1 April 1976
| 7.7/10 |
27 January 1977
| Sōji Yoshikawa, Haruya Yamazaki, Shozo Uehara, Go Nagai|
Akira Kamiya, Mami Koyama, Hidekatsu Shibata, Keaton Yamada, Kenichi Ogata
Invincible Steel Man Daitarn 3, Invincible Robo Trider G7, Invincible Super Man Zambot 3, Great Mazinger, Steel Jeeg
Divine Demon-Dragon Gaiking (大空魔竜ガイキング, Daikū Maryū Gaiking), also known as Force Five: Gaiking in the United States, is a Japanese Super Robot mecha anime series produced by Toei Animation.
It ran from April 1976 through January 1977 and consisted of 44 episodes of 25 minutes each. Gaiking was notable for being one of the few super robot series to take place in real places outside Japan, and for being the first Super Robot series to have a mobile carrier for the chief robots. In the USA, Gaiking was part of Mattel's popular Shogun Warriors import toy line of the late 1970s and Jim Terry's Force Five anthology series. In 2005, a remake titled Gaiking: Legend of Daiku-Maryu was produced.
The story chronicled the battle between the crew of the semi-transformable carrier Daikū Maryū (also called the Kargosaur in the US version, and also known as the Great Space Dragon) and the Super Robot Gaiking invented by Dr. Daimonji (Prof. Hightech in the English-language version of the show or Dr. Diamond in Spanish version) against an invading race of aliens called the Dark Horror Army from the planet Zela whose home planet is facing destruction by a black hole as their population starts to mutate (the fact that their giant bearded ruler now wears his mouth on his forehead is considered only a minor mutation which leads to a total deception at the end of the series). Notable aspects of the series include the dinosaur-based designs of the Daikū Maryū and its support machines and the use of part of the carrier to form the main robot. The robot Gaiking was piloted by former baseball star named Sanshiro Tsuwabuki (Sanshiro's name was changed to Aries Astonopolis for the English version with the carrier being called the "Great Space Dragon", a literal translation of "Daikū Maryū". Likewise, for the Latin America version the main character was called Brando Drummond and the carrier "Gran Dragon del Espacio") who was drafted for the job because his latent psychic powers made him the only one capable of doing so, all other similarly empowered candidates having been assassinated by alien agents with he himself having been injured in an attack that ended his sports career. Gaiking is most easily distinguished from other mecha by its skull-shaped golden torso formed from the head of the Daikū Maryū and its golden horns.
The leader of the alien villains was named Prince Darius or Dario el Grande in the Spanish version and all of their ships and mecha were fish-shaped, which most likely inspired the Darius series of video games.
A mecha defender robot consisting of three separate components: the Great Space Dragon's head, an arm unit, and a leg unit (the arm and leg units are stored inside the Great Space Dragon and exit from a gateway located below the Dragon's head). These three launch from the Great Space Dragon and combine, while in flight, to form Gaiking. The Great Space Dragon's head forms Gaiking's core (i.e., chest and back) and contains Gaiking's own head. Gaiking is operated by baseball star Sanshiro Tsuwabuki ("Aries Astonopolous" in English and "Brando Drummond" in Spanish).
A gigantic dragon-shaped robot (known as the Great Space Dragon or Kargosaur in the English version) that defends Earth from invaders from the planet Zala. It possesses numerous weapons and houses the sections of the Gaiking super-duper attack robot.
A small tank-like robot resembling a Plesiosaur, Nesser is used for scouting missions in water. Its weaponry includes lasers emitting from its eyes, a flamethrower emitting from its mouth, and three mortar cannons located on its chest. (Known as Dynatar in the English and Super-Caracol in the Spanish versions, respectively.)
A small jet-like robot resembling a Pterodactyl, Skylar is used for scouting missions in the air. Its weaponry includes machine guns and missiles. (Known as Skylar in the English and Spanish versions as well.)
A small, but very fast, tank-like robot resembling a Triceratops, Bazolar is used for scouting missions on land. Its weaponry includes laser canons, a drill, and a mortar cannon. (Known as Rhinatar in the English and Super-Tanque in the Spanish versions, respectively.)Sanshirō Tsuwabuki (石蕗三四郎)
Doctor Daimonji (大文字博士)
Gen Sakon (左近元)
Shunji Yamada (Keaton Yamada)
Bunta Hayami (速水文太)
Midori Fujiyama (藤山みどり)
Toei Animation credited the show as being based on an original idea by Kunio Nakatani, Akio Sugino and Dan Kobayashi. However, in reality the original idea was of Go Nagai. Toei deliberately took Nagai out of the credits in order to avoid the payment of royalties. Because of that, Nagai sued Toei and stopped further collaborations with Toei for a long time. The legal battle lasted more than 10 years. Nagai himself confirmed that he was the creator of Gaiking in the Comicon 2007 in Naples, Italy.
The original Gaiking first appeared in Shin Super Robot Wars for the PlayStation and later in 2nd Super Robot Wars Alpha and 3rd Super Robot Wars Alpha, both for the PlayStation 2.In 2012, it was reported that Toei was teaming with The Walking Dead producer Valhalla Entertainment for a live-action adaptation of Gaiking. And there was even a CG trailer. However, no further developments since then have been noted.