Perman(パーマン,Pāman), by Fujiko Fujio, is a Japanesemanga and anime about a clumsy boy, Mitsuo Suwa, who is chosen to apprentice to a powerful superhero. Although created as a parody of Superman (the name "Perman" is based on "Superman" without the "Su"), the character's creators appear to have distanced themselves from this origin story. In the comic-essay "Passionate Days of Perman" (PARマンの情熱的な日々), Fujiko F. Fujio claims the name is actually a reference to the "par" concept in golf. In addition, due to copyright concerns, the name of Mitsuo's boss was later changed from "Superman" to "Birdman". It is also a comic series in Ninja Hattori; Kenichi really enjoys reading them.
The first series was serialized in Shōnen Sunday and other magazines from 1967 to 1968, and the second was serialized in CoroCoro Comic from 1983 to 1986. The first anime series was first produced in black and white in 1967. It was remade in color in 1983 and films were released in 1983, 1984, 1985, 2003 and 2004 along with Doraemon films.
"Superman" (not to be confused with the American superhero Superman), later "Birdman", gives a clumsy human boy, Mitsuo Suwa, three items to help him as Perman, Superman/Birdman's apprentice:
A helmet which multiplies the wearer's physical strength by 6600 and the ability for the wearer to have the power of omnilingualism by spinning the ear part of the helmet,
A cape that allows the wearer to fly at a speed of 119 km/h and run with great speed,
A badge which enables the wearer to communicate with other Permen and to breathe underwater and in space.
In addition, he gives him a copy-robot which transforms into an identical clone to help him keep his secret identity during missions. However, if his secret identity becomes known to others, his brain will be destroyed for betraying the secret of Perman. This penalty is reduced to being turned into an animal in later chapters of the manga and in the anime.
Mitsuo begins by rescuing people who are victims of crimes or disasters, so as Perman he is admired. He is, however, often troubled by his dual life as a both brilliant superhero and as an unrewarded ordinary boy. He wishes to abandon his role as Perman, but he continues to be Perman out of a desire to help people caught in disasters.
Soon, he meets other Permen and teams with them. The other Permen are:
Perman 2: A chimpanzee named Booby
Perman 3: A girl named Pako/Sumire Hoshino
Perman 4: A boy named Peryan/Hozen Oyama
Perman 5: Kōichi Yamada(山田浩一,Yamada Kōichi)
In the end of the original story, he achieves the status of Superman/Birdman and leaves to a planet for Supermen/ Birdmen to become a superhero team. This is when Pako reveals her identity only to him. Perman promises her that one day he'll come back, while Pako promises that she'll be waiting for him till then. It is unknown whether he comes back on Earth. This was never made a episode and In the TV series, he stays on earth his whole life.
Perman and his fellows
Mitsuo Suwa(須羽満夫 (ミツ夫, みつ夫),Suwa Mitsuo) (a.k.a. Perman #1) - The main character in the series, Mitsuo is the rebellious 11-year-old boy chosen as the first Perman. He is the leader of the Permans. Of the five known Perman, he has had the most close calls to having his secret identity made known (and his cover blown). He hates studying, being grounded by his mother (the former two traits shared with Nobita Nobi of Doraemon, another of Fujiko's works), ghosts, and cockroaches (the insects were once used in a scheme by the ZenAkuRen). He has a crush on Michiko and often quarrels with Perko. He uses a blue helmet and red cape and badge. His copyrobot color is yellow or white. He is a big fan of the singer Sumire Hoshino, who, unbeknownst to anyone, actually is Perman 3. Mitsuo seems to be very lazy sometimes. He is willing to do anything to please others, which often end up with him in trouble. At times, he has shown some conflicted feelings towards Pako, unable to express his feelings for her. Voiced by: Katsue Miwa.
Booby (Perman #2) - Booby, though a chimpanzee and therefore not human, let alone a man, is officially referred to as "Perman #2". He is highly intelligent, but because he cannot speak human language, he often uses objects and gestures to get his point across. He acts like a human even though he's a chimpanzee. He uses an orange helmet and light blue cape and badge. His copyrobot color is orange. He is Mitsuo's favourite sidekick. Voiced by: Hiroshi Ōtake.
Sumire Hoshino(星野スミレ,Hoshino Sumire) (a.k.a. Perman #3, Perko or Pergirl) - Although Sumire is a girl, she is officially addressed as "Perman #3"; however, her teammates often call her called "Pako". Her secret identity, which she never reveals even to her teammates, is a famous child star. She feels freer when she is Pako because, as the child star Sumire, she is always treated as a celebrity everywhere she goes. She has a dual personality; In her superhero guise, she is tomboyish, bossy, brave, bold, hot-headed, and headstrong, quarreling with Mitsuo and sometimes with Michiko. While as Sumire she is very kind and mild. She oftens calls Mitsuo annoying and stupid but inside her heart, she has a soft spot for him. Whenever she is in trouble, she tells about it to Mitsuo first indicating that he indeed is very close to her. She later falls in love with him reavealing her identity aka Sumire only to him in the final chapter of the manga series (volume 7). Sumire, as an older actress, also makes significant cameo appearances in two chapters of Doraemon, telling Nobita about a faraway lover whose return she is waiting for (aka Perman/ Mitsuo) who has gone to another planet to perform his duties as Birdman (in volume 19 and 24 of Doraemon) (In another episode, Sumire was visited by Nobita and Shizuka, who used Almighty Pass to enter her house and spended time chatting with her. However, the gadget's effect wore off at 6pm and the angry Sumire chased them out of her house.) She uses a red helmet and green cape and badge. Her copyrobot is pink in color. (1st), Eiko Masuyama (2nd~).
Hōzen Ōyama(大山法善,Ōyama Hōzen) (a.k.a. Perman #4, Peryan or Perboy) - The little Buddhist monk who lives in Osaka. He is very pragmatic and this sometimes pits him against the other Pāmen. His pragmatic attitude saves the Permen from many of their tribulations. He is sometimes greedy to other Pāmen but sometimes can help them whatever problem they have. His dream is becoming the owner of a big company and earn a lot of money. He uses a green helmet with dark blue cape and badge. His copyrobot color is turquoise blue. Voiced by: Yoshihisa Kamo (1st), Kaneta Kimotsuki (2nd~).
Kōichi Yamada(山田浩一,Yamada Kōichi) (a.k.a. Perman #5 or Pābō(パー坊,"baby Perman")) - Nicknamed "Kō-chan", he is the fifth and youngest member of the team. He saw Mitsuo as Perman #1 on one occasion, and was made a Perman to preserve Mitsuo's secret identity. The first anime and manga series had several appearances by Kōichi, but he is nonexistent in the second version of either series. In addition, all but one chapter in the current manga volumes (a Christmas special) with an appearance by him has been omitted. He uses a yellow helmet and pink cape and badge. Voiced by: Fuyumi Shiraishi.
Superman (a.k.a. Birdman) - One of the Supermen, the guardians of the universe. His name is Superman in early series, but he is renamed Birdman in later series to avoid violating the copyright of DC. Despite this, his appearance completely differs from the original Superman. He is the one who made the characters superheroes known as Permen. Voiced by: Akira Shimada (1st), Yoshito Yasuhara (2nd~).
Copy-robots - Androids which are given to Permen from Superman to help keep their secret. Each one transforms into a clone of the person who pushes a button on its nose. The memories of that copy robot can also be transferred to the original person by placing both foreheads against each other. In the first series, the robot had a red nose that remained visible even after the transformation, and they often were deactivated by well-meaning people trying to wipe their noses clean. The duplication procedure also copies whatever clothing or items that are on the activator's person, which landed Mitsuo in trouble on a few occasions for abusing this property. These made a cameo in the Doraemon series as one of his many gadgets from the future.
Friends and family
Michiko "Mitchan" Sawada(沢田ミチ子,Sawada Michiko) - Mitsuo's classmate who has a crush on Pāman. She views Pāko as a rival, and at times clashes with her (with Mitsuo in the middle). Voiced by: Kyōko Emi (1st), Masako Miura (2nd~).
Sabu(サブ) - Mitsuo's short-statured classmate often seen with Kabao. Voiced by: Michiko Nomura (1st), Shigeru Chiba (2nd~).
Kabao(カバ夫) - Another of Mitsuo's classmates. He is a neighborhood bully. He often picks on Mitsuo, but is a big fan of Pāman, often begging him to make him the next member. (This is similar to Flash Thompson from the Spider-Man series, who often picks on Peter Parker, but idolizes Spider-Man - Parker's superhero identity.) Together with Sabu, he was tricked by a foreign scientist into stealing Mitsuo's Pāman equipment. Voiced by: Kaneta Kimotsuki (1st), Kiyonobu Suzuki (2nd~).
Haruzō Mie(三重晴三,Mie Haruzō) - Another of Mitsuo's classmates, from a wealthy family—in fact, his name can be read as "displaying vanity (見栄張るぞ)". In one episode, he borrows the Pāman items from Mitsuo, only to have them stolen by a dangerous criminal. Voiced by: Mie Suzuki (2nd~).
Mr. and Mrs. Mantarō Suwa (須羽満太郎,Suwa Mantarō) - Mitsuo's parents (his mother is unnamed in the series). Mantarō is often seen as easygoing, but will discipline his son responsibly. His mother (often prompted by his sister Ganko) usually scolds Mitsuo for getting into trouble. Voiced by: Hisashi Katsuta/Takako Kondō (1st), Kan Tokumaru/Akiko Tsuboi (2nd~).
Ganko Suwa(須羽がん子,Suwa Ganko) - Ganko is Mitsuo's younger sister. As her given name can be read as "stubborn (頑固)", Ganko is likewise headstrong and obstinate, although she is more known for tattling on Mitsuo to their mother. She also appeared in Doraemon; in the episode The Cursing Camera. She played a role of Jaiko and Shizuka's stubborn friend. Voiced by: Masako Sugaya (1st), Yuri Nashiwa (2nd~).
Senmensō(怪盗千面相,Kaitō Senmensō) - A gentleman-thief who is an expert in disguise and jailbreak, and arguably Pāman's most cunning opponent. His skill in escaping is due to his love of the thrill of breaking out of prison, and a chapter in the early manga demonstrates that he can't stand the ease of escaping from minimum security. In his first appearance, he was ruthless enough to try to kill Mitsuo, however he later helped Pāman capture the man behind a rash of purse-snatchings, because the thief had robbed the owner of his favorite ramen restaurant. He is a lover of fine art, which Pāyan uses to his advantage in a museum heist. Voiced by: ? (1st), Mugihito (2nd~).
Japanese League of Evildoers(全日本悪者連盟,Zen Nippon Akusha Renmei) (a.k.a. ZenAkuRen(全悪連)ZenGyadoRen(全ギャド連)) - The Japanese 'bad-man league', the guild which organizes thieves and burglars in Japan. Despite their schemes to destroy Pāman, they are always defeated.
Don Ishikawa(ドン石川) - The leader of the ZenGyadoRen. Voiced by: Kenji Utsumi (3rd~).
Saien Mado(魔土災炎,Mado Saien) - An evil genius who is the science adviser of ZenGyadoRen and offers them many unusual technologies. As with Haruzō and Ganko, his name can be read in a different way; in his case, it sounds very similar to "mad scientist". Voiced by: Shūichi Ikeda (3rd~).
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The first anime series was broadcast on TBS from April 2, 1967 to April 14, 1968. Certain episodes are lost and some episodes have lost their audio. In a few countries of Spanish-speaking Latin America it was released as "El Hombre Par," dubbed in Spanish. In Brazil it was released as "Super Dinamo," dubbed in Portuguese.
The second anime series was broadcast on TV Asahi from April 4, 1983 to July 2, 1985. It has been aired in several other countries.
In Hong Kong, it is aired under the title 神奇小子 and was dubbed in Cantonese and broadcast by ATV Home in 1984. It has also been aired in Taiwan under the name 小超人 and China. In India (on the station Nickelodeon India, Hungama TV and Sonic (TV channel)), the anime is released as Perman, dubbed in Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali and Marathi. In Indonesia, Paman was released as P-man, dubbed in Bahasa Indonesia and broadcast on RCTI was moved aired form Lativi (now tvOne) is a play start form sign-on. In Italy, it is aired as Superkid eroe bambino in the 1980s. In Malaysia, it was broadcast under the title Perman and dubbed in Malay and English. Aired on TV2 in the early 2000s and later on TV9 since 2009. In Nepal, it is aired on NTV as Hamro perman. In South Korea it aired as Super Boy Perman (슈퍼 꼬마 퍼맨). In Thailand it aired as ปาร์แมน and was broadcast on Gang Cartoon Channel, MCOT Modernine, Truevisions and Army TV Channel 5. In Vietnam it's known as Cậu bé siêu nhân. In Southeast Asia it aired on Disney Channel in English.