a cannon hidden in his right breast.
  • Chest Insignia: Belt variation - K wears a prominent "K" on his buckle.
  • Cool Car: Joker, K's souped-up patrol car. (Built around a Nissan Fairlady Z - Datsun 240Z in the US.)
  • Fantastic Racism: The Chief Inspector despises K because he is a robot and nearly resigns from his position at one point. He gets better later on though.
  • Flying Car: Joker, literally.
  • Job Title
  • Eye Color Change: K normally has yellow eyes. They turn blue when he's sad, red when he's pissed (or during battle), and silver in Blow-Up mode.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Blow-Up mode.
  • Monster of the Week: The criminal robots hired out by BAD fill this role.
  • More Dakka: Blow-Up form.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Or as much as this trope can apply to robots... If the situation warrants it, K will swap out parts for more suitable ones. (In episode 8, for example, he swaps in some anti-electricity equipment to deal with Kaminari-man's Thunder Beam.)
  • Obviously Evil: Their name is BAD. That means they're probably, well, bad.
  • One-Letter Name: K, our eponymous Robot Detective. (One song refers to him as "Kei", though.)
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Ganrikiman (from Episode 14) doesn't seem to get recognized as a robot when in disguise despite the fact that his head looks like a giant pair of binoculars and only covers his face with a scarf.
  • People in Rubber Suits: Used to create K and the robots he fights.
    • Averted when K's wearing normal clothes - the suit actornote  is pretty obviously wearing only the mask.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Jihei Jigoku, the "information salesman".
  • Professional Killer: One way BAD operates is to sell out one of their robots for assassinations.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: K intentionally dresses like this (yellow cap, red blazer, white pants) to avoid scaring people, as robots aren't commonplace in the setting. Averted when he wears a snappy trenchcoat over all that (and this is an image that tends to stick).
  • Shout-Out: The series itself is a homage to Isaac Asimov's works, specifically the I, Robot series of stories. In particular, the Chief Inspector is a direct Expy of Elijah Baley, with his relationship with K mirroring Baley's relationship with R. Daneel Olivaw.
  • Signature Headgear: K wears a bright-yellow flat cap whenever he's out and about.
  • Something Person: BAD's robots tend to have names ending in "-man".
  • Spiritual Successor: Tokusou Robo Janperson has more than a few things in common with K.
  • Super-Senses: K is equipped with various electronic sensory devices that aid him in searching for clues or tracking perps. These include very sharp hearing, radar, telescopic vision, and a spectrograph in his eyes.
  • This Is a Drill: K gets a Drill Arm in Blow-Up Mode.
  • This Is a Work of Fiction: A blue standalone panel following each episode's end-credits reminds the viewer (tongue-in-cheek?) that this program is not based on accounts of real robot detectives.
  • Theme Naming: The plot of Episode Eight revolves around a trio of siblings named Ichiro, Jiro, and Saburo - "first son," "second son," and "third son," respectively.
  • Transformation Sequence: To get out of his disguise, he'd throw his coat and hat up in the air (they always folded together), and his Blow Up mode.
  • Turns Red: Literally, for Blow-Up mode.
  • Wall Crawl: Nanatsuman, the criminal robot in episode 5, could walk on ceilings with suction cups on his feet.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: K has no problem killing the Mooks, even though they are part-human(cyborgs). He has a policy of not killing humans...
    • Of course this leads to What Measure Is a Non-Human?. Since the Mooks aren't fully human (and of course are often trying to destroy the heroes) K can get away with killing them.

Alternative Title(s): Robot Detective K