Monday, May 14, 2012

Humor, Sex, Violence and Giant Robots

That really sums up the work of Go Nagai. He had a special gift for giving audiences what they really wanted. There hasn't been anyone quite equivalent to him in the US.

This is a continuation of the Super Robot history I started in my last post and I think I'm gonna' cut it short here because I don't want to get too bogged down with just one thing. Alot of this stuff is pretty firmly lodged in my head so I may touch on it from time to time.

Although Osamu Tezuka and Mitsuteru Yokoyama laid down the groundwork,  it was Go Nagai who really got the Super Robot genre going. In 1972 came the debut of Mazinger Z.
Go Nagai started as an artist for short humor manga and it shows in Mazinger Z. I love this bit where Mazinger is trashing the city.

Go Nagai's inspiration for Mazinger came from the ancient Greek legend of Bardos, which must be be one of the earliest instances of giant robots in fiction.


After Mazinger Z super robots really started to take off. Go Nagai came out with a number of follow up series, including Getter Robo in 1974 and Steel Jeeg in 1975.

Also in 1975 came UFO Robot Grendizer.
Go Nagai's robot stories were far more violent than their superherioc cousins in the US. It was a specialty of his that he would take even further in his later work. Here's a scene where the villain has trussed a bunch of civilians to Mazinger and forces it to fight with Grendizer.


Super Robots were just the tip of the iceberg. Here are a few examples of his work from my comic book library. I think these images speak for themselves.


So there you go- a little Go Nagai for ya'.

I think I'm gonna go now.

3 comments:

  1. Getter Robot is by Ken Ishikawa, not Go Nagai.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, I know Ken Ishikawa drew the manga, but Getter Robo is basically Go Nagai's creation. Thanks for chiming in and pointing out Ishikawa's contribution though. I'm all about credit going where credit is due. This is a very basic gloss-over of Go Nagai's contribution to giant robots. There were definitely alot of dudes helping him out. Like- I'm pretty sure he didn't draw that bad-ass city background in that Devilman Lady pin-up either- that was most likely an assistant.

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