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AKA: Tekkaman, Space Knight Tekkaman, The Original Tekkaman
Genre: Sci-Fi Mecha Adventure
Length: Television series, 26 episodes, 25 minutes each
Distributor: Currently licensed by Anime Sols.
Content Rating: 10+ (some violence, intensity)
Related Series: Tekkaman Blade, Tekkaman Blade II
Also Recommended: Gundam, Macross, Robotech, Speed Racer, anything old. Also, if the Tekkaman series interests you, go ahead and start with Blade. I really think it
Notes: This is a review of the original 26-episode TV series Tekkaman: The Space Knight, NOT of Tekkaman Blade, the better-known sequel. 52 episodes were planned for this series, but it was cancelled mid-way through.
Rating: Two StarsTwo Stars
 

Tekkaman: The Space Knight

Synopsis

When Joji's father is killed by aliens while trying to find a second Earth, Joji vows to avenge him. With the help of Dr. Amachi, Joji is given Pegas, a giant robot that can turn him into a Tekkaman, a super fighter that can kill the aliens. He eventually meats Dr. Amachi's daughter, Hiromi; a mysterious alien named Andro, who's fighting against the bad aliens for his own planet of Sanno, and a little alien guy named Mutan who's also from Sanno. They form the Space Knights, and get in many perilous situations, most of which are overcome by having Joji transform into Tekkaman. It gets a little old after awhile.


Review

Before I get started, I have a disclaimer to make. I am an anime fan of the late '90s, and even though I occasionally view old titles such as this, there's still so little from this era that I've seen. I did not grow up watching Transformers, Speed Racer, Robotech, or the original Gundam on television. But I do know what I like, and what I don't like. And I don’t like Tekkaman at all!

Plot-wise, Tekkaman isn't a PWP, not even close. It's more like a POP (Plot? On pot!!) What I mean by that is that each episode is plainly divided into two parts. One half is for that "plot and characterization stuff", and the other is for what I call "TEKKAMAN TIME!!!" The former is a basic sci-fi story, but one that has lots of good ideas. However, the execution always makes these ideas fall flat. I blame too many cliches, too much dumbing-down, and most of all, too much rushing. Why is the "plot" part of each episode rushed, do you ask? Why, to get ready for "TEKKAMAN TIME!!", you silly goose!! That's just it, whichever interesting direction the plot and characterization is headed in each episode, shortly after the commercial break, it's abruptly forced into the following sequence (with a view variations each time, but NOT many):

1) Our heroes *somehow* end up on the spaceship "Blue Earth".
2) Aliens attack. (Sometimes they even kidnap someone!)
3) Everything else fails, so...
4) Joji walks into Pegas' crotch, and comes out as TEKKAMAN!!
5) Joji, I mean TEKKAMAN!!, defeats the aliens.
6) Repeat step 5 several times.

That's the other half of every episode, the other half of this entire series, in fact. How they EVER got that process to last between 10-15 minutes every episode, I'll never know. All I know is, it's hardly interesting the first time, and gets more boring each time after that. At least he could have defeated the aliens a DIFFERENT WAY each time, but no. Most of the footage during "TEKKAMAN TIME" is recycled episode after episode after episode. There may be a different reason why Tekkaman has to come out each episode, but once he's out, it's just the exact same thing over and over again. By episode 4, I HATED 'TEKKAMAN TIME", so I pretended it didn't exist. What I was left with was all of those half-baked plot and character arcs. They could have been worse, and have a few interesting quirks every now and then, but they are so obviously just there to lead into "TEKKAMAN TIME", and I simply don't respect that.

On a higher note, Tekkaman looks and sounds great. The animation is quite good for 1975. Many '80s productions would *kill* for this one’s visuals. And last, but not least, the soundtrack is great! Really good music, for the '70s at least. Surprisingly enough, it's fairly diverse, at least during "plot and characterization time". "TEKKAMAN TIME'S" music is a different story, though. It's annoyingly repetitive, just like the animation footage during the alien battles. In fact, since instrumental versions of the OP and ED are about all you hear during "TEKKAMAN TIME", I really find the OP and ED to grate on my nerves, even though they were decent pieces of music. I much prefer the incidental music during the non-fighting scenes, and during scenes of space travel.

So basically, this series just doesn't "do" much of anything, even though it had the resources and ability to (sort of like a Furby). The real plot and characterization scenes are way too rushed to go anywhere, and the Tekkaman scenes are too repetitive to go anywhere! If there was more of the former and less of the latter, this would be a much better series, but I'm not going to dwell on that. I thought every episode was going to be better than the previous one, and finally get the real story started, but none of them did. And after six episodes of this thing, I don't exactly expect it to change its ways. By that point, I had had more than enough of "TEKKAMAN TIME!!" So had Japanese audiences, apparently, since they obviously didn't care to see that same thing done 52 times in a row (which is what undoutably would’ve happened had the studio not given up after 26 tries).

It just never got off the ground, although it could have if it had chosen. Instead, it chose to fall back on gross repetition and boredom, which got really old really quickly. Unless you're a child (in which case you may want to add one star), this one just isn't worth dragging out of the vault.Connor McCarty

Recommended Audience: There's lots of space fighting, as well as a fair amount of person vs. person violence, which can get pretty intense for a kid's show. There's also general angst and alien shenanigans, as well as some terminology and plot concepts that a small child might not understand. But anyone older than a "small child" really wouldn't enjoy this anyway. Who, then, is left to watch this show? I really don't know.



Version(s) Viewed: Fansub
Review Status: Partial (6/26)
Tekkaman: The Space Knight © 1975 Tatsunoko
 
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