E1 Entertainment
MSRP: $39.98
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 650 minutes

Interview with director/producer/writer Fred Ladd
Interview with anime historian Fred Patten from Animation World Magazine
Select audio commentary with Fred Ladd
Gigantor comic book issues 1-6 (DVD-ROM content)
PLUS 16-page companion guide with episode summaries and archival publicity materials

The Pitch

A small boy uses a remote control to take command of a giant robot.

The Humans

Sonia Owens, Peter Fernandez, Billie Lou Watt, Ray Owens, Gilbert Mack

The Nutshell

Jimmy Sparks has found a special remote control that allows him to command Gigantor. Gigantor is a Space Age robot that will destroy nearly anything in its path. Professor Brilliant and Special Agent Dick Strong try to guide Jimmy in regards to the use of Gigangor. But, Jimmy just wants to save the world. Thrill to their adventures with this collection of the first 26 episodes.

The Lowdown

Fred Ladd was an innovator. Scratch that. Fred Ladd saw the opportunity to make a buck off of exploiting Japanese animation in North America. A year after he introduced Americans to Astro Boy, Ladd imported Gigantor to our shores. It was a black and white cartoon with stiff animation, but it managed to top the ratings in every market that it premiered. But, what made it so damn interesting?

show opens in the far-off year of 2000 with the Cold War still raging. Our hero Jimmy has just inherited Gigantor from his inventor father. Once Jimmy got a hang of how to control Gigantor, he decided to spend the rest of his life fighting crime. That’s not that terribly hard to imagine when you’re dealing with a child and a giant weapon of mass destruction. It wasn’t that long before Gigantor was fighting America’s enemies such as Dr. Katzmeow.

show is such a simply oddity from the early days of Anime. It’s not to be taken as a pinnacle in line work or design. But, it begins to build the formation of later shows such as Transformers and Shogun Warriors.  By that I mean it has a giant robot fighting other giant abominations, plus the military shows up. I know that there’s going to be some Anime die-hards out there that will want to argue the significance of giant metal man fighting super invisible lizard. I just don’t care.

show comes to DVD with a pretty snazzy release. The A/V Quality is pretty clean with only a slight amount of dirt visible on frame. The audio is a clean mono mix that carries over well. The special features range from featurettes with creative staff to archived publicity materials. Quite a nice treat for animation fans.

It’s Tick-Tock’s special needs cousin, Cork-Cork.

The Package

The special features included in the set are a couple of featurettes that feature Fred Ladd and animation historian Fred Patten discussing the importance of the series. There’s episode specific commentaries from Fred Ladd. But, the real treat is the sheer amount of archived publicity material. You get reprints of ratings sheets from the original NYC and LA market premieres for the show. There’s original animation from the show’s Japanese run. Plus, you get to see how they went about securing an American fanbase.

7.0 out of 10